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Title: History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, Volume III
Author: D'Aubigné, J. H. Merle
Language: English
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       *       *       *       *       *

















A spirit of examination and inquiry is in our days continually urging
the literary men of France, Switzerland, Germany, and England to
search after the original documents which form the basis of Modern
History. I desire to add my mite to the accomplishment of the
important task which our age appears to have undertaken. Hitherto I
have not been content simply with reading the works of contemporary
historians: I have examined eye-witnesses, letters, and original
narratives; and have made use of some manuscripts, particularly that
of Bullinger, which has been printed since the appearance of the
Second Volume of this Work in France.[1]

  [1] Bullinger's Chronik, Frauenfeld, 1838-1840.

But the necessity of having recourse to unpublished documents became
more urgent when I approached (as I do in the Twelfth Book) the
history of the Reformation in France. On this subject we possess but
few printed memoirs, in consequence of the perpetual trials in which
the Reformed Church of that country has existed. In the spring of 1838
I examined, as far as was in my power, the manuscripts preserved in
the public libraries of Paris, and it will be seen that a manuscript
in the Royal Library, hitherto I believe unknown, throws much light on
the early stages of the Reformation; and in the autumn of 1839 I
consulted the manuscripts in the library belonging to the consistory
of the pastors of Neufchatel, a collection exceedingly rich with
regard to this period, as having inherited the manuscripts of Farel's
library; and through the kindness of the Chatelain of Meuron I
obtained the use of a manuscript life of Farel written by Choupard,
into which most of these documents have been copied. These materials
have enabled me to reconstruct an entire phasis of the Reformation in
France. In addition to these aids, and those supplied by the Library
of Geneva, I made an appeal, in the columns of the _Archives du
Christianisme_, to all friends of history and the Reformation who
might have any manuscripts at their disposal; and I here gratefully
acknowledge the different communications that have been made to me, in
particular by M. Ladevèze, pastor at Meaux. But although religious
wars and persecutions have destroyed many precious documents, a number
still exist, no doubt, in various parts of France, which would be of
vast importance for the history of the Reformation; and I earnestly
call upon all those who may possess or have any knowledge of them,
kindly to communicate with me on the subject. It is felt now-a-days
that these documents are common property; and on this account I hope
my appeal will not be made in vain.

It may be thought that in writing a general History of the
Reformation, I have entered into an unnecessary detail of its first
dawnings in France. But these particulars are almost unknown, the
events that form the subject of my Twelfth Book, occupying only four
pages in the _Histoire Ecclesiastique des Eglises réformées au Royaume
de France_, by Theodore Beza; and other historians have confined
themselves almost entirely to the political progress of the nation.
Unquestionably the scenes that I have discovered, and which I am now
about to relate, are not so imposing as the Diet of Worms.
Nevertheless, independently of the christian interest that is
attached to them, the humble but heaven-descended movement that I have
endeavoured to describe, has probably exerted a greater influence over
the destinies of France than the celebrated wars of Francis I. and
Charles V. In a large machine, not that which makes the greatest show
is always the most essential part, but the most hidden springs.

Complaints have been made of the delay that has taken place in the
publication of this third volume; and some persons would have had me
keep back the first until the whole was completed. There are,
possibly, certain superior intellects to which conditions may be
prescribed; but there are others whose weakness must give them, and to
this number the author belongs. To publish a volume at one time, and
then a second whenever I was able, and after that a third, is the
course that my important duties and my poor ability allow me to take.
Other circumstances, moreover, have interposed; severe afflictions
have on two occasions interrupted the composition of this third
volume, and gathered all my affections and all my thoughts over the
graves of beloved children. The reflection that it was my duty to
glorify that adorable Master who addressed me in such powerful
appeals, and who vouchsafed me such Divine consolation, could alone
have given me the courage required for the completion of my task.

I thought these explanations were due to the kindness with which this
Work has been received both in France and England, and especially in
the latter country. The approbation of the Protestant Christians of
Great Britain, the representatives of evangelical principles and
doctrines in the most distant parts of the world, is most highly
valued by me; and I feel a pleasure in telling them that it is a most
precious encouragement to my labours.

The cause of truth recompenses those who embrace and defend it, and
such has been the result with the nations who received the
Reformation. In the eighteenth century, at the very moment when Rome
thought to triumph by the Jesuits and the scaffold, the victory
slipped from her grasp. Rome fell, like Naples, Portugal, and Spain,
into inextricable difficulties; and at the same time two Protestant
nations arose and began to exercise an influence over Europe that had
hitherto belonged to the Roman-catholic powers. England came forth
victorious from those attacks of the French and Spaniards which the
pope had so long been stirring up against her, and the Elector of
Brandenburg, in spite of the wrath of Clement XI., encircled his head
with a kingly crown. Since that time England has extended her dominion
in every quarter of the globe, and Prussia has taken a new rank among
the continental states, while a third power, Russia, also separated
from Rome, has been growing up in her immense deserts. In this manner
have evangelical principles exerted their influence over the countries
that have embraced them, and _righteousness hath exalted the nations_
(Prov. xiv. 34). Let the evangelical nations be well assured that to
Protestantism they are indebted for their greatness. From the moment
they abandon the position that God has given them, and incline again
towards Rome, they will lose their glory and their power. Rome is now
endeavouring to win them over, employing flattery and threats by
turns; she would, like Delilah, lull them to sleep upon her
knees,......but it would be to cut off their locks, that their
adversaries might put out their eyes and bind them with fetters of

Here, too, is a great lesson for that France with which the author
feels himself so intimately connected by the ties of ancestry. Should
France, imitating her different governments, turn again towards the
papacy, it will be, in our belief, the signal of great disasters.
Whoever attaches himself to the papacy will be compromised in its
destruction. France has no prospect of strength or of greatness but by
turning towards the Gospel. May this great truth be rightly
understood by the people and their leaders!

It is true that in our days popery is making a great stir. Although
labouring under an incurable consumption, she would by a hectic flush
and feverish activity persuade others and herself too that she is
still in full vigour. This a theologian in Turin has endeavoured to do
in a work occasioned by this History, and in which we are ready to
acknowledge a certain talent in bringing forward testimonies, even the
most feeble, with a tone of candour to which we are little accustomed,
and in a becoming style, with the exception, however, of the culpable
facility with which the author in his twelfth chapter revives
accusations against the reformers, the falsehood of which has been so
authentically demonstrated and so fully acknowledged.[2]

  [2] La Papauté considérée dans son origine et dans son développement
  au moyen âge, ou réponse aux allégations de M. Merle D'Aubigné dans
  son Histoire de la Réformation au seizième siècle, par l'abbé C.
  Magnin, docteur en théologie. Genève, chez Berthier-Guers, 1840.

As a sequel to his Biography of Luther, M. Audin has recently
published a Life of Calvin, written under the influence of lamentable
prejudices, and in which we can hardly recognise the reformers and the
Reformation. Nevertheless, we do not find in this author the shameful
charges against Calvin to which we have just alluded; he has passed
them over in praiseworthy silence. No man that has any self-respect
can now venture to bring forward these gross and foolish calumnies.

Perhaps on some other occasion we shall add a few words to what we
have already said in our First Book on the origin of popery. They
would here be out of place.

I shall only remark, in a general way, that it is precisely the
_human_ and very rational causes that so clearly explain its origin,
to which the papacy has recourse to prove its _divine_ institution.
Thus christian antiquity declares that the universal episcopacy was
committed to all the bishops, so that the bishops of Jerusalem,
Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus, Rome, Carthage, Lyons, Arles, Milan,
Hippo, Cæsarea, &c., were interested and interfered in all that took
place in the christian world. Rome immediately claims for herself that
duty which was incumbent on all, and reasoning as if no one but
herself were concerned in it, employs it to demonstrate her primacy.

Let us take another example. The christian churches, established in
the large cities of the empire, sent missionaries to the countries
with which they were connected. This was done first of all by
Jerusalem; then by Antioch, Alexandria, and Ephesus; afterwards by
Rome: and Rome forthwith concludes from what she had done after the
others, and to a less extent than the others, that she was entitled to
set herself above the others. These examples will suffice.

Let us only remark further, that Rome possessed alone in the West the
honour that had been shared in the East by Corinth, Philippi,
Thessalonica, Ephesus, Antioch, and in a much higher degree by
Jerusalem;[3] namely, that of having one apostle or many among its
first teachers. Accordingly, the Latin Churches must naturally have
felt a certain respect towards Rome. But the Eastern Christians, who
respected her as the Church of the political metropolis of the empire,
would never acknowledge her ecclesiastical superiority. The famous
General Council of Chalcedon ascribed to Constantinople, formerly the
obscure Byzantium, the same privileges (τἁ ἱσα πρεσβεἱα) as
to Rome, and declared that she ought to be elevated _like her_. And
hence when the papacy was definitively formed in Rome, the East would
not acknowledge a master of whom it had never heard mention; and,
standing on the ancient footing of its catholicity, it abandoned the
West to the power of the new sect which had sprung up in its bosom.
The East even to this day calls herself emphatically catholic and
orthodox; and whenever you ask one of the Eastern Christians, whom
Rome has gained by her numerous concessions, whether he is a catholic?
"No," replies he directly, "I am papistian (a papist)."[4]

  [3] St. Epiphany says, that our Lord committed to James the Elder at
  Jerusalem his throne on earth (τὁν θρὁνον αὑτου ἑπι
  τἡς γἡς): and   speaking of the bishops assembled at Jerusalem,
  he declares that the whole world (παντα κοσμον) ought to
  submit to their   authority. Epiph. Hæres., 70, 10; 78, 7.

  [4] Journal of the Rev. Joseph Wolff. London 1839, p. 225.

If this History has been criticized by the Romish party, it seems also
to have met with others who have regarded it in a purely literary
light. Men for whom I feel much esteem appear to attach greater
importance to a literary or political history of the Reformation, than
to an exposition grounded on its spiritual principles and its interior
springs of action. I can well understand this way of viewing my
subject, but I cannot participate in it. In my opinion, the very
essence of the Reformation is its doctrines and its inward life. Every
work in which these two things do not hold the chief place may be
showy, but it will not be faithfully and candidly historical. It would
be like a philosopher who, in describing a man, should detail with
great accuracy and picturesque beauty all that concerns his body, but
should give only a subordinate place to that divine inhabitant, the

There are no doubt great defects in the feeble work of which I here
present another fragment to the christian public; and I should desire
that it were still more copiously imbued with the spirit of the
Reformation. The better I have succeeded in pointing out whatever
manifests the glory of Christ, the more faithful I shall have been to
history. I willingly adopt as my law those words, which an historian
of the sixteenth century, a man of the sword still more than of the
pen, after writing a portion of the history of that Protestantism in
France which I do not purpose narrating, addresses to those who might
think of completing his task: "I would give them that law which I
acknowledge myself: that, in seeking the glory of this precious
instrument, their principal aim should be that of the arm which has
prepared, employed, and wielded it at His good pleasure. For all
praise given to princes is unseasonable and misplaced, if it has not
for leaf and root that of the living God, to whom alone belong honour
and dominion for ever and ever."[5]

  [5] As the French original does not indicate the source whence this
  quotation is taken, it may not be improper to mention that it will be
  found in the _Histoire Universelle_ of Theodore Agrippa D'Aubigné, 3
  vols folio, Amsterdam 1626. D'Aubigné was then a refugee at Geneva,
  and in the preface to this work, which contains a history of the world
  and more especially of France and French Protestantism during his
  lifetime, he bequeaths to his children the task of completing the
  history he had partially traced out, and prescribes to them (in the
  passage quoted above) the spirit in which it should be performed. He
  little thought that two centuries and a half would pass away before
  his legacy would be accepted and the history of Protestantism
  completed. [_Note by the Translator._]



  FIRST REFORMS. 1521 AND 1522.


  Progress of the Reformation--New Period--Usefulness of
  Luther's Captivity in the Wartburg--Agitation in Germany--
  Melancthon and Luther--Enthusiasm                             Page 1


  Luther in the Wartburg--Object of his Captivity--Anxiety--
  Sickness--Luther's Labours--On Confession--Reply to Latomus--
  His daily Walks                                                    8


  Commencement of the Reform--Marriage of Feldkirchen--The
  Marriage of Monks--Theses--Tract against Monachism--Luther
  no longer a Monk                                                  16


  Archbishop Albert--The Idol of Halle--Luther's Indignation--
  Alarm of the Court--Luther's Letter to the Archbishop--Albert's
  Reply--Joachim of Brandenburg                                     21


  Translation of the Bible--Wants of the Church--Principles of
  the Reformation--Temptations of the Devil--Luther's Works
  condemned by the Sorbonne--Melancthon's Reply--Luther Visits
  Wittemberg                                                        28


  Fresh Reforms--Gabriel Zwilling on the Mass--The University--
  Melancthon's Propositions--The Elector--Monastic Institutions
  attacked--Emancipation of the Monks--Disturbances--Chapter of
  the Augustine Monks--Carlstadt and the Mass--First Celebration
  of the Lord's Supper--Importance of the Mass in the Romish
  System                                                            34


  False Reform--The New Prophets--The Prophets at Wittemberg--
  Melancthon--The Elector--Luther--Carlstadt and the Images--
  Disturbances--Luther is called for--He does not hesitate--
  Dangers                                                           46


  Departure from the Wartburg--New Position--Luther and Primitive
  Catholicism--Meeting at the Black Bear--Luther's Letter to the
  Elector--Return to Wittemberg--Sermon at Wittemberg--Charity--The
  Word--How the Reformation was brought about--Faith in Christ--Its
  Effects--Didymus--Carlstadt--The Prophets--Interview with
  Luther--End of the Struggle                                       56


  Translation of the New Testament--Faith and Scripture--
  Opposition--Importance of this Publication--Necessity for
  a systematic Arrangement--Melancthon's Loci Communes--Original
  Sin--Salvation--Free Will--Effects of the Loci Communes           74


  Opposition--Henry VIII.--Wolsey--The Queen--Fisher--Thomas
  More--Luther's Books burnt--Henry's Attack on Luther--
  Presented to the Pope--Its Effect on Luther--Energy and
  Violence--Luther's Reply--Answer by the Bishop of Rochester--
  Reply of Thomas More--Henry's Proceedings                         83


  General Movement--The Monks--How the Reformation was carried
  on--Unlearned Believer--The Old and the New Doctors--Printing
  and Literature--Bookselling and Colportage                        96


  Luther at Zwickau--The Castle of Freyberg--Worms--Frankfort--
  Universal Movement--Wittemberg the Centre of the Reformation--
  Luther's Sentiments                                              104




  Political Element--Want of Enthusiasm at Rome--Siege of
  Pampeluna--Courage of Ignatius--Transition--Luther and Loyola--
  Visions--Two Principles                                          111


  Victory of the Pope--Death of Leo X.--The Oratory of Divine
  Love--Adrian VI.--Plan of Reform--Opposition                     120


  Diet of Nuremberg--Soliman's Invasion--The Nuncio calls for
  Luther's Death--The Nuremberg Preachers--Promise of Reform--
  Grievances of the Nation--Decree of the Diet--Fulminating
  Letter of the Pope--Luther's Advice                              125


  Persecution--Exertions of Duke George--The Convent at Antwerp--
  Miltenberg--The Three Monks of Antwerp--The Scaffold--The
  Martyrs of Brussels                                              135


  The New Pope, Clement VII.--The Legate Campeggio--Diet of
  Nuremberg--Demand of the Legate--Reply of the Diet--A Secular
  Council projected--Alarm and Exertions of the Pope--Bavaria--
  League of Ratisbon--Severity and Reforms--Political Schism--
  Opposition--Intrigues of Rome--Decree of Burgos--Rupture         142


  Persecution--Gaspard Tauber--A Bookseller--Cruelties in
  Wurtemberg, Salzburg, and Bavaria--Pomerania--Henry of Zuphten   151


  Divisions--The Lord's Supper--Two Extremes--Hoen's Discovery--
  Carlstadt--Luther--Mysticism of the enthusiasts--Carlstadt at
  Orlamund--Luther's Mission--Interview at Table--The Conference
  of Orlamund--Carlstadt banished                                  156


  Progress--Resistance against the Ratisbon Leaguers--Meeting
  between Philip of Hesse and Melancthon--The Landgrave converted
  to the Gospel--The Palatinate--Luneburg--Holstein--The
  Grand-Master at Wittemberg                                       166


  Reforms--All Saints Church--Fall of the Mass--Learning--
  Christian Schools--Learning extended to the Laity--The
  Arts--Moral Religion--Esthetical Religion--Music--Poetry--
  Painting                                                         170


  Political Ferment--Luther against Rebellion--Thomas Munzer--
  Agitation--The Black Forest--The twelve Articles--Luther's
  Opinion--Helfenstein--March of the Peasants--March of the
  Imperial Army--Defeat of the Peasants--Cruelty of the Princes    179


  Munzer at Mulhausen--Appeal to the People--March of the
  Princes--End of the Revolt--Influence of the Reformers--
  Sufferings--Changes--Two Results                                 192


  Death of the Elector Frederick--The Prince and the
  Reformer--Roman-catholic Alliance--Plans of Charles the
  Fifth--Dangers                                                   199


  The Nuns of Nimptsch--Luther's Sentiments--The Convent
  dissolved--Luther's Marriage--Domestic Happiness                 203


  The Landgrave--The Elector--Prussia--Reformation--
  Secularisation--The Archbishop of Mentz--Conference at
  Friedwalt--Diet--Alliance of Torgau--Resistance of the
  Reformers--Alliance of Magdeburg--The Catholics redouble
  their Exertions--The Emperor's Marriage--Threatening
  Letters--The two Parties                                         210





  Unity in Diversity--Primitive Fidelity and Liberty--Formation
  of Romish Unity--Leo Juda and the Monk--Zwingle's Theses--The
  Disputation of January                                           220


  Papal Temptations--Progress of the Reformation--The Idol at
  Stadelhofen--Sacrilege--The Ornaments of the Saints              227


  The Disputation of October--Zwingle on the Church--The
  Church--Commencement of Presbyterianism--Discussion on
  the Mass--Enthusiasts--The Language of Discretion--Victory--
  A Characteristic of the Swiss Reformation--Moderation--
  Oswald Myconius at Zurich--Revival of Literature--Thomas
  Plater of the Valais                                             231


  Diet of Lucerne--Hottinger arrested--His Death--Deputation
  from the Diet to Zurich--Abolition of religious Processions--
  Abolition of Images--The Two Reformations--Appeal to the People  239


  New Opposition--Abduction of Œxlin--The Family of the
  Wirths--The Populace at the Convent of Ittingen--The Diet
  of Zug--The Wirths apprehended and given up to the Diet--
  Their Condemnation                                               246


  Abolition of the Mass--Zwingle's Dream--Celebration of the
  Lord's Supper--Fraternal Charity--Original Sin--The Oligarchs
  opposed to the Reform--Various Attacks                           254


  Berne--The Provost Watteville--First Successes of the
  Reformed Doctrines--Haller at the Convent--Accusation and
  Deliverance--The Monastery of Königsfeldt--Margaret Watteville
  to Zwingle--The Convent opened--Two Champions--Clara May and
  the Provost Watteville                                           259


  Basle--Œcolampadius--He visits Augsburg--Enters a
  Convent--Retires to Sickingen's Castle--Returns to Basle--
  Ulrich Hütten--His Plans--Last Effort of Chivalry--Hütten
  dies at Ufnau                                                    267


  Erasmus and Luther--Vacillations of Erasmus--Luther to
  Erasmus--Erasmus's Treatise against Luther on Free Will--
  Three Opinions--Effect upon Luther--Luther on Free Will--
  The Jansenists and the Reformers--Homage to Erasmus--His
  Anger--The Three Days                                            274


  The Three Adversaries--Source of Truth--Grebel--the fanatics
  and Zwingle--Constitution of the Church--Prison--The Prophet
  Blaurock--Fanaticism at Saint Gall--Schucker and Family--
  Discussion at Zurich--The Limits of the Reformation--
  Punishment of the fanatics                                       286


  Progression and Immobility--Zwingle and Luther--Luther's
  Return to Scholasticism--Respect for Tradition--Occam--
  Contrary Tendency in Zwingle--Beginning of the Controversy--
  Œcolampadius and the Swabian Syngramma--Strasburg mediates    294


  The Tockenburg--An Assembly of the People--Reformation--The
  Grisons--Disputation at Ilantz--Results--Reformation at Zurich   305


  The Oligarchs--Bernese Mandate of 1526 in Favour of the
  Papacy--Discussion at Baden--Regulations of the Discussion--
  Riches and Poverty--Eck and Œcolampadius--Discussion--
  Zwingle's Share in the Discussion--Vaunts of the Romanists--
  Abusive Language of a Monk--Close of the Disputation             310


  Consequences at Basle, Berne, Saint Gall, and other Places--
  Diet at Zurich--The small Cantons--Threats against Berne--
  Foreign Support                                                  318


  THE FRENCH. 1500-1526.


  Universality of Christianity--Enemies of the Reform in
  France--Heresy and Persecution in Dauphiny--A country
  Mansion--The Farel Family--Pilgrimage to the Holy Cross--
  Immorality and Superstition--William desires to become a
  Student                                                          324


  Louis XII. and the Assembly of Tours--Francis and Margaret--
  Learned Men--Lefevre--His Courses at the University--Meeting
  between Lefevre and Farel--Farel's Hesitation and Researches--
  First Awakening--Lefevre's Prophecy--Teaches Justification by
  Faith--Objections--Disorder of the Colleges--Effects on
  Farel--Election--Sanctification of Life                          332


  Farel and the Saints--The University--Farel's Conversion--
  Farel and Luther--Other Disciples--Date of the Reform in
  France--Spontaneous Rise of the different Reforms--Which
  was the first?--Lefevre's Place                                  343


  Character of Francis I.--Commencement of Modern Times--
  Liberty and Obedience--Margaret of Valois--The Court--
  Briçonnet, Count of Montbrun--Lefevre commends him to
  the Bible--Francis I. and "his Children"--The Gospel
  brought to Margaret--Conversion--Adoration--Margaret's
  Character                                                        349


  Enemies of the Reformation--Louisa--Duprat--Concordat of
  Bologna--Opposition of the Parliament and the University--
  The Sorbonne--Beda--His Character--His Tyranny--Berquin,
  the most learned of the Nobility--The Intriguers of the
  Sorbonne--Heresy of the three Magdalens--Luther condemned
  at Paris--Address of the Sorbonne to the King--Lefevre quits
  Paris for Meaux                                                  358


  Briçonnet visits his Diocese--Reform--The Doctors persecuted
  in Paris--Philiberta of Savoy--Correspondence between
  Margaret and Briçonnet                                           367


  Beginning of the Church at Meaux--The Scriptures in French--
  The Artisans and the Bishop--Evangelical Harvest--The Epistles
  of St. Paul sent to the King--Lefevre and Roma--The Monks
  before the Bishop--The Monks before the Parliament--Briçonnet
  gives way                                                        376


  Lefevre and Farel persecuted--Difference between the Lutheran
  and Reformed Churches--Leclerc posts up his Placards--Leclerc
  branded--Berquin's Zeal--Berquin before the Parliament--
  Rescued by Francis I.--Mazurier's Apostacy--Fall and Remorse
  of Pavanne--Metz--Chatelain--Peter Toussaint becomes
  attentive--Leclerc breaks the Images--Leclerc's Condemnation
  and Torture--Martyrdom of Chatelain--Flight                      389


  Farel and his Brothers--Farel expelled from Gap--He preaches
  in the Fields--The Knight Anemond of Coct--The Minorite--
  Anemond quits France--Luther to the Duke of Savoy--Farel
  quits France                                                     408


  Catholicity of the Reformation--Friendship between Farel and
  Œcolampadius--Farel and Erasmus--Altercation--Farel demands
  a Disputation--Theses--Scripture and Faith--Discussion           416


  New Campaign--Farel's Call to the Ministry--An Outpost--
  Lyons--Sebville at Grenoble--Conventicles--Preaching at
  Lyons--Maigret in Prison--Margaret intimidated                   423


  The French at Basle--Encouragement of the Swiss--Fears of
  Discord--Translating and Printing at Basle--Bibles and
  Tracts disseminated in France                                    432


  Progress at Montbeliard--Resistance and Commotion--Toussaint
  leaves Œcolampadius--The Image of Saint Anthony--Death of
  Anemond--Strasburg--Lambert's Letter to Francis I.--Successive
  Defeats                                                          438


  Francis made Prisoner at Pavia--Reaction against the
  Reformation--Margaret's Anxiety for her Brother--Louisa
  consults the Sorbonne--Commission against the Heretics--
  Briçonnet brought to Trial--Appeal to the Parliament--Fall--
  Recantation--Lefevre accused--Condemnation and Flight--Lefevre
  at Strasburg--Louis Berquin imprisoned--Erasmus attacked--
  Schuch at Nancy--His Martyrdom--Struggle with Caroli--Sorrow
  of Pavanne--His Martyrdom--A Christian Hermit--Concourse
  at Notre Dame                                                    446


  A Student of Noyon--Character of young Calvin--Early
  Education--Consecrated to Theology--The Bishop gives him
  the Tonsure--He leaves Noyon on Account of the Plague--The
  two Calvins--Slanders--The Reformation creates new Languages--
  Persecution and Terror--Toussaint put in Prison--The
  Persecution more furious--Death of Du Blet, Moulin, and
  Papillon--God saves the Church--Margaret's Project--Her
  Departure for Spain                                              473





     Progress of the Reformation--New Period--Usefulness of
       Luther's Captivity in the Wartburg--Agitation in
       Germany--Melancthon and Luther--Enthusiasm.


For four years an old doctrine had been again proclaimed in the
Church. The great tidings of _salvation by grace_, published in
earlier times in Asia, Greece, and Italy, by Paul and his brethren,
and after many ages re-discovered in the Bible by a monk of
Wittemberg, had resounded from the plains of Saxony as far as Rome,
Paris, and London; and the lofty mountains of Switzerland had
re-echoed its powerful accents. The springs of truth, of liberty, and
of life, had been re-opened to the human race. Thither had the nations
hastened in crowds, and drunk gladly; but those who had there so
eagerly quenched their thirst, were unchanged in appearance. All
within was new, and yet everything _without_ seemed to have remained
the same.

The constitution of the Church, its ritual, its discipline, had
undergone no change. In Saxony, and even at Wittemberg, wherever the
new ideas had penetrated, the papal worship continued with its usual
pomp; the priest before the altar, offering the host to God, appeared
to effect an ineffable transubstantiation; monks and nuns entered the
convents and took their eternal vows; the pastors of the flocks lived
without families; religious brotherhoods met together; pilgrimages
were undertaken; believers hung their votive offerings on the pillars
of the chapels; and all the ceremonies, even to the most insignificant
observances of the sanctuary, were celebrated as before. There was a
new life in the world, but it had not yet created a new body. The
language of the priest formed the most striking contrast with his
actions. He might be heard thundering from the pulpit against the
mass, as being an idolatrous worship; and then might be seen coming
down to the altar, and scrupulously performing the pomps of this
mystery. In every quarter the new Gospel sounded in the midst of the
ancient rites. The priest himself did not perceive this strange
contradiction; and the people, who had admiringly listened to the bold
language of the new preachers, devoutly practised the old observances,
as if they were never to lay them aside. Everything remained the same,
at the domestic hearth and in social life, as in the house of God.
There was a new faith in the world, but not new works. The sun of
spring had shone forth, but winter still seemed to bind all nature;
there were no flowers, no foliage, nothing outwardly that gave token
of the change of season. But these appearances were deceitful; a
vigorous sap was circulating unperceived below the surface, and was
about to change the aspect of the world.

It is perhaps to this prudent progress that the Reformation is
indebted for its triumphs. Every revolution should be accomplished in
the mind before it is carried out externally. The inconsistency we
have noticed did not even strike Luther at first. It seemed to him
quite natural that the people, who read his works with enthusiasm,
should remain devoutly attached to the abuses which they assailed. One
might almost fancy he had sketched his plan beforehand, and had
resolved to change the mind before changing the forms. But this would
be ascribing to him a wisdom the honour of which belongs to a higher
Intelligence. He carried out a plan that he had not himself conceived.
At a later period he could recognise and discern these things: but he
did not imagine them, and did not arrange them so. God led the way: it
was Luther's duty to follow.

[Sidenote: A NEW ERA.]

If Luther had begun by an external reform; if, as soon as he had
spoken, he had attempted to abolish monastic vows, the mass,
confession, and forms of worship, most assuredly he would have met
with a vigorous resistance. Man requires time to accommodate himself
to great revolutions. But Luther was by no means the violent,
imprudent, daring innovator that some historians have described.[6]
The people, seeing no change in their customary devotions, fearlessly
abandoned themselves to their new teacher. They were even surprised at
the attacks directed against a man who still left them their mass,
their beads, their confessor; and attributed them to the low jealousy
of obscure rivals, or to the cruel injustice of powerful adversaries.
Yet Luther's opinions agitated their minds, renewed their hearts, and
so undermined the ancient edifice that it soon fell of itself, without
human agency. Ideas do not act instantaneously; they make their way in
silence, like the waters that, filtering behind the rocks of the Alps,
loosen them from the mountain on which they rest; suddenly the work
done in secret reveals itself, and a single day is sufficient to lay
bare the agency of many years, perhaps of many centuries.

  [6] Hume and others.

A new era was beginning for the Reformation. Already truth was
restored in its doctrine; now the doctrine is about to restore truth
in all the forms of the Church and of society. The agitation is too
great for men's minds to remain fixed and immovable at the point they
have attained. Upon those dogmas, now so mightily shaken, were based
customs that were already tottering to their fall, and which must
disappear with them. There is too much courage and life in the new
generation for it to continue silent before error. Sacraments, public
worship, hierarchy, vows, constitution, domestic and public life,--all
are about to be modified. The ship, slowly and laboriously
constructed, is about to quit the docks and to be launched on the open
sea. We shall have to follow its progress through many shoals.

       *       *       *       *       *


The captivity of the Wartburg separates these two periods. Providence,
which was making ready to give so great an impulse to the
Reformation, had prepared its progress by leading into profound
retirement the instrument destined to effect it. The work seemed for a
time buried with the workman; but the seed must be laid in the earth,
that it may bring forth fruit; and from this prison, which seemed to
be the reformer's tomb, the Reformation was destined to go forth to
new conquests, and to spread erelong over the whole world.

Hitherto the Reformation had been centred in the person of Luther. His
appearance before the Diet of Worms was doubtless the sublimest day of
his life. His character appeared at that time almost spotless; and it
is this which has given rise to the observation, that if God, who
concealed the reformer for ten months within the walls of the
Wartburg, had that instant removed him for ever from the eyes of the
world, his end would have been as an apotheosis. But God designs no
apotheosis for his servant; and Luther was preserved to the Church, in
order to teach, by his very faults, that the faith of Christians
should be based on the Word of God alone. He was transported suddenly
far from the stage on which the great revolution of the sixteenth
century was taking place; the truth, that for four years he had so
powerfully proclaimed, continued in his absence to act upon
Christendom: and the work, of which he was but the feeble instrument,
henceforward bore the seal not of man, but of God himself.


Germany was moved at Luther's captivity. The most contradictory
rumours were circulated in the provinces. The reformer's absence
excited men's minds more than his presence could have done. In one
place it was said that friends from France had placed him in safety on
the other bank of the Rhine;[7] in another, that he had fallen by the
dagger of the assassin. Even in the smallest villages inquiries were
made about Luther; travellers were stopped and questioned; and groups
collected in the public places. At times some unknown orator would
recount in a spirit-stirring narrative how the doctor had been carried
off; he described the cruel horsemen tying their prisoner's hands,
spurring their horses, and dragging him after them on foot, until his
strength was exhausted, stopping their ears to his cries, and forcing
the blood from his limbs.[8] "Luther's body," added he, "has been seen
pierced through and through."[9] As they heard this, the listeners
uttered cries of sorrow. "Alas!" said they, "we shall never see or
hear that noble-minded man again, whose voice stirred our very
hearts!" Luther's friends trembled with indignation, and swore to
avenge his death. Women, children, men of peace, and the aged, beheld
with affright the prospect of new struggles. Nothing could equal the
alarm of the partisans of Rome. The priests and monks, who at first
had not been able to conceal their exultation, thinking themselves
secure of victory because one man was dead, and who had raised their
heads with an insulting air of triumph, would now have fled far from
the threatening anger of the people.[10] These men, who, while Luther
was free, had given the reins to their fury, trembled now that he was
a captive.[11] Aleander, especially, was astounded. "The only
remaining way of saving ourselves," wrote a Roman-catholic to the
Archbishop of Mentz, "is to light torches and hunt for Luther through
the whole world, to restore him to the nation that is calling for
him."[12] One might have said that the pale ghost of the reformer,
dragging his chains, was spreading terror around, and calling for
vengeance. "Luther's death," exclaimed some, "will cause torrents of
blood to be shed."[13]

  [7] Hic.....invalescit opinio, me esse ab amicis captum e Francia
  missis. L. Epp. ii. 5.

  [8] Et inter festinantes cursu equites ipsum pedestrem raptim tractum
  fuisse ut sanguis e digitis erumperet. Cochlœus, p. 39.

  [9] Fuit qui testatus sit, visum a se Lutheri cadaver
  transfossum......Pallavicini, Hist. Conc. Trid. i. 122.

  [10] Molem vulgi imminentis ferre non possunt. L. Epp. ii. 13.

  [11] Qui me libero insanierunt, nunc me captivo ita formidant ut
  incipiant mitigare. Ibid.

  [12] Nos vitam vix redempturos, nisi accensis candelis undique eum
  requiramus. Ibid.

  [13] Gerbelii Ep. in MS. Heckelianis. Lindner, Leb. Luth. p. 244.

[Sidenote: ENTHUSIASM.]

In no place was there such commotion as in Worms itself; resolute
murmurs were heard among both people and princes. Ulrich Hütten and
Hermann Busch filled the country with their plaintive strains and
songs of battle. Charles V. and the nuncios were publicly accused. The
nation took up the cause of the poor monk, who, by the strength of his
faith, had become their leader.


At Wittemberg, his colleagues and friends, and especially Melancthon,
were at first sunk in the deepest affliction. Luther had imparted to
this young scholar the treasures of that holy theology which had from
that time wholly occupied his mind. Luther had given substance and
life to that purely intellectual cultivation which Melancthon had
brought to Wittemberg. The depth of the reformer's teaching had struck
the youthful Hellenist, and the doctor's courage in maintaining the
rights of the everlasting Gospel against all human authority had
filled him with enthusiasm. He had become a partner in his labours; he
had taken up the pen, and with that purity of style which he derived
from the study of the ancients, he had successively, and with a hand
of power, lowered the authority of the fathers and councils before the
sovereign Word of God.

Melancthon showed the same decision in his learning that Luther
displayed in his actions. Never were there two men of greater
diversity, and at the same time of greater unity. "Scripture," said
Melancthon, "imparts to the soul a holy and marvellous delight: it is
the heavenly ambrosia."[14]--"The Word of God," exclaimed Luther, "is
a sword, a war, a destruction; it falls upon the children of Ephraim
like a lioness in the forest." Thus, one saw in the Scriptures a power
to console, and the other a violent opposition against the corruptions
of the world. But both esteemed it the greatest thing on earth; and
hence they agreed in perfect harmony. "Melancthon," said Luther, "is a
wonder; all men confess it now. He is the most formidable enemy of
Satan and the schoolmen, for he knows their foolishness, and Christ
the rock. The little Grecian surpasses me even in divinity; he will be
as serviceable to you as many Luthers." And he added that he was ready
to abandon any opinion of which Philip did not approve. On his part,
too, Melancthon, filled with admiration at Luther's knowledge of
Scripture, set him far above the fathers of the Church. He would make
excuses for the jests with which Luther was reproached, and compared
him to an earthen vessel that contains a precious treasure beneath its
coarse exterior. "I should be very unwilling to reprove him
inconsiderately for this matter," said Melancthon.[15]

  [14] Mirabilis in iis voluptas, immo ambrosia quædam cælestis. Corp.
  Ref. i. 128.

  [15] Spiritum Martini nolim temere in hac causa interpellare. Ibid. i.


But now, these two hearts, so closely united, were separated. These
two valiant soldiers can no longer march side by side to the
deliverance of the Church. Luther has disappeared; perhaps he is lost
for ever. The consternation at Wittemberg was extreme: like that of an
army, with gloomy and dejected looks, before the blood-stained body of
their general who was leading them on to victory.

Suddenly more comforting news arrived. "Our beloved father lives,"[16]
exclaimed Philip in the joy of his soul; "take courage and be firm."
But it was not long before their dejection returned. Luther was alive,
but in prison. The edict of Worms, with it terrible proscriptions,[17]
was circulated by thousands throughout the empire, and even among the
mountains of the Tyrol.[18] Would not the Reformation be crushed by the
iron hand that was weighing upon it? Melancthon's gentle spirit was
overwhelmed with sorrow.

  [16] Pater noster carissimus vivit. Corp. Ref. i. 389.

  [17] Dicitur parari proscriptio horrenda. Ibid.

  [18] Dicuntur signatæ chartæ proscriptionis bis mille missæ quoque ad
  Insbruck. Ibid.

But the influence of a mightier hand was felt above the hand of man;
God himself deprived the formidable edict of all its strength. The
German princes, who had always sought to diminish the power of Rome in
the empire, trembled at the alliance between the emperor and the pope,
and feared that it would terminate in the destruction of their
liberty. Accordingly, while Charles in his journey through the Low
Countries greeted with an ironical smile the burning piles which
flatterers and fanatics kindled on the public places with Luther's
works, these very writings were read in Germany with a continually
increasing eagerness, and numerous pamphlets in favour of the reform
were daily inflicting some new blow on the papacy. The nuncios were
distracted at seeing this edict, the fruit of so many intrigues,
producing so little effect. "The ink with which Charles V. signed his
arrest," said they bitterly, "is scarcely dry, and yet the imperial
decree is everywhere torn in pieces." The people were becoming more
and more attached to the admirable man who, heedless of the thunders
of Charles and of the pope, had confessed his faith with the courage
of a martyr. "He offered to retract," said they, "if he were refuted,
and no one dared undertake the task. Does not this prove the truth of
his doctrines?" Thus the first movement of alarm was succeeded in
Wittemberg and the whole empire by a movement of enthusiasm. Even the
Archbishop of Mentz, witnessing this outburst of popular sympathy,
dared not give the Cordeliers permission to preach against the
reformer. The university, that seemed on the point of being crushed,
raised its head. The new doctrines were too firmly established for
them to be shaken by Luther's absence; and the halls of the academy
could hardly contain the crowd of hearers.[19]

  [19] Scholastici quorum supra millia ibi tunc fuerunt. Spalatini
  Annales, 1521, October.


     Luther in the Wartburg--Object of his
       Captivity--Anxiety--Sickness--Luther's Labours--On
       Confession--Reply to Latomus--His daily Walks.


Meantime the Knight George, for by that name Luther was called in the
Wartburg, lived solitary and unknown. "If you were to see me," wrote
he to Melancthon, "you would take me for a soldier, and even _you_
would hardly recognise me."[20] Luther at first indulged in repose,
enjoying a leisure which had not hitherto been allowed him. He
wandered freely through the fortress, but could not go beyond the
walls.[21] All his wishes were attended to, and he had never been
better treated.[22] A crowd of thoughts filled his soul; but none had
power to trouble him. By turns he looked down upon the forests that
surrounded him, and raised his eyes towards heaven. "A strange
prisoner am I," exclaimed he, "captive with and against my will!"[23]

  [20] Equitem videres ac ipse vix agnosceres. L. Epp. ii. 11.

  [21] Nunc sum hic otiosus, sicut inter captivos liber. L. Epp. ii. 3,
  12th May.

  [22] Quanquam et hilariter et libenter omnia mihi ministret. Ibid. 13,
  15th August.

  [23] Ego mirabilis captivus qui et volens et nolens hic sedeo. Ibid.
  4, 12th May.

"Pray for me," wrote he to Spalatin; "your prayers are the only thing
I need. I do not grieve for any thing that may be said of me in the
world. At last I am at rest."[24] This letter, as well as many others
of the same period, is dated from the island of Patmos. Luther
compared the Wartburg to that celebrated island to which the wrath of
Domitian in former times had banished the Apostle John.

  [24] Tu fac ut pro me ores: hac una re opus mihi est. Quicquid de me
  fit in publico, nihil mœror; ego in quiete tandem sedeo. Ibid. 10th
  June 1521.

In the midst of the dark forests of Thuringia the reformer reposed
from the violent struggles that had agitated his soul. There he
studied christian truth, not for the purpose of contending, but as a
means of regeneration and life. The beginning of the Reformation was
of necessity polemical; new times required new labours. After cutting
down the thorns and the thickets, it was requisite to sow the Word of
God peaceably in the heart. If Luther had been incessantly called upon
to fight fresh battles, he would not have accomplished a durable work
in the Church. Thus by his captivity he escaped a danger which might
possibly have ruined the Reformation,--that of always attacking and
destroying without ever defending or building up.

[Sidenote: PEACE--ANGUISH.]

This humble retreat had a still more precious result. Uplifted by his
countrymen, as on a shield, he was on the verge of the abyss; the
least giddiness might have plunged him into it headlong. Some of the
first promoters of the Reformation both in Germany and Switzerland,
ran upon the shoal of spiritual pride and fanaticism. Luther was a man
very subject to the infirmities of our nature, and he was unable to
escape altogether from these dangers. The hand of God, however,
delivered him for a time, by suddenly removing him from the sphere of
intoxicating ovations, and throwing him into an unknown retreat. There
his soul was wrapt in pious meditation at God's footstool; it was
again tempered in the waters of adversity; its sufferings and
humiliation compelled him to walk, for a time at least, with the
humble; and the principles of a christian life were thenceforward
evolved in his soul with greater energy and freedom.

Luther's calmness was not of long duration. Seated in loneliness on
the ramparts of the Wartburg, he remained whole days lost in deep
meditation. At one time the Church appeared before him, displaying all
her wretchedness;[25] at another, directing his eyes hopefully towards
heaven, he could exclaim: "Wherefore, O Lord, hast thou made all men
in vain?" (Psalm lxxxix. 48.) And then, giving way to despair, he
cried with dejection: "Alas! there is no one in this latter day of his
anger, to stand like a wall before the Lord, and save Israel!"

  [25] Ego hic sedens tota die faciem Ecclesiæ ante me constituo. L.
  Epp. ii. 1.

Then recurring to his own destiny, he feared lest he should be accused
of deserting the field of battle;[26] and this supposition weighed
down his soul. "I would rather," said he, "be stretched on coals of
fire, than lie here half-dead."[27]

  [26] Verebar ego ne aciem deserere viderer. Ibid.

  [27] Mallem inter carbones vivos ardere, quam solus semivivus, atque
  utinam non mortuus putere. Ibid. 10.

Transporting himself in imagination to Worms and Wittemberg, into the
midst of his adversaries, he regretted having yielded to the advice of
his friends, that he had quitted the world, and that he had not
presented his bosom to the fury of men.[28] "Alas!" said he, "there is
nothing I desire more than to appear before my cruelest enemies."[29]

  [28] Cervicem esse objectandam publico furori. Ibid. 89.

  [29] Nihil magis opto, quam furoribus adversariorum occurrere, objecto
  jugulo. Ibid. 1.

[Sidenote: HOPE--SICKNESS.]

Gentler thoughts, however, brought a truce to such anxiety. Everything
was not storm and tempest for Luther; from time to time his agitated
mind found tranquillity and comfort. Next to the certainty of God's
help, one thing consoled him in his sorrows; it was the recollection
of Melancthon. "If I perish," wrote he, "the Gospel will lose
nothing:[30] you will succeed me as Elisha did Elijah, with a double
portion of my spirit." But calling to mind Philip's timidity, he
exclaimed with energy: "Minister of the Word! keep the walls and
towers of Jerusalem, until you are struck down by the enemy. As yet we
stand alone upon the field of battle; after me, they will aim their
blows at you."[31]

  [30] Etiam si peream, nihil peribit Evangelio. L. Epp. ii. 10.

  [31] Nos soli adhuc stamus in acie: te quærent post me. Ibid. 2.

The thought of the final attack Rome was about to make on the infant
Church, renewed his anxieties. The poor monk, solitary and a prisoner,
had many a combat to fight alone. But a hope of deliverance speedily
dawned upon him. It appeared to him that the assaults of the Papacy
would raise the whole German nation, and that the victorious soldiers
of the Gospel would surround the Wartburg and restore the prisoner to
liberty. "If the pope," said he, "lays his hand on all those who are
on my side, there will be a disturbance in Germany; the greater his
haste to crush us, the sooner will come the end of the pope and his
followers. And I......I shall be restored to you.[32] God is awakening
the hearts of many, and stirring up the nations. Only let our enemies
clasp our affair in their arms and try to stifle it; it will gather
strength under their pressure, and come forth ten times more

  [32] Quo citius id tentaverit, hoc citius et ipse et sui peribunt, et
  ego revertar. Ibid. 10.


But sickness brought him down from those high places on which his
courage and his faith had placed him. He had already suffered much at
Worms; his disease increased in solitude.[33] He could not endure the
food at the Wartburg, which was less coarse than that of his convent;
they were compelled to give him the meagre diet to which he had been
accustomed. He passed whole nights without sleep. Anxieties of mind
were superadded to the pains of the body. No great work is ever
accomplished without suffering and martyrdom. Luther, alone upon his
rock, endured in his strong frame a passion that the emancipation of
the human race rendered necessary. "Seated by night in my chamber I
uttered groans, like a woman in her travail; torn, wounded, and
bleeding"[34]......then breaking off his complaints, touched with the
thought that his sufferings are a blessing from God, he exclaimed with
love: "Thanks be to Thee, O Christ, that thou wilt not leave me
without the precious marks of thy cross!"[35] But soon, growing angry
with himself, he cried out: "Madman and hard-hearted that I am! Woe is
me! I pray seldom, I seldom wrestle with the Lord, I groan not for the
Church of God![36] Instead of being fervent in spirit, my passions
take fire; I live in idleness, in sleep, and indolence!" Then, not
knowing to what he should attribute this state, and accustomed to
expect everything from the affection of his brethren, he exclaimed in
the desolation of his heart: "O my friends! do you then forget to pray
for me, that God is thus far from me?"

  [33] Auctum est malum, quo Wormatiæ laborabam. Ibid. 17.

  [34] Sedeo dolens, sicut puerpera, lacer et saucius et cruentus. L.
  Epp. ii. 50, 9th Sept.

  [35] Gratias Christo, qui me sine reliquiis sanctæ crucis non
  derelinquit. Ibid.

  [36] Nihil gemens pro ecclesia Dei. Ibid. 22, 13th July.

Those who were around him, as well as his friends at Wittemberg and at
the elector's court, were uneasy and alarmed at this state of
suffering. They feared lest they should see the life they had rescued
from the flames of the pope and the sword of Charles V. decline sadly
and expire. Was the Wartburg destined to be Luther's tomb? "I fear,"
said Melancthon, "that the grief he feels for the Church will cause
his death. A fire has been kindled by him in Israel; if he dies, what
hope will remain for us? Would to God, that at the cost of my own
wretched life, I could retain in the world that soul which is its
fairest ornament![37]--Oh! what a man!" exclaimed he, as if already
standing on the side of his grave; "we never appreciated him rightly!"

  [37] Utinam hac vili anima mea ipsius vitam emere queam. Corp. Ref. i.
  415, 6th July.


What Luther denominated the shameful indolence of his prison was a
task that almost exceeded the strength of one man. "I am here all the
day," wrote he on the 14th of May, "in idleness and pleasures
(alluding doubtless to the better diet that was provided him at
first). I am reading the Bible in Hebrew and Greek; I am going to
write a treatise in German on Auricular Confession; I shall continue
the translation of the Psalms, and compose a volume of sermons, so
soon as I have received what I want from Wittemberg. I am writing
without intermission."[38] And yet this was but a part of his labours.

  [38] Sine intermissione scribo. L. Epp. ii. 6, 16.

His enemies thought that, if he were not dead, at least they should
hear no more of him; but their joy was not of long duration, and there
could be no doubt that he was alive. A multitude of writings, composed
in the Wartburg, succeeded each other rapidly, and the beloved voice
of the reformer was everywhere hailed with enthusiasm. Luther
published simultaneously works calculated to edify the Church, and
polemical tracts which troubled the too eager exultation of his
enemies. For nearly a whole year, he by turns instructed, exhorted,
reproved, and thundered from his mountain-retreat; and his amazed
adversaries asked one another if there was not something supernatural,
some mystery, in this prodigious activity. "He could never have taken
any rest," says Cochlœus.[39]

  [39] Cum quiescere non posset. Cochl. Act. Luth. p. 39.

But there was no other mystery than the imprudence of the partisans of
Rome. They hastened to take advantage of the edict of Worms, to strike
a decisive blow at the Reformation; and Luther, condemned, under the
ban of the empire, and a prisoner in the Wartburg, undertook to defend
the sound doctrine, as if he were still victorious and at liberty. It
was especially at the tribunal of penance that the priests endeavoured
to rivet the chains of their docile parishioners; and accordingly the
confessional was the object of Luther's first attack. "They bring
forward," said he, "these words of St. James: _Confess your faults to
one another_. Singular confessor! his name is _One Another_. Whence
it would follow that the confessors should also confess themselves to
their penitents; that each Christian should be, in his turn, pope,
bishop, priest; and that the pope himself should confess to all!"[40]

  [40] Und der Pabst müsse ihm beichten. L. Opp. xvii. 701.


Luther had scarcely finished this tract when he began another. A
theologian of Louvain, by name Latomus, already notorious by his
opposition to Reuchlin and Erasmus, had attacked the reformer's
opinions. In twelve days Luther's refutation was ready, and it is a
masterpiece. He clears himself of the reproach that he was wanting in
moderation. "The moderation of the day," said he, "is to bend the knee
before sacrilegious pontiffs, impious sophists, and to say to them:
Gracious lord! Excellent master! Then, when you have so done, you may
put any one you please to death; you may even convulse the world, and
you will be none the less a man of moderation......Away with such
moderation! I would rather be frank and deceive no one. The shell may
be hard, but the kernel is soft and tender."[41]

  [41] Cortex meus esse potest durior, sed nucleus meus mollis et dulcis
  est. Ibid. Lat. ii. 213.

As Luther's health continued feeble, he thought of leaving the place
of his confinement. But how could he manage it? To appear in public
would be exposing his life. The back of the mountain on which the
fortress stood was crossed by numerous footways, bordered by tufts of
strawberries. The heavy gate of the castle opened, and the prisoner
ventured, not without fear, to gather some of the fruit.[42] By
degrees he grew bolder, and in his knight's garb began to wander
through the surrounding country, attended by one of the guards of the
castle, a worthy but somewhat churlish man. One day, having entered an
inn, Luther threw aside his sword, which encumbered him, and hastily
took up some books that lay there. His nature got the better of his
prudence. His guardian trembled for fear this movement, so
extraordinary in a soldier, should excite suspicions that the doctor
was not really a knight. At another time the two comrades alighted at
the convent of Reinhardsbrunn, where Luther had slept a few months
before on his road to Worms.[43] Suddenly one of the lay-brothers
uttered a cry of surprise. Luther was recognised. His attendant
perceived it, and dragged him hastily away; and already they were
galloping far from the cloister before the astonished brother had
recovered from his amazement.

  [42] Zu zeiten gehet er in die Erdbeer am Schlossberg. Mathes. p. 33.

  [43] Vol. II. p. 226.

[Sidenote: A HUNTING-PARTY.]

The military life of the doctor had at intervals something about it
truly theological. One day the nets were made ready--the gates of the
fortress opened--the long-eared dogs rushed forth. Luther desired to
taste the pleasures of the chase. The huntsmen soon grew animated; the
dogs sprang forward, driving the game from the covers. In the midst of
all this uproar, the Knight George stands motionless: his mind is
occupied with serious thoughts; the objects around him fill his heart
with sorrow.[44] "Is not this," says he, "the image of the devil
setting on his dogs--that is, the bishops, those representatives of
Antichrist, and urging them in pursuit of poor souls?"[45] A young
hare was taken: delighted at the prospect of liberating it, he wrapped
it carefully in his cloak, and set it down in the midst of a thicket;
but hardly had he taken a few steps before the dogs scented the animal
and killed it. Luther, attracted by the noise, uttered a groan of
sorrow, and exclaimed: "O pope! and thou, too, Satan! it is thus ye
endeavour to destroy even those souls that have been saved from

  [44] Theologisabar etiam ibi inter retia et canes......tantum
  misericordiæ et doloris miscuit mysterium. L. Epp. ii. 43.

  [45] Quid enim ista imago, nisi Diabolum significat per insidias suas
  et impios magistros canes suos......Ibid.

  [46] Sic sævit Papa et Satan ut servatas etiam animas perdant. Ibid.



     Commencement of the Reform--Marriage of Feldkirchen--The
       Marriage of Monks--Theses--Tract against Monachism--Luther
       no longer a Monk.

While the doctor of Wittemberg, thus dead to the world, was seeking
relaxation in these sports in the neighbourhood of the Wartburg, the
work was going on as if of itself: the Reform was beginning; it was no
longer restricted to doctrine, it entered deeply into men's actions.
Bernard Feldkirchen, pastor of Kemberg, the first under Luther's
directions to attack the errors of Rome,[47] was also the first to
throw off the yoke of its institutions. He married.

  [47] Vol. I. p. 219.

The Germans are fond of social life and domestic joys; and hence, of
all the papal ordinances, compulsory celibacy was that which produced
the saddest consequences. This law, which had been first imposed on
the heads of the clergy, had prevented the ecclesiastical fiefs from
becoming hereditary. But when extended by Gregory VII. to the inferior
clergy, it was attended with the most deplorable results. Many priests
had evaded the obligations imposed upon them by the most scandalous
disorders, and had drawn contempt and hatred on the whole body; while
those who had submitted to Hildebrand's law were inwardly exasperated
against the Church, because, while conferring on its superior
dignitaries so much power, wealth, and earthly enjoyment, it bound its
humbler ministers, who were its most useful supporters, to a
self-denial so contrary to the Gospel.


"Neither popes nor councils," said Feldkirchen and another pastor
named Seidler, who had followed his example, "can impose any
commandment on the Church that endangers body and soul. The obligation
of keeping God's law compels me to violate the traditions of
men."[48] The re-establishment of marriage in the sixteenth century
was a homage paid to the moral law. The ecclesiastical authority
became alarmed, and immediately fulminated its decrees against these
two priests. Seidler, who was in the territories of Duke George, was
given up to his superiors, and died in prison. But the Elector
Frederick refused to surrender Feldkirchen to the Archbishop of
Magdeburg. "His highness," said Spalatin, "declines to act the part of
a constable." Feldkirchen therefore continued pastor of his flock,
although a husband and a father.

  [48] Coegit me ergo ut humanas traditiones violarem, necessitas
  servandi juris divini. Corp. Ref. i. 441.

The first emotion of the reformer when he heard of this was to give
way to exultation: "I admire this new bridegroom of Kemberg," said he,
"who fears nothing, and hastens forward in the midst of the uproar."
Luther was of opinion that priests ought to marry. But this question
led to another,--the marriage of monks; and here Luther had to support
one of those internal struggles of which his whole life was composed;
for every reform must first be won by a spiritual struggle. Melancthon
and Carlstadt, the one a layman, the other a priest, thought that the
liberty of contracting the bonds of wedlock should be as free for the
monks as for the priests. The monk Luther did not think so at first.
One day the governor of the Wartburg having brought him Carlstadt's
theses on celibacy: "Gracious God!" exclaimed he, "our Wittembergers
then will give wives even to the monks!"......This thought surprised
and confounded him; his heart was troubled. He rejected for himself
the liberty that he claimed for others. "Ah!" said he indignantly,
"they will not force _me_ at least to take a wife."[49] This
expression is doubtless unknown to those who assert that Luther
preached the Reformation that he might marry. Inquiring for truth, not
with passion, but with uprightness of purpose, he maintained what
seemed to him true, although contrary to the whole of his system. He
walked in a mixture of error and truth, until error had fallen and
truth remained alone.

  [49] At mihi non obtrudent uxorem. L. Epp. ii. 40.


There was, indeed, a great difference between the two questions. The
marriage of priests was not the destruction of the priesthood; on the
contrary, this of itself might restore to the secular clergy the
respect of the people; but the marriage of monks was the downfall of
monachism. It became a question, therefore, whether it was desirable
to disband and break up that powerful army which the popes had under
their orders. "Priests," wrote Luther to Melancthon, "are of divine
appointment, and consequently are free as regards human commandments.
But of their own free will the monks adopted celibacy; they are not
therefore at liberty to withdraw from the yoke they voluntarily
imposed on themselves."[50]

  [50] Me enim vehementer movet, quod sacerdotum ordo, a Deo institutus,
  est liber, non autem monachorum qui sua sponte statum eligerunt. L.
  Epp. ii. 34.

The reformer was destined to advance, and carry by a fresh struggle
this new position of the enemy. Already had he trodden under foot a
host of Roman abuses, and even Rome herself; but monachism still
remained standing. Monachism, that had once carried life into so many
deserts, and which, passing through so many centuries, was now filling
the cloisters with sloth and often with licentiousness, seemed to have
embodied itself and gone to defend its rights in that castle of
Thuringia, where the question of its life and death was discussed in
the conscience of one man. Luther struggled with it: at one moment he
was on the point of gaining the victory, at another he was nearly
overcome. At length, unable longer to maintain the contest, he flung
himself in prayer at the feet of Jesus Christ, exclaiming: "Teach us,
deliver us, establish us, by Thy mercy, in the liberty that belongs to
us; for of a surety we are thy people!"[51]

  [51] Dominus Jesus erudiat et liberet nos, per misericordiam suam, in
  libertatem nostram. To Melancthon, on Celibacy, 6th August 1521. Ibid.

[Sidenote: VICTORY--THESES.]

He had not long to wait for deliverance; an important revolution was
effected in the reformer's mind; and again it was the doctrine of
justification by faith that gave him victory. That arm which had
overthrown the indulgences, the practices of Rome, and the pope
himself, also wrought the downfall of the monks in Luther's mind and
throughout Christendom. Luther saw that monachism was in violent
opposition to the doctrine of salvation by grace, and that a monastic
life was founded entirely on the pretended merits of man. Feeling
convinced, from that hour, that Christ's glory was interested in this
question, he heard a voice incessantly repeating in his conscience:
"Monachism must fall!"--"So long as the doctrine of justification by
faith remains pure and undefiled in the Church, no one can become a
monk," said he.[52] This conviction daily grew stronger in his heart,
and about the beginning of September he sent "to the bishops and
deacons of the Church of Wittemberg," the following theses, which were
his declaration of war against a monastic life:--

  [52] L. Opp. (W.) xxii. 1466.

"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom. xiv. 23).

"Whosoever maketh a vow of virginity, chastity, of service to God
without faith, maketh an impious and idolatrous vow,--a vow to the
devil himself.

"To make such vows is worse than the priests of Cybele or the vestals
of the pagans; for the monks make their vows in the thought of being
justified and saved by these vows; and what ought to be ascribed
solely to the mercy of God, is thus attributed to meritorious works.

"We must utterly overthrow such convents, as being the abodes of the

"There is but one order that is holy and makes man holy, and that is
Christianity or faith.[53]

"For convents to be useful they should be converted into schools,
where children should be brought up to man's estate; instead of which
they are houses where adult men become children, and remain so for

  [53] Es ist nicht mehr denn eine einige Geistlichkeit, die da heilig
  ist, und heilig macht......L. Opp. xvii. 718.


We see that Luther would still have tolerated convents as places of
education; but erelong his attacks against these establishments
became more violent. The immorality and shameful practices that
prevailed in the cloisters recurred forcibly to his thoughts. "I am
resolved," wrote he to Spalatin on the 11th of November, "to deliver
the young from the hellish fires of celibacy."[54] He now wrote a book
against monastic vows, which he dedicated to his father:--

  [54] Adolescentes liberare ex isto inferno cœlibatus. L. Opp. ii.

"Do you desire," said he in his dedication to the old man at
Mansfeldt, "do you still desire to rescue me from a monastic life? You
have the right, for you are still my father, and I am still your son.
But that is no longer necessary: God has been beforehand with you, and
has Himself delivered me by his power. What matters it whether I wear
or lay aside the tonsure and the cowl? Is it the cowl--is it the
tonsure--that makes the monk? _All things are yours_, says St. Paul,
_and you are Christ's_. I do not belong to the cowl, but the cowl to
me. I am a monk, and yet not a monk; I am a new creature, not of the
pope, but of Jesus Christ. Christ, alone and without any go-between,
is my bishop, my abbot, my prior, my lord, my father, and my master;
and I know no other. What matters it to me if the pope should condemn
me and put me to death? He cannot call me from the grave and kill me a
second time......The great day is drawing near in which the kingdom of
abominations shall be overthrown. Would to God that it were worth
while for the pope to put us all to death! Our blood would cry out to
heaven against him, and thus his condemnation would be hastened, and
his end be near."[55]

  [55] Dass unser Blut möcht schreien, und dringen sein Gericht, dass
  sein bald ein Ende würde. L. Epp. ii. 105.

The transformation had already been effected in Luther himself; he was
no longer a monk. It was not outward circumstances, or earthly
passions, or carnal precipitation that had wrought this change. There
had been a struggle: at first Luther had taken the side of monachism;
but truth also had gone down into the lists, and monachism had fallen
before it. The victories that passion gains are ephemeral; those of
truth are lasting and decisive.


     Archbishop Albert--The Idol of Halle--Luther's
       Indignation--Alarm of the Court--Luther's Letter to the
       Archbishop--Albert's Reply--Joachim of Brandenburg.


While Luther was thus preparing the way for one of the greatest
revolutions that were destined to be effected in the Church, and the
Reformation was beginning to enter powerfully into the lives of
Christians, the Romish partisans, blind as those generally are who
have long been in possession of power, imagined that, because Luther
was in the Wartburg, the Reform was dead and for ever extinct; and
fancied they should be able quietly to resume their ancient practices,
that had been for a moment disturbed by the monk of Wittemberg.
Albert, elector-archbishop of Mentz, was one of those weak men who,
all things being equal, decide for the truth; but who, as soon as
their interest is put in the balance, are ready to take part with
error. His most important aim was to have a court as brilliant as that
of any prince in Germany, his equipages as rich, and his table as well
furnished: the traffic in indulgences served admirably to obtain this
result. Accordingly, the decree against Luther had scarcely issued
from the imperial chancery, before Albert, who was then residing with
his court at Halle, summoned the vendors of indulgences, who were
still alarmed at the words of the reformer, and endeavoured to
encourage them by such language as this: "Fear nothing, we have
silenced him; let us begin to shear the flock in peace; the monk is a
prisoner; he is confined by bolts and bars; this time he will be very
clever if he comes again to disturb us in our affairs." The market was
reopened, the merchandise was displayed for sale, and again the
churches of Halle re-echoed with the speeches of the mountebanks.

But Luther was still alive, and his voice was powerful enough to pass
beyond the walls and gratings behind which he had been hidden.
Nothing could have roused his indignation to a higher pitch. What! the
most violent battles have been fought; he has confronted every danger;
the truth remained victorious, and yet they dare trample it under
foot, as if it had been vanquished!......That voice shall again be
heard, which has once already put an end to this criminal traffic. "I
shall enjoy no rest," wrote he to Spalatin, "until I have attacked the
idol of Mentz with its brothel at Halle."[56]

  [56] Non continebor quin idolum Moguntinum invadam, cum suo lupanari
  Hallensi. L. Epp. ii. 59, 7th October.

[Sidenote: THE IDOL OF HALLE.]

Luther set to work immediately; he cared little about the mystery with
which some sought to envelop his residence in the Wartburg. He was
like Elijah in the desert forging fresh thunderbolts against the
impious Ahab. On the first of November he finished his treatise
_Against the New Idol of Halle_.

Intelligence of Luther's plans reached the archbishop. Alarmed and in
emotion at the very idea, he sent about the middle of October two of
his attendants (Capito and Auerbach) to Wittemberg to avert the storm.
"Luther must moderate his impetuosity," said they to Melancthon, who
received them cordially. But Melancthon, although mild himself, was
not one of those who imagine that wisdom consists in perpetual
concession, tergiversation, and silence. "It is God who moves him,"
replied he, "and our age needs a bitter and pungent salt."[57] Upon
this Capito turned to Jonas, and endeavoured through him to act upon
the court. The news of Luther's intention was already known there, and
produced great amazement. "What!" said the courtiers: "rekindle the
fire that we have had so much trouble to extinguish! Luther can only
be saved by being forgotten, and yet he is rising up against the first
prince in the empire!"--"I will not suffer Luther to write against the
Archbishop of Mentz, and thus disturb the public tranquillity," said
the elector.[58]

  [57] Huic seculo opus esse acerrimo sale. Corp. Ref. i. 463.

  [58] Non passurum principem, scribi in Moguntinum. L. Epp. ii. 94.


Luther was annoyed when these words were repeated to him. Is it not
enough to imprison his body, but they will also enchain his mind, and
the truth with it?......Do they fancy that he hides himself through
fear, and that his retirement is an avowal of defeat? He maintains
that it is a victory. Who dared stand up against him at Worms and
oppose the truth? Accordingly when the captive in the Wartburg had
read the chaplain's letter, informing him of the prince's sentiments,
he flung it aside, determined to make no reply. But he could not long
contain himself; he took up the epistle and wrote to Spalatin: "The
elector will not suffer!......and I too will not suffer the elector
_not_ to permit me to write......Rather would I destroy yourself, the
elector, nay, the whole world for ever![59] If I have resisted the
pope, who is the creator of your cardinal, why should I give way
before his creature? It is very fine, forsooth, to hear you say that
we must not disturb the public tranquillity, while you allow the
everlasting peace of God to be disturbed!......Spalatin, it shall not
be so! Prince, it shall not be so![60] I send you a book I had already
prepared against the cardinal when I received your letter. Forward it
to Melancthon."

  [59] Potius te et principem ipsum perdam et omnem creaturam. L. Epp.
  ii. 94.

  [60] Non sic, Spalatine; non sic, princeps. Ibid.

Spalatin trembled as he read this manuscript; again he represented to
the reformer how imprudent it would be to publish a work that would
force the imperial government to lay aside its apparent ignorance of
Luther's fate, and punish a prisoner who dared attack the greatest
prince in the empire and the Church. If Luther persevered in his
designs, the tranquillity would again be disturbed, and the
Reformation perhaps be lost. Luther consented to delay the publication
of his treatise; he even permitted Melancthon to erase the most
violent passages.[61] But, irritated at his friend's timidity, he
wrote to the chaplain: "The Lord lives and reigns, that Lord in whom
you court-folks do not believe, unless he so accommodate His works to
your reason, that there is no longer any necessity to believe." He
then resolved to write direct to the cardinal.

  [61] Ut acerbiora radat. Ibid. 110.


It is the whole body of Romish bishops that Luther thus brings to the
bar in the person of the German primate. His words are those of a bold
man, ardent in zeal for the truth, and who feels that he is speaking
in the name of God himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Your electoral highness," wrote he from the depth of the retreat in
which he was hidden, "has set up again in Halle the idol that swallows
the money and the souls of poor Christians. You think, perhaps, that I
am disabled, and that the emperor will easily stifle the cries of the
poor monk......But know that I shall discharge the duties that
christian charity has imposed upon me, without fearing the gates of
hell, and much less the pope, his bishops, and cardinals.

"For this reason my humble prayer is, that your electoral highness
would remember the beginning of this affair--how a tiny spark kindled
a terrible conflagration. All the world was at that time in a state of
security. This poor begging friar (thought they), who unaided would
attack the pope, is too weak for such an undertaking. But God
interposed; and he caused the pope more labour and anxiety than he had
ever felt since he had taken his place in the temple of God to
tyrannize over the Church. This same God still lives: let none doubt
it.[62] He will know how to withstand a cardinal of Mentz, even were
he supported by four emperors; for He is pleased above all things to
hew down the lofty cedars and to abase the haughty Pharaohs.

"For this reason I inform your highness by letter, that if the idol is
not thrown down, I must, in obedience to God's teaching, publicly
attack your highness, as I have attacked the pope himself. Let your
highness conduct yourself in accordance with this advice; I shall wait
a fortnight for an early and favourable reply. Given in my wilderness,
the Sunday after St Catherine's day, (15th November) 1521.

"From your electoral highness's devoted and obedient servant, MARTIN

  [62] Derselbig Gott lebet noch, da zweifel nur niemand an......L. Epp.
  ii. 113.

[Sidenote: ALBERT'S REPLY.]

This letter was sent to Wittemberg, and from Wittemberg to Halle,
where the cardinal-elector was then residing; for no one dared
intercept it, foreseeing the storm that would be aroused by so daring
an act. But Melancthon accompanied it by a letter addressed to the
prudent Capito, in which he endeavoured to prepare the way for a
favourable termination of this difficult business.

It is impossible to describe the feelings of the youthful and weak
archbishop on receiving the reformer's letter. The work announced
_against the idol of Halle_ was like a sword suspended over his head.
And, at the same time, what anger must have been kindled in his heart
by the insolence of this peasant's son,--this excommunicated monk, who
dared make use of such language to a prince of the house of
Brandenburg,--the primate of the German Church? Capito besought the
archbishop to satisfy the monk. Alarm, pride, and the voice of
conscience which he could not stifle, struggled fearfully in Albert's
bosom. At last dread of the book, and perhaps remorse also, prevailed;
he humbled himself: he put together all he thought calculated to
appease the man of the Wartburg, and a fortnight had barely elapsed
when Luther received the following letter, still more astonishing than
his own terrible epistle:--

    "My dear Doctor,--I have received and read your letter, and
    have taken it in good part. But I think the motive that has
    led you to write me such an epistle has long ceased to exist.
    I desire, with God's help, to conduct myself as a pious
    bishop and a christian prince, and I confess my need of the
    grace of God. I do not deny that I am a sinner, liable to sin
    and error, sinning and erring daily. I am well assured that
    without God's grace I am worthless and offensive mire, even
    as other men, if not more so. In replying to your letter, I
    would not conceal this gracious disposition; for I am more
    than desirous of showing you all kindness and favour, for
    love of Christ. I know how to receive a christian and
    fraternal rebuke.

    "With my own hand. ALBERT."


Such was the language addressed to the excommunicated monk of the
Wartburg by the Elector-archbishop of Mentz and Magdeburg,
commissioned to represent and maintain in Germany the constitution of
the Church. Did Albert, in writing it, obey the generous impulses of
his conscience, or his slavish fears? In the first case, it is a noble
letter; in the second, it merits our contempt. We would rather suppose
it originated in the better feelings of his heart. However that may
be, it shows the immeasurable superiority of God's servants over all
the great ones of the earth. While Luther alone, a prisoner and
condemned, derived invincible courage from his faith, the archbishop,
elector and cardinal, environed with all the power and favours of the
world, trembled on his throne. This contrast appears continually, and
is the key to the strange enigma offered by the history of the
Reformation. The Christian is not called upon to count his forces, and
to number his means of victory. The only thing he should be anxious
about is to know whether the cause he upholds is really that of God,
and whether he looks only to his Master's glory. Unquestionably he has
an inquiry to make; but this is wholly spiritual,--the Christian looks
at the heart, and not the arm; he weighs the justice of his cause, and
not its outward strength. And when this question is once settled, his
path is clear. He must move forward boldly, were it even against the
world and all its armed hosts, in the unshaken conviction that God
himself will fight for him.

The enemies of the Reformation thus passed from extreme severity to
extreme weakness; they had already done the same at Worms; and these
sudden transitions are of continual occurrence in the battle that
error wages against truth. Every cause destined to fall is attacked
with an internal uneasiness which makes it tottering and uncertain,
and drives it by turns from one pole to the other. Steadiness of
purpose and energy are far better; they would thus perhaps precipitate
its fall, but at least if it did fall it would fall with glory.


One of Albert's brothers, Joachim I., elector of Brandenburg, gave an
example of that strength of character which is so rare, particularly
in our own times. Immovable in his principles, firm in action, knowing
how to resist when necessary the encroachments of the pope, he opposed
an iron hand to the progress of the Reformation. At Worms he had
insisted that Luther should not be heard, and that he ought to be
punished as a heretic, in despite of his safe-conduct. Scarcely had
the edict of Worms been issued, when he ordered that it should be
strictly enforced throughout his states. Luther could appreciate so
energetic a character, and making a distinction between Joachim and
his other adversaries, he said: "We may still pray for the Elector of
Brandenburg."[63] The disposition of this prince seemed to have been
communicated to his people. Berlin and Brandenburg long remained
closed against the Reformation. But what is received slowly is held
faithfully.[64] While other countries, which then hailed the Gospel
with joy,--Belgium for instance, and Westphalia,--were soon to abandon
it, Brandenburg, the last of the German states to enter on the narrow
way of faith, was destined in after-years to stand in the foremost
ranks of the Reformation.

  [63] Helwing, Gesh. der Brandeb. ii. 605.

  [64] Hoc enim proprium est illorum hominum (ex March. Brandeburg), ut
  quam semel in religione sententiam approbaverint, non facile deserant.
  Leutingeri Opp. i. 41.

Luther did not read Cardinal Albert's letter without a suspicion that
it was dictated by hypocrisy, and in accordance with the advice of
Capito. He kept silence, however, being content with declaring to the
latter, that so long as the archbishop, who was hardly capable of
managing a small parish, did not lay aside his cardinal's mask and
episcopal pomp, and become a simple minister of the Word, it was
impossible that he could be in the way of salvation.[65]

  [65] Larvam cardinalatus et pompam episcopalem ablegare. L. Epp. ii.


     Translation of the Bible--Wants of the Church--Principles of
       the Reformation--Temptations of the Devil--Luther's Works
       condemned by the Sorbonne--Melancthon's Reply--Luther Visits


While Luther was thus struggling against error, as if he were still in
the midst of the battle, he was also labouring in his retirement of
the Wartburg, as if he had no concern in what was going on in the
world. The hour had come in which the Reformation, from being a mere
theological question, was to become the life of the people; and yet
the great engine by which this progress was to be effected was not yet
in being. This powerful and mighty instrument, destined to hurl its
thunderbolts from every side against the proud edifice of Rome, throw
down its walls, cast off the enormous weight of the Papacy under which
the Church lay stifled, and communicate an impulse to the whole human
race which would not be lost until the end of time,--this instrument
was to go forth from the old castle of the Wartburg, and enter the
world on the same day that terminated the reformer's captivity.


The farther the Church was removed from the time when Jesus, the true
Light of the world, was on the earth, the greater was her need of the
torch of God's Word, ordained to transmit the brightness of Jesus
Christ to the men of the latter days. But this Divine Word was at that
time hidden from the people. Several unsuccessful attempts at
translation from the Vulgate had been made in 1477, 1490, and in 1518;
they were almost unintelligible, and from their high price beyond the
reach of the people. It had even been prohibited to give the German
Church the Bible in the vulgar tongue.[66] Besides which, the number
of those who were able to read did not become considerable until there
existed in the German language a book of lively and universal

  [66] Codex Diplom. Ecclesiæ Magunt. iv. 460.

Luther was called to present his nation with the Scriptures of God.
That same God who had conducted St. John to Patmos, _there_ to write
his revelation, had confined Luther in the Wartburg, _there_ to
translate His Word. This great task, which it would have been
difficult for him to have undertaken in the midst of the cares and
occupations of Wittemberg, was to establish the new building on the
primitive rock, and, after the lapse of so many ages, lead Christians
back from the subtleties of the schoolmen to the pure fountain-head of
redemption and salvation.

The wants of the Church spoke loudly; they called for this great work;
and Luther, by his own inward experience, was to be led to perform it.
In truth, he discovered in faith that repose of the soul which his
agitated conscience and his monastic ideas had long induced him to
seek in his own merits and holiness. The doctrine of the Church, the
scholastic theology, knew nothing of the consolations that proceed
from faith; but the Scriptures proclaim them with great force, and
there it was that he had found them. Faith in the Word of God had made
him free. By it he felt emancipated from the dogmatical authority of
the Church, from its hierarchy and traditions, from the opinions of
the schoolmen, the power of prejudice, and from every human ordinance.
Those strong and numerous bonds which for centuries had enchained and
stifled Christendom, were snapped asunder, broken in pieces, and
scattered round him; and he nobly raised his head freed from all
authority except that of the Word. This independence of man, this
submission to God, which he had learned in the Holy Scriptures, he
desired to impart to the Church. But before he could communicate them,
it was necessary to set before it the revelations of God. A powerful
hand was wanted to unlock the massive gates of that arsenal of God's
Word from which Luther had taken his arms, and to open to the people
against the day of battle those vaults and antique halls which for
many ages no foot had ever trod.


Luther had already translated several fragments of the Holy
Scripture; the seven penitential Psalms had been his first task.[67]
John the Baptist, Christ himself, and the Reformation had begun alike
by calling men to repentance. It is the principle of every
regeneration in the individual man, and in the whole human race. These
essays had been eagerly received; men longed to have more; and this
voice of the people was considered by Luther as the voice of God
himself. He resolved to reply to the call. He was a prisoner within
those lofty walls; what of that! he will devote his leisure to
translating the Word of God into the language of his countrymen.
Erelong this Word will be seen descending from the Wartburg with him;
circulating among the people of Germany, and putting them in
possession of those spiritual treasures hitherto shut up within the
hearts of a few pious men. "Would that this one book," exclaimed
Luther, "were in every language, in every hand, before the eyes, and
in the ears and hearts of all men!"[68] Admirable words, which, after
a lapse of three centuries, an illustrious body,[69] translating the
Bible into the mother-tongue of every nation upon earth, has
undertaken to realize. "Scripture without any comment," said he again,
"is the sun whence all teachers receive their light."

  [67] Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 147.

  [68] Et solus hic liber omnium lingua, manu, oculis, auribus, cordibus
  versaretur. L. Epp. ii. 116.

  [69] The Bible Society.

Such are the principles of Christianity and of the Reformation.
According to these venerable words, we should not consult the Fathers
to throw light upon Scripture, but Scripture to explain the Fathers.
The reformers and the apostles set up the Word of God as the only
light, as they exalt the sacrifice of Christ as the only
righteousness. By mingling any authority of man with this absolute
authority of God, or any human righteousness with this perfect
righteousness of Christ, we vitiate both the foundations of
Christianity. These are the two fundamental heresies of Rome, and
which, although doubtless in a smaller degree, some teachers were
desirous of introducing into the bosom of the Reformation.


Luther opened the Greek originals of the evangelists and apostles, and
undertook the difficult task of making these divine teachers speak his
mother tongue. Important crisis in the history of the Reformation!
from that time the Reformation was no longer in the hands of the
reformer. The Bible came forward; Luther withdrew. God appeared, and
man disappeared. The reformer placed THE BOOK in the hands of his
contemporaries. Each one may now hear the voice of God for himself; as
for Luther, henceforth he mingles with the crowd, and takes his
station in the ranks of those who come to draw from the common
fountain of light and life.


In translating the Holy Scriptures, Luther found that consolation and
strength, of which he stood so much in need. Solitary, in ill health,
and saddened by the exertions of his enemies and the extravagances of
some of his followers,--seeing his life wearing away in the gloom of
that old castle, he had occasionally to endure terrible struggles. In
those times, men were inclined to carry into the visible world the
conflicts that the soul sustains with its spiritual enemies; Luther's
lively imagination easily embodied the emotions of his heart, and the
superstitions of the Middle Ages had still some hold upon his mind, so
that we might say of him, as it has been said of Calvin with regard to
the punishment inflicted on heretics: there was yet a remnant of
popery in him.[70] Satan was not in Luther's view simply an invisible
though real being; he thought that this adversary of God appeared to
men as he had appeared to Jesus Christ. Although the authenticity of
many of the stories on this subject contained in the Table-talk and
elsewhere is more than doubtful, history must still record this
failing in the reformer. Never was he more assailed by these gloomy
ideas than in the solitude of the Wartburg. In the days of his
strength he had braved the devil in Worms; but now all the reformer's
powers seemed broken and his glory tarnished. He was thrown aside;
Satan was victorious in his turn, and in the anguish of his soul
Luther imagined he saw his giant form standing before him, lifting
his finger in threatening attitude, exulting with a bitter and hellish
sneer, and gnashing his teeth in fearful rage. One day especially, it
is said, as Luther was engaged on his translation of the New
Testament, he fancied he beheld Satan, filled with horror at his work,
tormenting him, and prowling round him like a lion about to spring
upon his prey. Luther, alarmed and incensed, snatched up his inkstand
and flung it at the head of his enemy. The figure disappeared, and the
missile was dashed in pieces against the wall.[71]

  [70] Michelet, in his _Mémoires de Luther_, devotes more than thirty
  pages to the various accounts of these Satanic visitations.

  [71] The keeper of the Wartburg still carefully directs the
  traveller's attention to the spots made by Luther's inkstand.

Luther's sojourn in the Wartburg began to be insupportable to him. He
felt indignant at the timidity of his protectors. Sometimes he would
remain a whole day plunged in deep and silent meditation, and awakened
from it only to exclaim, "Oh, that I were at Wittemberg!" At length he
could hold out no longer; there has been caution enough; he must see
his friends again, hear them, and converse with them. True, he runs
the risk of falling into the hands of his enemies, but nothing can
stop him. About the end of November, he secretly quitted the Wartburg,
and set out for Wittemberg.[72]

  [72] Machete er sich heimlich aus seiner Patmo auf. L. Opp. xviii.

A fresh storm had just burst upon him. At last the Sorbonne had spoken
out. That celebrated school of Paris, the first authority in the
Church after the pope, the ancient and venerable source whence
theological teaching had proceeded, had given its verdict against the

The following are some of the propositions condemned by this learned
body. Luther had said, "God ever pardons and remits sins gratuitously,
and requires nothing of us in return, except that in future we should
live according to righteousness." And he had added, "Of all deadly
sins, this is the most deadly, namely, that any one should think he is
not guilty of a damnable and deadly sin before God." He had said in
another place, "Burning heretics is contrary to the will of the Holy


To these three propositions, and to many others besides, which they
quoted, the theological faculty of Paris replied, "Heresy!--let him be

  [73] Determinatio theologorum Parisiensium super doctrina Lutherana.
  Corp. Ref. i. 366-388.

But a young man, twenty-four years of age, of short stature,
diffident, and plain in appearance, dared take up the gauntlet which
the first college in the world had thrown down. They knew pretty well
at Wittemberg what should be thought of these pompous censures; they
knew that Rome had yielded to the suggestions of the Dominicans, and
that the Sorbonne was led away by two or three fanatical doctors who
were designated at Paris by satirical nicknames.[74] Accordingly, in
his Apology, Melancthon did not confine himself to defending Luther;
but, with that boldness which characterizes his writings, he carried
the war into the enemy's camp. "You say he is a Manichean!--he is a
Montanist!--let fire and faggot repress his foolishness! And who is
Montanist? Luther, who would have us believe in Holy Scripture alone,
or you, who would have men believe in the opinions of their
fellow-creatures rather than in the Word of God?"[75]

  [74] Damnarunt triumviri _Beda_, _Quercus_, et _Christophorus_. Nomina
  sunt horum monstrorum etiam vulgo nunc nota _Belua_, _Stercus_,
  _Christotomus_. Zwinglii Epp. i. 176.

  [75] Corp. Ref. i. 396.


To ascribe more importance to the word of a man than to the Word of
God was in very truth the heresy of Montanus, as it still is that of
the pope and of all those who set the hierarchical authority of the
Church or the interior inspirations of mysticism far above the
positive declarations of the Sacred Writings. Accordingly the youthful
master of arts, who had said, "I would rather lay down my life than my
faith,"[76] did not stop there. He accused the Sorbonne of having
obscured the Gospel, extinguished faith, and substituted an empty
philosophy in the place of Christianity.[77] After this work of
Melancthon's, the position of the dispute was changed; he proved
unanswerably that the heresy was at Paris and Rome, and the catholic
truth at Wittemberg.

  [76] Scias me positurum animam citius quam fidem. Ibid.

  [77] Evangelium obscuratum est, fides extincta......Ex Christianismo,
  contra omnem sensum spiritus, facta est quædam philosophica vivendi
  ratio. Ibid. 400.

Meanwhile Luther, caring little for the condemnations of the Sorbonne,
was proceeding in his military equipment to the university. He was
greatly distressed by various reports which reached him on the road of
a spirit of impatience and independence that was showing itself among
some of his adherents.[78] At length he arrived at Wittemberg without
being recognised, and stopped at Amsdorff's house. Immediately all his
friends were secretly called together;[79] and Melancthon among the
first, who had so often said, "I would rather die than lose him."[80]
They came!--What a meeting!--what joy!--The captive of the Wartburg
tasted in their society all the sweetness of christian friendship. He
learnt the spread of the Reformation, the hopes of his brethren; and,
delighted at what he saw and heard,[81] offered up a prayer,--returned
thanks to God,--and then with brief delay returned to the Wartburg.

  [78] Per viam vexatus rumore vario de nostrorum quorundam
  importunitate. L. Epp. ii. 109.

  [79] Liess in der Stille seine Freunde fodern. L. Opp. xviii. 238.

  [80] Quo si mihi carendum est, mortem fortius tulero. Corp. Ref. i.
  453, 455.

  [81] Omnia vehementer placent quæ video et audio. L. Epp. ii. 109.


     Fresh Reforms--Gabriel Zwilling on the Mass--The
       University--Melancthon's Propositions--The Elector--Monastic
       Institutions attacked--Emancipation of the
       Monks--Disturbances--Chapter of the Augustine
       Monks--Carlstadt and the Mass--First Celebration of the
       Lord's Supper--Importance of the Mass in the Romish System.


Luther's joy was well founded. The work of the Reformation then made a
great stride. Feldkirchen, always in the van, had led the assault; now
the main body was in motion, and that power which carried the
Reformation from the doctrine it had purified into the worship, life,
and constitution of the Church, now manifested itself by a new
explosion, more formidable to the papacy than even the first had been.

Rome, having got rid of the reformer, thought the heresy was at an
end. But in a short time everything was changed. Death removed from
the pontifical throne the man who had put Luther under the ban of the
Church. Disturbances occurred in Spain, and compelled Charles to visit
his kingdom beyond the Pyrenees. War broke out between this prince and
Francis I., and as if that were not enough to occupy the emperor,
Soliman made an incursion into Hungary. Charles, thus attacked on all
sides, was forced to forget the monk of Worms and his religious

About the same time, the vessel of the Reformation, which, driven in
every direction by contrary winds, was on the verge of foundering,
righted itself, and floated proudly above the waters.

It was in the convent of the Augustines at Wittemberg that the
Reformation broke out. We ought not to feel surprise at this: it is
true the reformer was there no longer; but no human power could drive
out the spirit that had animated him.

For some time the Church in which Luther had so often preached
re-echoed with strange doctrines. Gabriel Zwilling, a zealous monk and
chaplain to the convent, was there energetically proclaiming the
Reformation. As if Luther, whose name was at that time everywhere
celebrated, had become too strong and too illustrious, God selected
feeble and obscure men to begin the Reformation which that renowned
doctor had prepared. "Jesus Christ," said the preacher, "instituted
the sacrament of the altar in remembrance of his death, and not to
make it an object of adoration. To worship it is a real idolatry. The
priest who communicates alone commits a sin. No prior has the right to
compel a monk to say mass alone. Let one, two, or three officiate, and
let the others receive the Lord's sacrament under both kinds."[82]

  [82] Einem 2 oder 3 befehlen Mess zu halten und die andern 12 von
  denen, das Sacrament _sub utraque specie_, mit empfahen. Corp. Ref. i.


This is what Friar Gabriel required, and this daring language was
listened to approvingly by the other brethren, and particularly by
those who came from the Low Countries.[83] They were disciples of the
Gospel, and why should they not conform in everything to its commands?
Had not Luther himself written to Melancthon in the month of August:
"Henceforth and for ever I will say no more private masses?"[84] Thus
the monks, the soldiers of the hierarchy, emancipated by the Word,
boldly took part against Rome.

  [83] Der meiste Theil jener Parthei Niederländer seyn. Corp. Ref. i.

  [84] Sed et ego amplius non faciam missam privatam in æternum. L. Epp.
  ii. 36.

At Wittemberg they met with a violent resistance from the prior.
Calling to mind that all things should be done with order, they gave
way, but with a declaration that to uphold the mass was to oppose the
Gospel of God.

The prior had gained the day: one man had been stronger than them all.
It might seem, therefore, that this movement of the Augustines was one
of those caprices of insubordination so frequently occurring in
monasteries. But it was in reality the Spirit of God itself which was
then agitating all Christendom. A solitary cry, uttered in the bosom
of a convent, found its echo in a thousand voices; and that which men
would have desired to confine within the walls of a cloister, went
forth and took a bodily form in the very midst of the city.


Rumours of the dissensions among the friars soon spread through the
town. The citizens and students of the university took part, some
with, some against the mass. The elector's court was troubled.
Frederick in surprise sent his chancellor Pontanus to Wittemberg with
orders to reduce the monks to obedience, by putting them, if
necessary, on bread and water;[85] and on the 12th of October, at
seven in the morning, a deputation from the professors, of which
Melancthon formed a part, visited the convent, exhorting the brothers
to attempt no innovations,[86] or at least to wait a little longer.
Upon this all their zeal revived: as they were unanimous in their
faith, except the prior who combated them, they appealed to Scripture,
to the understanding of believers, and to the conscience of the
theologians; and two days after handed in a written declaration.

  [85] Wollen die Mönche nicht Mess halten, sie werden's bald in der
  Küchen und Keller empfinden. Corp. Ref. i. 461.

  [86] Mit dem Mess halten keine Neuerung machen. Ibid.

The doctors now examined the question more closely, and found that the
monks had truth on their side. They had gone to convince, and were
convinced themselves. What ought they to do? their consciences cried
aloud; their anxiety kept increasing: at last, after long hesitation,
they formed a courageous resolution.

On the 20th of October, the university made their report to the
elector. "Let your electoral highness," said they, after setting forth
the errors of the mass, "put an end to every abuse, lest Christ in the
day of judgment should rebuke us as he did the people of Capernaum."

Thus it is no longer a few obscure monks who are speaking; it is that
university which for several years has been hailed by all the wise as
the school of the nation; and the very means employed to check the
Reformation are those which will now contribute to its extension.

Melancthon, with that boldness which he carried into learning,
published fifty-five propositions calculated to enlighten men's minds.

"Just as, looking at a cross," said he, "is not performing a good
work, but simply contemplating a sign that reminds us of Christ's

"Just as looking at the sun is not performing a good work, but simply
contemplating a sign that reminds us of Christ and of his Gospel;

"So, partaking of the Lord's Supper is not performing a good work, but
simply making use of a sign that reminds us of the grace that has been
given us through Christ.

"But here is the difference, namely, that the symbols invented by men
simply remind us of what they signify; while the signs given us by
God, not only remind us of the things themselves, but assure our
hearts of the will of God.[87]

  [87] Signa ab hominibus reperta admonent tantum; signa a Deo tradita,
  præterquam quod admonent, certificant etiam cor de voluntate Dei.
  Corp. Ref. i. 478.

[Sidenote: THE ELECTOR.]

"As the sight of a cross does not justify, so the mass does not

"As the sight of a cross is not a sacrifice either for our sins or for
the sins of others, so the mass is not a sacrifice.

"There is but one sacrifice,--but one satisfaction,--Jesus Christ.
Besides him, there is none.

"Let such bishops as do not oppose the impiety of the mass be

Thus spoke the pious and gentle Philip.

The elector was amazed. He had desired to reduce some young
friars,--and now the whole university, Melancthon himself, rose in
their defence. To wait seemed to him in all things the surest means of
success. He did not like sudden reforms, and desired that every
opinion should make its way without obstruction. "Time alone," thought
he, "clears up all things and brings them to maturity." And yet in
spite of him the Reformation was advancing with hasty steps, and
threatened to carry everything along with it. Frederick made every
exertion to arrest its progress. His authority, the influence of his
character, the reasons that appeared to him the most convincing, were
all set in operation. "Do not be too hasty," said he to the
theologians; "your number is too small to carry such a reform. If it
is based upon the Gospel, others will discover it also, and you will
put an end to abuses with the aid of the whole Church. Talk, debate,
preach on these matters as much as you like, but keep up the ancient

Such was the battle fought on the subject of the mass. The monks had
bravely led the assault; the theologians, undecided for a moment, had
soon come to their support. The prince and his ministers alone
defended the place. It has been asserted that the Reformation was
accomplished by the power and authority of the elector; but far from
that, the assailants shrunk back at the sound of his voice, and the
mass was saved for a few days.


The heat of the attack had been already directed against another
point. Friar Gabriel still continued his heart-stirring sermons in
the church of the Augustines. Monachism was now the object of his
reiterated blows; if the mass was the stronghold of the Roman
doctrines, the monastic orders were the support of her hierarchy.
These, then, were the two first positions that must be carried.

"No one," said Gabriel, according to the prior's report, "no dweller
in the convents keeps the commandments of God; no one can be saved
under a cowl;[88] every man that enters a cloister enters it in the
name of the devil. The vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, are
contrary to the Gospel."

  [88] Kein Mönch werde in der Kappe selig. Corp. Ref. i. 433.

This extraordinary language was reported to the prior, who avoided
going to church for fear he should hear it.

"Gabriel," said they, "desires that every exertion should be made to
empty the cloisters. He says if a monk is met in the streets, the
people should pull him by the frock and laugh at him; and that if they
cannot be driven out of the convents by ridicule, they should be
expelled by force. Break open, pull down, utterly destroy the
monasteries (says he), so that not a single trace of them may remain;
and that not one of those stones that have contributed to shelter so
much sloth and superstition may be found in the spot they so long

  [89] Dass man nicht oben Stück von einem Kloster da sey gestanden,
  merken möge. Ibid. 483.

The friars were astonished; their consciences told them that Gabriel's
words were but too true, that a monkish life was not in conformity
with the will of God, and that no one could dispose of their persons
better than themselves.


Thirteen Augustines quitted the convent together, and laying aside the
costume of their order, assumed a lay dress. Those who possessed any
learning attended the lectures of the university, in order one day to
be serviceable to the Church; and those whose minds were uncultivated,
endeavoured to gain a livelihood by the work of their own hands,
according to the injunctions of the apostle, and the example of the
good citizens of Wittemberg.[90] One of them, who understood the
business of a joiner, applied for the freedom of the city, and
resolved to take a wife.

  [90] Etliche unter den Bürgern, etliche unter den Studenten, says the
  prior in his complaint to the Elector. Ibid.

If Luther's entry into the Augustine convent at Erfurth had been the
germ of the Reformation, the departure of these thirteen monks from
the convent of the Augustines at Wittemberg was the signal of its
entering into possession of Christendom. For thirty years past Erasmus
had been unveiling the uselessness, the folly, and the vices of the
monks; and all Europe laughed and grew angry with him: but sarcasm was
required no longer. Thirteen high-minded and bold men returned into
the midst of the world, to render themselves profitable to society and
fulfil the commandments of God. Feldkirchen's marriage had been the
first defeat of the hierarchy; the emancipation of these thirteen
Augustines was the second. Monachism, which had arisen at the time
when the Church entered upon its period of enslavement and error, was
destined to fall at the dawning of liberty and truth.

This daring step excited universal ferment in Wittemberg. Admiration
was felt towards those men who thus came to take their part in the
general labours, and they were received as brethren. At the same time
a few outcries were heard against those who persisted in remaining
lazily sheltered behind the walls of their monastery. The monks who
remained faithful to their prior trembled in their cells; and the
latter, carried away by the general movement, stopped the celebration
of the low masses.


The smallest concession in so critical a moment of necessity
precipitated the course of events. The prior's order created a great
sensation in the town and university, and produced a sudden explosion.
Among the students and citizens of Wittemberg were found some of those
turbulent men whom the least excitement arouses and hurries into
criminal disorders. They were exasperated at the idea of the low
masses, which even the superstitious prior had suspended, still being
said in the parish church; and on Tuesday the 3d of December, as the
mass was about to be read, they ran up to the altars, took away the
books, and drove the priests out of the chapel. The council and
university were annoyed, and met to punish the authors of these
misdeeds. But the passions once aroused are not easily quelled. The
Cordeliers had not taken part in this movement of the Augustines. On
the following day, the students posted a threatening placard on the
gates of their convent; after that forty students entered their
church, and although they refrained from violence, they ridiculed the
monks, so that the latter dared not say mass except in the choir.
Towards evening the fathers were told to be upon their guard: "The
students (it was said) are resolved to attack the monastery!" The
frightened religioners, not knowing how to shelter themselves from
these real or supposed attacks, hastily besought the council to
protect them; a guard of soldiers was sent, but the enemy did not
appear. The university caused the students who had taken part in these
disturbances to be arrested. It was discovered that some were from
Erfurth, where they had become notorious for their insubordination.[91]
The penalties of the university were inflicted upon them.

  [91] In summa es sollen die Aufruhr etliche Studenten von Erffurth
  erweckt haben. Corp. Ref. i. 490.

And yet the necessity was felt of inquiring carefully into the
lawfulness of monastic vows. A chapter of Augustine monks from Misnia
and Thuringia assembled at Wittemberg in the month of December. They
came to the same opinion as Luther. On the one hand they declared that
monastic vows were not criminal, but on the other that they were not
obligatory. "In Christ," said they, "there is neither layman nor monk;
each one is at liberty to quit the monastery or to stay in it. Let him
who goes forth beware lest he abuse his liberty; let him who remains
obey his superiors, but through love." They next abolished mendicancy
and the saying of masses for money; they also decreed that the best
instructed among them should devote themselves to the teaching of the
Word of God, and that the rest should support their brethren by the
work of their own hands.[92]

  [92] Corp. Ref. i. 456. The editors assign this decree to the month of
  October before the friars had quitted the convent at Wittemberg.


Thus the question of vows appeared settled; but that of the mass was
undecided. The elector still resisted the torrent, and protected an
institution which he saw standing in all Christendom. The orders of so
indulgent a prince could not long restrain the public feeling.
Carlstadt's head in particular was turning in the midst of the general
ferment. Zealous, upright, and bold, ready, like Luther, to sacrifice
everything for the truth, he was inferior to the reformer in wisdom
and moderation; he was not entirely exempt from vain-glory, and with a
disposition inclined to examine matters to the bottom, he was
defective in judgment and in clearness of ideas. Luther had dragged
him from the mire of scholasticism, and directed him to the study of
Scripture; but Carlstadt had not acknowledged with his friend the
all-sufficiency of the Word of God. Accordingly he was often seen
adopting the most singular interpretations. So long as Luther was at
his side, the superiority of the master kept the scholar within due
bounds. But now Carlstadt was free. In the university, in the church,
everywhere in Wittemberg, this little dark-featured man, who had never
excelled in eloquence, might be heard proclaiming with great fervour
ideas that were sometimes profound, but often enthusiastic and
exaggerated. "What madness," exclaimed he, "to think that one must
leave the Reformation to God's working alone! A new order of things is
beginning. The hand of man should interfere. Woe be to him who lags
behind, and does not climb the breach in the cause of the Almighty."

The archdeacon's language communicated to others the impatience he
felt himself. "All that the popes have ordained is impious," said
certain upright and sincere men who followed his example. "Let us not
become partakers in those abominations by allowing them to subsist any
longer. What is condemned by the Word of God ought to be put down in
the whole of Christendom, whatever may be the ordinances of men. If
the heads of the State and of the Church will not do their duty, let
us do ours. Let us renounce all negotiations, conferences, theses, and
disputations, and let us apply the effectual remedy to so many evils.
"We need a second Elijah to throw down the altars of Baal."

[Sidenote: THE LORD'S SUPPER.]

The re-establishment of the Lord's Supper, in this moment of ferment
and enthusiasm, unquestionably could not present the solemnity and
holiness of its first institution by the Son of God, on the eve of his
death, and almost at the foot of the cross. But if God now made use of
weak and perhaps passionate men, it was nevertheless his hand that
revived in the Church the feast of his love.

In the previous October, Carlstadt had already celebrated the Lord's
Supper in private with twelve of his friends, in accordance with
Christ's institution. On the Sunday before Christmas he gave out from
the pulpit that on the day of our Lord's circumcision (the first day
of the year) he would distribute the eucharist in both kinds (bread
and wine) to all who presented themselves at the altar; that he would
omit all useless forms,[93] and in celebrating this mass would wear
neither cope nor chasuble.

  [93] Und die anderen _Schirymstege_ alle aussen lassen. Corp. Ref. i.

The affrighted council entreated the councillor Beyer to prevent such
a flagrant irregularity; and upon this Carlstadt resolved not to wait
until the appointed day. On Christmas-day, 1521, he preached in the
parish church on the necessity of quitting the mass and receiving the
sacrament in both kinds. After the sermon he went to the altar;
pronounced the words of consecration in German, and then turning
towards the attentive people, said with a solemn voice: "Whosoever
feels the burden of his sins, and hungers and thirsts for the grace of
God, let him come and receive the body and blood of our Lord."[94] And
then, without elevating the host, he distributed the bread and wine to
all, saying: "This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and
everlasting Covenant."

  [94] Wer mit Sünden beschwert and nach der Gnade Gottes hungrig und
  durstig. Ibid. 540.


Antagonist sentiments prevailed in the assembly. Some, feeling that a
new grace from God had been given to the Church, approached the altar
in silence and emotion. Others, attracted chiefly by the novelty, drew
nigh with a certain sense of agitation and impatience. Five
communicants alone had presented themselves in the confessional: the
rest simply took part in the public confession of sins. Carlstadt gave
a public absolution to all, imposing on them no other penance than
this: "Sin no more." They finished by singing the _Agnus Dei_.[95]

  [95] Wenn man communicirt hat, so singt man: _Agnus Dei_ carmen. Corp.
  Ref. i. 540.

No one opposed Carlstadt; these reforms had already obtained general
assent. The archdeacon administered the Lord's Supper again on New
Year's day, and on the Sunday following, and from that time it was
regularly celebrated. Einsidlen, one of the elector's councillors,
having reproached Carlstadt with seeking his own glory rather than the
salvation of his hearers: "Mighty lord," replied he, "there is no form
of death that can make me withdraw from Scripture. The Word has come
upon me with such promptitude......Woe be to me if I preach it
not!"[96] Shortly after, Carlstadt married.

  [96] Mir ist das Wort fast in grosser Geschwindigkeit eingefallen.
  Ibid. 545.

In the month of January 1522, the council and university of Wittemberg
regulated the celebration of the Lord's Supper according to the new
ritual. They were, at the same time, engaged on the means of reviving
the moral influence of religion; for the Reformation was destined to
restore simultaneously faith, worship, and morality. It was decreed
not to tolerate mendicants, whether they were begging friars or not;
and that in every street there should be some pious man commissioned
to take care of the poor, and summon open sinners before the
university and the council.[97]

  [97] Keinen offenbaren Sünder zu dulden......Ibid. 540.


Thus fell the mass--the principal bulwark of Rome; thus the
Reformation passed from simple teaching into public worship. For three
centuries the mass and transubstantiation had been peremptorily
established.[98] From that period everything in the Church had taken a
new direction; all things tended to the glory of man and the worship
of the priest. The Holy Sacrament had been adored; festivals had been
instituted in honour of the sublimest of miracles; the adoration of
Mary had acquired a high importance; the priest who, on his
consecration, received the wonderful power of "making the body of
Christ," had been separated from the laity, and had become, according
to Thomas Aquinas, a mediator between God and man;[99] celibacy had
been proclaimed as an inviolable law; auricular confession had been
enforced upon the people, and the cup denied them; for how could
humble laymen be placed in the same rank as priests invested with the
most august ministry? The mass was an insult to the Son of God: it was
opposed to the perfect grace of His cross, and the spotless glory of
His everlasting kingdom. But if it lowered the Saviour, it exalted the
priest, whom it invested with the unparalleled power of reproducing in
his hand, and at his will, the Sovereign Creator. From that time the
Church seemed to exist not to preach the Gospel, but simply to
reproduce Christ bodily.[100] The Roman pontiff, whose humblest
servants created at pleasure the body of God himself, sat as God in
the temple of God, and claimed a spiritual treasure, from which he
drew at will indulgences for the pardon of souls.

  [98] By the Council of Lateran, in 1215.

  [99] Sacerdos constituitur medius inter Deum et populum. Th. Aquin.
  Summa, iii. 22.

  [100] Perfectio hujus sacramenti non est in usu fidelium, sed in
  consecratione materiæ. Ibid. Quest. 80.

Such were the gross errors which, for three centuries, had been
imposed on the Church in conjunction with the mass. When the
Reformation abolished this institution of man, it abolished these
abuses also. The step taken by the archdeacon of Wittemberg was
therefore one of a very extended range. The splendid festivals that
used to amuse the people, the worship of the Virgin, the pride of the
priesthood, the authority of the pope--all tottered with the mass. The
glory was withdrawn from the priests, to return to Jesus Christ, and
the Reformation took an immense stride in advance.


     False Reform--The New Prophets--The Prophets at
       Wittemberg--Melancthon--The Elector--Luther--Carlstadt and
       the Images--Disturbances--Luther is called for--He does not

[Sidenote: FALSE REFORM.]

Prejudiced men might have seen nothing in the work that was going on
but the effects of an empty enthusiasm. The very facts were to prove
the contrary, and demonstrate that there is a wide gulf between a
Reformation based on the Word of God and a fanatical excitement.

Whenever a great religious ferment takes place in the Church, some
impure elements always appear with the manifestations of truth. We see
the rise of one or more false reforms proceeding from man, and which
serve as a testimony or countersign to the real reform. Thus many
false messiahs in the time of Christ testified that the real Messiah
had appeared. The Reformation of the sixteenth century could not be
accomplished without presenting a similar phenomenon. In the small
town of Zwickau it was first manifested.

In that place there lived a few men who, agitated by the great events
that were then stirring all Christendom, aspired at direct revelations
from the Deity, instead of meekly desiring sanctification of heart,
and who asserted that they were called to complete the Reformation so
feebly sketched out by Luther. "What is the use," said they, "of
clinging so closely to the Bible? The Bible! always the Bible! Can the
Bible preach to us? Is it sufficient for our instruction? If God had
designed to instruct us by a book, would he not have sent us a Bible
from heaven? It is by the Spirit alone that we can be enlightened. God
himself speaks to us. God himself reveals to us what we should do, and
what we should preach." Thus did these fanatics, like the adherents of
Rome, attack the fundamental principle on which the entire
Reformation is founded--the all-sufficiency of the Word of God.


A simple clothier, Nicholas Storch by name, announced that the angel
Gabriel had appeared to him during the night,[101] and that after
communicating matters which he could not yet reveal, said to him:
"Thou shalt sit on my throne." A former student of Wittemberg, one
Mark Stubner, joined Storch, and immediately forsook his studies; for
he had received direct from God (said he) the gift of interpreting the
Holy Scriptures. Another weaver, Mark Thomas, added to their number;
and a new adept, Thomas Munzer, a man of fanatical character, gave a
regular organization to this rising sect. Storch, desirous of
following Christ's example, selected from among his followers twelve
apostles and seventy-two disciples. All loudly declared, as a sect in
our days has done, that apostles and prophets were at length restored
to the Church of God.[102]

  [101] Advolasse Gabrielem Angelum. Camerarii Vita. Mel. p. 48.

  [102] Breviter, de sese prædicant viros esse propheticos et
  apostolicos. Corp. Ref. i. 514. The author alludes to the followers of

The new prophets, pretending to walk in the footsteps of those of old,
began to proclaim their mission: "Woe! woe!" said they; "a Church
governed by men so corrupt as the bishops cannot be the Church of
Christ. The impious rulers of Christendom will be overthrown. In five,
six, or seven years, a universal desolation will come upon the world.
The Turk will seize upon Germany; all the priests will be put to
death, even those who are married. No ungodly man, no sinner will
remain alive; and after the earth has been purified by blood, God will
then set up a kingdom; Storch will be put in possession of the supreme
authority, and commit the government of the nations to the
saints.[103] Then there will be one only faith, one only baptism. The
day of the Lord is at hand, and the end of the world draweth nigh.
Woe! woe! woe!" Then declaring that infant baptism was valueless, the
new prophets called upon all men to come and receive from their hands
the true baptism, as a sign of their introduction into the new Church
of God.

  [103] Ut rerum potiatur et instauret sacra et respublicas tradat
  sanctis viris tenendas. Camerar. Vita. Mel. p. 45.


This language made a deep impression on the people. Many pious souls
were stirred by the thought that prophets were again restored to the
Church, and all those who were fond of the marvellous threw themselves
into the arms of the extravagants of Zwickau.

But scarcely had this old delusion, which had already appeared in the
days of Montanism and in the Middle Ages, found followers, when it met
with a powerful antagonist in the Reformation. Nicholas Hausmann, of
whom Luther gave this powerful testimony, "What we preach, he
practises,"[104] was pastor of Zwickau. This good man did not allow
himself to be misled by the pretensions of the false prophets. He
checked the innovations that Storch and his followers desired to
introduce, and his two deacons acted in unison with him. The fanatics,
rejected by the ministers of the Church, fell into another
extravagance. They formed meetings in which revolutionary doctrines
were professed. The people were agitated, and disturbances broke out.
A priest, carrying the host, was pelted with stones;[105] the civil
authority interfered, and cast the ringleaders into prison.[106]
Exasperated by this proceeding, and eager to vindicate themselves and
to obtain redress, Storch, Mark Thomas, and Stubner repaired to

  [104] Quod nos docemus, ille facit.

  [105] Einen Priester der das Venerabile getragen mit Steinen geworfen.
  Seck. p. 482.

  [106] Sunt et illic in vincula conjecti. Mel. Corp. Ref. i. 513.

  [107] Huc advolarunt tres viri, duo lanifices, literarum rudes,
  literatus tertius est. Ibid.

They arrived there on the 27th of December 1521. Storch led the way
with the gait and bearing of a trooper.[108] Mark Thomas and Stubner
followed him. The disorder then prevailing in Wittemberg was
favourable to their designs. The youths of the academy and the
citizens, already profoundly agitated and in a state of excitement,
were a soil well fitted to receive these new prophets.

  [108] Incedens more et habitu militum istorum quos _Lanzknecht_
  dicimus. L. Epp. ii. 245.


Thinking themselves sure of support, they immediately called on the
professors of the university, in order to obtain their sanction. "We
are sent by God to instruct the people," said they. "We have held
familiar conversations with the Lord; we know what will happen;[109]
in a word, we are apostles and prophets, and appeal to Dr. Luther."
This strange language astonished the professors.

  [109] Esse sibi cum Deo familiaria colloquia, videre futura......Mel.
  Electori, 27th Dec. 1521. Corp. Ref. i. 514.

"Who has commissioned you to preach?" asked Melancthon of his old
pupil Stubner, whom he received into his house. "The Lord our
God."--"Have you written any books?"--"The Lord our God has forbidden
me to do so." Melancthon was agitated: he grew alarmed and astonished.

"There are, indeed, extraordinary spirits in these men," said he; "but
what spirits?......Luther alone can decide. On the one hand, let us
beware of quenching the Spirit of God, and, on the other, of being led
astray by the spirit of Satan."

Storch, being of a restless disposition, soon quitted Wittemberg.
Stubner remained. Animated by an eager spirit of proselytism, he went
through the city, speaking now to one, then to another; and many
acknowledged him as a prophet from God. He addressed himself more
particularly to a Swabian named Cellarius, a friend of Melancthon's,
who kept a school in which he used to instruct a great number of young
people, and who soon fully acknowledged the mission of the new

Melancthon now became still more perplexed and uneasy. It was not so
much the visions of the Zwickau prophets that disturbed him, as their
new doctrine on baptism. It seemed to him conformable with reason, and
he thought that it was deserving examination; "for" said he, "we must
neither admit nor reject any thing lightly."[110]

  [110] Censebat enim neque admittendum neque rejiciendum quicquam
  temere. Camer. Vita Mel. p. 49.

Such is the spirit of the Reformation. Melancthon's hesitation and
anxiety are a proof of the uprightness of his heart, more honourable
to him, perhaps, than any systematic opposition would have been.


The elector himself, whom Melancthon styled "the lamp of
Israel,"[111] hesitated. Prophets and apostles in the electorate of
Saxony as in Jerusalem of old! "This is a great matter," said he; "and
as a layman, I cannot understand it. But rather than fight against
God, I would take a staff in my hand, and descend from my throne."

  [111] Electori lucernæ Israel. Camer. Vita Mel. p. 513.

At length he informed the professors, by his councillors, that they
had sufficient trouble in hand at Wittemberg; that in all probability
these pretensions of the Zwickau prophets were only a temptation of
the devil; and that the wisest course, in his opinion, would be to let
the matter drop of itself; nevertheless that, under all circumstances,
whenever his highness should clearly perceive God's will, he would
take counsel of neither brother nor mother, and that he was ready to
suffer everything in the cause of truth.[112]

  [112] Darüber auch leiden was S. C. G. leiden sollt. Ibid. p. 537.

Luther in the Wartburg was apprized of the agitation prevailing in the
court and at Wittemberg. Strange men had appeared, and the source
whence their mission proceeded was unknown. He saw immediately that
God had permitted these afflicting events to humble his servants, and
to excite them by trials to strive more earnestly after

"Your electoral grace," wrote he to Frederick, "has for many years
been collecting relics from every country. God has satisfied your
desire, and has sent you, without cost or trouble, a whole _cross_,
with nails, spears, and scourges......Health and prosperity to the new
relic!......Only let your highness fearlessly stretch out your arm,
and suffer the nails to enter your flesh!......I always expected that
Satan would send us this plague."

But at the same time nothing appeared to him more urgent than to
secure for others the liberty that he claimed for himself. He had not
two weights and two measures. "Beware of throwing them into prison,"
wrote he to Spalatin. "Let not the prince dip his hand in the blood of
these new prophets."[113] Luther went far beyond his age, and even
beyond many other reformers, on the subject of religious liberty.

  [113] Ne princeps manus cruentet in prophetis. L. Epp. ii. 135.

Circumstances were becoming every day more serious in Wittemberg.[114]

  [114] Ubi fiebant omnia in dies difficiliora. Camer. Vita Mel. p. 49.


Carlstadt rejected many of the doctrines of the new prophets, and
particularly their sentiments on baptism; but there is a contagion in
religious enthusiasm that a head like his could not easily resist.
From the arrival of the men of Zwickau in Wittemberg, Carlstadt
accelerated his movements in the direction of violent reforms. "We
must fall upon every ungodly practice, and overthrow them all in a
day," said he.[115] He brought together all the passages of Scripture
against images, and inveighed with increasing energy against the
idolatry of Rome. "They fall down--they crawl before these idols,"
exclaimed he; "they burn tapers before them, and make them
offerings......Let us arise and tear them from the altars!"

  [115] Irruendum et demoliendum statim. Ibid.

These words were not uttered in vain before the people. They entered
the churches, carried away the images, broke them in pieces, and burnt
them.[116] It would have been better to wait until their abolition had
been legally proclaimed; but some thought that the caution of the
chiefs would compromise the Reformation itself.

  [116] Die Bilder zu stürmen und aus den Kirchen zu werfen. Math. p.

To judge by the language of these enthusiasts, there were no true
Christians in Wittemberg save those who went not to confession, who
attacked the priests, and who ate meat on fast days. If any one was
suspected of not rejecting all the rites of the Church as an invention
of the devil, he was set down as a worshipper of Baal. "We must form a
Church," cried they, "composed of saints only!"

The citizens of Wittemberg laid before the council certain articles
which it was forced to accept. Many of the articles were conformable
to evangelical morals. They required more particularly that all houses
of public amusement should be closed.


But Carlstadt soon went still farther: he began to despise learning;
and the old professor was heard from his chair advising his pupils to
return home, to take up the spade, to guide the plough, and quietly
cultivate the earth, because man was to eat bread in the sweat of his
brow. George Mohr, the master of the boys' school at Wittemberg, led
away by the same fanaticism, called to the assembled citizens from the
window of his schoolroom to come and take away their children. Why
should they study, since Storch and Stubner had never been at the
university, and yet they were prophets?......A mechanic, therefore,
was as good as all the doctors in the world, and perhaps better, to
preach the Gospel.

Thus arose doctrines in direct opposition to the Reformation, which
had been prepared by the revival of letters. It was with the weapon of
theological learning that Luther had attacked Rome; and the
enthusiasts of Wittemberg, like the fanatical monks with whom Erasmus
and Reuchlin had contended, presumed to trample all human learning
under foot. If this vandalism succeeded in holding its ground, the
hopes of the world were lost; and another irruption of barbarians
would extinguish the light that God had kindled in Christendom.

The results of these strange discourses soon showed themselves. Men's
minds were prejudiced, agitated, diverted from the Gospel; the
university became disorganized; the demoralized students broke the
bonds of discipline and dispersed; and the governments of Germany
recalled their subjects.[117] Thus the men who desired to reform and
vivify every thing, were on the point of ruining all.[118] One
struggle more (exclaimed the friends of Rome, who on all sides were
regaining their confidence),--one last struggle, and all will be ours!

  [117] Etliche Fürsten ihre Bewandten abgefordert. Corp. Ref. i. 560.

  [118] Perdita et funditus diruta. Camer. Vit. Mel. p. 52.


Promptly to check the excesses of these fanatics was the only means of
saving the Reformation. But who could do it? Melancthon? He was too
young, too weak, too much agitated himself by these strange
apparitions. The elector? He was the most pacific man of his age. To
build castles at Altenburg, Weimar, Lochau, and Coburg; to adorn
churches with the beautiful pictures of Lucas Cranach; to improve the
singing in the chapels; to advance the prosperity of his university;
to promote the happiness of his subjects; to stop in the midst of the
children whom he met playing in the streets, and give them little
presents:--such were the gentle occupations of his life. And now in
his advanced age, would he contend with fanatics--would he oppose
violence to violence? How could the good and pious Frederick make up
his mind to this?

The disease continued to spread, and no one stood forward to check it.
Luther was far from Wittemberg. Confusion and ruin had taken hold of
the city. The Reformation had seen an enemy spring from its own bosom
more formidable than popes and emperors. It was on the very verge of
the abyss.

Luther! Luther! was the general and unanimous cry at Wittemberg. The
citizens called for him earnestly; the professors desired his advice;
the prophets themselves appealed to him. All entreated him to

  [119] Lutherum revocavimus ex heremo suo magnis de causis. Corp. Ref.
  i. 566.

We may imagine what was passing in the reformer's mind. All the
terrors of Rome were nothing in comparison with what now wrung his
heart. It is from the very midst of the Reformation that its enemies
have gone forth. It is preying upon its own vitals; and that doctrine
which alone brought peace to his troubled heart becomes the occasion
of fatal disturbances to the Church.


"If I knew," he had once said, "that my doctrine injured one man, one
single man, however lowly and obscure (which it cannot, for it is the
Gospel itself), I would rather die ten times than not retract
it."[120] And now a whole city, and that city Wittemberg, is falling
into disorder! True, his doctrine has no share in this; but from every
quarter of Germany voices are heard accusing him of it. Pains more
keen than he had ever felt before assail him now, and new temptations
agitate him. "Can such then be the end of this great work of the
Reformation?" said he to himself. Impossible!--he rejects these
doubts. God has begun,......God will perfect the work. "I creep in
deep humility to the grace of the Lord,"[121] exclaimed he, "and
beseech him that his name may remain attached to this work; and that
if anything impure be mixed up with it, he will remember that I am a
sinful man."

  [120] Möchte ich ehe zehn Tode leyden. _Wieder Emser._ L. Opp. xviii.

  [121] Ich krieche zu seiner Gnaden. L. Opp. xviii. 615.

The news communicated to Luther of the inspiration of these new
prophets, and of their sublime interviews with God, did not stagger
him one moment. He knew the depth, the anguish, the humiliation of the
spiritual life: at Erfurth and Wittemberg he had made trial of the
power of God, which did not so easily permit him to believe that God
appeared to his creatures and conversed with them. "Ask these
prophets," wrote he to Melancthon, "whether they have felt those
spiritual torments, those creations of God, that death and hell which
accompany a real regeneration......[122] And if they speak to you only
of agreeable things, of tranquil impressions, of devotion and piety,
as they say, do not believe them, although they should pretend to have
been transported to the third heaven. Before Christ could attain his
glory, he was compelled to suffer death; and in like manner the
believer must go through the bitterness of sin before he can obtain
peace. Do you desire to know the time, place, and manner in which God
talks with men? Listen: _As a lion so hath he broken all my bones: I
am cast out from before his face, and my soul is abased even to the
gates of hell_......No! The Divine Majesty (as they pretend) does not
speak directly, so that men may see it; for _no man can see my face
and live_."

  [122] Quæras num experti sint spirituales illas angustias et
  nativitates divinas, mortes infernosque. L. Epp. ii. 215.

[Sidenote: LUTHER'S DANGER.]

But his firm conviction of the delusion under which these prophets
were labouring, served but to augment Luther's grief. Has the great
truth of salvation by grace so quickly lost its charms that men turn
aside from it to follow fables? He begins to feel that the work is not
so easy as he had thought at first. He stumbles at the first stone
that the deceitfulness of the human heart had placed in his path; he
is bowed down by grief and anxiety. He resolves, at the hazard of his
life, to remove it out of the way of his people, and decides on
returning to Wittemberg.

At that time he was threatened by imminent dangers. The enemies of the
Reformation fancied themselves on the very eve of destroying it.
George of Saxony, equally indisposed towards Rome and Wittemberg, had
written, as early as the 16th of October 1521, to Duke John, the
elector's brother, to draw him over to the side of the enemies of the
Reformation. "Some," said he, "deny that the soul is immortal. Others
(and these are monks!) attach bells to swine and set them to drag the
relics of St. Anthony through the streets, and then throw them into
the mire.[123] All this is the fruit of Luther's teaching! Entreat
your brother the elector either to punish the ungodly authors of these
innovations, or at least publicly to declare his opinion of them. Our
changing beard and hair remind us that we have reached the latter
portion of our course, and urge us to put an end to such great evils."

  [123] Mit Schweinen und Schellen......in Koth geworfen. Weimar. Ann.
  Seck. p. 482.

After this George departed to take his seat in the imperial government
at Nuremberg. He had scarcely arrived when he made every exertion to
urge it to adopt measures of severity. In effect, on the 21st of
January, this body passed an edict, in which it complained bitterly
that the priests said mass without being robed in their sacerdotal
garments, consecrated the sacrament in German, administered it without
having received the requisite confession from the communicants, placed
it in the hands of laymen,[124] and were not even careful to ascertain
that those who stood forward to receive it were fasting.

  [124] In ihre laïsche Hände reiche. L. Opp. xviii. 285.

Accordingly the imperial government desired the bishops to seek out
and punish severely all the innovators within their respective
dioceses. The latter hastened to comply with these orders.


Such was the moment selected by Luther for his reappearance on the
stage. He saw the danger; he foreboded incalculable disasters.
"Erelong," said he, "there will be a disturbance in the empire,
carrying princes, magistrates, and bishops before it. The people have
eyes: they will not, they cannot be led by force. All Germany will run
blood.[125] Let us stand up as a wall to preserve our nation in this
dreadful day of God's anger."

  [125] Germaniam in sanguine natare. L. Epp. ii. 157.


     Departure from the Wartburg--New Position--Luther and
       Primitive Catholicism--Meeting at the Black Bear--Luther's
       Letter to the Elector--Return to Wittemberg--Sermon at
       Wittemberg--Charity--The Word--How the Reformation was
       brought about--Faith in Christ--Its
       Effects--Didymus--Carlstadt--The Prophets--Interview with
       Luther--End of the Struggle.

Such were Luther's thoughts; but he beheld a still more imminent
danger. At Wittemberg, the conflagration, far from dying away, became
fiercer every day. From the heights of the Wartburg, Luther could
perceive in the horizon the frightful gleams, the signal of
devastation, shooting at intervals through the air. Is not he the only
one who can give aid in this extremity? Shall he not throw himself
into the midst of the flames to quench their fury? In vain his enemies
prepare to strike the decisive blow; in vain the elector entreats him
not to leave the Wartburg, and to prepare his justification against
the next diet. He has a more important task to perform--to justify the
Gospel itself. "More serious intelligence reaches me every day," wrote
he. "I shall set out: circumstances positively require me to do

  [126] Ita enim res postulat ipsa. Ibid. 135.


Accordingly, he rose on the 3d of March with the determination of
leaving the Wartburg for ever. He bade adieu to its time-worn towers
and gloomy forests. He passed beyond those walls where the
excommunications of Leo X. and the sword of Charles V. were unable to
reach him. He descended the mountain. The world that lay at his feet,
and in the midst of which he is about to appear again, would soon
perhaps call loudly for his death. But it matters not! he goes forward
rejoicing: for in the name of the Lord he is returning among his

  [127] So machte er sich mit unglaublicher Freudigkeit des Geistes, im
  Nahmen Gottes auf den Weg. Seck. p. 458.

Time had moved on. Luther was quitting the Wartburg for a cause very
different from that for which he had entered it. He had gone thither
as the assailant of the old tradition and of the ancient doctors; he
left it as the defender of the doctrine of the apostles against new
adversaries. He had entered it as an innovator, and as an impugner of
the ancient hierarchy; he left it as a conservative and champion of
the faith of Christians. Hitherto Luther had seen but one thing in his
work,--the triumph of justification by faith; and with this weapon he
had thrown down mighty superstitions. But if there was a time for
destroying, there was also a time for building up. Beneath those ruins
with which his strong arm had strewn the plain,--beneath those
crumpled letters of indulgence, those broken tiaras and tattered
cowls,--beneath so many Roman abuses and errors that lay in confusion
upon the field of battle, he discerned and discovered the primitive
Catholic Church, reappearing still the same, and coming forth as from
a long period of trial, with its unchangeable doctrines and heavenly
accents. He could distinguish it from Rome, welcoming and embracing it
with joy. Luther effected nothing new in the world, as he has been
falsely charged; he did not raise a building for the future that had
no connexion with the past; he uncovered, he opened to the light of
day the ancient foundations, on which thorns and thistles had sprung
up, and continuing the construction of the temple, he built simply on
the foundations laid by the apostles. Luther perceived that the
ancient and primitive Church of the apostles must, on the one hand, be
restored in opposition to the Papacy, by which it had been so long
oppressed; and on the other, be defended against enthusiasts and
unbelievers, who pretended to disown it, and who, regardless of all
that God had done in times past, were desirous of beginning an
entirely new work. Luther was no longer exclusively the man of one
doctrine,--that of justification,--although he always assigned it the
highest place; he became the man of the whole Christian theology; and
while he still believed that the Church was essentially the
congregation of saints, he was careful not to despise the visible
Church, and acknowledged the assembly of the elect as the kingdom of
God. Thus was a great change effected, at this time, in Luther's
heart, in his theology, and in the work of renovation that God was
carrying on in the world. The Roman hierarchy might perhaps have
driven the reformer to extremes; the sects which then so boldly raised
their heads brought him back to the true path of moderation. The
sojourn in the Wartburg divides the history of the Reformation into
two periods.


Luther was riding slowly on the road to Wittemberg: it was already the
second day of his journey, and Shrove Tuesday. Towards evening a
terrible storm burst forth, and the roads were flooded. Two Swiss
youths, who were travelling in the same direction as himself, were
hastening onwards to find a shelter in the city of Jena. They had
studied at Basle, and the celebrity of Wittemberg attracted them to
that university. Travelling on foot, fatigued, and wet through, John
Kessler of St. Gall and his companion quickened their steps. The city
was all in commotion with the amusements of the carnival; balls,
masquerades, and noisy feasting engrossed the people of Jena; and when
the two travellers arrived, they could find no room at any of the
inns. At last they were directed to the _Black Bear_, outside the city
gates. Dejected and harassed, they repaired thither slowly. The
landlord received them kindly.[128] They took their seats near the
open door of the public room, ashamed of the state in which the storm
had placed them, and not daring to go in. At one of the tables sat a
solitary man in a knight's dress, wearing a red cap on his head and
breeches over which fell the skirts of his doublet; his right hand
rested on the pommel of his sword, his left grasped the hilt; and
before him lay an open book, which he appeared to be reading with
great attention.[129] At the noise made by the entrance of these two
young men, he raised his head, saluted them affably, and invited them
to come and sit at his table; then presenting them with a glass of
beer, and alluding to their accent, he said: "You are Swiss, I
perceive; but from what canton?"--"From St. Gall."--"If you are going
to Wittemberg, you will there meet with a fellow-countryman, Doctor
Schurff."--Encouraged by this kind reception, they added: "Sir, could
you inform us where Martin Luther is at present?"--"I know for
certain," replied the knight, "that he is not at Wittemberg; but he
will be there shortly. Philip Melancthon is there. Study Greek and
Hebrew, that you may clearly understand the Holy Scriptures."--"If God
spare our lives," observed one of the young men, "we will not return
home without having seen and heard Doctor Luther; for it is on his
account that we have undertaken this long journey. We know that he
desires to abolish the priesthood and the mass; and as our parents
destined us to the priesthood from our infancy, we should like to know
clearly on what grounds he rests his proposition." The knight was
silent for a moment, and then resumed: "Where have you been studying
hitherto?"--"At Basle."--"Is Erasmus of Rotterdam still there? what is
he doing?" They replied to his questions, and there was another pause.
The two Swiss knew not what to think. "Is it not strange," thought
they, "that this knight talks to us of Schurff, Melancthon, and
Erasmus, and on the necessity of learning Greek and Hebrew."--"My dear
friends," said the unknown suddenly, "what do they think of Luther in
Switzerland?"--"Sir," replied Kessler, "opinions are very divided
about him there as everywhere else. Some cannot extol him enough; and
others condemn him as an abominable heretic."--"Ha! the priests, no
doubt," said the stranger.

  [128] See the narrative of Kessler, with all its details, and in the
  simple language of the times, in _Bernet, Johann Kessler_, p. 27.
  Hahnhard Erzählungen, iii. 300, and Marheinecke Gesch. der Ref. ii.
  321, 2d edition.

  [129] In einem rothem Schlöpli, in blossen Hosen und
  Wamms......Hahn-hard Erzählungen, iii. 300, and Marheinecke Gesch. der
  Ref. ii. 321, 2d edition.

The knight's cordiality had put the students at their ease. They
longed to know what book he was reading at the moment of their
arrival. The knight had closed it, and placed it by his side. At last
Kessler's companion ventured to take it up. To the great astonishment
of the two young men, it was the Hebrew Psalter! The student laid it
down immediately, and as if to divert attention from the liberty he
had taken, said: "I would willingly give one of my fingers to know
that language."--"You will attain your wish," said the stranger, "if
you will only take the trouble to learn it."

A few minutes after, Kessler heard the landlord calling him; the poor
Swiss youth feared something had gone wrong; but the host whispered to
him: "I perceive that you have a great desire to see and hear Luther;
well! it is he who is seated beside you." Kessler took this for a
joke, and said: "Mr. Landlord, you want to make a fool of me."--"It is
he in very truth," replied the host; "but do not let him see that you
know him." Kessler made no answer, but returned into the room and took
his seat at the table, burning to repeat to his comrade what he had
just heard. But how could he manage it? At last he thought of leaning
forward, as if he were looking towards the door, and then whispered
into his friend's ear: "The landlord assures me that this man is
Luther."--"Perhaps he said Hütten," replied his comrade; "you did not
hear him distinctly."--"It may be so," returned Kessler; "the host
said: It is Hütten; the two names are pretty much alike, and I mistook
one for the other."

At that moment the noise of horses was heard before the inn; two
merchants, who desired a lodging, entered the room; they took off
their spurs, laid down their cloaks, and one of them placed beside him
on the table an unbound book, which soon attracted the knight's
notice. "What book is that?" asked he.--"A commentary on some of the
Gospels and Epistles by Doctor Luther," replied the merchant; "it is
just published."--"I shall procure it shortly," said the knight.

At this moment the host came to announce that supper was ready. The
two students, fearing the expense of such a meal in company with the
knight Ulrich of Hütten and two wealthy merchants, took the landlord
aside, and begged him to serve them with something apart. "Come
along, my friends," replied the landlord of the Black Bear; "take your
place at table beside this gentleman; I will charge you
moderately."--"Come along," said the knight, "I will settle the

During this meal, the stranger knight uttered many simple and edifying
remarks. The students and the merchants were all ears, and paid more
attention to his words than to the dishes set before them. "Luther
must either be an angel from heaven or a devil from hell," said one of
the merchants in course of conversation; "I would readily give ten
florins if I could meet Luther and confess to him."

When supper was over, the merchants left the table; the two Swiss
remained alone with the knight, who, taking a large glass of beer,
rose and said solemnly, after the manner of the country: "Swiss, one
glass more for thanks." As Kessler was about to take the glass, the
unknown set it down again, and offered him one filled with wine,
saying: "You are not accustomed to beer."

He then arose, flung a military cloak over his shoulders, and
extending his hand to the students, said to them: "When you reach
Wittemberg, salute Doctor Schurff on my part."--"Most willingly,"
replied they; "but what name shall we give?"--"Tell him simply," added
Luther, "He that is to come salutes you." With these words he quitted
the room, leaving them full of admiration at his kindness and good

Luther, for it was really he, continued his journey. It will be
remembered that he had been laid under the ban of the empire; whoever
met and recognised him, might seize him. But at the time when he was
engaged in an undertaking that exposed him to every risk, he was calm
and serene, and conversed cheerfully with those whom he met on the


It was not that he deceived himself: he saw the future big with
storms. "Satan," said he, "is enraged, and all around are plotting
death and hell.[130] Nevertheless, I go forward, and throw myself in
the way of the emperor and of the pope, having no protector save God
in heaven. Power has been given to all men to kill me wherever they
find me. But Christ is the Lord of all; if it be his will that I be
put to death, so be it!"

  [130] Furit Satanas; et fremunt vicini undique, nescio quot mortibus
  et infernis. L. Epp. ii. 153.

On that same day, Ash-Wednesday, Luther reached Borna, a small town
near Leipsic. He felt it his duty to inform the prince of the bold
step he was about to take; and accordingly alighted at the Guide Hotel
and wrote the following letter:--

"Grace and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ!

"Most serene Elector, gracious Lord! The events that have taken place
at Wittemberg, to the great reproach of the Gospel, have caused me
such pain that if I were not confident of the truth of our cause, I
should have given way to despair.

"Your highness knows this, or if not, be it known to you now, that I
received the Gospel not from men but from heaven, through our Lord
Jesus Christ. If I called for discussion, it was not because I had any
doubts of the truth, but in humility, and in the hope to win over
others. But since my humility is turned against the Gospel, my
conscience compels me now to act otherwise. I have sufficiently given
way to your highness by passing this year in retirement. The devil
knows well that I did so not through fear. I should have entered Worms
had there been as many devils in the city as tiles on the house-tops.
Now Duke George, with whom your highness frightens me, is yet much
less to be feared than a single devil. If that which is passing at
Wittemberg were taking place at Leipsic (the duke's residence), I
would immediately mount my horse to go thither, although (may your
highness pardon these words) for nine whole days together it were to
rain nothing but Duke Georges, and each one nine times more furious
than he is. What does he think of in attacking me? Does he take Christ
my Lord for a man of straw?[131] O Lord, be pleased to avert the
terrible judgment which is impending over him!

  [131] Er hält meinen Herrn Christum für ein Mann aus Stroh geflochten.
  L. Epp. ii. 139.

"Be it known to your highness that I am going to Wittemberg under a
protection far higher than that of princes and electors. I think not
of soliciting your highness's support, and, far from desiring your
protection, I would rather protect you myself. If I knew that your
highness could or would protect me, I would not go to Wittemberg at
all. There is no sword that can further this cause. God alone must do
everything without the help or concurrence of man. He who has the
greatest faith is he who is most able to protect. But I observe that
your highness is still weak in faith.

"But since your highness desires to know what you have to do, I will
answer with all deference: your highness has already done too much,
and ought to do nothing at all. God will not and cannot endure either
your cares and labours or mine. Let your highness's conduct be guided
by this.

"As for what concerns me, your highness must act as an elector; you
must let the orders of his imperial majesty take their course in your
towns and rural districts. You must offer no resistance if men desire
to seize or kill me;[132] for no one should resist dominions except He
who has established them.

  [132] Und ja nicht wehren......so sie mich fahen oder tödten will. L.
  Epp. ii. 140.

"Let your highness leave the gates open, and respect safe-conducts, if
my enemies in person or their envoys come in search of me into your
highness's states. Everything shall be done without trouble or danger
to yourself.

"I have written this letter in haste, that you may not be made uneasy
at hearing of my arrival. I have to do with a very different man from
Duke George. He knows me well, and I know him pretty well.

"Given at Borna, at the inn of the Guide, this Ash-Wednesday 1522.

  "Your electoral highness's
      "Very humble servant,
              "MARTIN LUTHER."


It was thus Luther drew nigh to Wittemberg. He wrote to his prince,
but not to excuse himself. An imperturbable confidence filled his
heart. He saw the hand of God in this cause, and that was sufficient
for him. The heroism of faith can never be carried farther. One of the
editions of Luther's works has the following remark in the margin of
this letter: "This is a wonderful writing of the third and last

  [133] Der wahre, dritte und lezte Elias......L. Opp. (L.) xviii. 271.

Luther re-entered Wittemberg on Friday the 7th March, having been five
days on the way from Eisenach. Doctors, students, and citizens, all
broke forth in rejoicings; for they had recovered the pilot who alone
could extricate the vessel from the reefs among which it was

The elector, who was at Lockau with his court, felt great emotion as
he read the reformer's letter. He was desirous of vindicating him
before the diet: "Let him address me a letter," wrote the prince to
Schurff, "explaining the motives of his return to Wittemberg, and let
him say also that he returned without my permission." Luther

"I am ready to incur the displeasure of your highness and the anger of
the whole world," wrote he to the prince. "Are not the Wittembergers
my sheep? Has God not intrusted them to me? And ought I not, if
necessary, to expose myself to death for their sakes? Besides, I fear
to see a terrible outbreak in Germany by which God will punish our
nation. Let your highness be well assured and doubt not that the
decrees of heaven are very different from those of Nuremberg."[134]
This letter was written on the very day of Luther's arrival at

  [134] L. Epp. ii. 143. Luther was forced to alter this expression at
  the elector's request.


The following day, being the eve of the first Sunday in Lent, Luther
visited Jerome Schurff. Melancthon, Jonas, Amsdorff, and Augustin
Schurff, Jerome's brother, were there assembled. Luther eagerly
questioned them, and they were informing him of all that had taken
place, when two foreign students were announced, desiring to speak
with Dr. Jerome. On entering this assembly of doctors, the two young
men of St. Gall were at first abashed; but they soon recovered
themselves on discovering the knight of the Black Bear among them. The
latter immediately went up to them, greeted them as old acquaintances,
and smiled as he pointed to one of the doctors: "This is Philip
Melancthon, whom I mentioned to you." The two Swiss remained all day
with the doctors of Wittemberg, in remembrance of the meeting at Jena.

One great thought absorbed the reformer's mind, and checked the joy he
felt at meeting his friends once more. Unquestionably the character in
which he was now to appear was obscure; he was about to raise his
voice in a small town of Saxony, and yet his undertaking had all the
importance of an event which was to influence the destinies of the
world. Many nations and many ages were to feel its effects. It was a
question whether that doctrine which he had derived from the Word of
God, and which was ordained to exert so mighty an influence on the
future development of the human race, would be stronger than the
destructive principles that threatened its existence. It was a
question whether it were possible to reform without destroying, and
clear the way to new developments without annihilating the old. To
silence fanatical men inspired by the energy of a first enthusiasm; to
master an unbridled multitude, to calm it down, to lead it back to
order, peace, and truth; to break the course of the impetuous torrent
which threatened to overthrow the rising edifice of the Reformation,
and to scatter its ruins far and wide:--such was the task for which
Luther had returned to Wittemberg. But would his influence be
sufficient for this? The event alone can show.

The reformer's heart shuddered at the thought of the struggle that
awaited him. He raised his head as a lion provoked to fight shakes his
long mane. "We must now trample Satan under foot, and contend against
the angel of darkness," said he. "If our adversaries do not retire of
their own accord, Christ will know how to compel them. We who trust in
the Lord of life and of death are ourselves lords of life and of

  [135] Domini enim sumus vitæ et mortis. L. Epp. ii. 150.


But at the same time the impetuous reformer, as if restrained by a
superior power, refused to employ the anathemas and thunders of the
Word, and became an humble pastor, a gentle shepherd of souls. "It is
with the Word that we must fight," said he; "by the Word must we
overthrow and destroy what has been set up by violence. I will not
make use of force against the superstitious and unbelieving. Let him
who believeth draw nigh! let him who believeth not keep afar off! no
one must be constrained. Liberty is the very essence of faith."[136]

  [136] Non enim ad fidem et ad ea quæ fidei sunt, ullus cogendus
  est......L. Epp. ii. 151.

The next day was Sunday. On that day the doctor, whom for nearly a
year the lofty ramparts of the Wartburg have concealed from every eye,
will reappear before the people in the pulpit of the church. It was
rumoured in Wittemberg that Luther was come back, that he was going to
preach. This news alone, passing from mouth to mouth, had already
given a powerful diversion to the ideas by which the people were
misled. They are going to see the hero of Worms. The people crowded
together, and were affected by various emotions. On Sunday morning the
church was filled with an attentive and excited crowd.

Luther divines all the sentiments of his congregation; he goes up into
the pulpit; there he stands in the presence of the flock that he had
once led as a docile sheep, but which had broken from him like an
untamed bull. His language was simple, noble, yet full of strength and
gentleness: one might have supposed him to be a tender father
returning to his children, inquiring into their conduct, and kindly
telling them what report he had heard about them. He candidly
acknowledged the progress they had made in faith; and by this means
prepared and captivated their minds. He then continued in these

"But we need something more than faith; we need charity. If a man who
bears a sword in his hand be alone, it is of little consequence
whether it be sheathed or not; but if he is in the midst of a crowd,
he should act so as to wound nobody.

[Sidenote: CHARITY--THE WORD.]

"What does a mother do to her infant? At first she gives it milk,
then some very light food. If she were to begin by giving it meat and
wine, what would be the consequence?......

"So should we act towards our brethren. My friend, have you been long
enough at the breast? It is well! but permit your brother to drink as
long as yourself.

"Observe the sun! He dispenses two things, light and heat. There is no
king so powerful as to bend aside his rays; they come straight to us;
but heat is radiated and communicated in every direction. Thus faith,
like light, should always be straight and inflexible; but charity,
like heat, should radiate on every side, and bend to all the wants of
our brethren."

Luther having thus prepared his hearers, began to press them more

"The abolition of the mass, say you, is in conformity with Scripture:
Agreed! But what order, what decency have you observed? It behoved you
to offer up fervent prayers to the Lord, and apply to the public
authority; then might every man have acknowledged that the thing was
of God."

Thus spake Luther. This dauntless man, who at Worms had withstood the
princes of the earth, produced a deep impression on the minds of his
hearers by these words of wisdom and of peace. Carlstadt and the
prophets of Zwickau, so great and powerful for a few weeks, and who
had tyrannized over and agitated Wittemberg, had shrunk into pigmies
beside the captive of the Wartburg.

"The mass," continued he, "is a bad thing; God is opposed to it; it
ought to be abolished; and I would that throughout the whole world it
were replaced by the Supper of the Gospel. But let no one be torn from
it by force. We must leave the matter in God's hands. His Word must
act, and not we. And why so, you will ask? Because I do not hold men's
hearts in my hand, as the potter holds the clay. We have a right to
speak; we have not the right to act. Let us preach: the rest belongs
unto God. Were I to employ force, what should I gain? Grimace,
formality, apeings, human ordinances, and hypocrisy......But there
would be no sincerity of heart, nor faith, nor charity. Where these
three are wanting, all is wanting, and I would not give a pear-stalk
for such a result.[137]

  [137] Ich wollte nicht einen Birnstiel drauf geben. L. Opp. (L.)
  xviii. 225.


"Our first object must be to win men's hearts; and for that purpose we
must preach the Gospel. To-day the Word will fall in one heart,
to-morrow in another, and it will operate in such a manner that each
one will withdraw from the mass and abandon it. God does more by his
Word alone than you and I and all the world by our united strength.
God lays hold upon the heart; and when the heart is taken, all is won.

"I do not say this for the restoration of the mass. Since it is down,
in God's name there let it lie! But should you have gone to work as
you did? Paul, arriving one day in the powerful city of Athens, found
there altars raised to false gods. He went from one to the other, and
observed them without touching one. But he walked peaceably to the
middle of the market-place, and declared to the people that all their
gods were idols. His language took possession of their hearts, and the
idols fell without Paul's having touched them.

"I will preach, discuss, and write; but I will constrain none, for
faith is a voluntary act. See what I have done! I stood up against the
pope, indulgences, and papists, but without violence or tumult. I put
forward God's Word; I preached and wrote--this was all I did. And yet
while I was asleep, or seated familiarly at table with Amsdorff and
Melancthon, drinking and gossiping over our Wittemberg beer, the Word
that I had preached overthrew popery, so that neither prince nor
emperor has done it so much harm. And yet I did nothing: the Word
alone did all. If I had wished to appeal to force, the whole of
Germany would perhaps have been deluged with blood. But what would
have been the result? Ruin and desolation both to body and soul. I
therefore kept quiet, and left the Word to run through the world
alone. Do you know what the devil thinks when he sees men resort to
violence to propagate the Gospel through the world? Seated with folded
arms behind the fire of hell, Satan says, with malignant looks and
frightful grin: 'Ah! how wise these madmen are to play my game!' But
when he sees the Word running and contending alone on the field of
battle, then he is troubled, and his knees knock together; he shudders
and faints with fear."


Luther went into the pulpit again on Tuesday; and his powerful voice
resounded once more through the agitated crowd. He preached again on
the five succeeding days. He took a review of the destruction of
images, distinction of meats, the institution of the Lord's Supper,
the restoration of the cup, the abolition of confession. He showed
that these points were of far less importance than the mass, and that
the originators of the disorders that had taken place in Wittemberg
had grossly abused their liberty. He employed by turns the language of
christian charity and bursts of holy indignation.

He inveighed more especially against those who partook thoughtlessly
of Christ's Supper. "It is not the outward manducation that maketh a
Christian," said he, "but the inward and spiritual eating that worketh
by faith, and without which all forms are mere show and grimace. Now
this faith consists in a firm belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God; that having taken our sins and iniquities upon himself, and
having borne them on the cross, he is himself their sole and almighty
atonement; that he stands continually before God, that he reconcileth
us with the Father, and that he hath given us the sacrament of his
body to strengthen our faith in this unspeakable mercy. If I believe
in these things, God is my defender; with him, I brave sin, death,
hell, and devils; they can do me no harm, nor disturb a single hair of
my head. This spiritual bread is the consolation of the afflicted,
health to the sick, life to the dying, food to the hungry, riches to
the poor. He who does not groan under his sins must not approach that
altar: what can he do there? Ah! let our conscience accuse us, let our
hearts be rent in twain at the thought of our sins, and then we shall
not so presumptuously approach the holy sacrament."


The crowd ceased not to fill the temple; people flocked from the
neighbouring towns to hear the new Elijah. Among others, Capito spent
two days at Wittemberg, and heard two of the doctor's sermons. Never
had Luther and Cardinal Albert's chaplain been so well agreed.
Melancthon, the magistrates, the professors, and all the inhabitants,
were delighted.[138] Schurff, charmed at the result of so gloomy an
affair, hastened to communicate it to the elector. On Friday the 15th
March, the day on which Luther delivered his sixth sermon, he wrote:
"Oh, what joy has Dr. Martin's return diffused among us! His words,
through Divine mercy, every day are bringing back our poor misguided
people into the way of truth. It is clear as the sun that the Spirit
of God is in him, and that by His special providence he returned to

  [138] Grosse Freude und Frohlocken unter Gelahrten und Ungelahrten. L.
  Opp. xviii. 266.

  [139] Aus sonderlicher Schickung des Allmächtigen......Ibid.

In truth, these sermons are models of popular eloquence, but not of
that which in the times of Demosthenes, or even of Savonarola, fired
men's hearts. The task of the Wittemberg orator was more difficult. It
is easier to rouse the fury of a wild beast than to allay it. Luther
had to soothe a fanaticized multitude, to tame its unbridled passions;
and in this he succeeded. In his eight discourses, the reformer did
not allow one offensive word to escape him against the originators of
these disorders,--not one unpleasant allusion. But the greater his
moderation, the greater also was his strength; the more caution he
used towards these deluded men, the more powerful was his vindication
of offended truth. How could the people of Wittemberg resist his
powerful eloquence? Men usually ascribe to timidity, fear, and
compromise, those speeches that advocate moderation. Here there was
nothing of the sort. Luther appeared before the inhabitants of
Wittemberg, braving the excommunication of the pope and the
proscription of the emperor. He had returned in despite of the
prohibition of the elector, who had declared his inability to defend
him. Even at Worms, Luther had not shown so much courage. He
confronted the most imminent dangers; and accordingly his words were
not disregarded: the man who braved the scaffold had a right to exhort
to submission. That man may boldly speak of obedience to God, who, to
do so, defies all the persecution of man. At Luther's voice all
objections vanished, the tumult subsided, seditious cries were heard
no longer, and the citizens of Wittemberg returned quietly to their


Gabriel Didymus, who had shown himself the most enthusiastic of all
the Augustine friars, did not lose one of the reformer's words. "Do
you not think Luther a wonderful teacher?" asked a hearer in great
emotion. "Ah!" replied he, "I seem to listen to the voice, not of a
man, but of an angel."[140] Erelong Didymus openly acknowledged that
he had been deceived. "He is quite another man," said Luther.[141]

  [140] Imo, inquit, angeli, non hominis vocem mihi audisse videor.
  Camer. p. 12.

  [141] In alium virum mutatus est. L. Epp. ii. 156.

It was not so at first with Carlstadt. Despising learning, pretending
to frequent the workshops of the Wittemberg mechanics to receive
understanding of the Holy Scriptures, he was mortified at seeing his
work crumble away at Luther's appearance.[142] In his eyes this was
checking the reform itself. Hence his air was always dejected, gloomy,
and dissatisfied. Yet he sacrificed his self-love for the sake of
peace; he restrained his desires of vengeance, and became reconciled,
outwardly at least, with his colleague, and shortly after resumed his
lectures in the university.[143]

  [142] Ego Carlstadium offendi, quod ordinationes suas cessavi. Ibid.

  [143] Philippi et Carlstadii lectiones, ut sunt optimæ. Ibid. 284.


The chief prophets were not at Wittemberg when Luther returned.
Nicholas Storch was wandering through the country; Mark Stubner had
quitted Melancthon's hospitable roof. Perhaps their prophetic spirit
had disappeared, and they had had _neither voice nor answer_,[144] so
soon as they learnt that the new Elijah was directing his steps
towards this new Carmel. The old schoolmaster Cellarius alone had
remained. Stubner, however, being informed that the sheep of his fold
were scattered, hastily returned. Those who were still faithful to
"the heavenly prophecy" gathered round their master, reported
Luther's speeches to him, and asked him anxiously what they were to
think and do.[145] Stubner exhorted them to remain firm in their
faith. "Let him appear," cried Cellarius, "let him grant us a
conference,--let him only permit us to set forth our doctrine, and
then we shall see......"

  [144] 1 Kings xviii. 29.

  [145] Rursum ad ipsum confluere......Camer. p. 52.


Luther cared little to meet such men as these; he knew them to be of
violent, impatient, and haughty disposition, who could not endure even
kind admonition, and who required that every one should submit at the
first word, as to a supreme authority.[146] Such are enthusiasts in
every age. And yet, as they desired an interview, the doctor could not
refuse it. Besides, it might be of use to the weak ones of the flock
were he to unmask the imposture of the prophets. The conference took
place. Stubner opened the proceedings, explaining in what manner he
desired to regenerate the Church and transform the world. Luther
listened to him with great calmness.[147] "Nothing that you have
advanced," replied he at last gravely, "is based upon Holy
Scripture.--It is all a mere fable." At these words Cellarius could
contain himself no longer; he raised his voice, gesticulated like a
madman, stamped, and struck the table with his fist,[148] and
exclaimed, in a passion, that it was an insult to speak thus to a man
of God. Upon this Luther observed: "St. Paul declares that the proofs
of his apostleship were made known by miracles; prove yours in like
manner."--"We will do so," answered the prophets.[149] "The God whom I
worship," said Luther, "will know how to bridle your gods." Stubner,
who had preserved his tranquillity, then fixed his eyes on the
reformer, and said to him with an air of inspiration, "Martin Luther!
I will declare what is now passing in thy soul......Thou art beginning
to believe that my doctrine is true." Luther, after a brief pause,
exclaimed: "God chastise thee, Satan!" At these words all the
prophets were as if distracted. "The Spirit, the Spirit!" cried they.
Luther, adopting that cool tone of contempt and cutting and homely
language so familiar to him, said, "I slap your _spirit_ on the
snout."[150] Their clamours now increased; Cellarius, in particular,
distinguished himself by his violence. He foamed and trembled with
anger.[151] They could not hear one another in the room where they met
in conference. At length the three prophets abandoned the field and
left Wittemberg the same day.

  [146] Vehementer superbus et impatiens......credi vult plena
  auctoritate, ad primam vocem......L. Epp. ii. 179.

  [147] Audivit Lutherus placide. Camer. p. 52.

  [148] Cum et solum pedibus et propositam mensulam manibus feriret.

  [149] Quid pollicentes de mirabilibus affectionibus. Ibid. p. 53.

  [150] Ihren Geist haue er über die Schnauze. L. Opp. Altenburg. Ausg.
  iii. 137.

  [151] Spumabat et fremebat et furebat. L. Epp. ii. 179.

Thus had Luther accomplished the work for which he had left his
retreat. He had made a stand against fanaticism, and expelled from the
bosom of the renovated Church the enthusiasm and disorder by which it
had been invaded. If with one hand the Reformation threw down the
dusty decretals of Rome, with the other it rejected the assumptions of
the mystics, and established, on the ground it had won, the living and
unchangeable Word of God. The character of the Reformation was thus
firmly settled. It was destined to walk for ever between these two
extremes, equally remote from the convulsions of the fanatics and the
death-like torpor of the papacy.

A whole population excited, deluded, and unrestrained, had at once
become tranquil, calm, and submissive; and the most perfect quiet
again reigned in that city which a few days before had been like the
troubled sea.

Perfect liberty was immediately established at Wittemberg. Luther
still continued to reside in the convent and wear his monastic dress;
but every one was free to do otherwise. In communicating at the Lord's
table, a general absolution was sufficient, or a particular one might
be obtained. It was laid down as a principle to reject nothing but
what was opposed to a clear and formal declaration of Holy
Scripture.[152] This was not indifference; on the contrary, religion
was thus restored to what constitutes its very essence; the sentiment
of religion withdrew from the accessory forms in which it had well
nigh perished, and transferred itself to its true basis. Thus the
Reformation was saved, and its teaching enabled to continue its
development in the bosom of the Church in charity and truth.

  [152] Gans klare und gründliche Schrift.


     Translation of the New Testament--Faith and
       Scripture--Opposition--Importance of this
       Publication--Necessity for a systematic
       Arrangement--Melancthon's Loci Communes--Original
       Sin--Salvation--Free Will--Effects of the Loci Communes.


Tranquillity was hardly established when the reformer turned to his
dear Melancthon, and demanded his assistance in the final revision of
the New Testament which he had brought with him from the
Wartburg.[153] As early as the year 1519 Melancthon had laid down the
grand principle, that the Fathers must be explained according to
Scripture, and not Scripture according to the Fathers.[154] Meditating
more profoundly every day on the books of the New Testament, he felt
at once charmed by their simplicity and impressed by their depth.
"There alone can we find the true food of the soul," boldly asserted
this man so familiar with all the philosophy of the ancients.
Accordingly he readily complied with Luther's invitation; and from
that time the two friends passed many long hours together studying and
translating the inspired Word. Often would they pause in their
laborious researches to give way to their admiration. Luther said one
day, "Reason thinks, Oh! if I could once hear God speak! I would run
from one end of the world to the other to hear him......Listen then,
my brother man! God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, speaks
to thee."

  [153] Verum omnia nunc elimare cœpimus, Philippus et ego. L. Epp.
  ii. 176.

  [154] See Vol. II. p. 71.


The printing of the New Testament was carried on with unexampled
zeal.[155] One would have said that the very workmen felt the
importance of the task in which they were engaged. Three presses were
employed in this labour, and ten thousand sheets, says Luther, were
printed daily.[156]

  [155] Ingenti labore et studio. L. Epp. ii. 236.

  [156] Ante Michaelis non absolvetur, quanquam singulis diebus decies
  millia chartarum sub tribus prelis excudant......Ibid.

At length, on the 21st of September 1522, appeared the complete
edition of three thousand copies, in two folio volumes, with this
simple title: THE NEW TESTAMENT--GERMAN--WITTEMBERG. It bore no name
of man. Every German might henceforward procure the Word of God at a
moderate price.[157]

  [157] A florin and a half, about half a crown.

The new translation, written in the very tone of the holy writings, in
a language yet in its youthful vigour, and which for the first time
displayed its great beauties, interested, charmed, and moved the
lowest as well as the highest ranks. It was a national work; the book
of the people; nay more--it was in very truth the Book of God. Even
opponents could not refuse their approbation to this wonderful work,
and some indiscreet friends of the reformer, impressed by the beauty
of the translation, imagined they could recognise in it a second
inspiration. This version served more than all Luther's writings to
the spread of Christian piety. The work of the sixteenth century was
thus placed on a foundation where nothing could shake it. The Bible,
given to the people, recalled the mind of man, which had been
wandering for ages in the tortuous labyrinth of scholasticism, to the
Divine fountain of salvation. Accordingly the success of this work was
prodigious. In a short time every copy was sold. A second edition
appeared in the month of December; and in 1533 seventeen editions had
been printed at Wittemberg, thirteen at Augsburg, twelve at Basle, one
at Erfurth, one at Grimma, one at Leipsic, and thirteen at
Strasburg.[158] Such were the powerful levers that uplifted and
transformed the Church and the world.

  [158] Gesch. d. deutsch. Bibel Uebersetz.


While the first edition of the New Testament was going through the
press, Luther undertook a translation of the Old. This labour, begun
in 1522, was continued without interruption. He published this
translation in parts as they were finished, the more speedily to
gratify public impatience, and to enable the poor to procure the book.

From Scripture and faith, two sources which in reality are but one,
the life of the Gospel has flowed, and is still spreading over the
world. These two principles combated two fundamental errors. Faith was
opposed to the Pelagian tendency of Roman-catholicism; Scripture, to
the theory of tradition and the authority of Rome. Scripture led man
to faith, and faith led him back to Scripture. "Man can do no
meritorious work; the free grace of God, which he receives by faith in
Christ, alone saves him." Such was the doctrine proclaimed in
Christendom. But this doctrine could not fail to impel Christendom to
the study of Scripture. In truth, if faith in Christ is everything in
Christianity, if the practices and ordinances of the Church are
nothing, it is not to the teaching of the Church that we should
adhere, but to the teaching of Christ. The bond that unites to Christ
will become everything to the believer. What matters to him the
outward link that connects him with an outward church enslaved by the
opinions of men?......Thus, as the doctrine of the Bible had impelled
Luther's contemporaries towards Jesus Christ, so in turn the love they
felt to Jesus Christ impelled them to the Bible. It was not, as has
been supposed in our days, from a philosophical principle, or in
consequence of doubt, or from the necessity of inquiry, that they
returned to Scripture; it was because they there found the Word of Him
they loved. "You have preached Christ to us," said they to the
reformer, "let us now hear him himself." And they seized the pages
that were spread before them, as a letter coming from heaven.


But if the Bible was thus gladly received by those who loved Christ,
it was scornfully rejected by those who preferred the traditions and
observances of men. A violent persecution was waged against this work
of the reformer's. At the news of Luther's publication, Rome trembled.
The pen which had transcribed the sacred oracles was really that
which Frederick had seen in his dream, and which, reaching to the
Seven Hills, had shaken the tiara of the papacy.[159] The monk in his
cell, the prince on his throne, uttered a cry of anger. Ignorant
priests shuddered at the thought that every citizen, nay every
peasant, would now be able to dispute with them on the precepts of our
Lord. The King of England denounced the work to the Elector Frederick
and to Duke George of Saxony. But as early as the month of November
the duke had ordered his subjects to deposit every copy of Luther's
New Testament in the hands of the magistrates. Bavaria, Brandenburg,
Austria, and all the states devoted to Rome, published similar
decrees. In some places they made sacrilegious bonfires of these
sacred books in the public places.[160] Thus did Rome in the sixteenth
century renew the efforts by which paganism had attempted to destroy
the religion of Jesus Christ, at the moment when the dominion was
escaping from the priests and their idols. But who can check the
triumphant progress of the Gospel? "Even after my prohibition," wrote
Duke George, "many thousand copies were sold and read in my states."

  [159] Vol. I. p. 265.

  [160] Qui et alicubi in unum congesti rogum publice combusti sunt.

God even made use of those hands to circulate his Word that were
endeavouring to destroy it. The Romanist theologians, seeing that they
could not prohibit the reformer's work, published a translation of the
New Testament. It was Luther's version, altered here and there by the
publishers. There was no hindrance to its being read. Rome as yet knew
not that wherever the Word of God is established, there her power is
shaken. Joachim of Brandenburg permitted all his subjects to read any
translation of the Bible, in Latin or in German, provided it did not
come from Wittemberg. The people of Germany, and those of Brandenburg
in particular, thus made great progress in the knowledge of the truth.


The publication of the New Testament in the vulgar tongue is an
important epoch in the Reformation. If Feldkirchen's marriage was the
first step in the progress of the Reformation from doctrine into
social life; if the abolition of monastic vows was the second; if the
re-establishment of the Lord's Supper was the third,--the publication
of the New Testament was perhaps the most important of all. It worked
an entire change in society: not only in the presbytery of the priest,
in the monk's cell, and in the sanctuary of our Lord; but also in the
mansions of the great, in the houses of the citizens, and cottages of
the peasants. When the Bible began to be read in the families of
Christendom, Christendom itself was changed. Then arose other habits,
other manners, other conversations, and another life. With the
publication of the New Testament, the Reformation left the School and
the Church to take possession of the hearths of the people.

The effect produced was immense. The Christianity of the primitive
Church, drawn by the publication of the Holy Scriptures from the
oblivion of centuries in which it had lain, was thus presented before
the eyes of the nation; and this view was sufficient to justify the
attacks that had been made against Rome. The simplest men, provided
they knew how to read, women, mechanics (our informant is a
contemporary and violent opponent of the Reformation) eagerly studied
the New Testament.[161] They carried it about with them; soon they
knew it by heart, and the pages of this book loudly proclaimed the
perfect unison of Luther's Reformation with the Divine revelation.

  [161] Ut sutores, mulieres, et quilibet idiotæ......avidissime
  legerent. Cochlœus, p. 50.

And yet it was only by fragments that the doctrine of the Bible and of
the Reformation had been set forth hitherto. A certain truth had been
put forward in one writing; a certain error attacked in another. On
one vast plain lay scattered and confused the ruins of the old edifice
and the materials of the new: but the new edifice was wanting. The
publication of the New Testament undoubtedly satisfied this want. The
Reformation could say, as it gave this book: Here is my system! But as
every man is at liberty to assert that his system is that of the
Bible, the Reformation was called to arrange what it had found in
Scripture. And this Melancthon now did in its name.


He had walked with regular but confident steps in the development of
his theology, and had from time to time published the results of his
inquiries. Before this, in 1520, he had declared that in several of
the seven sacraments he could see nothing but an imitation of the
Jewish ceremonies; and in the infallibility of the pope, a haughty
presumption equally opposed to the Holy Scriptures and to good sense.
"To contend against these doctrines," he had said, "we require more
than one Hercules."[162] Thus had Melancthon reached the same point as
Luther, although by a calmer and more scientific process. The time had
come in which he was to confess his faith in his turn.

  [162] Adversus quas non uno nobis, ut ita dicam, Hercule opus est.
  Corp. Ref. i. 137.

In 1521, during Luther's captivity, Melancthon's celebrated work, "_On
the Common-places of Theology_," had presented to christian Europe a
body of doctrine of solid foundation and admirable proportion. A
simple and majestic unity appeared before the astonished eyes of the
new generation. The translation of the Testament justified the
Reformation to the people; Melancthon's _Common-places_ justified it
in the opinion of the learned.

For fifteen centuries the Church had existed, and had never seen such
a work. Forsaking the ordinary developments of scholastic theology,
Luther's friend at last gave the world a theological system derived
solely from Scripture. In it there reigned a breath of life, a
vitality of understanding, a strength of conviction, and a simplicity
of statement, forming a striking contrast with the subtle and pedantic
systems of the schools. The most philosophical minds, as well as the
strictest theologians, were equally filled with admiration.

Erasmus entitled this work a wondrous army drawn up in battle array
against the tyrannous battalions of the false doctors;[163] and while
he avowed his dissent from the author on several points, he added,
that although he had always loved him, he had never loved him so much
as after reading this work. "So true it is," said Calvin when
presenting it subsequently to France, "that the greatest simplicity is
the greatest virtue in treating of the christian doctrine."[164]

  [163] Video dogmatum aciem pulchre instructam adversus tyrannidem
  pharisaicam. Er. Epp. p. 949.

  [164] La Somme de Theologie, par Philippe Melancthon, Genève, 1551.
  Jehan Calvin aux Lecteurs.

[Sidenote: ORIGINAL SIN.]

But no one felt such joy as Luther. Throughout life this work was the
object of his admiration. The disconnected sounds that his hand, in
the deep emotion of his soul, had drawn from the harp of the prophets
and apostles, were here blended together in one enchanting harmony.
Those scattered stones, which he had laboriously hewn from the
quarries of Scripture, were now combined into a majestic edifice.
Hence he never ceased recommending the study of this work to the
youths who came to Wittemberg in search of knowledge: "If you desire
to become theologians," he would say, "read Melancthon."[165]

  [165] Librum invictum (said he on another occasion) non solum
  immortalitate sed et canone ecclesiastico dignum. De Servo Arbitrio.

According to Melancthon, a deep conviction of the wretched state to
which man is reduced by sin is the foundation on which the edifice of
christian theology should be raised. This universal evil is the
primary fact, the leading idea on which the science is based; it is
the characteristic that distinguishes theology from those sciences
whose only instrument is reason.


The christian divine, diving into the heart of man, explains its laws
and mysterious attractions, as another philosopher in after-years
explained the laws and attraction of bodies. "Original sin," said he,
"is an inclination born with us,--a certain impulse which is agreeable
to us,--a certain force leading us to sin, and which has been
communicated by Adam to all his posterity. As in fire there is a
native energy impelling it to mount upward, as there is in the
loadstone a natural quality by which iron is attracted; so also there
is in man a primitive force that inclines him to evil. I grant that in
Socrates, Xenocrates, and Zeno were found temperance, firmness, and
chastity; these shadows of virtues were found in impure hearts and
originated in self-love. This is why we should regard them not as real
virtues, but as vices."[166] This language may seem harsh; but not so
if we apprehend Melancthon's meaning aright. No one was more willing
than himself to acknowledge virtues in the pagans that entitled them
to the esteem of man; but he laid down this great truth, that the
sovereign law given by God to all his creatures, is to love him above
all things. Now, if man, in doing that which God commands, does it not
from love to God, but from love of self, can God accept him for daring
to substitute himself in the place of His infinite Majesty? and can
there be no sinfulness in an action that is express rebellion against
the supreme Deity?

  [166] Loci Communes Theologici, Basle, 1521, p. 35. This edition is
  very rare. For the subsequent revisions consult that of Erlangen,
  1828, founded on that of Basle, 1561.

The Wittemberg divine then proceeds to show how man is saved from this
wretchedness. "The apostle!" said he, "invites thee to contemplate the
Son of God sitting at the right hand of the Father, mediating and
interceding for us;[167] and calls upon thee to feel assured that thy
sins are forgiven thee, that thou art reputed righteous, and accepted
by the Father for the sake of that Son who suffered for us on the

  [167] Vult te intueri Filium Dei sedentem ad dextram Patris,
  mediatorem interpellantem pro nobis. Ibid.


The first edition of the _Common-places_ is especially remarkable for
the manner in which the theologian of Germany speaks of free will. He
saw more clearly perhaps than Luther, for he was a better theologian
than he, that this doctrine could not be separated from that which
constituted the very essence of the Reformation. Man's justification
before God proceeds from faith alone: this is the first point. This
faith enters man's heart by the grace of God alone: here is the
second. Melancthon saw clearly that if he allowed that man had any
natural ability to believe, he would be throwing down in the second
point that great doctrine of grace which he had stated in the first.
He had too much discernment and understanding of the Holy Scriptures
to be mistaken in so important a matter. But he went too far. Instead
of confining himself within the limits of the religious question, he
entered upon metaphysics. He established a fatalism which might tend
to represent God as the author of evil,--a doctrine which has no
foundation in Scripture. "As all things which happen," said he,
"happen necessarily, according to the Divine predestination, there is
no such thing as liberty in our wills."[168]

  [168] Quandoquidem omnia quæ eveniunt, necessario eveniunt juxta
  divinam prædestinationem, nulla est voluntatis nostræ libertas. Loc.
  Com. Theol. Basle, 1521, p. 35.

But the object Melancthon had particularly in view was to present
theology as a system of piety. The schoolmen had so dried up the
doctrine as to leave no traces of vitality in it. The task of the
Reformation was therefore to reanimate this lifeless doctrine. In the
subsequent editions, Melancthon felt the necessity of expounding these
doctrines with greater clearness.[169] But such was not precisely the
case in 1521. "To know Christ," said he, "is to know his
blessings.[170] Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, desiring to give a
summary of the christian doctrines, does not philosophize on the
mystery of the Trinity, on the mode of incarnation, on active or
passive creation; of what then does he speak?--of the law,--of
sin,--of grace. On this our knowledge of Christ depends."

 [169] See the edition of 1561, reprinted in 1829, p. 14-44, the
 several chapters:--De tribus personis;--De divinitate Filii;--De
 duabus naturis in Christo;--Testimonia quod Filius sit
 persona;--Testimonia refutantia Arianos;--De discernendis
 proprietatibus humanæ et divinæ naturæ Christi;--De Spiritu Sancto,
 &c. &c.

 [170] Hoc est Christum cognoscere, beneficia ejus cognoscere. Ibid.

The publication of this body of theology was of inestimable value to
the cause of truth. Calumnies were refuted; prejudices swept away. In
the churches, palaces, and universities, Melancthon's genius found
admirers, who esteemed the graces of his character. Even those who
knew not the author were attracted to his creed by his book. The
roughness and occasional violence of Luther's language had often
repelled many. But here was a man who explained those mighty truths
whose sudden explosion had shaken the world, with great elegance of
style, exquisite taste, admirable perspicuity, and perfect order. The
work was sought after and read with avidity, and studied with ardour.
Such gentleness and moderation won all hearts. Such nobility and force
commanded their respect; and the superior classes of society, hitherto
undecided, were gained over by a wisdom that made use of such
beautiful language.

On the other hand, the adversaries of truth, whom Luther's terrible
blows had not yet humbled, remained for a time silent and disconcerted
at the appearance of Melancthon's treatise. They saw that there was
another man as worthy of their hatred as Luther himself. "Alas!"
exclaimed they, "unhappy Germany! to what extremity wilt thou be
brought by this new birth!"[171]

  [171] Heu! infelicem hoc novo partu Germaniam! Cochlœus.

Between the years 1521 and 1595 the _Common-places_ passed through
sixty-seven editions, without including translations. Next to the
Bible, this is the book that has possibly contributed most to the
establishment of the evangelical doctrine.


     Opposition--Henry VIII.--Wolsey--The Queen--Fisher--Thomas
       More--Luther's Books burnt--Henry's Attack on
       Luther--Presented to the Pope--Its Effect on Luther--Energy
       and Violence--Luther's Reply--Answer by the Bishop of
       Rochester--Reply of Thomas More--Henry's Proceedings.

While the "grammarian" Melancthon was contributing by these gentle
strains a powerful support to Luther, men of authority, enemies to the
reformer, were turning violently against him. He had escaped from the
Wartburg and reappeared on the stage of the world; and at this news
the rage of his former adversaries was revived.


Luther had been three months and a half at Wittemberg when a rumour,
increased by the thousand tongues of fame, brought intelligence that
one of the greatest kings of Christendom had risen against him. Henry
VIII., head of the house of Tudor, a prince descended from the
families of York and Lancaster, and in whose person, after so much
bloodshed, the red and white roses were at length united, the mighty
king of England, who claimed to re-establish on the continent, and
especially in France, the former influence of his crown,--had just
written a book against the poor monk of Wittemberg. "There is much
boasting about a little book by the King of England," wrote Luther to
Lange on the 26th of June 1522.[172]

  [172] Jactant libellum regis Angliæ; sed _leum_ illum suspicor sub
  pelle tectum:--an allusion to Lee, the king's chaplain, and a pun on
  the word _leo_, a lion. L. Epp. ii. 213.

Henry was then thirty-one years old; "he was tall, strong-built and
proportioned, and had an air of authority and empire."[173] His
countenance expressed the vivacity of his mind; vehement, presuming to
make everything give way to the violence of his passions, and
thirsting for glory, he at first concealed his faults under a certain
impetuosity that is peculiar to youth, and flatterers were not wanting
to encourage them. He would often visit, in company with his
courtiers, the house of his chaplain, Thomas Wolsey, the son of an
Ipswich butcher. Endowed with great skill, of overweening ambition,
and of unbounded audacity, this man, protected by the Bishop of
Winchester, chancellor of the kingdom, had rapidly advanced in his
master's favour, and allured him to his residence by the attractions
of pleasures and disorders, in which the young prince would not have
ventured to indulge in his own palace. This is recorded by Polydore
Virgil, at that time papal sub-collector in England.[174] In these
dissolute meetings, the chaplain surpassed the licentiousness of the
young courtiers who attended Henry VIII. Forgetful of the decorum
befitting a minister of the Church, he would sing, dance, laugh, play
the fool, fence, and indulge in obscene conversation.[175] By these
means he succeeded in obtaining the first place in the king's
councils, and, as sole minister, all the princes of Christendom were
forced to purchase his favour.

  [173] Collier, Eccl. Hist. of Great Britain, fol. ii. 1.

  [174] Domi suæ voluptatum omnium sacrarium fecit, quo regem frequenter
  ducebat. Polyd. Virgilius, Angl. Hist., Basle, 1570, fol. p. 633.
  Polydore appears to have suffered from Wolsey's pride, and rather
  inclined to exaggerate the minister's faults.

  [175] Cum illis adolescentibus una psallebat, saltabat, sermones
  leporis plenos habebat, ridebat, jocabatur, &c. Polyd. Virgilius,
  Angl. Hist. Basle, 1570, fol. p. 633.


Henry lived in the midst of balls, banquets, and jousting, and madly
squandered the treasures his father had slowly accumulated.
Magnificent tournaments succeeded each other without interval. In
these sports the king, who was distinguished above all the combatants
by his manly beauty, played the chief part.[176] If the contest
appeared for a moment doubtful, the strength and address of the young
monarch, or the artful policy of his opponents, gave him the victory,
and the lists resounded with shouts and applause in his honour. The
vanity of the youthful prince was inflated by these easy triumphs, and
there was no success in the world to which he thought he might not
aspire. The queen was often seen among the spectators. Her serious
features and sad look, her absent and dejected air, contrasted
strongly with the noise and glitter of these festivities. Shortly
after his accession to the throne, Henry VIII. had espoused for
reasons of state Catherine of Aragon, his senior by eight years: she
was his brother Arthur's widow, and aunt to Charles V. While her
husband followed his pleasures, the virtuous Catherine, whose piety
was truly Spanish, would leave her bed in the middle of the night to
take a silent part in the prayers of the monks.[177] She would kneel
down without cushion or carpet. At five in the morning, after taking a
little rest, she would again rise, and putting on the Franciscan
dress, for she had been admitted into the tertiary order of St
Francis, and hastily throwing the royal garments around her,[178]
would repair to church at six o'clock to join in the service.

  [176] Eximia corporis forma præditus, in qua etiam regiæ majestatis
  augusta quædam species elucebat. Sanderus de Schismate Anglicano, p.
  4. This work of Sanders, papal nuncio in Ireland, should be read very
  cautiously; for it abounds in false and calumnious assertions, as has
  been remarked by Cardinal Quirini and the Roman-catholic Doctor
  Lingard. See the History of England by the latter, vol. vi. 173.

  [177] Surgebat media nocte ut nocturnis religiosorum precibus
  interesset. Ibid. 5.

  [178] Sub regio vestitu _Divi Francisci_ habitu utebatur. Sanders, p.

[Sidenote: FISHER AND MORE.]

Two beings, living in such different spheres, could not long continue

Romish piety had other representatives besides Catherine in the court
of Henry VIII. John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, then nearly seventy
years of age, as distinguished for learning as for the austerity of
his manners, was the object of universal veneration. He had been the
oldest councillor of Henry VII., and the Duchess of Richmond,
grandmother to Henry VIII., calling him to her bedside, had commended
to his care the youth and inexperience of her grandson. The king, in
the midst of his irregularities, long continued to revere the aged
bishop as a father.

A man much younger than Fisher, a layman and lawyer, had before this
attracted general attention by his genius and noble character. His
name was Thomas More, son of one of the judges of the King's Bench. He
was poor, austere, and diligent. At the age of twenty he had
endeavoured to quench the passions of youth by wearing a shirt of
haircloth, and by self-scourging. On one occasion, being summoned by
Henry VIII. while he was attending mass, he replied, that God's
service was before the king's. Wolsey introduced him to Henry, who
employed him on various embassies, and showed him much kindness. He
would often send for him, and converse with him on astronomy, on
Wolsey, and on divinity.

In truth, the king himself was not unacquainted with the Romish
doctrines. It would appear, that if Arthur had lived, Henry was
destined for the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury. Thomas
Aquinas[179], St. Bonaventure, tournaments, banquets, Elizabeth Blunt
and others of his mistresses--all were mixed up in the mind and life
of this prince, who had masses of his own composition sung in his

  [179] Legebat studiose libros divi Thomæ Aquinatis. Pol. Virg. p. 634.


As soon as Henry had heard talk of Luther, he became indignant against
him, and hardly was the decree of the Diet of Worms known in England,
before he ordered the pontiff's bull against the reformer's works to
be put in execution.[180] On the 12th of May 1521, Thomas Wolsey, who,
together with the office of chancellor of England, combined those of
cardinal and legate of Rome, went in solemn procession to St. Paul's.
This man, whose pride had attained the highest pitch, thought himself
the equal of kings. He used to sit in a chair of gold, sleep in a
golden bed, and a cover of cloth of gold was spread on the table at
his meals.[181] On this occasion he displayed great magnificence. His
household, consisting of 800 persons, among whom were barons, knights,
and sons of the most distinguished families, who hoped by serving him
to obtain public office, surrounded this haughty prelate. Silk and
gold glittered not only on his garments (he was the first ecclesiastic
who ventured to dress so sumptuously),[182] but even on the housings
and harness of the horses. Before walked a tall priest bearing a
silver column terminated by a cross; behind him, another ecclesiastic
of similar height carried the archiepiscopal crosier of York; a
nobleman at his side held the cardinal's hat.[183] Lords, prelates,
ambassadors from the pope and emperor, accompanied him, followed by a
long line of mules bearing chests covered with the richest and most
brilliant hangings. It was this magnificent procession that was
carrying to the burning pile the writings of the poor monk of
Wittemberg. When they reached the cathedral, the insolent priest
placed his cardinal's hat on the altar. The virtuous Bishop of
Rochester stationed himself at the foot of the cross, and with
agitated voice preached earnestly against the heresy. After this the
impious books of the heresiarch were brought together and devoutly
burned in the presence of an immense crowd. Such was the first
intelligence that England received of the Reformation.

  [180] Primum libros Lutheranos, quorum magnus jam numerus pervenerat
  in manus suorum Anglorum, comburendos curavit. Pol. Virg. p. 664.

  [181] Uti sella aurea, uti pulvino aureo, uti velo aureo ad mensam.

  [182] Primus episcoporum et cardinalium, vestitum exteriorem sericum
  sibi induit. Ibid. p. 633.

  [183] Galerum cardinalium, ordinis insignem, sublime a ministro
  præferebat......super altare collocabat. Ibid. p. 645.


Henry would not stop here. This prince, whose hand was ever upraised
against his adversaries, his wives, or his favourites, wrote to the
elector-palatine: "It is the devil, who, by Luther's means, has
kindled this immense conflagration. If Luther will not be converted,
let him and his writings be burnt together!"[184]

  [184] Knapp's Nachlese, ii. 458.

This was not enough. Having been convinced that the progress of heresy
was owing to the extreme ignorance of the German princes, Henry
thought the moment had arrived for showing his learning. The victories
of his battle-axe did not permit him to doubt of those that were
reserved for his pen. But another passion, vanity, ever greatest in
the smallest minds, spurred the king onward. He was humiliated at
having no title to oppose to that of "Catholic," and "Most Christian,"
borne by the kings of Spain and France, and he had long been begging a
similar distinction from the court of Rome. What would be more likely
to procure it than an attack upon heresy? Henry therefore threw aside
the kingly purple, and descended from his throne into the arena of
theological discussion. He enlisted Thomas Aquinas, Peter Lombard,
Alexander Hales, and Bonaventure into his service; and the world
beheld the publication of the _Defence of the Seven Sacraments,
against Martin Luther, by the most invincible King of England and
France, Lord of Ireland, Henry the eighth of that name_.

"I will rush in front of the Church to save her," said the King of
England in this treatise; "I will receive in my bosom the poisoned
arrows of her assailants.[185] The present state of things calls me to
do so. Every servant of Christ, whatever be his age, sex, or rank,
should rise up against the common enemy of Christendom.[186]

  [185] Meque adversus venenata jacula hostis eam oppugnantes objicerem.
  Assertio septem sacramentorum adv. M. Lutherum, in prologo.

  [186] Omnis Christi servus, omnis ætas, omnis sexus, omnis ordo
  consurgat. Ibid.


"Let us put on a twofold breastplate; the heavenly breastplate, to
conquer by the weapons of truth him who combats with those of error;
but also an earthly breastplate, that if he shows himself obstinate in
his malice, the hand of the executioner may constrain him to be
silent, and that once at least he may be useful to the world, by the
terrible example of his death."[187]

  [187] Et qui nocuit verbo malitiæ, supplicii prosit exemplo. Assertio
  septem sacramentorum adv. M. Lutherum, in prologo.

Henry VIII. was unable to hide the contempt he felt towards his feeble
adversary. "This man," said the crowned theologian, "seems to be in
the pangs of childbirth; after a travail without precedent, he
produces nothing but wind.[188] Remove the daring envelope of the
insolent verbiage with which he clothes his absurdities, as an ape is
clothed in purple, and what remains?......a wretched and empty

  [188] Mirum est quanto nixu parturiens, quam nihil peperit, nisi merum
  ventum. Ibid.

The king defends, successively, the mass, penance, confirmation,
marriage, orders, and extreme unction; he is not sparing of abusive
language towards his opponent; he calls him by turns a wolf of hell, a
poisonous viper, a limb of the devil. Even Luther's sincerity is
attacked. Henry VIII. crushes the mendicant monk with his royal anger,
"and writes as 'twere with his sceptre," says an historian.[189]

  [189] Collyer, Eccl. Hist. p. 17.

And yet it must be confessed that his work was not bad, considering
the author and his age. The style is not altogether without force; but
the public of the day did not confine themselves to paying it due
justice. The theological treatise of the powerful King of England was
received with a torrent of adulation. "The most learned work the sun
ever saw," cried some.[190]--"We can only compare it," re-echoed
others, "to the works of Augustine. He is a Constantine, a
Charlemagne!"--"He is more," said others, "he is a second Solomon!"

  [190] Burnet, Hist. Ref. of England. i. 30.


These flatteries soon extended beyond the limits of England. Henry
desired John Clarke, dean of Windsor, his ambassador at Rome, to
present his book to the sovereign pontiff. Leo X. received the envoy
in full consistory. Clarke laid the royal work before him, saying:
"The king my master assures you that, having now refuted Luther's
errors with the pen, he is ready to combat his adherents with the
sword." Leo, touched with this promise, replied, that the king's book
could not have been written without the aid of the Holy Ghost, and
conferred upon Henry the title of _Defender of the Faith_, which is
still borne by the sovereigns of England.

The reception which this volume met with at Rome contributed greatly
to increase the number of its readers. In a few months many thousand
copies issued from different presses.[191] "The whole christian
world," says Cochlœus, "was filled with admiration and joy."[192]

  [191] Intra paucos menses, liber ejus a multis chalcographis in multa
  millia multiplicatus. Cochlœus, p. 44.

  [192] Ut totum orbem christianum et gaudio et admiratione repleverit.

Such extravagant panegyrics augmented the insufferable vanity of this
chief of the Tudors. He himself seemed to have no doubt that he was
inspired by the Holy Ghost.[193] From that time he would suffer no
contradiction. His papacy was no longer at Rome, but at Greenwich;
infallibility reposed on his shoulders: at a subsequent period this
contributed greatly to the Reformation of England.

  [193] He was brought to fancy it was written with some degree of
  inspiration. Burnet, Preface.


Luther read Henry's book with a smile mingled with disdain,
impatience, and indignation. The falsehood and the abuse it contained,
but especially the air of contempt and compassion which the king
assumed, irritated the Wittemberg doctor to the highest degree. The
thought that the pope had crowned this work, and that on all sides the
enemies of the Gospel were triumphing over the Reformation and the
reformer as already overthrown and vanquished, increased his
indignation. Besides, what reason had he to temporize? Was he not
fighting in the cause of a King greater than all the kings of the
earth? The meekness of the Gospel appeared to him unseasonable. An eye
for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. He went beyond all bounds.
Persecuted, insulted, hunted down, wounded, the furious lion turned
round, and proudly roused himself to crush his enemy. The elector,
Spalatin, Melancthon, and Bugenhagen, strove in vain to pacify him.
They would have prevented his replying; but nothing could stop him.
"I will not be gentle towards the King of England," said he. "I know
that it is vain for me to humble myself, to give way, to entreat, to
try peaceful methods. At length I will show myself more terrible
towards these furious beasts, who goad me every day with their horns.
I will turn mine upon them. I will provoke Satan until he falls down
lifeless and exhausted.[194] If this heretic does not recant, says
Henry VIII. the new Thomas, he must be burnt alive! Such are the
weapons they are now employing against me: the fury of stupid asses
and swine of the brood of Thomas Aquinas; and then the stake.[195]
Well then, be it so! Let these hogs advance if they dare, and let them
burn me! Here I am waiting for them. After my death, though my ashes
should be thrown into a thousand seas, they will rise, pursue, and
swallow up this abominable herd. Living, I shall be the enemy of the
papacy; burnt, I shall be its destruction. Go then, swine of St.
Thomas, do what seemeth good to you. You will ever find Luther like a
bear upon your way, and as a lion in your path. He will spring upon
you whithersoever you go, and will never leave you at peace, until he
has broken your iron heads, and ground your brazen foreheads into

  [194] Mea in ipsos exercebo cornua, irritaturus Satanam, donec effusis
  viribus et conatibus corruat in se ipso. L. Epp. ii. 236.

  [195] Ignis et furor insulsissimorum asinorum et Thomisticorum
  porcorum. Contra Henricum Regem, Opp. Lat. ii. 331. This language
  reminds us of the Irish agitator. There is, however, greater force and
  nobility in the orator of the 16th than in him of the 19th century.
  See _Revue Britannique_ for November 1835. _Le Règne d'O'Connel._
  "Soaped swine of civilized society," &c. p. 30.

Luther first reproaches Henry VIII. with having supported his
doctrines solely by the decrees and opinions of men. "As for me," says
he, "I never cease crying the Gospel, the Gospel! Christ, Christ!--And
my adversaries continue to reply: Custom, custom! Ordinances,
ordinances! Fathers, fathers!--St. Paul says: _Let not your faith
stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God_ (1 Cor. ii. 5).
And the apostle by this thunderclap from heaven overthrows and
disperses, as the wind scatters the dust, all the hobgoblins of this
Henry. Frightened and confounded, these Thomists, Papists, and Henrys
fall prostrate before the thunder of these words."[196]

  [196] Confusi et prostrati jacent a facie verborum istius tonitrui.
  Contra Henricum reg. Opp. Lat. ii. 336.


He then refutes the king's book in detail, and overturns his arguments
one after the other, with a perspicuity, spirit, and knowledge of the
Holy Scriptures and history of the Church, but also with an assurance,
disdain, and sometimes violence, that ought not to surprise us.

Having reached the end of his confutation, Luther again becomes
indignant that his opponent should derive his arguments from the
Fathers only: this was the basis of the whole controversy. "To all the
words of the Fathers and of men, of angels and of devils," said he, "I
oppose, not old customs, not the multitude of men, but the Word of
Eternal Majesty,--the Gospel, which even my adversaries are obliged to
recognise. To this I hold fast, on this I repose, in this I boast, in
this I exult and triumph over the papists, the Thomists, the Henrys,
the sophists, and all the swine of hell.[197] The King of heaven is
with me; for this reason I fear nothing, although a thousand
Augustines, a thousand Cyprians, and a thousand of these churches
which Henry defends, should rise up against me. It is a small matter
that I should despise and revile a king of the earth, since he himself
does not fear in his writings to blaspheme the King of heaven, and to
profane His holy name by the most impudent falsehoods."[198]

  [197] Hic sto, hic sedeo, hic maneo, hic glorior, hic triumphor, hic
  insulto papistis......Ibid. 342.

  [198] Nec magnum si ego regem terræ contemno. Ibid. 344, verso.

"Papists!" exclaimed he in conclusion, "will ye never cease from your
idle attacks? Do what you please. Nevertheless, before that Gospel
which I preach down must come popes, bishops, priests, monks, princes,
devils, death, sin, and all that is not Christ or in Christ."[199]

  [199] L. Opp. Leips. xviii. 209.


Thus spoke the poor monk. His violence certainly cannot be excused, if
we judge it by the rule to which he himself appealed,--by the Word of
God. It cannot even be justified by alleging either the grossness of
the age (for Melancthon knew how to observe decorum in his writings),
or the energy of his character, for if this energy had any influence
over his language, passion also exerted more. It is better, then, that
we should condemn it. And yet, that we may be just, we should observe
that in the sixteenth century this violence did not appear so strange
as it would now-a-days. The learned were then an estate, as well as
the princes. By becoming a writer, Henry had attacked Luther. Luther
replied according to the established law in the republic of letters,
that we must consider the truth of what is said, and not the quality
of him that says it. Let us add also, that when this same king turned
against the pope, the abuse which the Romish writers and the pope
himself poured upon him, far exceeded all that Luther had ever said.

Besides, if Luther called Dr. Eck an ass and Henry VIII. a hog, he
indignantly rejected the intervention of the secular arm; while Eck
was writing a dissertation to prove that heretics ought to be burned,
and Henry was erecting scaffolds that he might conform with the
precepts of the chancellor of Ingolstadt.

Great was the emotion at the king's court; Surrey, Wolsey, and the
crowd of courtiers, put a stop to the festivities and pageantry at
Greenwich to vent their indignation in abuse and sarcasm. The
venerable Bishop of Rochester, who had been delighted to see the young
prince, formerly confided to his care, breaking a lance in defence of
the Church, was deeply wounded by the attack of the monk. He replied
to it immediately. His words distinctly characterize the age and the
Church. "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines,
says Christ in the Song of Songs. This teaches us," said Fisher, "that
we must take the heretics before they grow big. Now Luther is become a
big fox, so old, so cunning, and so sly, that he is very difficult to
catch. What do I say?......a fox? He is a mad dog, a ravening wolf, a
cruel bear; or rather all those animals in one; for the monster
includes many beasts within him."[200]

  [200] Canem dixissem rabidum, imo lupum rapacissimum, aut sævissimam
  quandam ursam. Cochlœus, p. 60.


Thomas More also descended into the arena to contend with the monk of
Wittemberg. Although a layman, his zeal against the Reformation
amounted to fanaticism, if it did not even urge him to shed blood.
When young nobles undertake the defence of the papacy, their violence
often exceeds even that of the ecclesiastics. "Reverend brother,
father, tippler, Luther, runagate of the order of St. Augustine,
misshapen bacchanal of either faculty, unlearned doctor of
theology."[201] Such is the language addressed to the reformer by one
of the most illustrious men of his age. He then proceeds to explain
the manner in which Luther had composed his book against Henry VIII.:
"He called his companions together, and desired them to go each his
own way and pick up all sorts of abuse and scurrility. One frequented
the public carriages and boats; another the baths and gambling-houses;
a third the taverns and barbers' shops; a fourth the mills and
brothels. They noted down in their tablets all the most insolent,
filthy, and infamous things they heard; and bringing back all these
abominations and impurities, they discharged them into that filthy
kennel which is called Luther's mind. If he retracts his falsehoods
and calumnies," continues More, "if he lays aside his folly and his
madness, if he swallows his own filth[202]......he will find one who
will seriously discuss with him. But if he proceeds as he has begun,
joking, teasing, fooling, calumniating, vomiting sewers and
cesspools[203]......let others do what they please; as for me, I
should prefer leaving the little friar to his own fury and
filth."[204] More would have done better to have restrained his own.
Luther never degraded his style to so low a degree. He made no reply.

  [201] Reverendus frater, pater, potator, Lutherus. Cochlœus, p. 61.

  [202] Si......suas resorbeat et sua relingat stercora. Ibid. p. 62.

  [203] Sentinas, cloacas, latrinas,......stercora. Ibid. p. 63.

  [204] Cum suis......et stercoribus......relinquere. Ibid. p. 63.
  Cochlœus is delighted at quoting these passages, selecting what
  according to his taste are the finest parts in More's reply. M.
  Nisard, on the contrary, confesses in his article on More, whom he
  defends with great warmth and erudition, that in this writing "the
  impurities dictated by the anger of the Catholic are such that all
  attempt at translation is impossible." Revue des deux Mondes, v. 592.


This writing still further increased Henry's attachment to More. He
would often visit him in his humble dwelling at Chelsea. After
dinner, the king, leaning on his favourite's shoulder, would walk in
the garden, while Mistress More and her children, concealed behind a
window, could not turn away their astonished eyes. After one of these
walks, More, who knew his man well, said to his wife: "If my head
could win him a single castle in France, he would not hesitate to cut
it off."

The king, thus defended by the Bishop of Rochester and by his future
chancellor, had no need to resume his pen. Confounded at finding
himself treated in the face of Europe as a common writer, Henry VIII.
abandoned the dangerous position he had taken, and throwing away the
pen of the theologian, had recourse to the more effectual means of

An ambassador was despatched from the court of Greenwich with a letter
for the elector and dukes of Saxony. "Luther, the real serpent fallen
from heaven," wrote he, "is pouring out his floods of venom upon the
earth. He is stirring up revolts in the Church of Jesus Christ,
abolishing laws, insulting the powers that be, inflaming the laity
against the priests, and laymen and priests against the pope, subjects
against their sovereigns, and desires nothing better than to see
Christians fighting and destroying one another, and the enemies of our
faith hailing this scene of carnage with a frightful grin.[205]

  [205] So ergiest er, gleich wie eine Schlang vom Himmel geworfen. L.
  Opp. xviii. 212. The original is in Latin: Velut e cœlo dejectus
  serpens, virus effundit in terras.

"What is this doctrine which he calls evangelical, if it be not
Wickliffe's? Now, most honoured uncles, I know what your ancestors
have done to destroy it. In Bohemia they hunted it down like a wild
beast, and driving it into a pit, they shut it up and kept it fast.
You will not allow it to escape through your negligence, lest,
creeping into Saxony, and becoming master of the whole of Germany, its
smoking nostrils should pour forth the flames of hell, spreading that
conflagration far and wide which your nation hath so often wished to
extinguish in its blood.[206]

  [206] Und durch sein schädlich Anblasen das höllische Feuer aussprühe.
  Ibid. 213.


"For this reason, most worthy princes, I feel obliged to exhort you
and even to entreat you in the name of all that is most sacred,
promptly to extinguish the cursed sect of Luther: put no one to death,
if that can be avoided; but if this heretical obstinacy continues,
then shed blood without hesitation, in order that the abominable
heresy may disappear from under heaven."[207]

  [207] Oder aber auch mit Blut vergiessen. L. Opp. xviii. 213.

The elector and his brother referred the king to the approaching
council. Thus Henry VIII. was far from attaining his end. "So great a
name mixed up in the dispute," said Paul Sarpi, "served to render it
more curious, and to conciliate general favour towards Luther, as
usually happens in combats and tournaments, where the spectators have
always a leaning to the weaker party, and take delight in exaggerating
the merit of his actions."[208]

  [208] Hist. Council of Trent. pp. 15, 16.


     General Movement--The Monks--How the Reformation was carried
       on--Unlearned Believer--The Old and the New
       Doctors--Printing and Literature--Bookselling and

A great movement was going on. The Reformation, which, after the Diet
of Worms, had been thought to be confined with its first teacher in
the narrow chamber of a strong castle, was breaking forth in every
part of the empire, and, so to speak, throughout Christendom. The two
classes, hitherto mixed up together, were now beginning to separate;
and the partisans of a monk, whose only defence was his tongue, now
took their stand fearlessly in the face of the servants of Charles V.
and Leo X. Luther had scarcely left the walls of the Wartburg, the
pope had excommunicated all his adherents, the imperial diet had just
condemned his doctrine, the princes were endeavouring to crush it in
most of the German states, the ministers of Rome were lowering it in
the eyes of the people by their violent invectives, the other states
of Christendom were calling upon Germany to sacrifice a man whose
assaults they feared even at a distance; and yet this new sect, few in
numbers, and among whose members there was no organization, no bond of
union, nothing in short that concentrated their common power, was
already frightening the vast, ancient, and powerful sovereignty of
Rome by the energy of its faith and the rapidity of its conquests. On
all sides, as in the first warm days of spring, the seed was bursting
from the earth spontaneously and without effort. Every day showed some
new progress. Individuals, villages, towns, whole cities, joined in
this new confession of the name of Jesus Christ. There was unpitying
opposition, there were terrible persecutions, but the mysterious power
that urged forward all these people was irresistible; and the
persecuted, quickening their steps, going forward through exile,
imprisonment, and the burning pile, everywhere prevailed over their

[Sidenote: THE MONKS.]

The monastic orders that Rome had spread over Christendom, like a net
intended to catch souls and keep them prisoners, were the first to
break their bonds, and rapidly to propagate the new doctrine
throughout the Church. The Augustines of Saxony had walked with
Luther, and felt that inward experience of the Holy Word which, by
putting them in possession of God himself, dethroned Rome and her
lofty assumptions. But in the other convents of the order, evangelical
light had dawned in like manner. Sometimes they were old men, who,
like Staupitz, had preserved the sound doctrines of truth in the midst
of deluded Christendom, and who now besought God to permit them to
depart in peace, for their eyes had seen his salvation. At other
times, they were young men, who had received Luther's teaching with
the eagerness peculiar to their age. The Augustine convents at
Nuremberg, Osnabruck, Dillingen, Ratisbon, Strasburg, and Antwerp,
with those in Hesse and Wurtemberg, turned towards Jesus Christ, and
by their courage excited the wrath of Rome.


But this movement was not confined to the Augustines only.
High-spirited men imitated them in the monasteries of other orders,
and notwithstanding the clamours of the monks, who would not abandon
their carnal observances, notwithstanding the anger, contempt,
sentences, discipline, and imprisonments of the cloister, they
fearlessly raised their voices in behalf of that holy and precious
truth, which they had found at last after so many painful inquiries,
such despair and doubt, and such inward struggle. In the majority of
the cloisters, the most spiritual, pious, and learned monks declared
for the Reformation. In the Franciscan convent at Ulm, Eberlin and
Kettenbach attacked the slavish works of monasticism, and the
superstitious observances of the Church, with an eloquence capable of
moving the whole nation; and they called for the immediate abolition
of the monasteries and houses of ill-fame. Another Franciscan, Stephen
Kempe, preached the Gospel at Hamburg, and, alone, presented a firm
front to the hatred, envy, menaces, snares, and attacks of the
priests, who were irritated at seeing the crowd abandon their altars,
and flock with enthusiasm to hear his sermons.[209]

  [209] Der übrigen Prediger Feindschafft, Neid, Nachstellungen,
  Praticken, und Schrecken. Seckendorff, p. 559.

Frequently the superiors of the convents were the first led away in
the path of reform. At Halberstadt, Neuenwerk, Halle, and Sagan, the
priors set the example to their monks, or at least declared that if a
monk felt his conscience burdened by the weight of monastic vows, far
from detaining him in the convent, they would take him by the
shoulders and thrust him out of doors.[210]

  [210] Seckendorff, p. 811; Stentzel, Script. Rer. Siles. i. 457.


Indeed throughout all Germany the monks were seen laying down their
frocks and cowls at the gates of the monasteries. Some were expelled
by the violence of the brethren or the abbots; others, of mild and
pacific character, could no longer endure the continual disputes,
abuse, clamour, and hatred which pursued them even in their slumbers;
the majority were convinced that the monastic life was opposed to the
will of God and to a christian life; some had arrived at this
conviction by degrees; others suddenly, by reading a passage in the
Bible. The sloth, grossness, ignorance, and degradation that
constituted the very nature of the mendicant orders, inspired with
indescribable disgust all men of elevated mind, who could no longer
support the society of their vulgar associates. One day, a Franciscan
going his rounds, stopped with the box in his hand begging alms at a
blacksmith's forge in Nuremberg: "Why," said the smith, "do you not
gain your bread by the work of your own hands?" At these words the
sturdy monk threw away his staff, and seizing the hammer plied it
vigorously on the anvil. The useless mendicant had become an honest
workman. His box and frock were sent back to the monastery.[211]

  [211] Ranke, Deutsche Geschichte, ii. 70.

The monks were not the only persons who rallied round the standard of
the Gospel; priests in still greater number began to preach the new
doctrines. But preachers were not required for its propagation; it
frequently acted on men's minds, and aroused them from their deep
slumber without any one having spoken.


Luther's writings were read in cities, towns, and even villages; at
night by the fireside the schoolmaster would often read them aloud to
an attentive audience. Some of the hearers were affected by their
perusal; they would take up the Bible to clear away their doubts, and
were struck with surprise at the astonishing contrast between the
Christianity of the Bible and their own. After oscillating between
Rome and Scripture, they soon took refuge with that living Word which
shed so new and sweet a radiance on their hearts. While they were in
this state, some evangelical preacher, probably a priest or a monk,
would arrive. He spoke eloquently and with conviction;[212] he
announced that Christ had made full atonement for the sins of his
people; he demonstrated by Holy Scripture the vanity of works and
human penances. A terrible opposition would then break out; the
clergy, and sometimes the magistrates, would strain every nerve to
bring back the souls they were about to lose. But there was in the new
preaching a harmony with Scripture and a hidden force that won all
hearts, and subdued even the most rebellious. At the peril of their
goods, and of their life if need be, they ranged themselves on the
side of the Gospel, and forsook the lifeless and fanatical orators of
the papacy.[213] Sometimes the people, incensed at being so long
misled, compelled them to retire; more frequently the priests,
deserted by their flocks, without tithes or offerings, departed
voluntarily and in sadness to seek a livelihood elsewhere.[214] And
while the supporters of the ancient hierarchy returned from these
places sorrowful and dejected, and sometimes bidding farewell to their
old flocks in the language of anathema, the people, transported with
joy by peace and liberty, surrounded the new preachers with their
applause, and, thirsting for the Word of God, carried them in triumph
into the church and into the pulpit.[215]

  [212] Eaque omnia prompte, alacriter, eloquenter. Cochlœus, p. 52.

  [213] Populo odibiles catholici concionatores. Cochlœus, p. 52.

  [214] Ad extremam redacti inopiam, aliunde sibi victum quærere
  cogerentur. Ibid. p. 53.

  [215] Triumphantibus novis prædicatoribus qui sequacem populum verbo
  novi Evangelii sui ducebant. Ibid.

A word of power, proceeding from God, was at that time regenerating
society. The people, or their leaders, would frequently invite some
man celebrated for his faith to come and enlighten them; and
instantly, for love of the Gospel, he abandoned his interests and his
family, his country and friends.[216] The persecution often compelled
the partisans of the Reformation to leave their homes: they reached
some spot where it was as yet unknown; here they would enter a house
that offered an asylum to poor travellers; there they would speak of
the Gospel, read a chapter to the attentive hearers, and perhaps, at
the request of their new friends, obtained permission to preach once
publicly in the church......Upon this a vast uproar would break out in
the city, and the greatest exertions were ineffectual to quench
it.[217] If they could not preach in the church, they found some other
spot. Every place became a temple. At Husum in Holstein, Hermann Tast,
who was returning from Wittemberg, and against whom the clergy of the
parish had closed the church doors, preached to an immense crowd in
the cemetery, beneath the shade of two large trees, not far from the
spot where, seven centuries before, Anschar had proclaimed the Gospel
to the heathen. At Arnstadt, Gaspard Güttel, an Augustine monk,
preached in the market-place. At Dantzic, the Gospel was announced on
a little hill without the city. At Gosslar, a Wittemberg student
taught the new doctrines in a meadow planted with lime-trees; whence
the evangelical Christians were denominated the _Lime-tree Brethren_.

  [216] Multi, omissa re domestica, in speciem veri Evangelii, parentes
  et amicos relinquebant. Ibid.

  [217] Ubi vero aliquos nacti fuissent amicos in ea civitate......Ibid.


While the priests were exhibiting a sordid covetousness before the
eyes of the people, the new preachers said to them, "Freely we have
received, freely do we give."[218] The idea often published by the new
preachers from the pulpit, that Rome had formerly sent the Germans a
corrupted Gospel, and that now for the first time Germany heard the
Word of Christ in its heavenly and primal beauty, produced a deep
impression on men's minds.[219] And the noble thought of the equality
of all men, of a universal brotherhood in Jesus Christ, laid strong
hold upon those souls which for so long a period had groaned beneath
the yoke of feudalism and of the papacy of the Middle Ages.[220]

  [218] Mira eis erat liberalitas. Cochlœus, p. 53.

  [219] Eam usque diem nunquam Germane prædicatam. Ibid.

  [220] Omnes æquales et fratres in Christo. Ibid.

Often would unlearned Christians, with the New Testament in their
hands, undertake to justify the doctrine of the Reformation. The
catholics who remained faithful to Rome withdrew in affright; for to
priests and monks alone had been assigned the task of studying sacred
literature. The latter were therefore compelled to come forward; the
conference began; but erelong, overwhelmed by the declarations of Holy
Scripture cited by these laymen, the priests and monks knew not how to
reply.[221]......"Unhappily Luther had persuaded his followers," says
Cochlœus, "to put no faith in any other oracle than the Holy
Scriptures." A shout was raised in the assembly, and proclaimed the
scandalous ignorance of these old theologians, who had hitherto been
reputed such great scholars by their own party.[222]

  [221] A laicis Lutheranis, plures Scripturæ locos, quam a monachis et
  presbyteris. Ibid. p. 54.

  [222] Reputabantur catholici ab illis ignari Scripturarum.
  Cochlœus, p. 54.


Men of the lowest station, and even the weaker sex, with the aid of
God's Word, persuaded and led away men's hearts. Extraordinary works
are the result of extraordinary times. At Ingolstadt, under the eyes
of Dr. Eck, a young weaver read Luther's works to the assembled crowd.
In this very city, the university having resolved to compel a disciple
of Melancthon to retract, a woman, named Argula de Staufen, undertook
his defence, and challenged the doctors to a public disputation. Women
and children, artisans and soldiers, knew more of the Bible than the
doctors of the schools or the priests of the altars.

Christendom was divided into two hostile bodies, and their aspects
were strikingly contrasted. Opposed to the old champions of the
hierarchy, who had neglected the study of languages and the
cultivation of literature (as one of their own body informs us), were
generous-minded youths, devoted to study, investigating Scripture, and
familiarizing themselves with the masterpieces of antiquity.[223]
Possessing an active mind, an elevated soul, and intrepid heart, these
young men soon acquired such knowledge, that for a long period none
could compete with them. It was not only the vitality of their faith
which rendered them superior to their contemporaries, but an elegance
of style, a perfume of antiquity, a sound philosophy, a knowledge of
the world, completely foreign to the theologians "of the old leaven,"
as Cochlœus himself terms them.[224] Accordingly, when these
youthful defenders of the Reformation met the Romish doctors in any
assembly, they attacked them with such ease and confidence, that these
ignorant men hesitated, became embarrassed, and fell into a contempt
merited in the eyes of all.

  [223] Totam vero juventutem, eloquentiæ litteris, linguarumque studio
  deditam......in partem suam traxit. Ibid.

  [224] Veteris farinæ.


The ancient edifice was crumbling under the load of superstition and
ignorance; the new one was rising on the foundations of faith and
knowledge. New elements entered deep into the lives of the people.
Torpor and dulness were in all parts succeeded by a spirit of inquiry
and a thirst for instruction. An active, enlightened, and living faith
took the place of superstitious devotion and ascetic meditations.
Works of piety succeeded bigoted observances and penances. The pulpit
prevailed over the ceremonies of the altar; and the ancient and
sovereign authority of God's Word was at length restored in the

The printing-press, that powerful machine discovered in the fifteenth
century, came to the support of all these exertions, and its terrible
missiles were continually battering the walls of the enemy.

The impulse which the Reformation gave to popular literature in
Germany was immense. Whilst in the year 1513 only thirty-five
publications had appeared, and thirty-seven in 1517, the number of
books increased with astonishing rapidity after the appearance of
Luther's theses. In 1518 we find seventy-one different works; in 1519,
one hundred and eleven; in 1520, two hundred and eight; in 1521, two
hundred and eleven; in 1522, three hundred and forty-seven; and in
1523, four hundred and ninety-eight......And where were all these
published? For the most part at Wittemberg. And who were their
authors? Generally Luther and his friends. In 1522 one hundred and
thirty of the reformer's writings were published; and in the year
following, one hundred and eighty-three. In this same year only twenty
Roman-catholic publications appeared.[225] The literature of Germany
thus saw the light in the midst of struggles, and contemporaneously
with her religion. Already it appeared learned, profound, full of
daring and life, as later times have seen it. The national spirit
showed itself for the first time without mixture, and at the very
moment of its birth received the baptism of fire from christian

  [225] Panzer's Annalen der Deutsch. Litt.; Ranke's Deutsch. Gesch. ii.

[Sidenote: COLPORTAGE.]

What Luther and his friends composed, others circulated. Monks,
convinced of the unlawfulness of monastic obligations, desirous of
exchanging a long life of slothfulness for one of active exertion, but
too ignorant to proclaim the Word of God, travelled through the
provinces, visiting hamlets and cottages, where they sold the books
of Luther and his friends. Germany soon swarmed[226] with these bold
colporteurs.[227] Printers and booksellers eagerly welcomed every
writing in defence of the Reformation; but they rejected the books of
the opposite party, as generally full of ignorance and barbarism.[228]
If any one of them ventured to sell a book in favour of the papacy,
and offered it for sale in the fairs at Frankfort or elsewhere,
merchants, purchasers, and men of letters overwhelmed him with
ridicule and sarcasm.[229] It was in vain that the emperor and princes
had published severe edicts against the writings of the reformers. As
soon as an inquisitorial visit was to be paid, the dealers who had
received secret intimation concealed the books that it was intended to
proscribe; and the multitude, ever eager for what is prohibited,
immediately bought them up, and read them with the greater avidity. It
was not only in Germany that such scenes were passing; Luther's
writings were translated into French, Spanish, English, and Italian,
and circulated among these nations.

  [226] Apostatarum, monasteriis relictis, infinitus jam erat numerus,
  in speciem bibliopolarum. Cochlœus, p. 54.

  [227] We have ventured to employ the words _colporteur_ and
  _colportage_ to express the trade and title of those itinerant
  booksellers. Besides the inadequacy of our English equivalent, these
  words appear to be making their way into our vocabulary.

  [228] Catholicorum, velut indocta et veteris barbarici trivialia
  scripta, contemnebant. Cochlœus, p. 54.

  [229] In publicis mercatibus Francofordiæ et alibi, vexabantur ac
  ridebantur. Ibid.


     Luther at Zwickau--The Castle of
       Freyberg--Worms--Frankfort--Universal Movement--Wittemberg
       the Centre of the Reformation--Luther's Sentiments.


If the most puny instruments inflicted such terrible blows on Rome,
what was it when the voice of the monk of Wittemberg was heard?
Shortly after the discomfiture of the new prophets, Luther, in a
layman's attire, traversed the territories of Duke George in a waggon.
His gown was hidden, and the reformer seemed to be a plain citizen of
the country. If he had been recognised, if he had fallen into the
hands of the exasperated duke, perhaps his fate would have been
sealed. He was going to preach at Zwickau, the birthplace of the
pretended prophets. It was no sooner known at Schneeberg, Annaberg,
and the surrounding places, than the people crowded around him.
Fourteen thousand persons flocked into the city, and as there was no
church that could contain such numbers, Luther went into the balcony
of the town-hall, and preached before an audience of twenty-five
thousand persons who thronged the market-place, some of whom had
mounted on heaps of cut stones piled up near the building.[230] The
servant of God was dilating with fervour on the election of grace,
when suddenly cries were heard from the midst of the auditory. An old
woman of haggard mien stretched out her emaciated arms from the stone
on which she had taken her station, and seemed desirous of restraining
with her fleshless hands that crowd which was about to fall prostrate
at the feet of Jesus. Her wild yells interrupted the preacher. "It was
the devil," said Seckendorff, "who had taken the form of an old woman
in order to excite a disturbance."[231] But it was all in vain; the
reformer's words silenced the wicked spirit; these thousands of
hearers caught his enthusiasm; glances of admiration were exchanged;
hands were warmly grasped, and erelong the tongue-tied monks, unable
to avert the storm, found it necessary to leave Zwickau.

  [230] Von dem Rathhaus unter einem Zulauf von 25,000 Menschen. Seck.
  p. 539.

  [231] Der Teufel indem er sich in Gestalt eines alten Weibes. Ibid.


In the castle of Freyberg dwelt Henry, brother of Duke George. His
wife, a princess of Mecklenburg, had the preceding year borne him a
son who had been named Maurice. With a fondness for the table and for
pleasure, Duke Henry combined the rudeness and coarse manners of a
soldier. In other respects, he was pious after the fashion of the
times, had gone to the Holy Land, and made a pilgrimage to St. Iago of
Compostella. He would often say: "At Compostella I placed a hundred
golden florins on the altar of the saint, and said to him: O St. Iago,
to please thee I came hither; I make thee a present of this money; but
if these knaves (the priests) take it from thee, I cannot help it; so
be on your guard."[232]

  [232] Lass du dir's die Buben nehmen......Seck. p. 430.

A Franciscan and a Dominican, both disciples of Luther, had been for
some time preaching the Gospel at Freyberg. The duchess, whose piety
had inspired her with a horror of heresy, listened to their sermons
with astonishment that this gentle word of a Saviour was the object
she had been taught to fear. Gradually her eyes were opened, and she
found peace in Christ Jesus. No sooner had Duke George learnt that the
Gospel was preached at Freyberg, than he entreated his brother to
oppose these novelties. Chancellor Strehlin and the canons seconded
his prayer with their fanaticism. A violent explosion took place in
the court of Freyberg. Duke Henry harshly reprimanded and reproached
his wife, and more than once the pious duchess watered her child's
cradle with her tears. Yet by degrees her prayers and gentleness won
the heart of her husband; the rough man was softened; harmony was
restored between the married pair, and they were enabled to join in
prayer beside their sleeping babe. Great destinies were hovering over
that child; and from that cradle, where a christian mother had so
often poured forth her sorrows, God was one day to bring forth the
liberator of the Reformation.

Luther's intrepidity had excited the inhabitants of Worms. The
imperial decree terrified the magistrates; all the churches were
closed; but in a public place, filled by an immense crowd, a preacher
ascended a rudely constructed pulpit, and proclaimed the Gospel with
persuasive accents. If the authorities showed a disposition to
interfere, the hearers dispersed in a moment, and stealthily carried
away the pulpit; but the storm was no sooner passed, than it was
immediately set up in some more secluded spot, to which the crowd
again flocked to hear the Word of Christ. This temporary pulpit was
every day carried from one place to another, and served to encourage
the people, still agitated by the emotions of the great drama lately
performed in their city.[233]

  [233] So liessen sie eine Canzel machen, die man von einem Ort zum
  andern......Seck. p. 436.


At Frankfort on the Maine, one of the principal free cities of the
empire, all was in commotion. A courageous evangelist, Ibach, preached
salvation by Jesus Christ. The clergy, among whom was Cochlœus, so
notorious by his writings and his opposition, irritated against this
audacious colleague, denounced him to the Archbishop of Mentz. The
council undertook his defence, although with timidity, but to no
purpose, for the clergy discharged the evangelical minister, and
compelled him to leave the town. Rome triumphed; everything seemed
lost; the poor believers fancied themselves for ever deprived of the
Word; but at the very moment when the citizens appeared inclined to
yield to these tyrannical priests, many nobles declared for the
Gospel. Max of Molnheim, Harmuth of Cronberg, George of Stockheim, and
Emeric of Reiffenstein, whose estates lay near Frankfort, wrote to the
council: "We are constrained to rise up against these spiritual
wolves." And addressing the clergy, they said: "Embrace the
evangelical doctrine, recall Ibach, or else we will refuse to pay our

The people, who listened gladly to the Reformation, being encouraged
by the language of the nobles, began to put themselves in motion; and
one day, just as Peter Mayer, the persecutor of Ibach and the most
determined enemy of the reform, was going to preach against the
heretics, a great uproar was heard. Mayer was alarmed, and hastily
quitted the church. This movement decided the council. All the
preachers were enjoined by proclamation to preach the pure Word of
God, or to leave the city.


The light which proceeded from Wittemberg, as from the heart of the
nation, was thus shedding its rays through the whole empire. In the
west,--Berg, Cleves, Lippstadt, Munster, Wesel, Miltenberg, Mentz,
Deux Ponts, and Strasburg, listened to the Gospel; on the south,--Hof,
Schlesstadt, Bamberg, Esslingen, Halle in Swabia, Heilbrunn,
Augsburg, Ulm, and many other places, received it with joy. In the
east,--the duchy of Liegnitz, Prussia, and Pomerania opened their
gates to it; and in the north,--Brunswick, Halberstadt, Gosslar, Zell,
Friesland, Bremen, Hamburg, Holstein, and even Denmark, with other
neighbouring countries, were moved at the sounds of this new doctrine.

The Elector Frederick had declared that he would allow the bishops to
preach freely in his states, but that he would deliver no one into
their hands. Accordingly, the evangelical teachers, persecuted in
other countries, soon took refuge in Saxony. Ibach of Frankfort,
Eberlin of Ulm, Kauxdorf of Magdeburg, Valentine Mustœus, whom the
canons of Halberstadt had horribly mutilated,[234] and other faithful
ministers, coming from all parts of Germany, fled to Wittemberg, as
the only asylum in which they could be secure. Here they conversed
with the reformers; at their feet they strengthened themselves in the
faith; and communicated to them their own experience and the knowledge
they had acquired. It is thus the waters of the rivers return by the
clouds from the vast expanse of the ocean, to feed the glaciers whence
they first descended to the plains.

  [234] Aliquot ministri canonicorum, capiunt D. Valentinum Mustæum et
  vinctum manibus pedibusque, injecto in ejus os freno, deferunt per
  trabes in inferiores cœnobii partes, ibique in cella cerevisiaria
  eum castrant. Hamelmann, Historia renati Evangelii, p. 880.

The work which was evolving at Wittemberg, and formed in this manner
of many different elements, became more and more the work of the
nation, of Europe, and of Christendom. This school, founded by
Frederick, and quickened by Luther, was the centre of an immense
revolution which regenerated the Church, and impressed on it a real
and living unity far superior to the apparent unity of Rome. The Bible
reigned at Wittemberg, and its oracles were heard on all sides. This
academy, the most recent of all, had acquired that rank and influence
in Christendom which had hitherto belonged to the ancient university
of Paris. The crowds that flocked thither from every part of Europe
made known the wants of the Church and of the nations; and as they
quitted these walls, now become holy to them, they carried back with
them to the Church and the people the Word of Grace appointed to heal
and to save the nations.


Luther, as he witnessed this success, felt his confidence increase. He
beheld this feeble undertaking, begun in the midst of so many fears
and struggles, changing the aspect of the christian world, and was
himself astonished at the result. He had foreseen nothing of the kind,
when first he rose up against Tetzel. Prostrate before the God whom he
adored, he confessed the work to be His, and exulted in the assurance
of a victory that could not be torn from him. "Our enemies threaten us
with death," said he to Harmuth of Cronberg; "if they had as much
wisdom as foolishness, they would, on the contrary, threaten us with
life. What an absurdity and insult to presume to threaten death to
Christ and Christians, who are themselves lords and conquerors of
death![235]......It is as if I would seek to frighten a man by
saddling his horse and helping him to mount. Do they not know that
Christ is risen from the dead? In their eyes He is still lying in the
sepulchre; nay more--in hell. But we know that He lives." He was
grieved at the thought that he was regarded as the author of a work,
in the smallest details of which he beheld the hand of God. "Many
believe because of me," said he. "But those alone truly believe, who
would continue faithful even should they hear (which God forbid!) that
I had denied Jesus Christ. True disciples believe not in Luther, but
in Jesus Christ. As for myself, I do not care about Luther.[236]
Whether he is a saint or a knave, what matters it? It is not he that I
preach; but Christ. If the devil can take him, let him do so! But let
Christ abide with us, and we shall abide also."

  [235] Herren und Siegmänner des Todes. L. Epp. ii. 164.

  [236] Ich kenne auch selbst nicht den Luther. Ibid. 168.


And vainly, indeed, would men endeavour to explain this great movement
by mere human circumstances. Men of letters, it is true, sharpened
their wits and discharged their keen-pointed arrows against the pope
and the monks; the shout of liberty, which Germany had so often raised
against the tyranny of the Italians, again resounded in the castles
and provinces; the people were delighted with the song of "the
nightingale of Wittemberg," a herald of the spring that was everywhere
bursting forth.[237] But it was not a mere outward movement, similar
to that effected by a longing for earthly liberty, that was then
accomplishing. Those who assert that the Reformation was brought about
by bribing princes with the wealth of the convents,--the priests with
permission to marry,--and the people with the prospect of freedom, are
strangely mistaken in its nature. No doubt a useful employment of the
funds that had hitherto supported the sloth of the monks; no doubt
marriage and liberty, gifts that proceed direct from God, might have
favoured the development of the Reformation; but the mainspring was
not there. An interior revolution was then going on in the depths of
the human heart. Christians were again learning to love, to pardon, to
pray, to suffer, and even to die for a truth that offered no repose
save in heaven. The Church was passing through a state of
transformation. Christianity was bursting the bonds in which it had so
long been confined, and returning in life and vigour into a world that
had forgotten its ancient power. The hand that made the world was
turned towards it again; and the Gospel, reappearing in the midst of
the nations, accelerated its course, notwithstanding the violent and
repeated efforts of priests and kings; like the ocean which, when the
hand of God presses on its surface, rises calm and majestic along its
shores, so that no human power is able to resist its progress.

  [237] Wittemberger Nachtigall, a poem by Hans Sachs, 1523.




     Political Element--Want of Enthusiasm at Rome--Siege of
       Pampeluna--Courage of Ignatius--Transition--Luther and
       Loyola--Visions--Two Principles.

The Reformation, which at first had existed in the hearts of a few
pious men, had entered into the worship and the life of the Church; it
was natural that it would take a new step, and penetrate into civil
relationships and the life of nations. Its progress was always from
the interior to the exterior. We are about to see this great
revolution taking possession of the political life of the world.

For eight centuries past, Europe had formed one vast sacerdotal state.
Emperors and kings had been under the patronage of popes. Whenever any
energetic resistance had been offered to her audacious pretensions,
particularly in Germany and France, Rome eventually had the upperhand,
and princes, docile agents of her terrible decrees, had been seen
fighting to secure her dominion against private believers obedient to
their rule, and profusely shedding in her behalf the blood of their
people's children.

No injury could be inflicted on this vast ecclesiastical state, of
which the pope was the head, without affecting the political

Two great ideas then agitated Germany. On the one hand, a desire for a
revival of faith; and on the other, a longing for a national
government, in which the German states might be represented, and thus
serve as a counterpoise to the power of the emperors.[238]

  [238] Pfeffel Droit publ. de l'Allemagne, 590. Robertson, Charles V.
  iii. 114. Ranke, Deutsche Gesch.


The Elector Frederick had insisted on this latter point at the
election of Maximilian's successor; and the youthful Charles had
complied. A national government had been framed in consequence,
consisting of the imperial governor and representatives of the
electors and circles.

Thus Luther reformed the Church, and Frederick of Saxony reformed the

But while, simultaneously with the religious reform, important
political modifications were introduced by the leaders of the nation,
it was to be feared that the commonalty would also put itself in
motion, and by its excesses, both in politics and religion, compromise
both reforms.

This violent and fanatical intrusion of the people and of certain
ringleaders, which seems inevitable where society is shaken and in a
state of transition, did not fail to take place in Germany at the
period of which we are now treating.

There were other circumstances also that contributed to give rise to
such disorders.

The emperor and the pope had combined against the Reformation, and it
seemed on the point of falling beneath the blows of two such powerful
enemies. Policy, ambition, and interest compelled Charles V. and Leo
X. to attempt its destruction. But these are poor champions to contend
against the truth. Devotedness to a cause which is looked upon as
sacred can only be conquered by a similar devotedness. But the Romans,
yielding to the impulses of a Leo X., were enthusiastic about a sonnet
or a melody, and insensible to the religion of Jesus Christ; and if
any less futile thought came across their minds, instead of purifying
and tempering their hearts anew in the Christianity of the apostles,
they were busied with alliances, wars, conquests, and treaties, which
gained new provinces, and with cold disdain left the Reformation to
awaken on all sides a religious enthusiasm, and march triumphantly to
more noble conquests. The enemy that had been doomed to destruction in
the cathedral of Worms, reappeared full of confidence and strength;
the contest must be severe; and blood must flow.


Yet some of the most imminent dangers that threatened the Reformation
seemed at this time to be disappearing. Shortly before the
publication of the edict of Worms, the youthful Charles, standing one
day at a window of his palace with his confessor, had said, it is
true, as he laid his hand on his heart: "I swear to hang up at this
very window the first man who shall declare himself a Lutheran after
the publication of my edict."[239] But it was not long before his zeal
abated considerably. His project for reviving the ancient glory of the
holy empire, that is to say, of increasing his own power, had been
coldly received.[240] Dissatisfied with Germany, he left the banks of
the Rhine, repaired to the Netherlands, and availed himself of his
residence there to afford the monks those gratifications that he found
himself unable to give them in the empire. Luther's works were burnt
at Ghent by the hangman with all possible solemnity. More than fifty
thousand spectators were present at this auto-da-fé; the emperor
himself looking on with an approving smile.[241] He thence proceeded
to Spain, where wars and internal dissensions compelled him, for a
time at least, to leave Germany at peace. Since he is refused in the
empire the power to which he lays claim, let others hunt down the
heretic of Wittemberg. More anxious thoughts engrossed all his

  [239] Sancte juro......eum ex hac fenestra meo jussu suspensum iri.
  Pallav. i. 130.

  [240] Essendo tornato dalla Dieta che sua Maestà haveva fatta in
  Wormatia, escluso d'ogni conclusion buona d'ajuti e di favori che si
  fussi proposto d'ottenere in essa. Instructions to Cardinal Farnese.
  MS. in the Corsini library, published by Ranke.

  [241] Ipso Cæsare, ore subridenti, spectaculo plausit. Pallav. i. 130.

In effect, Francis I., impatient to try his strength with his rival,
had thrown down the gauntlet. Under the pretence of restoring the
children of Jean d'Albret, king of Navarre, to their patrimony, he had
begun a bloody struggle, destined to last all his life, by invading
that kingdom with an army under the command of Lesparre, whose rapid
conquests were only checked by the fortress of Pampeluna.


On these strong walls an enthusiasm was kindled, destined afterwards
to oppose the enthusiasm of the reformer, and to breathe into the
papacy a new spirit of energy, devotedness, and authority. Pampeluna
was destined to be the cradle, as it were, of the rival of the
Wittemberg monk.

The chivalrous spirit that had so long animated the christian world
survived in Spain alone. The wars against the Moors, scarcely
terminated in the Peninsula, and continually breaking out in Africa,
with distant and adventurous expeditions beyond the seas, fostered in
the Castilian youths that enthusiastic and unaffected valour of which
Amadis formed the ideal model.

Among the defenders of Pampeluna was a young gentleman, Inigo Lopez of
Recalda, the youngest of a family of thirteen children. Recalda,
better known as Ignatius Loyola, had been brought up in the court of
Ferdinand the Catholic. His person was graceful;[242] he was expert in
handling the sword and the lance, and ardently desired the glory of
chivalry. To array himself in glittering arms, to ride a noble
steed,[243] to expose himself to the brilliant dangers of the
tournament, to engage in hazardous exploits, to share in the envenomed
struggles of faction,[244] and to display as much devotion for Saint
Peter as for his lady-love--such was the life of this young chevalier.

  [242] Cum esset in corporis ornatu elegantissimus. Maffei Vita Loyolæ,
  1586, p. 3.

  [243] Equorumque et armorum usu præcelleret. Ibid.

  [244] Partim in factionum rixarumque periculis, partim in amatoria
  vesania......tempus consumeret. Ibid.

The governor of Navarre having gone into Spain to procure succours,
had left the defence of Pampeluna to Inigo and a few nobles. The
latter, perceiving the superiority of the French troops, resolved to
withdraw. Inigo conjured them to make a stand against Lesparre;
finding them resolute in their intention, he looked at them with
indignation, accusing them of cowardice and perfidy; he then flung
himself alone into the citadel, determined to hold it at the peril of
his life.[245]

  [245] Ardentibus oculis, detestatus ignaviam perfidiamque,
  spectantibus omnibus, in arcem solus introit. Ibid. p. 6.


The French, who were enthusiastically received into Pampeluna, having
proposed a capitulation to the commander of the fortress: "Let us
suffer everything," said Inigo impetuously to his companions, "rather
than surrender."[246] Upon this the French began to batter the walls
with their powerful machines, and soon attempted an assault. Inigo's
courage and exhortations inspirited the Spaniards; they repelled the
assailants with arrows, swords, and battle-axes; Inigo fought at their
head: standing on the ramparts, his eyes glistening with rage, the
young cavalier brandished his sword, and the enemy fell beneath his
blows. Suddenly a ball struck the wall which he was defending; a
splinter from the stone wounded him severely in the right leg, and the
ball recoiling with the violence of the blow, broke his left leg.
Inigo fell senseless.[247] The garrison surrendered immediately; and
the French, admiring the courage of their youthful opponent, conveyed
him in a litter to his parents in the castle of Loyola. In this lordly
mansion, from which he afterwards derived his name, Inigo had been
born, eight years after Luther, of one of the most illustrious
families of that district.

  [246] Tam acri ac vehementi oratione commilitonibus dissuasit. Maffei
  Vita Loyolæ, 1586, p. 6.

  [247] Ut e vestigio semianimis alienata mente corruerit. Ibid. p. 7.

A painful operation had become necessary. Under the most acute
sufferings, Inigo firmly clenched his hands, but did not utter a
single groan.[248]

  [248] Nullum aliud indicium dedit doloris, nisi ut coactos in pugnum
  digitos valde constringeret. Ibid. p. 8.


Confined to a wearisome inactivity, he found it necessary to employ
his active imagination. In the absence of the romances of chivalry,
which had hitherto been his only mental food, he took up the life of
Jesus Christ, and the legends or _Flowers of the Saints_. This kind of
reading, in his state of solitude and sickness, produced an
extraordinary impression on his mind. The noisy life of tournaments
and battles, which had hitherto exclusively occupied his thoughts,
appeared to recede, to fade and vanish from his sight; and at the same
time a more glorious career seemed opening before his astonished eyes.
The humble actions of the saints and their heroic sufferings appeared
far more worthy of praise than all the high feats of arms and
chivalry. Stretched upon his bed, a prey to fever, he yielded to the
most opposite thoughts. The world that he was forsaking, the world
whose holy mortifications lay before him, appeared together, the one
with its pleasures, the other with its austerities; and these two
worlds contended in deadly struggle within his bosom. "What if I were
to act like St. Francis or St. Dominick?" said he.[249] Then the image
of the lady to whom he had pledged his heart rose before him: "She is
not a countess," exclaimed he with artless vanity, "nor a duchess; but
her condition is much loftier than either."[250] Such thoughts as
these filled him with distress and _ennui_, while his plan of
imitating the saints inspired him with peace and joy.

  [249] Quid si ego hoc agerem quod fecit beatus Franciscus, quid si hoc
  quod beatus Dominicus? Acta Sanct. vii. 634.

  [250] Non era condessa, ni duquessa, mas era su estado mas alto. Ibid.

From this period his choice was made. As soon as his health was
restored, he determined to bid adieu to the world. After having, like
Luther, shared in one more repast with his old companions in arms, he
departed alone, in great secrecy,[251] for the solitary dwellings that
the hermits of St. Benedict had hewn out of the rocks of Montserrat.
Impelled not by a sense of sin or his need of Divine grace, but by a
desire to become a "knight of the Virgin," and of obtaining renown by
mortifications and pious works, after the example of the whole army of
saints, he confessed for three days together, gave his rich attire to
a beggar, put on sackcloth, and girt himself with a rope.[252] Then,
remembering the celebrated armed vigils of Amadis of Gaul, he
suspended his sword before an image of Mary, passed the night in
watching in his new and strange costume, and sometimes on his knees,
sometimes upright, but always in prayer and with the pilgrim's staff
in his hand, he repeated all the devout practices that the illustrious
Amadis had observed before him. "It was thus," says his biographer,
the Jesuit Maffei, "that while Satan was arming Luther against all
laws human and divine, and while that infamous heresiarch appeared at
Worms, and impiously declared war against the apostolic see, Christ,
by a call from his heavenly providence, was awakening this new
champion, and binding him, and those who were to follow in his steps,
to the service of the Roman pontiff, and opposing him to the
licentiousness and fury of heretical depravity."[253]

  [251] Ibi duce amicisque ita salutatis, ut arcana consiliorum suorum
  quam accuratissime tegeret. Maffei, p. 16.

  [252] Pretiosa vestimenta quibus erat ornatus, pannoso cuidam
  largitus, sacco sese alacer induit ac fune præcinxit. Ibid. p. 20.

  [253] Furori ac libidini hæreticæ pravitatis opponeret. Maffei, p. 21.


Loyola, although still lame in one of his legs, dragged himself by
winding and lonely paths to Manresa, where he entered a Dominican
convent, in order to devote himself in this secluded spot to the
severest mortifications. Like Luther, he daily begged his bread from
door to door.[254] He passed seven hours upon his knees, and scourged
himself three times a-day; at midnight he rose to pray; he allowed his
hair and nails to grow, and in the thin pale face of the monk of
Manresa it would have been impossible to recognise the young and
brilliant knight of Pampeluna.

  [254] Victum osteatim precibus, infimis emendicare quotidie. Ibid. p.


Yet the hour had come when religious ideas, which hitherto had been to
Inigo a mere chivalrous amusement, were to be evolved in him with
greater depth, and make him sensible of a power to which he was as yet
a stranger. Suddenly, without anything to give him warning, the joy he
had felt disappeared.[255] In vain he had recourse to prayer and
singing hymns; he could find no rest.[256] His imagination had ceased
to call up pleasing illusions; he was left alone with his conscience.
A state so new to him was beyond his comprehension, and he fearfully
asked himself whether God, after all the sacrifices he had made, was
still angry with him. Night and day gloomy terrors agitated his soul;
he shed bitter tears; with loud cries he called for the peace of mind
which he had lost......but all was in vain.[257] He then recommenced
the long confession he had made at Montserrat. "Perhaps," thought he,
"I have forgotten something." But this confession only increased his
anguish, for it reminded him of all his errors. He wandered about
gloomy and dejected; his conscience accused him of having done nothing
all his life but add sin to sin; and the wretched man, a prey to
overwhelming terrors, filled the cloister with his groans.

  [255] Tunc subito, nulla præcedente significatione, prorsus exui
  nudarique se omni gaudio sentiret. Ibid. p. 27.

  [256] Nec jam in precibus, neque in psalmis......ullam inveniret
  delectationem aut requiem. Ibid.

  [257] Vanis agitari terroribus, dies noctesque fletibus jungere. Ibid.
  p. 28.

Strange thoughts then entered into his heart. Finding no consolation
in confession or in the various ordinances of the Church,[258] he
began, like Luther, to doubt their efficacy. But instead of forsaking
the works of men, and seeking the all-sufficient work of Christ, he
asked himself whether he should not again pursue the pleasures of
time. His soul sprang eagerly towards the delights of the world he had
renounced,[259] but immediately recoiled with affright.

  [258] Ut nulla jam res mitigare dolorem posse videretur. Maff. p. 29.

  [259] Et sæculi commodis repetendis magno quodam impetu cogitaverit.
  Ibid. p. 30.

Was there, at that time, any difference between the monk of Manresa
and the monk of Erfurth? Unquestionably,--in secondary points: but the
state of their souls was the same. Both were deeply sensible of the
multitude of their sins. Both were seeking for reconciliation with
God, and longed to have the assurance in their hearts. If a Staupitz
with the Bible in his hand had appeared in the convent of Manresa,
possibly Inigo might have become the Luther of the Peninsula. These
two great men of the sixteenth century, these founders of two
spiritual powers which for three centuries have been warring together,
were at this moment brothers; and perhaps, if they had met, Luther and
Loyola would have embraced, and mingled their tears and their prayers.

But from this hour the two monks were destined to follow entirely
different paths.

Inigo, instead of feeling that his remorse was sent to drive him to
the foot of the cross, persuaded himself that these inward reproaches
proceeded not from God, but from the devil; and he resolved never more
to think of his sins, to erase them from his memory, and bury them in
eternal oblivion.[260] Luther turned towards Christ; Loyola only fell
back upon himself.

  [260] Sine ulla dubitatione constituit præteritæ vitæ labes perpetua
  oblivione conterere. Ibid. p. 31.


Visions came erelong to confirm Inigo in the conviction at which he
had arrived. His own resolves had become a substitute for the grace of
the Lord; his own imaginings supplied the place of God's Word. He had
looked upon the voice of God in his conscience as the voice of the
devil; and accordingly the remainder of his history represents him as
given up to the inspirations of the spirit of darkness.

One day Loyola met an old woman, as Luther in the hour of his trial
was visited by an old man. But the Spanish woman, instead of
proclaiming remission of sins to the penitent of Manresa, predicted
visitations from Jesus. Such was the Christianity to which Loyola,
like the prophets of Zwickau, had recourse. Inigo did not seek truth
in the Holy Scriptures; but imagined in their place immediate
communication with the world of spirits. He soon lived entirely in
ecstasies and contemplation.

One day, as he was going to the church of St. Paul, outside the city,
he walked along the banks of the Llobregat, and sat down absorbed in
meditation. His eyes were fixed on the river, which rolled its deep
waters silently before him. He was lost in thought. Suddenly he fell
into an ecstasy: he saw with his bodily eyes what men can with
difficulty understand after much reading, long vigils, and study.[261]
He rose, and as he stood on the brink of the river, he appeared to
have become another man; he then knelt down at the foot of a cross
which was close at hand, prepared to sacrifice his life in the service
of that cause whose mysteries had just been revealed to him.

  [261] Quæ vix demum solent homines intelligentia comprehendere. Maff.
  p. 32.

From this time his visions became more frequent. Sitting one day on
the steps of St. Dominick's church at Manresa, he was singing a hymn
to the Holy Virgin, when on a sudden his soul was wrapt in ecstasy; he
remained motionless, absorbed in contemplation; the mystery of the
most Holy Trinity was revealed to his sight under magnificent
symbols;[262] he shed tears, filled the church with his sobs, and all
day long continued speaking of this ineffable vision.

  [262] En figuras de tres teclas.


These numerous apparitions had removed all his doubts; he believed,
not like Luther because the things of faith were written in the Word
of God, but because of the visions he had seen. "Even had there been
no Bible," say his apologists, "even had these mysteries never been
revealed in Scripture,[263] he would have believed them, for God had
appeared to him."[264] Luther, on taking his doctor's degree, had
pledged his oath to Holy Scripture,[265] and the only infallible
authority of the Word of God had become the fundamental principle of
the Reformation. Loyola, at this time, bound himself to dreams and
visions; and chimerical apparitions became the principle of his life
and of his faith.

  [263] Quod etsi nulla scriptura, mysteria illa fidei doceret. Acta

  [264] Quæ Deo sibi aperiente cognoverant. Maff. p. 34.

  [265] Vol. I. p. 203.

Luther's sojourn in the convent of Erfurth and that of Loyola in the
convent of Manresa explain to us--the first, the Reformation; the
latter, modern Popery. The monk who was to reanimate the exhausted
vigour of Rome repaired to Jerusalem after quitting the cloister. We
will not follow him on this pilgrimage, as we shall meet with him
again in the course of this history.


     Victory of the Pope--Death of Leo X.--The Oratory of Divine
       Love--Adrian VI.--Plan of Reform--Opposition.

While these events were taking place in Spain, Rome herself appeared
to be assuming a more serious character. The great patron of music,
hunting, and festivities disappeared from the pontifical throne, and
was succeeded by a pious and grave monk.

[Sidenote: DEATH OF LEO X.]

Leo X. had been greatly delighted at hearing of the edict of Worms and
Luther's captivity; and immediately, in testimony of his victory, he
had consigned the effigy and writings of the reformer to the
flames.[266] It was the second or third time that Rome had indulged in
this innocent pleasure. At the same time Leo X., wishing to testify
his gratitude to Charles V., united his army with the emperor's. The
French were compelled to evacuate Parma, Piacenza, and Milan; and
Giulio de Medici, the pope's cousin, entered the latter city. The pope
was thus approaching the summit of human power.

  [266] Comburi jussit alteram vultus in ejus statua, alteram animi ejus
  in libris. Pallav. i. 128.

These events took place at the beginning of winter 1521. Leo X. was
accustomed to spend the autumn in the country. At such times he would
leave Rome without surplice, and, what was considered still more
scandalous, wearing boots.[267] At Viterbo he amused himself with
hawking; at Corneti in hunting the stag: the lake of Bolsena afforded
him the pleasure of fishing; thence he passed to his favourite villa
at Malliana, where he spent his time in the midst of festivities.
Musicians, improvisatori, and all the artists whose talents could
enliven this delightful abode, were gathered round the pontiff. He was
residing there when he received intelligence of the capture of Milan.
A great agitation immediately ensued in the villa. The courtiers and
officers could not restrain their exultation, the Swiss discharged
their carbines, and Leo, in excess of joy, walked up and down his room
all night, from time to time looking out of the window at the
rejoicings of the soldiers and of the people. He returned to Rome,
fatigued but intoxicated with success. He had scarcely arrived at the
Vatican when he felt suddenly indisposed. "Pray for me," said he to
his attendants. He had not even time to receive the holy sacrament,
and died in the prime of life, at the age of forty-five, in the hour
of victory, and amid the noise of rejoicing.

  [267] Paris de Grassis, his master of the ceremonies, has this entry
  in his diary. "Thursday, 10th Jan., after breakfast, the pope went to
  Toscanello and its neighbourhood. He went without his stole, and,
  worse than that, without his rochet, and worse than all, wore boots.
  Diar. inedit."


The crowd followed the pontiff to the grave, loading him with abuse.
They could not forgive him for having died without the sacrament and
for leaving his debts unpaid, the result of his enormous expenses.
"You gained your pontificate like a fox," said the Romans; "you held
it like a lion, and left it like a dog."

Such was the funeral oration with which Rome honoured the pope who
excommunicated the Reformation, and whose name serves to designate one
of the great epochs in history.

Meantime a feeble reaction against the spirit of Leo and of Rome was
already beginning in Rome itself. Some pious men had there established
an oratory for their common edification,[268] near the spot which
tradition assigns as the place where the early Christians used to
meet. Contarini, who had heard Luther at Worms, was the leader in
these prayer-meetings. Thus a species of reformation was beginning at
Rome almost at the same time as at Wittemberg. It has been said with
truth, that wherever the seeds of piety exist, there also are the
germs of reformation. But these good intentions were soon to be

  [268] Si unirono in un oratorio, chiamato del divino amore, circa
  sessanta di loro. Caracciolo, Vita da Paolo IV. MS. Ranke.


In other times, a Gregory VII. or an Innocent III. would have been
chosen to succeed Leo X., could such men have been found; but the
interest of the Empire was now superior to that of the Church, and
Charles V. required a pope devoted to his service. The Cardinal de
Medici, afterwards Clement VII., seeing that he had no chance at
present of obtaining the tiara, exclaimed: "Elect the Cardinal of
Tortosa, a man in years, and whom every one regards as a saint." This
prelate, who was a native of Utrecht, and sprung from the middle
classes, was chosen, and reigned under the title of Adrian VI. He had
been professor at Louvain, and afterwards tutor to Charles V., by
whose influence he was invested with the Roman purple in 1517.
Cardinal de Vio supported his nomination. "Adrian," said he, "had a
great share in Luther's condemnation by the Louvain doctors."[269] The
cardinals, tired out and taken by surprise, elected this foreigner;
but as soon as they came to their senses (says a chronicler), they
almost died of fright. The thought that the austere Netherlander would
not accept the tiara gave them some little consolation at first; but
this hope was not of long duration. Pasquin represented the
pontiff-elect under the character of a schoolmaster, and the cardinals
as little boys under the rod. The citizens were so exasperated that
the members of the conclave thought themselves fortunate to have
escaped being thrown into the river.[270] In Holland, on the contrary,
the people testified by general rejoicings their delight at giving a
pope to the Church. "Utrecht planted; Louvain watered; the Emperor
gave the increase," was the inscription on the hangings suspended from
the fronts of the houses. A wag wrote below these words: "And God had
nothing to do with it."

  [269] Doctores Lovanienses accepisse consilium a tam conspicuo alumno.
  Pallav. p. 136.

  [270] Sleidan, Hist. de la Ref. i. 124.

Notwithstanding the dissatisfaction at first manifested by the people
of Rome, Adrian VI. repaired to that city in the month of August 1522,
and was well received. It was reported that he had more than five
thousand benefices in his gift, and every man reckoned on having his
share. For many years the papal throne had not been filled by such a
pontiff. Just, active, learned, pious, sincere, and of irreproachable
morals, he permitted himself to be blinded neither by favour nor

He followed the middle course traced out by Erasmus, and in a book
reprinted at Rome during his pontificate, he said: "It is certain that
the pope may err in matters of faith, in defending heresy by his
opinions or decretals."[271] This is indeed a remarkable assertion for
a pope to make; and if the ultra-montanists reply that Adrian was
mistaken on this point, by this very circumstance they affirm what
they deny, viz. the fallibility of the popes.

  [271] Certum est quod (Pontifex) potuit errare in iis quæ tangunt
  fidem, hæresim per suam determinationem aut decretalem asserendo.
  Comm. in lib. 4. Sententiarum Quest. de Sacr. Confirm. Romæ, 1522


Adrian arrived at the Vatican with his old housekeeper, whom he
charged to continue providing frugally for his moderate wants in that
magnificent palace which Leo X. had filled with luxury and
dissipation. He had not a single taste in common with his predecessor.
When he was shown the magnificent group of Laocoon, discovered a few
years before, and purchased at an enormous price by Julius II., he
turned coldly away, observing: "They are the idols of the heathen!"
"I would rather serve God," said he, "in my deanery of Louvain, than
be pope at Rome." Alarmed at the dangers with which the Reformation
threatened the religion of the Middle Ages, and not, like the
Italians, at those to which Rome and her hierarchy were exposed, it
was his earnest desire to combat and check it; and he judged the best
means to this end would be a reform of the Church carried out by the
Church itself. "The Church needs a reform," said he; "but we must go
step by step."--"The pope means," says Luther, "that a few centuries
should intervene between each step." In truth, for ages the Church had
been moving towards a reformation. But there was no longer room for
temporizing: it was necessary to act.

Faithful to his plan, Adrian set about banishing from the city all
perjurers, profane persons, and usurers; a task by no means easy,
since they formed a considerable portion of the inhabitants.

At first the Romans ridiculed him; soon they began to hate him. The
sacerdotal rule, the immense profits it brought, the power of Rome,
the sports, festivals, and luxury that filled it,--all would be
irretrievably lost, if there was a return to apostolic manners.

The restoration of discipline, in particular, met with a strong
opposition. "To succeed in this," said the cardinal high-penitentiary,
"we must first revive the zeal of Christians. The remedy is more than
the patient can bear, and will cause his death. Beware lest, by
wishing to preserve Germany, you should lose Italy."[272] In effect,
Adrian had soon greater cause to fear Romanism than Lutheranism

  [272] Sarpi, Hist. Council of Trent, p. 20.

Exertions were made to bring him back into the path he was desirous of
quitting. The old and crafty Cardinal Soderini of Volterra, the
familiar friend of Alexander VI., Julius II., and Leo X.,[273] often
let fall hints well adapted to prepare the worthy Adrian for that
character, so strange to him, which he was called upon to fill. "The
heretics," remarked Soderini one day, "have in all ages spoken of the
corrupt manners of the court of Rome, and yet the popes have never
changed them."--"It has never been by reforms," said he on another
occasion, "that heresies have been put down, but by crusades."--"Alas,"
replied the pontiff with a deep sigh, "how unhappy is the fate of a
pope, since he has not even liberty to do what is right!"[274]

  [273] Per longa esperienza delle cose del mundo, molto prudente e
  accorto. Nardi. Hist. Fior. lib. vii.

  [274] Sarpi, Hist. Council of Trent, p. 21.


     Diet of Nuremberg--Soliman's Invasion--The Nuncio calls for
       Luther's Death--The Nuremberg Preachers--Promise of
       Reform--Grievances of the Nation--Decree of the
       Diet--Fulminating Letter of the Pope--Luther's Advice.


On the 23d March 1522, before Adrian had reached Rome, the diet
assembled at Nuremberg. Prior to this date the Bishops of Mersburg and
Misnia had asked permission of the Elector of Saxony to make a
visitation of the convents and churches in his states. Frederick,
thinking that truth would be strong enough to resist error, had given
a favourable reply to this request, and the visitation took place. The
bishops and their doctors preached violently against the Reformation,
exhorting, threatening, and entreating; but their arguments seemed
useless; and when, desirous of having recourse to more effectual
weapons, they called upon the secular authority to carry out their
decrees, the elector's ministers replied, that the business was one
that required to be examined according to the Bible, and that the
elector in his advanced age could not begin to study divinity. These
efforts of the bishops did not lead one soul back to the fold of Rome;
and Luther, who passed through these districts shortly after, and
preached in his usual powerful strain, erased the feeble impressions
that had been here and there produced.


It might be feared that the emperor's brother, the Archduke Ferdinand,
would do what Frederick had refused. This young prince, who presided
during part of the sittings of the diet, gradually acquiring more
firmness, might in his zeal rashly draw the sword which his more
prudent and politic brother wisely left in the scabbard. In fact, he
had already begun a cruel persecution of the partisans of the
Reformation in his hereditary states of Austria. But God on several
occasions made use of the same instrument for the deliverance of
reviving Christianity that he had employed in the destruction of
corrupt Christianity. The crescent appeared in the terrified provinces
of Hungary. On the 9th of August, after a six weeks' siege, Belgrade,
the bulwark of this kingdom and of the empire, fell before Soliman's
attack. The followers of Mahomet, after having evacuated Spain, seemed
bent on entering Europe by the east. The Diet of Nuremberg forgot the
monk of Worms, to think only of the Sultan of Constantinople. But
Charles V. kept both these adversaries in mind. On the 31st of
October, he wrote to the pope from Valladolid: "We must check the
Turks, and punish the abettors of Luther's poisonous doctrines with
the sword."[275]

  [275] Das man die Nachfolger derselben vergiften Lehre, mit dem
  Schwert strafen mag. L. Opp. xvii. 321.

The storm which seemed to be passing away from the Reformation, and
turning towards the east, soon gathered anew over the head of the
reformer. His return to Wittemberg, and the zeal he had there
displayed, rekindled animosity. "Now that we know where to catch him,"
said Duke George, "let us execute the decree of Worms!" It was even
asserted in Germany that Charles V. and Adrian would meet at Nuremberg
to concert their plans.[276] "Satan feels the wound that has been
inflicted on him," says Luther; "and this is why he is so furious. But
Christ has already stretched out his hand, and will soon trample him
under foot in spite of the gates of hell."[277]

  [276] Cum fama sit fortis et Cæsarem et papam Nurnbergam conventuros.
  L. Epp. ii. 214.

  [277] Sed Christus qui cœpit conteret eum. Ibid. 215.


In the month of December 1522, the diet again assembled at Nuremberg.
Everything seemed to indicate, that if Soliman had been the great
enemy that had engaged its attention in the spring session, Luther
would be that of the winter meeting. Adrian VI., in consequence of his
German descent, flattered himself with the hope of a more favourable
reception from his nation than any pope of Italian origin could
expect.[278] He therefore commissioned Chieregati, whom he had known
in Spain, to repair to Nuremberg.

  [278] Quod ex ea regione venirent, unde nobis secundum carnem origo
  est. Papal Brief. L. Opp. Lat. ii. 352.

As soon as the diet had opened, several princes spoke strongly against
Luther. The Cardinal-archbishop of Salzburg, who enjoyed the full
confidence of the emperor, desired that prompt and decisive measures
should be taken before the arrival of the Elector of Saxony. The
Elector Joachim of Brandenburg, always decided in his proceedings, and
the Chancellor of Treves, alike pressed for the execution of the edict
of Worms. The other princes were in a great measure undecided and
divided in opinion. The state of confusion in which the Church was
placed filled its most faithful servants with anguish. The Bishop of
Strasburg exclaimed, in a full meeting of the diet, "I would give one
of my fingers not to be a priest."[279]

  [279] Er wollte einen Finger drum geben......Seck. p. 568.

Chieregati, jointly with the Cardinal of Salzburg, called for Luther's
death. "We must," said he in the pope's name, and holding the
pontiff's brief in his hands, "we must cut off this gangrened member
from the body.[280] Your fathers put John Huss and Jerome of Prague to
death at Constance; but they live again in Luther. Follow the glorious
example of your ancestors, and, with the aid of God and St. Peter,
gain a signal victory over the infernal dragon."

  [280] Resecandos uti membra jam putrida a sano corpore. Pallavicini,
  i. 158.


On hearing the brief of the pious and moderate Adrian, most of the
princes were awe-stricken.[281] Many were beginning to understand
Luther better, and had hoped better things of the pope. Thus then
Rome, under an Adrian, will not acknowledge her faults; she still
hurls her thunderbolts, and the provinces of Germany are about to be
laid waste and drowned in blood. While the princes remained sad and
silent, the prelates and members of the diet in the interest of Rome
became tumultuous. "Let him be put to death,"[282] cried they,
according to the report of the Saxon envoy, who was present at the

  [281] Einen grossen Schrecken eingejagt. Seck. p. 552.

  [282] Nicht anders geschrien denn: _Crucifige! crucifige!_ L. Opp.
  xviii. 367.

Very different language was heard in the churches of Nuremberg. The
people crowded into the chapel attached to the hospital, and to the
churches of the Augustines, of St. Sebaldus, and St. Lawrence, to
listen to the preaching of the Gospel. Andrew Osiander was preaching
powerfully in the latter temple. Several princes, and especially
Albert, margrave of Brandenburg, who, in his quality of grand-master
of the Teutonic Order, took rank immediately after the archbishops,
went there frequently. Monks, leaving the convents in the city, were
learning trades in order to gain a livelihood by their labour.

Chieregati could not endure so much boldness. He insisted that the
priests and rebellious monks should be thrown into prison. The diet,
notwithstanding the resolute opposition of the envoys of the Elector
of Saxony and of the Margrave Casimir, determined on seizing the
monks, but consented to make a previous communication of the nuncio's
complaint to Osiander and his colleagues. A committee, of which the
fanatical Cardinal of Salzburg was president, was intrusted with this
duty. The danger was threatening; the struggle was about to begin, and
it was the council of the nation that provoked it.

The people, however, anticipated them. While the diet was deliberating
what should be done with these ministers, the town-council of
Nuremberg were considering how they should proceed with regard to the
decision of the diet. They resolved, without exceeding their
jurisdiction, that if attempts were made to lay violent hands on the
city preachers, they should be set at liberty by main force. Such a
determination was very significant. The astonished diet replied to the
nuncio, that it was not lawful to arrest the preachers of the free
city of Nuremberg, unless previously convicted of heresy.


Chieregati was deeply moved at this new insult to the omnipotence of
the papacy. "Well, then," said he haughtily to Ferdinand, "do nothing,
but let me act. I will have these preachers seized in the pope's
name."[283] As soon as the Cardinal-archbishop Albert of Mentz and the
Margrave Casimir were informed of this extravagant design, they
hastened to the legate, entreating him to renounce his intentions. The
nuncio was immovable, affirming that in the bosom of Christendom
obedience to the pope was of the first importance. The two princes
quitted the legate, saying: "If you persist in your design, we desire
that you will give us warning; for we will leave the city before you
venture to lay hands on these preachers."[284] The legate abandoned
his project.

  [283] Sese auctoritate pontifica curaturum ut isti caperentur. Corp.
  Ref. i. 606.

  [284] Priusquam illi caperentur, se urbe cessuros esse. Ibid.

Despairing of success by measures of authority, he resolved to have
recourse to other expedients, and with this view he acquainted the
diet with the intentions and mandates of the pontiff, which he had
hitherto kept secret.

But the worthy Adrian, a stranger to the ways of the world, injured by
his very frankness the cause he so heartily desired to serve. "We are
well aware," said he in the resolutions intrusted to his legate, "that
for many years certain abuses and abominations have crept into the
holy city.[285] The contagion has spread from the head to the members;
it has descended from the popes to the other ecclesiastics. It is our
desire to reform this Roman court, whence proceed so many evils; the
whole world is craving after it, and to effect this we submitted to
ascend the papal chair."

  [285] In eam sedem aliquot jam annos quædam vitia irrepsisse, abusus
  in rebus sacris, in legibus violationes, in cunctis denique
  perversionem. Pallav. i. 160. See also Sarpi, p. 25; L. Opp. xviii.
  329, &c.

The partisans of Rome blushed for shame as they heard this
extraordinary language. They thought, with Pallavicini, that these
avowals were too sincere.[286] The friends of the Reformation, on the
contrary, were delighted at seeing Rome proclaim her own corruption.
They no longer doubted that Luther was right, since the pope himself
declared it.

  [286] Liberioris tamen, quam par erat, sinceritatis fuisse visum est,
  ea conventui patefacere. Ibid. 162.


The reply of the diet showed how much the authority of the sovereign
pontiff had fallen in the empire. Luther's spirit seemed to have
entered into the hearts of the representatives of the nation. The
moment was favourable: Adrian's ear seemed open; the emperor was
absent; the diet resolved to collect into one body all the grievances
that for ages Germany had endured from Rome, and forward them to the

The legate was frightened at this determination. He entreated and
threatened in turns. He insinuated that under a purely religious
exterior the reformer concealed great political dangers; he asserted,
like Adrian, that these children of iniquity had no other end in view
than to destroy all obedience, and lead every man to do as he pleased.
"Will those men keep your laws," said he, "who not only despise the
holy canons of the Father, but still further, tear them in pieces and
burn them in their diabolical fury? Will they spare your lives who do
not fear to insult, to strike, to kill the anointed of the Lord? It is
your persons, your goods, your houses, your wives, your children, your
domains, your states, your temples, and all that you adore, that are
threatened by this frightful calamity."[287]

  [287] In eos, in vestras res, domos, uxores, liberos, ditiones,
  dominatus, templa quæ colitis. L. Opp. Lat. ii. 536.


All these declamations proved of no avail. The diet, although
commending the promises of the pope, required for their speedy
fulfilment that a free and christian council should be assembled as
soon as possible at Strasburg, Mentz, Cologne, or Metz, in which
laymen should be present. Laymen in a council! Laymen regulating the
affairs of the Church in concert with priests! It is more than we can
see even now in many protestant states. The diet added, that every man
should have liberty to speak freely for the glory of God, the
salvation of souls, and the good of the christian commonwealth.[288]
It then proceeded to draw up a catalogue of its grievances, which
amounted to the number of eighty. The abuses and arts of the popes and
the Roman court to extort money from Germany; the scandals and
profanations of the clergy; the disorders and simony of the
ecclesiastical tribunals; the encroachments on the secular power for
the enslaving of consciences; were all set forth with as much
frankness as energy. The states gave the pope to understand that the
traditions of men were the source of all this corruption, and
concluded by saying: "If these grievances are not redressed within a
limited time, we shall seek other means to escape from so many
oppressions and sufferings."[289] Chieregati, foreseeing the terrible
recess that the diet would draw up, hastily left Nuremberg, that he
might not have to deliver this sad and insolent message.

  [288] Quod in tali concilio eis qui interesse deberent vel
  ecclesiastici vel laicalis ordinis libere liceret loqui. Geldart,
  Constit. Imper. i. 452.

  [289] Wie sie solcher Beschwerung und Drangsaal entladen werden. L.
  Opp. xviii. 354.

Yet was there not reason to fear that the diet would seek to make
amends for its boldness by sacrificing Luther? People thought so at
first; but a spirit of justice and truth had descended on this
assembly. It demanded, as Luther had done, the convocation of a free
council in the empire, and added, that in the meanwhile the pure
Gospel alone should be preached, and nothing should be printed without
the approbation of a certain number of pious and learned men.[290]
These resolutions furnish us with the means of calculating the immense
progress the Reformation had made subsequently to the Diet of Worms;
and yet the knight of Feilitsch, the Saxon envoy, solemnly protested
against this censorship, moderate as it was, which the diet
prescribed. This decree was regarded as the first triumph of the
Reformation, which would be followed by other more decisive victories.
The Swiss themselves, in the midst of their mountains, thrilled with
delight. "The Roman pontiff is vanquished in Germany," said Zwingle.
"We have nothing more to do than deprive him of his weapons. This is
the battle we have now to fight, and a furious one it will be. But
Christ is the umpire of the conflict."[291] Luther said publicly that
God himself had inspired the princes to draw up this edict.[292]

  [290] Ut pie placideque purum Evangelium prædicaretur. Pall. i. 166;
  Sleidan, i. 135.

  [291] Victus est ac ferme profligatus e Germania Romanus pontifex. Zw.
  Epp. 313.--11th October 1523.

  [292] Gott habe solenes E.G. eingeben. L. Opp. xviii. 476.


The indignation at the Vatican among the papal ministers was very
great. What! is it not enough to have a pope who disappoints all the
expectations of the Romans, and in whose palace there is neither
singing nor playing; but, more than this, secular princes are allowed
to hold a language that Rome detests, and refuse to put the Wittemberg
heretic to death!

Adrian himself was filled with indignation at the events in Germany,
and it was on the head of the Elector of Saxony that he discharged his
anger. Never had the Roman pontiffs uttered a cry of alarm more
energetic, more sincere, or perhaps more affecting.

"We have waited long--and perhaps too long," said the pious Adrian in
the brief he addressed to the elector; "we were anxious to see whether
God would visit thy soul, and if thou wouldst not at last escape from
the snares of Satan. But when we looked to gather grapes, we found
nothing but sour grapes. The blower hath blown in vain; thy wickedness
is not consumed. Open, then, thine eyes to see the greatness of thy

"If the unity of the Church is broken; if the simple have been turned
aside from that faith which they had imbibed at their mothers'
breasts; if the temples are destroyed; if the people are without
priests; if the priests receive not the honour that is due to them; if
Christians are without Christ: to whom is it owing, but to
thee?[293]......If christian peace has vanished from the earth; if the
world is full of discord, rebellion, robbery, murder, and
conflagration; if the cry of war is heard from east to west; if a
universal conflict is at hand: it is thou--thou who art the author of
these things!

  [293] Dass die Kirchen ohne Volk sind, dass die Völker ohne Priester
  sind, dass die Priester ohne Ehre sind, und dass die Christen ohne
  Christo sind. Ibid. 37.


"Sawest thou not this sacrilegious man (Luther) rending with his
wicked hands and trampling under his impure feet the images of the
saints and even the holy cross of Christ?......Dost thou not behold
him, in his ungodly wrath, instigating laymen to imbrue their hands in
the blood of the priests, and overturning the churches of our Lord?

"And what matters it, if the priests he assails are wicked priests?
Has not the Lord said: _Whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe
and do; but do not ye after their works_; thus showing the honour that
belongs to them, even when their lives are blame-worthy.[294]

  [294] Wen sie gleich eines verdammten Lebens sind. L. Opp. xviii. 379.

"Rebellious apostate! he is not ashamed to defile the vessels
consecrated to God; he drags from their sanctuaries the holy virgins
consecrated to Christ, and gives them over to the devil; he takes the
priests of the Lord, and delivers them up to infamous harlots......Awful
profanation! which even the heathen would have condemned with horror
in the priests of their idols!

"What punishment, what martyrdom dost thou think we judge thee to
deserve?......Have pity on thyself; have pity on thy wretched Saxons;
for if you do not all return into the fold, God will pour out his
vengeance upon you.

"In the name of the Almighty God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose
representative I am upon earth, I declare that thou shalt be punished
in this world, and plunged into everlasting fire in that which is to
come. Repent and be converted!......Two swords are suspended over thy
head,--the sword of the Empire and the sword of the Church."

The pious Frederick shuddered as he read this threatening brief. He
had written to the emperor shortly before, to the effect that old age
and sickness rendered him incapable of taking any part in these
affairs; and he had been answered by the most insolent letter that a
sovereign prince had ever received. Although bowed down by age, he
cast his eyes on that sword which he had worn at the holy sepulchre in
the days of his manly strength. He began to think that he would have
to unsheathe it in defence of the conscience of his subjects, and
that, already on the brink of the tomb, he would not be allowed to go
down to it in peace. He immediately wrote to Wittemberg to hear the
opinion of the fathers of the Reformation.


There also troubles and persecutions were apprehended. "What shall I
say?" exclaimed the gentle Melancthon; "whither shall I turn? Hatred
overwhelms us, and the world is transported with fury against
us."[295] Luther, Linck, Melancthon, Bugenhagen, and Amsdorff
consulted together on the reply they should make to the elector. Their
answer was almost entirely to the same purport, and the advice they
gave him is very remarkable.

  [295] Quid dicam? quo me vertam? Corp. Ref. i. 627.

"No prince," said they, "can undertake a war without the consent of
the people, from whose hands he has received his authority.[296] Now,
the people have no desire to fight for the Gospel, for they do not
believe. Let not princes, therefore, take up arms; they are rulers of
the nations, and therefore of unbelievers." Thus, it was the impetuous
Luther who counselled the wise Frederick to restore his sword to its
sheath. He could not have returned a better answer to the reproach of
the pope, that he excited the laity to imbrue their hands in the blood
of the clergy. Few characters have been more misunderstood than his.
This advice was dated the 8th of February. Frederick restrained

  [296] Principi nullum licet suscipere bellum, nisi consentiente
  populo, a quo accepit imperium. Ibid. 601.

The pope's wrath soon bore fruit. The princes who had set forth their
grievances against Rome, alarmed at their own daring, were now
desirous of making amends by their compliance. Many, besides, thought
that the victory would remain with the Roman pontiff, as he appeared
to be the stronger party. "In our days," said Luther, "princes are
content to say three times three make nine; or else, twice seven make
fourteen: The reckoning is correct; the affair will succeed. Then our
Lord God arises and says: How many do you reckon me?......For a cipher
perhaps?......He then turns their calculations topsy-turvy, and their
accounts prove false."[297]

  [297] So kehrt er ihnen auch die Rechnung gar um. L. Opp. xxii. 1831.


     Persecution--Exertions of Duke George--The Convent at
     Antwerp--Miltenberg--The Three Monks of Antwerp--The
     Scaffold--The Martyrs of Brussels.

[Sidenote: PERSECUTION.]

The torrent of fire poured forth by the humble and meek Adrian kindled
a conflagration; and its flickering flames communicated an immense
agitation to the whole of Christendom. The persecution, which had been
for some time relaxed, broke out afresh. Luther trembled for Germany,
and endeavoured to appease the storm. "If the princes," said he,
"oppose the truth, the result will be a confusion that will destroy
princes and magistrates, priests and people. I fear to see all Germany
erelong deluged with blood.[298] Let us rise up as a wall and preserve
our people from the wrath of our God. Nations are not such now as they
have hitherto been.[299] The sword of civil war is impending over the
heads of our kings. They are resolved to destroy Luther; but Luther is
resolved to save them. Christ lives and reigns; and I shall live and
reign with him."[300]

  [298] Ut videar mihi videre Germaniam in sanguine natare. L. Epp. ii.

  [299] Cogitent populos non esse tales medo, quales hactenus fuerunt.
  Ibid. 157.

  [300] Christus meus vivit et regnat, et ego vivam et regnabe. Ibid.

These words produced no effect; Rome was hastening onward to scaffolds
and to bloodshed. The Reformation, like Jesus Christ, did not come to
bring peace, but a sword. Persecution was necessary in God's purposes.
As certain objects are hardened in the fire, to protect them from the
influence of the atmosphere, so the fiery trial was intended to
protect the evangelical truth from the influence of the world. But
the fire did still more than this: it served, as in the primitive
times of Christianity, to kindle in men's hearts a universal
enthusiasm for a cause so furiously persecuted. When man begins to
know the truth, he feels a holy indignation against injustice and
violence. A heaven-descended instinct impels him to the side of the
oppressed; and at the same time the faith of the martyrs exalts, wins,
and leads him to that doctrine which imparts such courage and


Duke George took the lead in the persecution. But it was a little
thing to carry it on in his own states only; he desired, above all,
that it should devastate electoral Saxony, that focus of heresy, and
spared no labour to move the Elector Frederick and Duke John.
"Merchants from Saxony," he wrote to them from Nuremberg, "relate
strange things about that country, and such as are opposed to the
honour of God and of the saints: they take the sacrament of the Lord's
Supper with their hands!......The bread and wine are consecrated _in
the language of the people_; Christ's blood is put into common
vessels; and at Eulenburg, a man to insult the priest entered the
church riding on an ass!......Accordingly, what is the consequence?
The mines with which God had enriched Saxony have failed since the
innovating sermons of Luther. Would to God that those who boast of
having uplifted the Gospel in the electorate had rather carried it to
Constantinople. Luther's strain is sweet and pleasing, but there is a
poisoned tail, that stings like that of the scorpion. Let us now
prepare for the conflict! Let us imprison these apostate monks and
impious priests; and that too without delay, for our hair is turning
gray as well as our beards, and shows us that we have but short time
left for action."[301]

  [301] Wie ihre Bärt und Haare ausweisen. Seckend. p. 482.

Thus wrote Duke George to the elector. The latter replied firmly but
mildly, that any one who committed a crime in his states would meet
with due punishment; but that for what concerned the conscience, such
things must be left to God.[302]

  [302] Müsse man solche Dinge Gott überlassen. Ibid. p. 485.


George, unable to persuade Frederick, hastened to persecute the
followers of the work he detested. He imprisoned the monks and priests
who followed Luther; he recalled the students belonging to his states
from the universities which the Reformation had reached; and ordered
that all the copies of the New Testament in the vulgar tongue should
be given up to the magistrates. The same measures were enforced in
Austria, Wurtemberg, and the duchy of Brunswick.

But it was in the Low Countries, under the immediate authority of
Charles V., that the persecution broke out with greatest violence. The
Augustine convent at Antwerp was filled with monks who had welcomed
the truths of the Gospel. Many of the brethren had passed some time at
Wittemberg, and since 1519, salvation by grace had been preached in
their church with great energy. The prior, James Probst, a man of
ardent temperament, and Melchior Mirisch, who was remarkable, on the
other hand, for his ability and prudence, were arrested and taken to
Brussels about the close of the year 1521. They were brought before
Aleander, Glapio, and several other prelates. Taken by surprise,
confounded, and alarmed, Probst retracted. Melchior Mirisch found
means to pacify his judges; he escaped both from recantation and

These persecutions did not alarm the monks who remained in the convent
at Antwerp. They continued to preach the Gospel with power. The people
crowded to hear them, and the church of the Augustines in that city
was found too small, as had been the case with the one at Wittemberg.
In October 1522, the storm that was muttering over their heads burst
forth; the convent was closed, and the monks thrown into prison and
condemned to death.[303] A few of them managed to escape. Some women,
forgetting the timidity of their sex, dragged one of them (Henry
Zuphten) from the hands of the executioners.[304] Three young monks,
Henry Voes, John Esch, and Lambert Thorn, escaped for a time the
search of the inquisitors. All the sacred vessels of the convent were
sold; the gates were barricaded; the holy sacrament was removed, as
if from a polluted spot; Margaret, the governor of the Low Countries,
solemnly received it into the church of the Holy Virgin;[305] orders
were given that not one stone should be left upon another of that
heretical monastery; and many citizens and women who had joyfully
listened to the Gospel were thrown into prison.[306]

  [303] Zum Tode verurtheilet. Seck. p. 548.

  [304] Quomodo mulieres vi Henricum liberarint. L. Epp. ii. 265.

  [305] Susceptum honorifice a domina Margareta. L. Epp. ii. 265.

  [306] Cives aliquos, et mulieres vexatæ et punitæ. Ibid.

Luther was filled with sorrow on hearing this news. "The cause that we
defend," said he, "is no longer a mere game; it will have blood, it
calls for our lives."[307]

  [307] Et vitam exiget et sanguinem. Ibid. 181.


Mirisch and Probst were to meet with very different fates. The prudent
Mirisch soon became the docile instrument of Rome, and the agent of
the imperial decrees against the partisans of the Reformation.[308]
Probst, on the contrary, having escaped from the hands of the
inquisitors, wept over his backsliding; he retracted his retractation,
and boldly preached at Bruges in Flanders the doctrines he had
abjured. Being again arrested and thrown into prison at Brussels, his
death seemed inevitable.[309] A Franciscan took pity on him, and
assisted his escape; and Probst, "preserved by a miracle of God," says
Luther, reached Wittemberg, where his twofold deliverance filled the
hearts of the friends to the Reformation with joy.[310]

  [308] Est executor Cæsaris contra nostros. Ibid. 207.

  [309] Domo captum, exustum credimus. Ibid. 214.

  [310] Jacobus, Dei miraculo liberatus, qui nunc agit nobiscum. L. Epp.
  ii. 182. This letter, placed in M. de Wette's collection, under the
  date of April 14, must be posterior to the month of June; since on the
  26th of June Luther writes that Probst has been taken a second time
  and is going to be burnt. We cannot admit that Probst visited
  Wittemberg between his two imprisonments, for Luther would not have
  said of a Christian, who had saved his life by a recantation, that he
  had been delivered by a miracle of God. Perhaps we should read in the
  date of the letter _in die S. Turiafi_, instead of _in die S.
  Tiburtii_, which would bring it down to the 13th of July,--a far more
  probable date in my opinion.

[Sidenote: MILTENBERG.]

On all sides the Roman priests were under arms. The city of Miltenberg
on the Maine, which belonged to the Archbishop of Mentz, was one of
the German towns that had received the Word of God with the greatest
eagerness. The inhabitants were much attached to their pastor John
Draco, one of the most enlightened men of his times. He was compelled
to leave the city; but the Roman ecclesiastics were frightened, and
withdrew at the same time, fearing the vengeance of the people. One
evangelical deacon alone remained to comfort their hearts. At the same
time troops from Mentz marched into the city: they spread through the
streets, uttering blasphemies, brandishing their swords, and giving
themselves up to debauchery.[311]

  [311] So sie doch schändlicher leben denn Huren und Buben. L. Epp. ii.

Some evangelical Christians fell beneath their blows;[312] others were
seized and thrown into dungeons; the Romish rites were restored; the
reading of the Bible was prohibited; and the inhabitants were
forbidden to speak of the Gospel, even in the most private meetings.
On the entrance of the troops, the deacon had taken refuge in the
house of a poor widow. He was denounced to their commanders, who sent
a soldier to apprehend him. The humble deacon, hearing the hasty steps
of the soldier who sought his life, quietly waited for him, and just
as the door of the chamber was opened abruptly, he went forward
meekly, and cordially embracing him, said: "I welcome thee, brother;
here I am; plunge thy sword into my bosom."[313] The fierce soldier,
in astonishment, let his sword fall from his hands, and protected the
pious evangelist from any further harm.

  [312] Schlug etliche Todt. Seck. p. 604.

  [313] Sey gegrüsst, mein Bruder. Scultet. Ann. i. 173.


Meantime, the inquisitors of the Low Countries, thirsting for blood,
scoured the country, searching everywhere for the young Augustines who
had escaped from the Antwerp persecution. Esch, Voes, and Lambert were
at last discovered, put in chains, and led to Brussels. Egmondanus,
Hochstraten, and several other inquisitors, summoned them into their
presence. "Do you retract your assertion," asked Hochstraten, "that
the priest has not the power to forgive sins, and that it belongs to
God alone?" He then proceeded to enumerate other evangelical doctrines
which they were called upon to abjure. "No! we will retract nothing,"
exclaimed Esch and Voes firmly; "we will not deny the Word of God; we
will rather die for the faith."

THE INQUISITOR.--"Confess that you have been seduced by Luther."

THE YOUNG AUGUSTINES.--"As the apostles were seduced by Jesus Christ."

THE INQUISITORS.--"We declare you to be heretics, worthy of being
burnt alive, and we give you over to the secular arm."

Lambert kept silence; the prospect of death terrified him; distress
and doubt tormented his soul. "I beg four days," said he with a
stifled voice. He was led back to prison. As soon as this delay had
expired, Esch and Voes were solemnly deprived of their sacerdotal
character, and given over to the council of the governor of the Low
Countries. The council delivered them, fettered, to the executioner.
Hochstraten and three other inquisitors accompanied them to the

  [314] Facta est hæc res Bruxellæ in publico foro. L. Epp. ii. 361.

When they came near the scaffold, the youthful martyrs looked at it
calmly; their firmness, their piety, their age,[315] drew tears even
from the inquisitors. When they were bound, the confessors approached
them: "Once more we ask you if you will receive the christian faith."

  [315] Nondum triginta annorum. Ibid.

THE MARTYRS.--"We believe in the Christian Church, but not in your

Half an hour elapsed: the inquisitors hesitated, and hoped that the
prospect of so terrible a death would intimidate these youths. But
alone tranquil in the midst of the turbulent crowd in the square, they
sang psalms, stopping from time to time to declare boldly: "We will
die for the name of Jesus Christ."

"Be converted--be converted," cried the inquisitors, "or you will die
in the name of the devil."--"No," replied the martyrs, "we will die
like Christians, and for the truth of the Gospel."

[Sidenote: MARTYRDOM.]

The pile was lighted. While the flames were ascending slowly, a
heavenly peace filled their hearts, and one of them went so far as to
say: "I seem to be lying on a bed of roses."[316] The solemn hour was
come; death was near: the two martyrs cried with a loud voice: "_O
Domine Jesu! Fili David! miserere nostri!_ O Lord Jesus, Son of David,
have mercy on us!" They then began solemnly to repeat the Apostle's
Creed.[317] At last the flames reached them, burning the cords that
fastened them to the stake, before their breath was gone. One of them,
taking advantage of this liberty, fell on his knees in the midst of
the fire,[318] and thus worshipping his Master, exclaimed, clasping
his hands: "Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!" The flames
now surrounded their bodies: they sang the _Te Deum_; soon their
voices were stifled, and nothing but their ashes remained.

  [316] Dit schijnen mij als roosen te zijn. Brandt, Hist. der
  Reformatie, i. 79.

  [317] Admoto igne, canere cœperunt symbolum fidei, says Erasmus.
  Epp. i. 1278.

  [318] Da ist der eine im Feuer auf die Knie gefallen. L. Opp. xviii.

This execution had lasted four hours. It was on the 1st of July 1523
that the first martyrs of the Reformation thus laid down their lives
for the Gospel.

All good men shuddered when they heard of it. The future filled them
with the keenest apprehension. "The executions have begun," said
Erasmus.[319]--"At last," exclaimed Luther, "Christ is gathering some
fruits of our preaching, and has created new martyrs."

  [319] Cœpta est carnificina. Epp. i. 1429.

But the joy Luther felt at the constancy of these two young Christians
was troubled by the thought of Lambert. The latter was the most
learned of the three; he had succeeded to Probst's station as preacher
at Antwerp. Agitated in his dungeon, and alarmed at the prospect of
death, he was still more terrified by his conscience, which reproached
him with cowardice, and urged him to confess the Gospel. He was soon
delivered from his fears, and after boldly proclaiming the truth, died
like his brethren.[320]

  [320] Quarta post exustus est tertius frater Lambertus. L. Epp. ii.


A rich harvest sprang from the blood of these martyrs. Brussels
turned towards the Gospel.[321] "Wherever Aleander raises a pile,"
said Erasmus, "there he seems to have been sowing heretics."[322]

  [321] Ea mors multos fecit Lutheranos. Er. Epp. p. 952; Tum demum
  cœpit civitas favere Luthero. Ibid. p. 1676. Erasmus to Duke
  George; Ea civitas antea purissima. Ibid. p. 1430.

  [322] Ubicumque fumos excitavit nuntius, ibi diceres fuisse factam
  heresean sementem. Ibid.

"Your bonds are mine," said Luther; "your dungeons and your burning
piles are mine![323]......We are all with you, and the Lord is at our
head!" He then commemorated the death of these young monks in a
beautiful hymn, and soon, in Germany and in the Netherlands, in city
and country, these strains were heard communicating in every direction
an enthusiasm for the faith of these martyrs.

  [323] Vestra vincula mea sunt, vestri carceres et ignes mei sunt. L.
  Epp. ii. 464.

    No! no! their ashes shall not die!
      But, borne to every land,
    Where'er their sainted dust shall fall
      Up springs a holy band.

    Though Satan by his might may kill,
      And stop their powerful voice,
    They triumph o'er him in their death,
      And still in Christ rejoice.


     The New Pope, Clement VII.--The Legate Campeggio--Diet of
     Nuremberg--Demand of the Legate--Reply of the Diet--A
     Secular Council projected--Alarm and Exertions of the
     Pope--Bavaria--League of Ratisbon--Severity and
     Reforms--Political Schism--Opposition--Intrigues of
     Rome--Decree of Burgos--Rupture.

Adrian would doubtless have persisted in these violent measures; the
inutility of his exertions to arrest the reform, his orthodoxy, his
zeal, his austerity, and even his conscientiousness, would have made
him a cruel persecutor. But this Providence did not permit. He died on
the 14th of September 1523, and the Romans, overjoyed at being
delivered from this stern foreigner, crowned his physician's door with
flowers, and wrote this inscription over it: "To the saviour of his


Giulio de Medici, cousin to Leo X., succeeded Adrian VI., under the
name of Clement VII. From the day of his election there was no more
question of religious reform. The new pope, like many of his
predecessors, thought only of upholding the privileges of the papacy,
and of employing its resources for his own aggrandizement.

Anxious to repair Adrian's blunders, Clement sent to Nuremberg a
legate of his own character, one of the most skilful prelates of his
court, a man of great experience in public business, and acquainted
with almost all the princes of Germany. Cardinal Campeggio, for such
was his name, after a magnificent reception in the Italian cities on
his road, soon perceived the change that had taken place in the
empire. When he entered Augsburg, he desired, as was usual, to give
his benediction to the people, but they burst into laughter. This was
enough: he entered Nuremberg privately, without going to the church of
St. Sebaldus, where the clergy awaited him. No priests in sacerdotal
ornaments came out to meet him; no cross was solemnly borne before
him;[324] one would have thought him some private individual passing
along the streets of the city. Everything betokened that the reign of
the papacy was drawing to an end.

  [324] Communi habitu, quod per sylvas et campos ierat per mediam
  urbem......sine clero, sine prævia cruce. Cochl. p. 82.

The Diet of Nuremberg resumed its sittings in the month of January
1524. A storm threatened the national government, owing to the
firmness of Frederick. The Swabian league, the wealthiest cities of
the empire, and particularly Charles V., had sworn his destruction. He
was accused of favouring the new heresy. Accordingly it was resolved
to remodify this administration without retaining one of its former
members. Frederick, overwhelmed with grief, immediately quitted


The festival of Easter was approaching. Osiander and the evangelical
preachers redoubled their zeal. The former openly declared in his
sermons that Antichrist entered Rome the very day when Constantine
left it to fix his residence at Constantinople. The consecration of
the palm-branches and many other ceremonies of this feast were
omitted: four thousand persons received the sacrament in both kinds,
and the Queen of Denmark, the emperor's sister, received it publicly,
in like manner, at the castle. "Ah!" exclaimed the Archduke Frederick,
losing his temper, "would that you were not my sister!"--"The same
womb bore us," replied the queen, "and I will sacrifice everything to
please you, except the Word of God."[325]

  [325] Wolle sich des Wortes Gottes halten. Seckend. p. 613.

Campeggio shuddered as he witnessed such audacity; but affecting to
despise the laughter of the populace and the discourses of the
preachers, and resting on the authority of the emperor and of the
pope, he reminded the diet of the edict of Worms, and called upon them
to put down the Reformation by force. At this language many of the
princes and deputies gave vent to their indignation: "What has become
of the list of grievances presented to the pope by the German nation?"
said they to Campeggio. The legate, following his instructions,
assumed an air of candour and surprise, and answered, "Three copies of
that list reached Rome; but we have received no official communication
of it,[326] and neither the pope nor the college of cardinals could
believe that such a paper could have emanated from your lordships. We
thought that it came from some private individuals who had published
it out of hatred to the court of Rome. In consequence of this I have
no instructions on the matter."

  [326] Tria solum exemplaria fuisse perlata Romam, ad quosdam privatim,
  ex iis unum sibi contigisse. Sleidan. lib. iv.

The diet was incensed at this reply. If it is thus the pope receives
their representations, they will also know how to listen to those he
addresses to them. "The people," said many deputies, "are thirsting
for the Word of God; and to take it away, as the edict of Worms
enjoins, would cause torrents of blood to flow."


The diet immediately made preparations for replying to the pope. As
they could not repeal the edict of Worms, a clause was added to it
rendering it ineffectual. They said, "The people must conform with it
_as far as possible_."[327] Now many states had declared it impossible
to enforce it. At the same time, raising up the importunate shade of
the councils of Constance and of Basle, the diet demanded the
convocation of a general council of Christendom to be held in Germany.

  [327] Quantum eis possibile sit. Cochlœus, p. 84.

The friends of the Reformation did not confine themselves to this.
What could they expect from a council which perhaps would never be
convoked, and which, under all circumstances, would be composed of
bishops from every nation? Will Germany submit her anti-Romish
inclinations to prelates from France, Spain, Italy, and England? The
government of the nation had already been abolished; for it a national
assembly should be substituted to protect the interests of the people.

In vain did Hannaart, the Spanish envoy from Charles V., and all the
partisans of Rome and the emperor, endeavour to oppose this
suggestion; the majority of the diet was immovable. It was agreed that
a diet, a secular assembly, should meet at Spires, in the month of
November, to regulate all religious questions, and that the states
should immediately instruct their theologians to draw up a list of the
controverted points to be laid before that august assembly.

They forthwith applied to their task. Each province drew up its
memorial, and never had Rome been threatened with a more terrible
explosion. Franconia, Brandenburg, Henneburg, Windsheim, Wertheim, and
Nuremberg, declared in favour of the Gospel, and against the seven
sacraments, the abuses of the mass, the adoration of saints, and the
papal supremacy. "Here is coin of the right stamp," said Luther. Not
one of the questions that are agitating the popular mind will be
passed by in this national council. The majority will carry general
measures. The unity, independence, and reformation of Germany will be


On being apprized of this, the pope could not restrain his wrath.
What! dare they set up a secular tribunal to decide on religious
questions in direct opposition to his authority![328] If this
extraordinary resolution should be carried out, Germany would
doubtless be saved, but Rome would be lost. A consistory was hastily
convened, and from the alarm of the senators one might have thought
the Germans were marching against the Capitol. "We must take the
electoral hat from Frederick's head," said Aleander. "The kings of
England and Spain must threaten to break off all commercial
intercourse with the free cities," said another cardinal. The
congregation at last decided that the only means of safety would be in
moving heaven and earth to prevent the meeting at Spires.

  [328] Pontifex ægerrime tulit......intelligens novum de religione
  tribunal co pacto excitari citra ipsius auctoritatem. Palav. i. 182.

The pope immediately wrote to the emperor: "If I am the first to make
head against the storm, it is not because I am the only one the
tempest threatens; but because I am at the helm. The rights of the
empire are yet more invaded than the dignity of the court of Rome."

While the pope was sending this letter to Castile, he was endeavouring
to procure allies in Germany. He soon gained over one of the most
powerful houses in the empire, that of the dukes of Bavaria. The edict
of Worms had not been more strictly enforced there than elsewhere, and
the evangelical doctrine had made great progress. But about the close
of the year 1521, the princes of that country, put in motion by Doctor
Eck, chancellor in the university of Ingolstadt, had drawn nearer to
Rome, and had published a decree enjoining all their subjects to
remain faithful to the religion of their ancestors.[329]

  [329] Erstes baierisches Religions Mandat. Winter, Gesch. der Evang.
  Lehre in Baiern, i. 310.

The Bavarian bishops were alarmed at this encroachment of the secular
power. Eck set out for Rome to solicit the pope for an extension of
authority in behalf of the princes. The pope granted everything, and
even conferred on the dukes a fifth of the ecclesiastical revenues of
their country.


Thus, at a time when the Reformation possessed no organization,
Roman-catholicism already had recourse to powerful institutions for
its support; and catholic princes, aided by the pope, laid their hands
on the revenues of the Church, long before the Reformation ventured to
touch them. What must we think of the reproaches the Roman-catholics
have so often made in this respect?

Clement VII. might reckon upon Bavaria to avert the formidable
assembly at Spires. Erelong the Archduke Ferdinand, the Bishop of
Salzburg, and other princes, were gained in their turn.

But Campeggio desired to go still further: Germany must be divided
into two hostile camps; Germans must be opposed to Germans.

Some time before, during his residence at Stuttgard, the legate had
concerted with Ferdinand the plan of a league against the Reformation.
"There is everything to be feared in an assembly where the voice of
the people is heard," said he. "The Diet of Spires may destroy Rome
and save Wittemberg. Let us close our ranks; let us come to an
understanding for the day of battle."[330] Ratisbon was fixed upon as
the place of meeting.

  [330] Winter, Gesch. der Evang. Lehre in Baiern, i. 156.

Notwithstanding the jealousy between the houses of Bavaria and
Austria, Campeggio succeeded in bringing the Dukes of Bavaria and the
Archduke Ferdinand to this city, at the end of June 1524. They were
joined by the Archbishop of Salzburg and the Bishops of Trent and
Ratisbon. The Bishops of Spires, Bamberg, Augsburg, Strasburg, Basle,
Constance, Freisingen, Passau, and Brixen were present by deputy.

The legate opened their sittings, describing in forcible language the
dangers threatened by the Reformation both to princes and clergy. "Let
us extirpate heresy and save the Church," exclaimed he.

The conference lasted fifteen days in the town-hall of Ratisbon. A
grand ball, that continued till daylight, served to enliven this first
Catholic assembly held by the papacy against the dawning
Reformation.[331] After this, measures were resolved upon for the
destruction of the heretics.

  [331] Ranke, Deutsche Gesch. ii. 159.


The legate thought that, according to the notorious axiom of the
Council of Constance, no faith should be kept with heretics,[332] and
in the mean time he carried out this great principle on a small
scale. During the sittings of the diet at Nuremberg, Campeggio had
taken a globe and a book from a poor vendor of astronomical
instruments: these he kept, and refused to make any compensation,
because the man was a Lutheran. Our authority for this incident is the
celebrated Pirckheimer, one of the chief magistrates of

  [332] Non est frangere fidem in eo, qui Deo fidem frangit. Decret.
  Conc. Sess. gen. 19. September 23, 1415.

  [333] Strobel's Verm. Beyträge zur Gesch. der Litt. Nürnberg. 1775, p.

The princes and bishops bound themselves to enforce the edicts of
Worms and Nuremberg; to permit no change in public worship; to
tolerate no married priest in their states; to recall all their
subjects who might be studying at Wittemberg; and to employ every
means in their power for the extirpation of heresy. They enjoined the
preachers, in the interpretation of difficult passages, to rely on the
fathers of the Latin Church, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory.
Not venturing, in the face of the Reformation, to appeal to the
authority of the schoolmen, they were content to lay the first
foundations of Roman orthodoxy.

But, on the other hand, as they could not close their eyes against the
scandals and corrupt morals of the priests,[334] they agreed on a
project of reform, in which they endeavoured to embrace those German
grievances which least concerned the court of Rome. The priests were
forbidden to trade, to haunt the taverns, "to frequent dances," and to
dispute over their cups about articles of faith.

  [334] Improbis clericorum abusibus et perditis moribus. Cochlœus,
  p. 91.


Such was the result of the confederation of Ratisbon.[335] Even while
taking up arms against the Reformation, Rome conceded something; and
in these decrees we may observe the first influence of the Reformation
of the sixteenth century to effect an inward renovation of
catholicism. The Gospel cannot display its strength without its
enemies endeavouring to imitate it in some way or another. Emser had
published a translation of the Bible in opposition to Luther's; Eck
his _Common-places_, by way of counterpoise to Melancthon's;[336] and
now Rome was opposing to the Reformation those partial essays of
reform to which modern Romanism is owing. But all these works were in
reality subtle expedients to escape from impending danger; branches
plucked indeed from the tree of the Reformation, but planted in a soil
which killed them; there was no vitality, and never will there be any
vitality in such attempts.

  [335] Ut Lutheranæ factioni efficacius resistere possint, ultronea
  confederatione sese constrixerunt. Ibid.

  [336] Enchiridion, seu loci communes contra hæreticos. 1525.

Another fact here occurs to us. The Roman party formed at Ratisbon the
first league that infringed the unity of Germany. The signal for
battle was given from the pope's camp. Ratisbon was the cradle of this
division, this political rending of their native land, which so many
of the Germans deplore to this hour. The national assembly of Spires,
by sanctioning and generalizing the reform of the Church, would have
secured the unity of the empire. The conventicle of separatists at
Ratisbon for ever divided the nation into two parties.[337]

  [337] Ranke, Deutsche Gesch. ii. 163.

Yet Campeggio's plans did not at first succeed as had been expected.
Few princes answered this appeal. Luther's most decided adversaries,
Duke George of Saxony, the Elector Joachim of Brandenburg, the
ecclesiastical electors, and the imperial cities, took no part in it.
It was felt that the pope's legate was forming a Romish party in
Germany against the nation itself. Popular sympathies counterbalanced
religious antipathies, and in a short time the _Ratisbon reformation_
became the laughing-stock of the people. But the first step had been
taken, the example given. It was imagined that it would be no
difficult task eventually to strengthen and enlarge this Roman league.
Those who still hesitated would necessarily be drawn into it by the
progress of events. To the legate Campeggio belongs the glory of
having dug the mine which was most seriously to endanger the liberties
of Germany, the existence of the empire, and of the Reformation.
Henceforward Luther's cause ceased to be a mere religious affair; the
dispute with the monk of Wittemberg ranked among the political events
of Europe. Luther is about to be eclipsed; and Charles V., the pope,
and the princes will be the principal actors on the stage where the
grand drama of the sixteenth century is to be performed.


Yet the assembly at Spires was still kept in view; it might repair the
mischief that Campeggio had effected at Ratisbon. Rome made every
exertion to prevent it. "What!" said the papal deputies, not only to
Charles V. but also to Henry VIII. and other princes of Christendom,
"What! do these insolent Germans pretend to decide points of faith in
a national assembly? It would seem that kings, the imperial authority,
all Christendom, and the whole world, should submit to their decrees!"

The moment was well chosen to act upon the emperor. The war between
this prince and Francis I. was at its height. Pescara and the
Constable of Bourbon had quitted Italy, and entering France in the
month of May, had laid siege to Marseilles. The pope, who looked with
an evil eye on this attack, might make a powerful diversion in the
rear of the imperial army. Charles, who must have feared to displease
him, did not hesitate, and immediately sacrificed the independence of
the empire to the favour of Rome and the success of his struggle with

On the 15th of July, Charles issued an edict from Burgos in Castile,
wherein he declared, with an imperious and angry tone, "that the pope
alone had the right of convoking a council, and the emperor of
demanding one; that the meeting appointed to take place at Spires
could not and ought not to be tolerated; that it was strange the
German nation should undertake a task which all the other nations in
the universe, even with the pope's guidance, would not have the right
of doing; and that they should hasten to enforce the decree of Worms
against the new Mahomet."

Thus came from Spain and Italy the blow that arrested in Germany the
development of the Gospel. Charles was not yet satisfied. In 1519, he
had proposed to unite his sister, the Archduchess Catherine, to John
Frederick, son of Duke John, the elector's brother, and heir to the
electorate. But was it not this Saxon house that supported in Germany
those principles of religious and political independence which Charles
hated? He decided on breaking off entirely with the troublesome and
guilty representative of the evangelical and national ideas, and gave
his sister in marriage to John III., king of Portugal. Frederick, who
in 1519 had shown his indifference to the overtures of the King of
Spain, was able in 1524 to suppress the indignation he felt at the
emperor's conduct; but Duke John haughtily intimated that this
proceeding had wounded his feelings very deeply.

Thus the two hostile camps that were destined to rend the empire for
so long a period became daily more distinct.


     Persecution--Gaspard Tauber--A Bookseller--Cruelties in
     Wurtemberg, Salzburg, and Bavaria--Pomerania--Henry of

The Roman party was not satisfied with this. The alliance of Ratisbon
was not to be a mere form; it must be sealed with blood. Ferdinand and
Campeggio descended the Danube together from Ratisbon to Vienna, and
during their journey bound each other by cruel promises. The
persecution immediately broke out in the Austrian states.


One Gaspard Tauber, a citizen of Vienna, had circulated Luther's
writings, and had even written against the invocation of saints,
purgatory, and transubstantiation.[338] Being thrown into prison, he
was summoned by his judges, both theologians and lawyers, to retract
his errors. It was thought that he had consented, and every
preparation was made in Vienna to gratify the people with this solemn
spectacle. On the festival of St Mary's nativity, two pulpits were
erected in St Stephen's cemetery, one for the leader of the choir, who
was to extol by his chants the repentance of the heretic; and the
other for Tauber himself. The formula of recantation was placed in his
hands;[339] the people and choristers waited in silence. Whether
Tauber had made no promise, or whether at the moment of abjuration his
faith suddenly revived with fresh energy, he exclaimed, "I am not
convinced, and I appeal to the holy Roman empire!" Clergy, choristers,
and people were seized with astonishment and alarm. But Tauber
continued to call for death rather than that he should deny the
Gospel. He was decapitated, and his body burnt;[340] and his courage
made an indelible impression on the inhabitants of Vienna.

  [338] Atque etiam proprios ipse tractatus perscripserim. Cochlœus,
  p. 92, verso.

  [339] See Cochl., ibid. Cum igitur ego Casparus Tauber, etc.

  [340] Credo te vidisse Casparis Tauber historiam martyris novi Viennæ,
  quem cæsum capite scribunt et igne exustum pro verbo Dei. Luther to
  Hausmann, 12th November 1524, ii. 563.


At Buda in Hungary, an evangelical bookseller, named John, had
circulated Luther's New Testament and other of his writings throughout
that country. He was bound to a stake; his persecutors then piled his
books around him, enclosing him as if in a tower, and then set fire to
them. John manifested unshaken courage, exclaiming from the midst of
the flames, that he was delighted to suffer in the cause of the
Lord.[341] "Blood follows blood," cried Luther, when informed of this
martyrdom, "but that generous blood, which Rome loves to shed, will at
last suffocate the pope with his kings and their kingdoms."[342]

  [341] Idem accidit Budæ in Ungaria bibliopolæ cuidam Johanni, simul
  cum libris circa eum positis exusto, fortissimeque passo pro Domino.
  Luther to Hausmann, ii. 563.

  [342] Sanguis sanguinem tangit, qui suffocabit papam cum regibus et
  regnis suis. Ibid.

Fanaticism grew fiercer every day; evangelical ministers were expelled
from their churches; magistrates were banished; and at times the most
horrible punishments were inflicted. In Wurtemberg, an inquisitor
named Reichler caused the Lutherans, and above all the preachers, to
be hanged upon trees. Barbarous ruffians were found who unfeelingly
nailed the pastors by their tongues to a post; so that these unhappy
victims, tearing themselves violently from the wood to which they were
fastened, were horribly mutilated in attempting to recover their
liberty, and thus deprived of that gift which they had long used to
proclaim the Gospel.[343]

  [343] Ranke, Deutsche Gesch. ii. 174.


Similar persecutions took place in the other states of the catholic
league. An evangelical minister in the neighbourhood of Salzburg was
led to prison, where he was to pass the rest of his days; whilst the
police who had him in charge were drinking at an alehouse on the road,
two young peasants, moved with compassion, eluded their vigilance, and
delivered the pastor. The anger of the archbishop was inflamed against
these poor people, and without any form of trial they were ordered to
be beheaded. They were secretly led outside the town early in the
morning; and when they arrived on the plain where they were to die,
the executioner himself hesitated, for (said he) they have not been
tried. "Do what I command you," harshly replied the archbishop's
emissary, "and leave the responsibility to the prince!" and the heads
of these youthful liberators immediately fell beneath the sword.[344]

  [344] Zauner, Salzburger Chronik. iv. 381.

The persecution was most violent in the states of the Duke of Bavaria:
priests were deprived of their office; nobles driven from their
castles; spies filled the whole country; and in every heart reigned
mistrust and alarm. As Bernard Fichtel, a magistrate, was going to
Nuremberg on the duke's business, on the high-road he fell in with
Francis Burkhardt, professor at Ingolstadt, and one of Dr. Eck's
friends. Burkhardt accosted him, and they travelled together. After
supper the professor began to talk of religion; Fichtel, who was no
stranger to his fellow-traveller, reminded him that the new edict
prohibited such conversations. "Between us," replied Burkhardt, "there
is nothing to fear."--Upon this Fichtel remarked: "I do not think this
edict can ever be enforced." He then proceeded to express himself in
an ambiguous manner on purgatory, and said it was a horrible thing to
punish religious differences with death. At these words Burkhardt
could not contain himself: "What is more just," said he, "than to cut
off the heads of all these Lutheran rascals!" He took a friendly leave
of Fichtel, but immediately denounced him. Fichtel was thrown into
prison, and the wretched man, who had never thought of becoming a
martyr, and whose religious convictions were not very deep, only
escaped death by a shameful retractation. There was no security in any
place, not even in the bosom of a friend.

But others met with that death from which Fichtel escaped. In vain was
the Gospel preached in secret;[345] the dukes tracked it in its
obscurity and mystery,--beneath the domestic roof and in the lonely

  [345] Verbi non palam seminati. L. Epp. ii. 559.

"The cross and persecution reign in Bavaria," said Luther; "these
wild beasts are lashing themselves into madness."[346]

  [346] In Bavaria multum regnat crux et persecutio. L. Epp. ii. 559.

Even the north of Germany was not free from these cruelties.
Bogislaus, duke of Pomerania, being dead, his son, who had been
brought up at Duke George's court, persecuted the Gospel; Suaven and
Knipstrow were compelled to flee.

But it was in Holstein that one of the most extraordinary instances of
fanaticism occurred.


Henry von Zuphten, who had escaped, as we have seen, from the convent
at Antwerp, was preaching the Gospel at Bremen; Nicholas Boye, pastor
of Mehldorf in the Dittmarsh, and several pious men of that district,
invited him to come and proclaim Jesus Christ among them. He complied
with their wishes. Immediately the prior of the Dominicans and the
vicar of the official of Hamburg consulted together. "If he preaches
and the people listen to him," said they, "all is lost!" The prior,
after passing an agitated night, rose early and repaired to the barren
and uncultivated heath where the forty-eight regents of the country
were wont to hold their meetings. "The monk of Bremen is come to ruin
all the Dittmarshers," said he to them. These forty-eight
simple-minded and ignorant men, being persuaded that they would
acquire great renown by delivering the world from the heretical monk,
resolved on putting him to death, without having either seen or heard

This was on Saturday, and the prior wished to prevent Henry from
preaching on the following day. He arrived at the pastor Boye's
dwelling in the middle of the night with the letter of the forty-eight
regents. "If it be God's will that I should die among the
Dittmarshers," said Henry von Zuphten, "heaven is as near me there as
elsewhere;[347] I will preach."

  [347] Der Himmel wäre da so nahe als anderswo. L. Opp. xix. 330.

He went up into the pulpit and preached with great energy. His
hearers, moved and excited by his christian eloquence, had scarcely
left the church when the prior handed them the letter of the
forty-eight regents, forbidding the monk to preach. They immediately
sent their representatives to the heath; and, after a long discussion,
the Dittmarshers agreed that, considering their great ignorance, they
would wait until Easter. But the incensed prior went up to some of the
regents and inflamed their zeal afresh. "We will write to him," said
they.--"Mind what you are about," replied the prior; "if he begins to
speak, we shall be able to do nothing with him. We must seize him
during the night, and burn him before he can open his mouth."

They determined to adopt this course. At nightfall on the day after
the Festival of the Conception, the _Ave Maria_ bell was rung. At this
signal, all the neighbouring villagers assembled, to the number of
five hundred, and their leaders having broached three butts of Hamburg
beer, by this means inspired them with great courage. It was striking
midnight when they reached Mehldorf;--the peasants were armed;--the
monks carried torches;--all marched in disorder, exchanging shouts of
fury. As they entered the village, they kept deep silence for fear
Henry should escape.

On a sudden the gates of the parsonage were burst open; the drunken
peasants rushed in, striking everything they saw; dishes, kettles,
flagons, clothing, were tossed about pell-mell; they seized on all the
gold and silver they could find, and falling on the poor pastor, they
beat him, with loud cries of "Kill him! kill him!" and then flung him
into the mud. But it was Henry they were seeking; they pulled him out
of bed, tied his hands behind his back, and dragged him after them,
without clothing, and in a piercing cold night "Why did you come
here," said they. As Henry answered mildly, they cried out, "Down with
him! down with him! if we listen to him we shall become heretics
also!" They had dragged him naked through the ice and snow; his feet
were bleeding; he entreated to be set on horseback. "Yes, indeed,"
replied they, mocking him, "we will find horses for heretics!......
March!"--And they continued hurrying him towards the heath. A woman,
standing at the door of her cottage as the servant of God was passing,
began to weep. "My good woman," said Henry, "do not weep for me." The
bailiff pronounced his condemnation. Upon this one of the madmen who
had dragged him hither struck the preacher of Jesus Christ on the head
with a sword; another gave him a blow with a club; after which they
brought him a poor monk to receive his confession. "Brother," said
Henry, "have I ever done you any wrong?"--"None," replied the
monk.--"In that case I have nothing to confess to you," resumed Henry,
"and you have nothing to forgive me." The monk retired in confusion.
Several ineffectual attempts were made to kindle the pile; the logs
would not catch fire. For two hours the martyr remained thus before
the furious peasantry,--calm, and raising his eyes to heaven. While
they were binding him to throw him into the flames, he began the
confession of his faith. "Burn first," said a peasant, striking him on
the mouth with his fist, "and then you may speak!" They tried to fling
him on the pile, but he fell on one side. John Holme, seizing a club,
struck him upon the breast, and he was laid dead on the burning heap.
"Such is the true history of the sufferings of the holy martyr, Henry
von Zuphten."[348]

  [348] Das ist die wahre Historie, &c. L. Opp. L. xix. 333.


     Divisions--The Lord's Supper--Two Extremes--Hoen's
     Discovery--Carlstadt--Luther--Mysticism of the
     enthusiasts--Carlstadt at Orlamund--Luther's
     Mission--Interview at Table--The Conference of
     Orlamund--Carlstadt banished.

While the Roman party was everywhere drawing the sword against the
Reformation, this work underwent new developments. It is not at Zurich
or at Geneva, but in Wittemberg, the focus of the Lutheran revival,
that we should look for the commencement of that reformed Church, of
which Calvin became the chief doctor. These two great families had
slept in the same cradle. Union ought in like manner to have crowned
their mature age. But when the question of the Lord's Supper was once
started, Luther violently rejected the reformed element, and bound
himself and his Church in an exclusive Lutheranism. The vexation he
felt at this rival doctrine caused him to lose much of his natural
kindness of disposition, and aroused in him a mistrust, an habitual
discontent and irritation, to which he had hitherto been a stranger.


The controversy broke out between the two old friends, the two
champions who had fought side by side at Leipsic against
Rome,--between Carlstadt and Luther. In each of them their attachment
to contrary doctrines originated in a turn of mind that merits our
esteem. In fact, there are two extremes in questions of religion; the
one materializes, the other spiritualizes everything. The former of
these two extremes is that of Rome; the latter, of the Mystics.
Religion, like man himself, is compounded of body and soul; the pure
idealists as well as the materialists, in religious views no less than
in philosophical systems, are equally mistaken.

Such is the great question hidden under the discussion about the
Lord's Supper. While on a superficial glance we see nothing but a
trivial dispute about words, a deeper observation discloses to us one
of the most important controversies that can occupy the human mind.

Here the reformers divide into two parties; but each carries away with
it a portion of the truth. Luther and his followers intend opposing an
exaggerated spiritualism; Carlstadt and the reformed attack a hateful
materialism. Each of them arraigns the error which in his view appears
the most fatal, and, in assailing it, possibly goes beyond the truth.
But this is of no importance; each of them is true in his general
tendency, and although belonging to two different hosts, these two
illustrious teachers both take their stand under one common
banner,--that of Jesus Christ, who alone is Truth in its infinite

Carlstadt thought that nothing could be more injurious to real piety
than confidence in outward ceremonies and in a certain magical
influence of the sacraments. The outward participation in the Lord's
Supper, according to Rome, was sufficient for salvation, and this
principle had materialized religion. Carlstadt saw no better way of
restoring its spirituality than by denying all presence of Christ's
body: and he taught that this holy feast was to believers simply a
pledge of their redemption.

Did Carlstadt arrive at these opinions unaided? No: all things are
bound together in the Church; and the historical filiation of the
reformed doctrine, so long overlooked, now appears clearly
established. Unquestionably we cannot fail to see in this doctrine
the sentiments of several of the Fathers; but if we search in the long
chain of ages for the link which more immediately connects that of
Carlstadt and the Swiss reformers, we shall find it in John Wessel,
the most illustrious doctor of the fifteenth century.[349]

  [349] See Vol. I. p. 100.


A christian lawyer of Holland, Cornelius Hoen (Honius), a friend of
Erasmus, and who had been thrown into prison in 1523 for his
attachment to the Gospel, found among the papers of James Hoek, dean
of Naeldwik, and a great friend of Wessel, several treatises by this
illustrious doctor touching the Lord's Supper.[350] Hoen, convinced of
the truth of the spiritual sense ascribed by Wessel to this sacrament,
thought it his duty to communicate to the reformers these papers
written by his fellow-countryman. He therefore transmitted them to two
of his friends, John Rhodius, president of the brethren of the
Common-life at Utrecht, and George Sagarus or Saganus, together with a
letter on the same subject, and desired them to lay all of them before

  [350] See Hardenberg _Vita Wessli_; Gerdes. _Hist. Evang. renov._ i.
  228-230; Gieseler, Kirchen G. iii. 190; Ulman Joh. Wessel (2d edit.),
  p. 564.

About the close of the year 1520, the two Dutchmen arrived at
Wittemberg, where they seem to have been favourably received by
Carlstadt from the first moment; while Luther, as was his custom,
invited these foreign friends to meet some of his colleagues at
dinner. The conversation naturally fell on the treasure these
Netherlanders had brought with them, and particularly on the writings
of Wessel concerning the Lord's Supper.

Rhodius invited Luther to receive the doctrine that the great doctor
of the fifteenth century had so clearly set forth, and Carlstadt
entreated his friend to acknowledge the spiritual signification of the
Eucharist, and even to write against the carnal eating of Christ's
body. Luther shook his head and refused, upon which Carlstadt
exclaimed warmly: "Well, then, if you will not do it, I will, although
far less fitted than yourself." Such was the beginning of the division
that afterwards occurred between these two colleagues.[351] The two
Netherlanders, being rejected in Saxony, resolved to turn their steps
towards Switzerland, where we shall meet with them again.

  [351] Hardenberg, _Vita Wesseli_; W. Opp. Amsterdam, p. 13. Hardenberg
  refers to Rhodius, Goswin, Melancthon, and Th. Blaurer, from whom he
  says that he received his account, and adds: Interim velim illis
  credi, ut viris bonis; mihi saltem, ut fideli relatori.


Luther henceforward took a diametrically opposite direction. At first,
he had apparently contended in favour of the opinion we have just
pointed out. In his treatise on the mass, which appeared in 1520, he
said: "I can every day partake of the sacraments, if I only call to
mind the words and promises of Christ, and if I nourish and strengthen
my faith with them." Neither Carlstadt, Zwingle, nor Calvin, have ever
used stronger language than this. It would even appear that the idea
frequently occurred to him at this period, that a symbolical
explanation of the Lord's Supper would be the most powerful weapon to
overturn the papal system from top to bottom; for he said in 1525,
that five years previously he had undergone many severe temptations
for this doctrine,[352] and that the man who could have proved to him
that there was only bread and wine in the eucharist, would have done
him the greatest service.

  [352] Ich habe wohl so harte Anfechtungen da erlitten. L. Epp. ii.

But new circumstances threw him into an opposition, at times not
unmingled with violence, against those very opinions to which he had
made so near an approach. The fanaticism of the enthusiasts of the day
explains the direction Luther now took. They were not content with
under-valuing what they called the external Word, that is, the Bible,
and with pretending to special revelations from the Holy Ghost; they
went so far as to despise the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, as
something outward, and to speak of an inward communion as being the
only true communion. From that time, in every attempt made to explain
the doctrine of the Lord's Supper in a symbolical manner, Luther saw
only the danger of weakening the authority of the Holy Scriptures; of
substituting arbitrary allegories for their real meaning; of
spiritualizing everything in religion; of making it consist, not in
the gifts of God, but in the impressions of men; and of substituting
by this means for the true Christianity a mysticism, a theosophy, a
fanaticism, that would infallibly become its grave. We must
acknowledge that, had it not been for Luther's violent opposition, the
mystical, enthusiastic, and subjective tendency would then perhaps
have made rapid progress, and would have turned back the tide of
blessings that the Reformation was to spread over the world.


Carlstadt, impatient at being prevented from explaining his doctrine
freely in Wittemberg, urged by his conscience to combat a system which
in his "opinion lowered Christ's death and destroyed his
righteousness," resolved "to give a public testimony for the love of
poor and cruelly deceived Christendom." He left Wittemberg at the
beginning of 1524, without informing either the university or the
chapter of his intentions, and repaired to the small town of Orlamund,
the church of which was placed under his superintendence. He had the
incumbent dismissed, got himself nominated pastor in his stead, and in
despite of the chapter, the university, and the elector, established
himself in this new post.

He soon began to propagate his doctrine. "It is impossible," said he,
"to find in the real presence any advantage that does not proceed from
faith; it is therefore useless." In explaining Christ's words at the
institution of the Lord's Supper, he had recourse to an interpretation
which is not admitted by the reformed Churches. Luther, in the
disputation at Leipsic, had explained these words: _Thou art Peter,
and on this rock I will build my Church_, by separating the two
propositions, and applying the latter to our Saviour's person. "In
like manner," said Carlstadt, "the words, _take_, _eat_, refer to the
bread; but _this is my body_ relates to Jesus Christ, who then pointed
to himself, and intimated by the symbol of breaking the bread, that
his body was soon to be broken."


Carlstadt did not stop here. He was scarcely emancipated from the
guardianship of Luther, before he felt his zeal revive against the
images. It was easy for his imprudent discourses and his enthusiastic
language to inflame men's minds in these agitated times. The people,
imagining they heard a second Elijah, broke the idols of Baal. The
excitement soon spread to the surrounding villages. The elector would
have interfered; but the peasants replied that they ought to obey God
rather than man. Upon this, the prince determined to send Luther to
Orlamund to restore peace. Luther regarded Carlstadt as a man eaten up
by a love of notoriety,[353] a fanatic who might be so far carried
away as to make war on Christ himself. Frederick might perhaps have
made a wiser choice. Luther departed, and Carlstadt was fated to see
this troublesome rival once more come and disturb his plans of reform,
and check his soaring flight.

  [353] Huc perpulit eum insana gloriæ et laudis libido. L. Epp. ii.

Jena was on the road to Orlamund. Luther reached this city on the 23d
of August, and on the 24th went into the pulpit at seven in the
morning; he spoke for an hour and a half in the presence of a numerous
auditory against fanaticism, rebellion, the breaking of images, and
the contempt of the real presence, inveighing most energetically
against the innovations of Orlamund. He did not mention Carlstadt by
name, but every one could see whom he had in view.

Carlstadt, either by accident or design, was at Jena, and among the
number of Luther's hearers. He did not hesitate to seek an explanation
of this sermon. Luther was dining with the prior of Wittemberg, the
burgomaster, the town-clerk, the pastor of Jena, and several officers
of the emperor and the margrave, when he received a letter from
Carlstadt demanding an interview; he handed it to his neighbours, and
replied to the bearer: "If Doctor Carlstadt wishes to come to me, let
him come; if not, I can do without him." Carlstadt came. His visit
produced a lively sensation in the whole party. The majority, eager to
see the two lions battling, suspended their repast and looked on,
while the more timid turned pale with alarm.

[Sidenote: THE CHALLENGE.]

Carlstadt, on Luther's invitation, took a seat in front of him and
said: "Doctor, in your sermon of this morning you classed me with
those who inculcate rebellion and assassination. Such a charge I
declare to be false."

LUTHER.--"I did not name you; but since the cap fits, you may wear

After a brief pause Carlstadt resumed:

"I will undertake to prove that on the doctrine of the sacrament you
have contradicted yourself, and that no one, since the days of the
apostles, has taught it so purely as myself."

LUTHER.--"Write! combat my opinions!"

CARLSTADT.--"I offer you a public disputation at Wittemberg or at
Erfurth, if you will procure me a safe-conduct."

LUTHER.--"Fear nothing, doctor."

CARLSTADT.--"You bind me hand and foot, and when you have rendered me
unable to defend myself, you strike me."[354]

  [354] Ihr bandet mir Hände und Füsse, darnach schlugt Ihr mich. L.
  Opp. xix. 150.

There was another brief silence, when Luther resumed:--

"Write against me, but openly and not in secret."

CARLSTADT.--"I would do so, if I knew that you were speaking

LUTHER.--"Do so, and I will give you a florin."

CARLSTADT.--"Give it me; I accept the challenge."

At these words Luther took a gold florin out of his pocket, and giving
it to Carlstadt, said: "There is the money: now strike boldly."

Carlstadt holding the florin in his hand, turned towards the assembly
and said: "Dear brethren, this is my earnest-money, a warrant that I
have authority to write against Doctor Luther; be you all witnesses to

Then bending the florin that it might be known again, he put it in his
purse and shook hands with Luther, who drank his health, to which
Carlstadt responded. "The more vigorous your attack, the better I
shall like it," resumed Luther.

"If I miss you," replied Carlstadt, "it shall be through no fault of

They once more shook hands, and Carlstadt returned to his dwelling.

Thus, says an historian, as from a single spark often proceeds the
conflagration of a whole forest, so from this small beginning a great
division arose in the Church.[355]

  [355] Sicut una scintilla sæpe totam sylvam comburit. M. Adami Vita
  Carlst. p. 83. Our narrative is mostly taken from the _Acts of
  Reinhardt_, pastor of Jena, an eye-witness, but a friend of Carlstadt,
  and whom Luther charged with inaccuracy.


Luther set out for Orlamund, and arrived there very ill prepared by
the scene at Jena. He assembled the council and the church, and said:
"Neither the elector nor the university will acknowledge Carlstadt as
your pastor."--"If Carlstadt is not our pastor," replied the treasurer
of the town-council, "St. Paul is a false teacher, and your books are
full of falsehoods, for we have elected him."

As he said this, Carlstadt entered the room. Some of those who were
near Luther beckoned him to sit down, but Carlstadt, going straight up
to Luther, said: "Dear doctor, if you will allow me, I will entertain

LUTHER.--"You are my opponent. I gave you a gold florin for that

CARLSTADT.--"I will be your opponent so long as you remain the enemy
of God and of his truth."

LUTHER.--"Leave the room: I cannot allow you to be present here."

CARLSTADT.--"This is a public meeting. If your cause is good, why
should you fear me?"

LUTHER _to his servant_.--"Go and put the horses to; I have nothing to
do with Carlstadt, and since he will not leave, I must."[356]

  [356] Spann an, spann an. L. Opp. xix. 154.

At the same time Luther rose from his seat, upon which Carlstadt
quitted the room.

After a short pause, Luther resumed:--

"Prove by Scripture that we ought to destroy the images."

A COUNCILLOR, _opening a Bible_.--"Doctor, you will grant me, however,
that Moses knew God's commandments? Well, then, here are his words:
_Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness_."

LUTHER.--"This passage refers only to idolatrous images. If I have a
crucifix hung up in my chamber, and do not worship it, what harm can
it do me?"

A SHOEMAKER.--"I have frequently taken off my hat before an image that
I have seen in a room or in the streets. It is an idolatrous act that
deprives God of the glory that is due to him alone."

LUTHER.--"Must we then, because of their abuse, put our women to
death, and throw our wine into the streets?"[357]

  [357] So muss du dess Missbrauchs halber auch. Ibid. 155.

ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH.--"No! these are God's creatures, which
we are not commanded to destroy."


After the conference had lasted some time longer, Luther and his
friends returned to their carriage, astonished at what they had seen,
and without having succeeded in convincing the inhabitants, who
claimed for themselves the right of freely interpreting and explaining
the Scriptures. The excitement was very great in Orlamund; the people
insulted Luther, and some of them shouted out: "Begone, in the name of
all the devils! May you break your neck before you get out of our
city!"[358] Never had the reformer undergone such humiliation.

  [358] Two of the most distinguished contemporary historians of Germany
  (Dr. Markeineke, Ref. Gesch. ii. 139, and Fred. von Raumer, Gesch.
  Europ. i. 371), add, that the people of Orlamund flung mud and stones
  at Luther; but he asserts the very contrary: "Dass ich froh ward, dass
  ich nit mit Steinen und Dreck ausgeworffen ward" I was glad to escape
  without being pelted with stones and mud. L. Epp. ii. 579.

He proceeded thence to Kale, where the pastor had also embraced the
doctrines of Carlstadt, and resolved to preach there. But when he
entered the pulpit, he found the fragments of a crucifix. At first his
emotion was very great; but recovering himself, he gathered up the
pieces into a corner, and delivered a sermon without a single allusion
to this circumstance. He said at a later period: "I determined to
revenge myself on the devil by contempt."

The nearer the elector approached the end of his days, the more he
feared lest men should go too far in the Reformation. He gave orders
that Carlstadt should be deprived of his offices, and that he should
not only leave Orlamund, but the electoral states also. In vain did
the church of this place intercede in his favour; in vain did they ask
that he might be allowed to remain among them as a private citizen,
with permission to preach occasionally; in vain did they represent
that they valued God's truth more than the whole world, or even a
thousand worlds,[359] if God had created as many: Frederick was
inflexible, and he even went so far as to refuse Carlstadt the funds
necessary for his journey. Luther had nothing to do with these severe
measures of the prince; they were far from his disposition, as he
showed at a later period. But Carlstadt looked upon him as the author
of all his misfortunes, and filled Germany with his complaints and
lamentations. He wrote a farewell address to his friends at Orlamund.
The people were called together by the ringing of the bells; and the
letter, which was read to the assembled church, drew tears from every
eye.[360] It was signed, "Andrew Bodenstein, expelled by Luther,
unheard and unconvicted."

  [359] Höher als tausend Welten. Seck. p. 628.

  [360] Quæ publice vocatis per campanas lectæ sunt omnibus simul
  flentibus. L. Epp. ii. 558.


We cannot but feel pain at seeing the contest between these two men,
who once were friends, and who were both so excellent. A feeling of
sadness took possession of all the disciples of the Reformation. What
would become of it now that its most illustrious defenders thus
opposed each other? Luther noticed these fears, and endeavoured to
allay them. "Let us fight," said he, "as if fighting for another. The
cause is God's, the care is God's, the work is God's, the victory is
God's, and to God belongs the glory![361] He will contend and conquer
without us. Let that fall which ought to fall; let that stand which
ought to stand. It is not our own cause that is at stake, nor our own
glory that we seek."

  [361] Causa Dei est, cura Dei est, opus Dei est, victoria Dei est,
  gloria Dei est! Ibid. 556.

Carlstadt took refuge at Strasburg, where he published several works.
He was a sound Latin, Greek, and Hebrew scholar, says Dr. Scheur; and
Luther acknowledged his superior erudition. Endowed with an elevated
mind, he sacrificed his reputation, his rank, his home, his very
bread, to his convictions. He afterwards proceeded to Switzerland; it
is there he should have commenced his teaching: his independence
needed the free air in which Zwingle and Œcolampadius breathed. His
doctrine soon awakened almost as much attention as that obtained by
Luther's first theses. Switzerland appeared to be won; Bucer and
Capito seemed to be carried away by it.

Luther's indignation was then at its height, and he published one of
the most powerful, but at the same time one of his most violent
controversial works--his book "_Against the Celestial Prophets_."

Thus the Reformation, attacked by the pope, attacked by the emperor,
attacked by the princes, was beginning also to tear its own vitals.
It seemed that it must fall under the weight of so many evils; and
assuredly it would have fallen had it been a work of man. But soon
from the very brink of destruction it rose up with renewed energy.


     Progress--Resistance against the Ratisbon Leaguers--Meeting
     between Philip of Hesse and Melancthon--The Landgrave
     converted to the Gospel--The
     Palatinate--Luneburg--Holstein--The Grand-Master at


The Catholic League of Ratisbon and the persecutions that followed it,
created a powerful reaction among the German people. They did not feel
disposed to suffer themselves to be deprived of that Word of God which
had been restored to them at last; and to the orders of Charles V., to
the bulls of the pope, the menaces and burning piles of Ferdinand and
the other Roman-catholic princes, they replied: "We will keep it!"

No sooner had the members of the league quitted Ratisbon, than the
deputies of the towns, whose bishops had taken part in this alliance,
in surprise and indignation met at Spires, and declared that their
ministers in despite of the prohibition of the bishops should preach
the Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel, conformably to the doctrine of
the prophets and apostles. They then proceeded to draw up a memorial
in firm and consistent language, to be laid before the national

The imperial letter from Burgos, it is true, came to disturb their
minds. Nevertheless, about the close of the year, the deputies of
these cities with many nobles met at Ulm, and swore to assist one
another in case of attack.

Thus to the camp formed by Austria, Bavaria, and the bishops, the free
cities immediately opposed another in which they planted the standard
of the Gospel and of the national liberties.


While the cities were thus placing themselves in the van of the
Reformation, many princes were gained over to its cause. In the
beginning of the month of June 1524, as Melancthon was returning on
horseback from a visit to his mother, accompanied by Camerarius and
some other friends, he met a brilliant train near Frankfort. It was
Philip, landgrave of Hesse, who three years before had called on
Luther at Worms, and who was then on his road to the tournament at
Heidelberg, where all the princes of Germany would be present.

Thus did Providence bring Philip successively into contact with the
two reformers. As it was known that the celebrated doctor had gone to
his native place, one of the landgrave's attendants said: "It is
Philip Melancthon, I think." The young prince immediately clapped
spurs to his horse, and coming near the doctor said: "Is your name
Philip?"--"It is," replied the scholar a little intimidated, and
respectfully preparing to alight.[362] "Keep your seat," said the
prince; "turn round, and come and pass the night with me; there are
some matters on which I desire to have a little talk with you; fear
nothing."--"What can I fear from such a prince as you?" replied the
doctor.--"Ah! ah!" said the landgrave with a laugh, "if I were to
carry you off and give you up to Campeggio, he would not be offended,
I think." The two Philips rode on together, side by side, the prince
asking questions and the doctor replying. The landgrave was delighted
with the clear and impressive views set before him by Melancthon. The
latter at length begged permission to continue his journey, and Philip
of Hesse parted from him with reluctance. "On one condition," said he,
"that on your return home you will carefully examine the questions we
have been discussing, and send me the result in writing."[363]
Melancthon gave his promise. "Go then," said Philip, "and pass through
my states."

  [362] Honoris causa de equo descensurus. Camerarius, p. 94.

  [363] Ut de quæstionibus quas audiisset moveri, aliquid diligenter
  conscriptum curaret. Ibid. p. 94.


Melancthon drew up with his usual talent an _Abridgment of the Revived
Doctrine of Christianity_;[364] a forcible and concise treatise, that
made a decided impression on the landgrave's mind. Shortly after his
return from the tournament at Heidelberg, this prince, without joining
the free cities, published an edict by which, in opposition to the
league of Ratisbon, he ordered the Gospel to be preached in all its
purity. He embraced it himself with the energy peculiar to his
character. "Rather would I give up my body and life, my subjects and
my states," said he, "than the Word of God." A Minorite friar, named
Ferber, perceiving this prince's leaning towards the Reformation,
wrote him a letter full of reproach, in which he conjured him to
remain faithful to Rome. "I will remain faithful to the old doctrine,"
replied Philip, "but such as it is contained in Scripture." He then
proved very forcibly that man is justified solely by faith.
Astonishment kept the monk silent.[365] The landgrave was commonly
styled "Melancthon's disciple."[366]

  [364] Epitome renovatæ ecclesiasticæ doctrinæ.

  [365] Seckendorf, p. 738.

  [366] Princeps ille discipulus Philippi fuit a quibusdam appellatus.
  Camer. p. 95.

Other princes followed in the same direction. The elector-palatine
refused to lend himself to any persecution; the Duke of Luneburg,
nephew to the Elector of Saxony, began to reform his own states; and
the King of Denmark gave orders that in Sleswick and Holstein every
one should be free to serve God as his conscience suggested.


The Reformation gained a still more important victory. A prince, whose
conversion to the Gospel was destined to exert the greatest influence,
even in our days, began about this time to turn aside from Rome. One
day about the end of June, shortly after Melancthon's return to
Wittemberg, Albert, margrave of Brandenburg and grand-master of the
Teutonic order, entered Luther's chamber. This chief of the military
monks of Germany, who then possessed Prussia, had gone to the Diet of
Nuremberg to invoke the aid of the empire against Poland. He returned
in the deepest distress. On the one hand, the preaching of Osiander
and the reading of the Bible had convinced him that his monastic
profession was contrary to the Word of God; and on the other the fall
of the national government in Germany had deprived him of all hope of
obtaining the succour he had gone to solicit. What can he do
then?......The Saxon councillor Von Planitz, with whom he had quitted
Nuremberg, advised him to see the reformer. "What do you think of the
regulations of my order?" said the restless and agitated prince.
Luther felt no hesitation: he saw that a line of conduct in conformity
with the Gospel was the only thing that could save Prussia. "Invoke
the aid of God," said he to the grand-master; "throw off the senseless
and confused rules of your order; put an end to that abominable
principality, a veritable hermaphrodite, which is neither religious
nor secular;[367] relinquish that false chastity, and seek the true
one; take a wife, and instead of that nameless monster, found a
legitimate sovereignty."[368] These words placed distinctly before the
mind of the grand-master a state of things that he had as yet
conceived but vaguely. A smile lit up his features; but he had too
much prudence to declare himself; he remained silent.[369] Melancthon,
who was present, spoke to the same effect as Luther, and the prince
returned to his states, leaving the reformers under the conviction
that the seed they had sown in his heart would one day bear fruit.

  [367] Ut loco illius abominabilis principatus, qui hermaphrodita
  quidem. L. Epp. ii. 527.

  [368] Ut contempta ista stulta confusaque regula, uxorem duceret.

  [369] Ille tum arrisit, sed nihil respondit. Ibid.

Thus Charles V. and the pope had opposed the national assembly at
Spires for fear the Word of God should gain over all who might be
present; but the Word of God cannot be bound; they refused to let it
be heard in one of the halls of a town in the Lower Palatinate; it
avenged itself by spreading over all the provinces; it stirred the
hearts of the people, enlightened the princes, and manifested in every
part of the empire that Divine power which neither bulls nor edicts
can ever take away.


     Reforms--All Saints Church--Fall of the
     Mass--Learning--Christian Schools--Learning extended to the
     Laity--The Arts--Moral Religion--Esthetical


While the nations and their rulers were thus hastening forward to the
light, the reformers were endeavouring to regenerate everything, to
interpenetrate everything with the principles of Christianity. The
state of public worship first engaged their attention. The time fixed
by the reformer, on his return from the Wartburg, had arrived. "Now,"
said he, "that men's hearts have been strengthened by Divine grace, we
must put an end to the scandals that pollute the kingdom of the Lord,
and dare something in the name of Jesus." He required that men should
communicate in both kinds (the bread and wine); that everything should
be retrenched from the ceremony of the eucharist that tended to make
it a sacrifice;[370] that Christians should never assemble together
without having the Gospel preached;[371] that believers, or at least
the priests and scholars, should meet every morning at five or six
o'clock to read the Old Testament; and at a corresponding hour in the
evening to read the New Testament; that every Sunday, the whole Church
should assemble in the morning and afternoon, and that the great
object of their worship should be to sound abroad the Word of

  [370] Weise christliche Messe zu halten. L. Opp. (L.) xxii. 232.

  [371] Die christliche Gemeine nimmer soll zusammen kommen, es werde
  denn daselbst Gottes Wort geprediget. Ibid. 226.

  [372] Dass das Wort im Schwange gehe. Ibid. 227.


The church of All Saints at Wittemberg especially excited Luther's
indignation. Seckendorf informs us that 9901 masses were there
celebrated yearly, and 35,570 pounds of wax annually burnt. Luther
called it "a sacrilegious Tophet." "There are only three or four
lazy-bellies," said he, "who still worship this shameful mammon, and
if I had not restrained the people, this house of All Saints, or
rather of all devils, would have made such a noise in the world as has
never before been heard."

The struggle began around this church. It resembled those ancient
sanctuaries of paganism in Egypt, Gaul, and Germany, which were
destined to fall that Christianity might be established.

Luther, desiring that the mass should be abolished in this cathedral,
addressed a petition to the chapter to this effect on the 1st of March
1523, and a second on the 11th of July.[373] The canons having pleaded
the elector's orders, Luther replied, "What is the prince's order to
us in this case? He is a secular prince; the sword, and not the
preaching of the Gospel, belongs to him."[374] Here Luther clearly
marks the distinction between the State and the Church. "There is but
one sacrifice that taketh away sins," said he again, "Christ, who
offered himself up once for all; and in this we are partakers, not by
works or by sacrifices, but solely by faith in the Word of God."

  [373] L. Epp. ii. pp. 308, 354.

  [374] Welchem gebührt das Schwerd, nicht das Predigtamt zu versorgen.
  L. Opp. xviii. p. 497.

The elector, who felt his end drawing near, was opposed to new

But fresh entreaties were added to those of Luther. "It is time to
act," said Jonas, provost of the cathedral, to the elector. "A
manifestation of the Gospel, so striking as that which we now have,
does not ordinarily last longer than a sunbeam. Let us make haste

  [375] Corp. Ref. i. 636.


As the letter of Jonas did not change the elector's views, Luther lost
all patience; he thought the moment had come for striking a decisive
blow, and addressed a threatening letter to the chapter: "I entreat
you amicably, and urge you seriously, to put an end to all this
sectarian worship. If you refuse, you will receive (with God's help)
the reward that you have deserved. I mention this for your guidance,
and require a positive and immediate answer,--yes or no,--before
Sunday next, that I may know what I have to do. May God give you grace
to follow his light.

  "Thursday, 8th December 1524.
  "_Preacher at Wittemberg_."[376]

  [376] L. Epp. ii. 565.

At the same time the rector, two burgomasters, and ten councillors,
waited on the dean, and entreated him in the name of the university,
the council, and the township of Wittemberg, "to abolish the great and
horrible impiety committed in the mass against the majesty of God."

The chapter was forced to give way; they declared that, being
enlightened by the holy Word of God,[377] they acknowledged the abuses
that had been pointed out, and published a new order of
church-service, which began to be observed on Christmas-day 1524.

  [377] Durch das Licht des heiligen göttlichen Wortes......L. Opp.
  xviii. 502.

Thus fell the mass in this renowned sanctuary, where it had so long
resisted the reiterated attacks of the reformers. The Elector
Frederick, suffering from the gout, and rapidly drawing near his end,
could not, in spite of all his exertions, prevent this great victory
of the Reformation. He saw in it a manifestation of the Divine will,
and gave way. The fall of the Romish observances in the church of All
Saints hastened their abolition in a great number of churches
throughout Christendom; everywhere the same resistance was
offered,--everywhere there was the same triumph. In vain did the
priests, and even the princes in many places, try to interpose
obstacles; they could not succeed.

It was not the public worship alone that the Reformation was ordained
to change. The school was early placed beside the Church; and these
two great institutions, so powerful to regenerate the nations, were
equally reanimated by it. It was by a close alliance with learning
that the Reformation entered into the world; in the hour of its
triumph, it did not forget its ally.


Christianity is not a simple development of Judaism. Unlike the
papacy, it does not aim at confining man again in the close swaddling
bands of outward ordinances and human doctrines. Christianity is a new
creation; it lays hold of the inner man, and transforms him in the
inmost principles of his human nature, so that man no longer requires
other men to impose rules upon him; but, aided by God, he can of
himself and by himself distinguish what is true, and do what is

  [378] Hebrews viii. 11.

To lead mankind to that ripe age which Christ has purchased for them,
and to free them from that tutelage in which Rome had held them so
long, the Reformation had to develop the whole man; and while
regenerating his heart and his will by the Word of God, to enlighten
his understanding by the study of profane and sacred learning.

Luther saw this; he felt that, to strengthen the Reformation, it was
requisite to work on the young, to improve the schools, and to
propagate throughout Christendom the knowledge necessary for a
profound study of the Holy Scriptures. This, accordingly, was one of
the objects of his life. He saw it in particular at the period which
we have reached, and wrote to the councillors of all the cities of
Germany, calling upon them to found christian schools. "Dear sirs,"
said he, "we annually expend so much money on arquebuses, roads, and
dikes, why should we not spend a little to give one or two
schoolmasters to our poor children? God stands at the door and knocks;
blessed are we if we open to him! Now the Word of God abounds. O my
dear Germans, buy, buy, while the market is open before your houses.
The Word of God and his grace are like a shower that falls and passes
away. It was among the Jews; but it passed away, and now they have it
no longer. Paul carried it into Greece; but in that country also it
has passed away, and the Turk reigns there now. It came to Rome and
the Latin empire; but there also it has passed away, and Rome now has
the pope.[379] O Germans, do not expect to have this Word for ever.
The contempt that is shown to it will drive it away. For this reason,
let him who desires to possess it lay hold of it and keep it!

  [379] Aber hin ist hin (_but lost is lost_); sie haben nun den Pabst.
  L. Opp. W. x. 535.


"Busy yourselves with the children," continues Luther, still
addressing the magistrates; "for many parents are like ostriches; they
are hardened towards their little ones, and, satisfied with having
laid the egg, they care nothing for it afterwards. The prosperity of a
city does not consist merely in heaping up great treasures, in
building strong walls, in erecting splendid mansions, in possessing
glittering arms. If madmen fall upon it, its ruin will only be the
greater. The true wealth of a city, its safety, and its strength, is
to have many learned, serious, worthy, well educated citizens. And
whom must we blame, because there are so few at present, except you
magistrates, who have allowed our youth to grow up like trees in a

Luther particularly insisted on the necessity of studying literature
and languages: "What use is there, it may be asked, in learning Latin,
Greek, and Hebrew? We can read the Bible very well in German. Without
languages," replies he, "we could not have received the
Gospel......Languages are the scabbard that contains the sword of the
Spirit;[380] they are the casket that guards the jewels; they are the
vessel that holds the wine; and, as the Gospel says, they are the
baskets in which the loaves and fishes are kept to feed the multitude.
If we neglect the languages, we shall not only eventually lose the
Gospel, but be unable to speak or write in Latin or in German. No
sooner did men cease to cultivate them than Christendom declined, even
until it fell under the power of the pope. But now that languages are
again honoured, they shed such light that all the world is astonished,
and every one is forced to acknowledge that our Gospel is almost as
pure as that of the apostles themselves. In former times the holy
Fathers were frequently mistaken, because they were ignorant of
languages; and in our days there are some who, like the Waldenses, do
not think the languages to be of any use; but although their doctrine
be good, they have often erred in the real meaning of the sacred text;
they are without arms against error, and I fear very much that their
faith will not remain pure.[381] If the languages had not made me
positive as to the meaning of the Word, I might have been a pious
monk, and quietly preached the truth in the obscurity of a cloister;
but I should have left the pope, the sophists, and their
anti-christian empire still unshaken."[382]

  [380] Die Sprachen sind die Scheide, darinnen dies Messer des Geistes
  stecket. L. Opp. W. x. 535.

  [381] Es sey oder werde nicht lauter bleiben. L. Opp. W. x. 535.

  [382] Ich hätte wohl auch können fromm seyn und in der Stille recht
  predigen. Ibid.


Luther did not concern himself about the education of the clergy only;
it was his desire that knowledge should not be confined to the Church;
he proposed extending it to the laity, who hitherto had been deprived
of it. He called for the establishment of libraries, which should
comprise not only editions and commentaries of the schoolmen and of
the fathers of the Church, but also the works of orators and poets,
even were they heathens, as well as writings devoted to the fine arts,
law, medicine, and history. "These productions," said he, "serve to
make known the works and the wonders of God."

This effort on the part of Luther is one of the most important
produced by the Reformation. He emancipated learning from the hands of
the priests, who had monopolized it like those of Egypt in times of
old, and put it within the reach of all. From this impulse given by
the Reformation have proceeded the greatest developments of modern
times. Those laymen, whether men of letters or scholars, who now
revile the Reformation, forget that they themselves are its offspring,
and that, without it, they would still be, like ignorant children,
under the rod of the clergy. The Reformation perceived the close tie
that connected all the sciences; it saw that, as all knowledge is
derived from God, it leads man back to God. It desired that all men
should learn, and that they should learn everything. "Those who
despise profane literature," said Melancthon, "hold theology in no
greater estimation. Their contempt is a mere pretext, with which they
seek to conceal their idleness."[383]

  [383] Hunc titulum ignaviæ suæ prætextunt. Corp. Ref. i. 613.


The Reformation was not satisfied with merely giving a strong impulse
to letters; it gave also a fresh impulse to the arts. Protestantism
has often been reproached as their enemy, and many Protestants
willingly accept this reproach. We will not inquire whether the
Reformation ought to glory in it or not; we shall be content to
observe that impartial history does not confirm the fact on which this
accusation is founded. Let Roman-catholicism pride itself in being
more favourable to the arts than Protestantism; be it so: paganism was
still more favourable, and Protestantism places its glory elsewhere.
There are some religions in which the esthetic tendencies of man hold
a more important place than his moral nature. Christianity is distinct
from these religions, inasmuch as the moral element is its essence.
The christian sentiment is manifested not by the productions of the
fine arts, but by the works of a christian life. Every sect that
should abandon this moral tendency of Christianity, would by that very
circumstance forfeit its claims to the name of christian. Rome has not
entirely abandoned it, but Protestantism cherishes this essential
characteristic with much greater purity. It places its glory in diving
into all that concerns the moral being, in judging of religious
actions, not by their external beauty and the manner in which they
strike the imagination, but according to their internal worth, and the
connexion they have with the conscience; so that if the papacy is
above all an esthetical religion, as a celebrated writer has proved it
to be,[384] Protestantism is above all a moral religion.

  [384] Chateaubriand, Génie du Christianisme.


And yet, although the Reformation at first addressed man as a moral
being, it addressed the whole man. We have just seen how it spoke to
his understanding and what it did for literature; it also spoke to his
sensibility, to his imagination, and contributed to the development of
the arts. The Church was no longer composed exclusively of monks and
priests; it was the assembly of the faithful. All were to take part in
its public worship; and the chanting of the clergy was to be succeeded
by the singing of the people. Accordingly Luther, in translating the
Psalms, thought of adapting them to congregational singing. Thus a
taste for music was spread among the nation.

"Next to theology," said Luther, "I give the first place and the
highest honour to music.[385] A schoolmaster should know how to sing,"
said he at another time, "or else I will not so much as look at him."

  [385] Ich gebe nach der Theologie, der Musica den nähesten Locum und
  höchste Ehre. L. Opp. W. xxii. p. 2253.

One day, as certain of his friends were singing some beautiful chants
at his house, he exclaimed with enthusiasm: "If our Lord God has
scattered such admirable gifts on this earth, which is but a dark
corner, what will it not be in the life eternal, in which all will be
perfection!"......Since Luther's time, the people have sung; the Bible
inspired their songs, and the impulse given at the epoch of the
Reformation produced in later years those noble oratorios which seem
to be the summit of this art.

Poetry shared in the general movement. In singing the praises of God,
men could not confine themselves to mere translations of the ancient
hymns. The souls of Luther and many of his contemporaries, elevated by
faith to the sublimest ideas, excited to enthusiasm by the conflicts
and dangers that continually threatened the infant Church, inspired by
the poetic genius of the Old Testament, and by the faith of the New,
soon poured forth their feelings in religious songs, in which poetry
and music united and blended their most heavenly features. Thus in the
sixteenth century the hymns were revived which in the first century
had consoled the pangs of the martyrs. In 1523, Luther, as we have
already seen, consecrated them to the memory of the Brussels martyrs;
other children of the Reformation imitated his example; these hymns
increased in number, and were circulated rapidly among the people, and
contributed powerfully to awaken them from their slumbers. It was in
this same year that Hans Sachs composed _The Nightingale of
Wittemberg_. The doctrine that for the last four centuries had
prevailed in the Church was as the moonlight, during which men lost
their way in the wilderness. Now the nightingale proclaims the dawn,
and, soaring above the mists of the morning, celebrates the brightness
of the coming day.

Whilst lyric poetry thus owed its birth to the loftiest inspirations
of the Reformation, satirical verses and dramas from the pen of Hütten
and Manuel attacked the most crying abuses.

It is to the Reformation that the greatest poets of England, Germany,
and perhaps of France, are indebted for their highest flights.

[Sidenote: PAINTING.]

Of all the arts, painting is that on which the Reformation had the
least influence. Nevertheless, it was renovated, and as it were
sanctified, by the universal movement which at that time agitated all
the powers of man. Lucas Cranach, the great master of that age,
settled at Wittemberg, lived on intimate terms with Luther, and became
the painter of the Reformation. We have seen how he represented the
contrast between Christ and Antichrist (the pope),[386] and thus
ranked among the most influential organs of the revolution that was
transforming the nations. As soon as he had received new convictions,
he consecrated his chaste pencil solely to paintings in harmony with
christian sentiments, and spread over groups of children, blessed by
our Saviour, those graces with which he had previously adorned
legendary saints. Albert Durer also was gained over by the Word of the
Gospel, and his genius received a fresh impulse. His masterpieces date
from this period. We see from the touches with which he henceforward
depicted the evangelists and apostles, that the Bible was restored to
the people, and that the painter thence derived a depth, power, life,
and sublimity, that he would never have found in himself.[387]

  [386] See Vol. II. p. 174.

  [387] Ranke, Deutsche Geschichte, ii. 85.

And yet we must confess that of all the arts painting is that whose
religious influence is most exposed to well-founded and strong
objections. Poetry and music come from heaven, and will be found again
in heaven; but we continually see painting connected with serious
immoralities or mournful errors. After a man has studied history or
visited Italy, he expects nothing beneficial to humanity from this
art. Whatever may be the value of this exception which we think it our
duty to make, our general remark still holds good.

The Reformation of Germany, while it primarily addressed man's moral
nature, gave an impulse to the arts that they had not yet received
from Roman-catholicism.

Thus everything advanced: arts, literature, spirituality of worship,
and the minds of princes and of people. But this noble harmony which
the Gospel at its revival everywhere called forth, was about to be
disturbed. The songs of the Wittemberg nightingale were to be
interrupted by the howling of the tempest and the roaring of lions. In
a moment a cloud overspread all Germany, and a glorious day was
followed by the deepest darkness.


     Political Ferment--Luther against Rebellion--Thomas
     Munzer--Agitation--The Black Forest--The twelve
     Articles--Luther's Opinion--Helfenstein--March of the
     Peasants--March of the Imperial Army--Defeat of the
     Peasants--Cruelty of the Princes.


A political ferment, very different from that produced by the Gospel,
had long been at work in the empire. The people, bowed down by civil
and ecclesiastical oppression, bound in many countries to the
seigneurial estates, and transferred from hand to hand along with
them, threatened to rise with fury and at last to break their chains.
This agitation had shown itself long before the Reformation by many
symptoms, and even then the religious element was blended with the
political; in the sixteenth century it was impossible to separate
these two principles, so closely associated in the existence of
nations. In Holland, at the close of the preceding century, the
peasants had revolted, placing on their banners, by way of arms, a
loaf and a cheese, the two great blessings of these poor people. "The
Alliance of the Shoes" had shown itself in the neighbourhood of Spires
in 1502.[388] In 1513, it appeared again in Brisgau, being encouraged
by the priests. In 1514, Wurtemberg had seen the "League of Poor
Conrad," whose aim was to maintain by rebellion "the right of God." In
1515, Carinthia and Hungary had been the theatre of terrible
agitations. These seditions had been quenched in torrents of blood;
but no relief had been accorded to the people. A political reform,
therefore, was not less necessary than a religious reform. The people
were entitled to this; but we must acknowledge that they were not ripe
for its enjoyment.

  [388] See Vol. 1. p. 79.


Since the commencement of the Reformation, these popular disturbances
had not been renewed; men's minds were occupied by other thoughts.
Luther, whose piercing glance had discerned the condition of the
people, had already from the summit of the Wartburg addressed them in
serious exhortations calculated to restrain their agitated minds:--

"Rebellion," he had said, "never produces the amelioration we desire,
and God condemns it. What is it to rebel, if it be not to avenge
oneself? The devil is striving to excite to revolt those who embrace
the Gospel, in order to cover it with opprobrium; but those who have
rightly understood my doctrine do not revolt."[389]

  [389] Luther's treue Ermahnung an alle Christen sich vor Aufruhr und
  Empörung zu hüten. Opp. xviii. 288.

Everything gave cause to fear that the popular agitation could not be
restrained much longer. The government that Frederick of Saxony had
taken such pains to form, and which possessed the confidence of the
nation, was dissolved. The emperor, whose energy might have been an
efficient substitute for the influence of this national
administration, was absent; the princes whose union had always
constituted the strength of Germany were divided; and the new
declarations of Charles V. against Luther, by removing every hope of
future harmony, deprived the reformer of part of the moral influence
by which in 1522 he had succeeded in calming the storm. The chief
barriers that hitherto had confined the torrent being broken, nothing
could any longer restrain its fury.


It was not the religious movement that gave birth to political
agitations; but in many places it was carried away by their impetuous
waves. Perhaps we should even go further, and acknowledge that the
movement communicated to the people by the Reformation gave fresh
strength to the discontent fermenting in the nation. The violence of
Luther's writings, the intrepidity of his actions and language, the
harsh truths that he spoke, not only to the pope and prelates, but
also to the princes themselves, must all have contributed to inflame
minds that were already in a state of excitement. Accordingly, Erasmus
did not fail to tell him: "We are now reaping the fruits that you have
sown."[390] And further, the cheering truths of the Gospel, at last
brought to light, stirred all hearts, and filled them with
anticipation and hope. But many unregenerated souls were not prepared
by repentance for the faith and liberty of Christians. They were very
willing to throw off the papal yoke, but they would not take up the
yoke of Christ. And hence, when princes devoted to the cause of Rome
endeavoured in their wrath to stifle the Reformation, real Christians
patiently endured these cruel persecutions; but the multitude resisted
and broke out, and seeing their desires checked in one direction, gave
vent to them in another. "Why," said they, "should slavery be
perpetuated in the state, while the Church invites all men to a
glorious liberty? Why should governments rule only by force, when the
Gospel preaches nothing but gentleness?" Unhappily at a time when the
religious reform was received with equal joy both by princes and
people, the political reform, on the contrary, had the most powerful
part of the nation against it; and while the former had the Gospel for
its rule and support, the latter had soon no other principles than
violence and despotism. Accordingly, while the one was confined within
the bounds of truth, the other rapidly, like an impetuous torrent,
overstepped all limits of justice. But to shut one's eyes against the
indirect influence of the Reformation on the troubles that broke out
in the empire, would betoken partiality. A fire had been kindled in
Germany by religious discussions, from which it was impossible to
prevent a few sparks escaping which were calculated to inflame the
passions of the people.

  [390] Habemus fructum tui spiritus. Erasm. Hyperasp. b. iv.


The claims of a few fanatics to Divine inspiration increased the evil.
While the Reformation had continually appealed from the pretended
authority of the Church to the real authority of the Holy Scriptures,
these enthusiasts not only rejected the authority of the Church, but
of Scripture also; they spoke only of an inner Word, of an internal
revelation from God; and overlooking the natural corruption of their
hearts, they gave way to all the intoxication of spiritual pride, and
fancied they were saints.

"To them the Holy Scriptures were but a dead letter," said Luther,
"and they all began to cry, _The Spirit! the Spirit!_ But most
assuredly I will not follow where their spirit leads them. May God of
his mercy preserve me from a Church in which there are none but
saints.[391] I desire to dwell with the humble, the feeble, the sick,
who know and feel their sins, and who groan and cry continually to God
from the bottom of their hearts to obtain his consolation and
support." These words of Luther's have great depth of meaning, and
point out the change that was taking place in his views as to the
nature of the Church. They indicate at the same time how contrary were
the religious opinions of the rebels to those of the Reformation.

  [391] Der barmherzige Gott behüte mich ja für der christlichen Kirche,
  darin eitel Heilige sind. On John i. 2. L. Opp. (W.) vii. 1469.


The most notorious of these enthusiasts was Thomas Munzer; he was not
devoid of talent, had read his Bible, was zealous, and might have done
good, if he had been able to collect his agitated thoughts and find
peace of heart. But as he did not know himself, and was wanting in
true humility, he was possessed with a desire of reforming the world,
and forgot, as all enthusiasts do, that the reformation should begin
with himself. Some mystical writings that he had read in his youth had
given a false direction to his mind. He first appeared at Zwickau,
quitted Wittemberg after Luther's return, dissatisfied with the
inferior part he was playing, and became pastor of the small town of
Alstadt in Thuringia. He could not long remain quiet, and accused the
reformers of founding, by their adherence to the letter, a new popery,
and of forming churches which were not pure and holy.

"Luther," said he, "has delivered men's consciences from the yoke of
the pope, but he has left them in a carnal liberty, and not led them
in spirit towards God."[392]

  [392] Führete sie nicht weiter in Geist und zu Gott. L. Opp xix. 294.

He considered himself as called of God to remedy this great evil. The
revelations of the _Spirit_ were in his eyes the means by which his
reform was to be effected. "He who possesses this Spirit," said he,
"possesses the true faith, although he should never see the Scriptures
in his life. Heathens and Turks are better fitted to receive it than
many Christians who style us enthusiasts." It was Luther whom he here
had in view. "To receive this Spirit we must mortify the flesh," said
he at another time, "wear tattered clothing, let the beard grow, be of
a sad countenance, keep silence,[393] retire into desert places, and
supplicate God to give us a sign of his favour. Then God will come and
speak with us, as formerly He spoke with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If
He were not to do so, He would not deserve our attention.[394] I have
received from God the commission to gather together his elect into a
holy and eternal alliance."

  [393] Saur sehen, den Bart nicht abschneiden. Ibid.

  [394] Munzer's language is low and impious: Er wollt in Gott scheissen
  wenn er nicht mit ihm redet, wie mit Abraham. Hist. of Munzer by
  Melancthon. Ibid. 295.


The agitation and ferment which were at work in men's minds were but
too favourable to the dissemination of these enthusiastic ideas. Man
loves the marvellous, and whatever flatters his pride. Munzer, having
persuaded a part of his flock to adopt his views, abolished
ecclesiastical singing and all other ceremonies. He maintained that
obedience to princes "void of understanding," was at once to serve God
and Belial. Then marching out at the head of his parishioners to a
chapel in the vicinity of Alstadt, whither pilgrims from all quarters
were accustomed to resort, he pulled it down. After this exploit,
being compelled to leave that neighbourhood, he wandered about
Germany, and went as far as Switzerland, carrying with him, and
communicating to all who would listen to him, the plan of a general
revolution. Everywhere he found men's minds prepared; he threw
gunpowder on the burning coals, and the explosion forthwith took

Luther, who had rejected the warlike enterprises of Sickengen,[395]
could not be led away by the tumultuous movements of the peasantry.
Fortunately for social order, the Gospel preserved him; for what would
have happened had he carried his extensive influence into their
camp?......He ever firmly maintained the distinction between secular
and spiritual things; he continually repeated that it was immortal
souls which Christ emancipated by his Word; and if, with one hand, he
attacked the authority of the Church, with the other he upheld with
equal power the authority of princes. "A Christian," said he, "should
endure a hundred deaths, rather than meddle in the slightest degree
with the revolt of the peasants." He wrote to the elector: "It causes
me especial joy that these enthusiasts themselves boast, to all who
are willing to listen to them, that they do not belong to us. The
Spirit urges them on, say they; and I reply, it is an evil spirit, for
he bears no other fruit than the pillage of convents and churches; the
greatest highway robbers upon earth might do as much."

  [395] See Vol. I. p. 137.

At the same time, Luther, who desired that others should enjoy the
liberty he claimed for himself, dissuaded the prince from all measures
of severity: "Let them preach what they please, and against whom they
please," said he; "for it is the Word of God that must march in front
of the battle and fight against them. If their spirit be the true
Spirit, he will not fear our severity; if ours is the true one, he
will not fear their violence. Let us leave the spirits to struggle and
contend with one another.[396] Perhaps some persons may be led astray;
there is no battle without wounds; but he who fighteth faithfully
shall be crowned. Nevertheless, if they desire to take up the sword,
let your highness forbid it, and order them to quit the country."

  [396] Man lasse die Geister auf einander platzen und treffen. L. Epp.
  ii. 347.


The insurrection began in the Black Forest, and near the sources of
the Danube, so frequently the theatre of popular commotions. On the
19th of July 1524, some Thurgovian peasants rose against the Abbot of
Reichenau, who would not accord them an evangelical preacher. Erelong
thousands were collected round the small town of Tengen, to liberate
an ecclesiastic who was there imprisoned. The revolt spread with
inconceivable rapidity from Swabia as far as the Rhenish provinces,
Franconia, Thuringia, and Saxony. In the month of January 1525, all
these countries were in a state of rebellion.

About the end of this month, the peasants published a declaration in
twelve articles, in which they claimed the liberty of choosing their
own pastors, the abolition of small tithes, of slavery, and of fines
on inheritance, the right to hunt, fish, and cut wood, &c. Each demand
was backed by a passage from Holy Writ, and they said in conclusion,
"If we are deceived, let Luther correct us by Scripture."

The opinions of the Wittemberg divines were consulted. Luther and
Melancthon delivered theirs separately, and they both gave evidence of
the difference of their characters. Melancthon, who thought every kind
of disturbance a crime, oversteps the limits of his usual gentleness,
and cannot find language strong enough to express his indignation. The
peasants are criminals, against whom he invokes all laws human and
Divine. If friendly negotiation is unavailing, the magistrates should
hunt them down, as if they were robbers and assassins. "And yet," adds
he (and we require at least one feature to remind us of Melancthon),
"let them take pity on the orphans when having recourse to the penalty
of death!"

Luther's opinion of the revolt was the same as Melancthon's; but he
had a heart that beat for the miseries of the people. On this occasion
he manifested a dignified impartiality, and spoke the truth frankly to
both parties. He first addressed the princes, and more especially the


"It is you," said he, "who are the cause of this revolt; it is your
clamours against the Gospel, your guilty oppressions of the poor, that
have driven the people to despair. It is not the peasants, my dear
Lords, that rise up against you,--it is God himself who opposes your
madness.[397] The peasants are but the instruments he employs to
humble you. Do not imagine you can escape the punishment he is
preparing for you. Even should you have succeeded in destroying all
these peasants, God is able from the very stones to raise up others to
chastise your pride. If I desired revenge, I might laugh in my sleeve,
and look on while the peasants were carrying on their work, or even
increase their fury; but may God preserve me from such thoughts!......
My dear Lords, put away your indignation, treat these poor peasants as
a man of sense treats people who are drunk or insane. Quiet these
commotions by mildness, lest a conflagration should arise and burn all
Germany. Among these twelve articles there are certain demands which
are just and equitable."

  [397] Gott ist's selber der setzt sich wider euch. L. Opp. xix. 254.

This prologue was calculated to conciliate the peasants' confidence in
Luther, and to make them listen patiently to the truths he had to tell
them. He represented to them that the greater number of their demands
were well founded; but that to revolt was to act like heathens; that
the duty of a Christian is to be patient, not to fight; that if they
persisted in revolting against the Gospel in the name of the Gospel,
he should look upon them as more dangerous enemies than the pope. "The
pope and the emperor," continued he, "combined against me; but the
more they blustered the more did the Gospel gain ground......And why
was this? Because I have never drawn the sword or called for
vengeance; because I never had recourse to tumult or insurrection: I
relied wholly upon God, and placed everything in His almighty hands.
Christians fight not with swords or arquebuses, but with sufferings
and with the cross. Christ, their Captain, handled not the
sword......he was hung upon a tree."


But to no purpose did Luther employ this christian language. The
people were too much excited by the fanatical speeches of the leaders
of the insurrection, to listen, as of old, to the words of the
reformer. "He is playing the hypocrite," said they; "he flatters the
nobles. He has declared war against the pope, and yet wishes us to
submit to our oppressors."

The revolt, instead of dying away, became more formidable. At
Weinsberg, Count Louis of Helfenstein and the seventy men under his
orders were condemned to death by the rebels. A body of peasants drew
up with their pikes lowered, whilst others drove the count and his
soldiers against this wall of steel.[398] The wife of the wretched
Helfenstein, a natural daughter of the Emperor Maximilian, holding an
infant two years old in her arms, knelt before them, and with loud
cries begged for her husband's life, and vainly endeavoured to arrest
this march of murder; a boy who had been in the count's service, and
had joined the rebels, capered gaily before him, and played the dead
march upon his fife, as if he had been leading his victims in a dance.
All perished; the child was wounded in its mother's arms; and she
herself thrown upon a dung-cart, and thus conveyed to Heilbrunn.

  [398] Und jagten den Grafen durch die Spiesse. Mathesius, p. 46

At the news of these cruelties, a cry of horror was heard from the
friends of the Reformation, and Luther's feeling heart underwent a
terrible conflict. On the one hand the peasants, ridiculing his
advice, pretended to receive revelations from heaven, made an impious
use of the threatenings of the Old Testament, proclaimed an equality
of ranks and a community of goods, defended their cause with fire and
sword, and indulged in barbarous atrocities. On the other hand, the
enemies of the Reformation asked the reformer, with a malicious sneer,
if he did not know that it was easier to kindle a fire than to
extinguish it. Shocked at these excesses, alarmed at the thought that
they might check the progress of the Gospel, Luther hesitated no
longer, no longer temporized; he inveighed against the insurgents with
all the energy of his character, and perhaps overstepped the just
bounds within which he should have contained himself.


"The peasants," said he, "commit three horrible sins against God and
man, and thus deserve the death of body and soul. First, they revolt
against their magistrates to whom they have sworn fidelity; next, they
rob and plunder convents and castles; and lastly, they veil their
crimes with the cloak of the Gospel. If you do not put a mad dog to
death, you will perish, and all the country with you. Whoever is
killed fighting for the magistrates will be a true martyr, if he has
fought with, a good conscience." Luther then gives a powerful
description of the guilty violence of the peasants who force simple
and peaceable men to join their alliance, and thus drag them to the
same condemnation. He then adds: "For this reason, my dear Lords,
help, save, deliver, have pity on these poor people. Let every one
strike, pierce, and kill, who is able......If thou diest, thou canst
not meet a happier death; for thou diest in the service of God, and to
save thy neighbour from hell."[399]

  [399] Deinen Nächsten zu retten aus der Hölle. L. Opp. xix. 266.

Neither gentleness nor violence could arrest the popular torrent. The
church-bells were no longer rung for divine service; whenever their
deep and prolonged sounds were heard in the fields, it was the tocsin,
and all ran to arms. The people of the Black Forest had rallied round
John Muller of Bulgenbach. With an imposing aspect, covered with a red
cloak, and wearing a red cap, this leader boldly advanced from village
to village followed by the peasantry. Behind him, on a waggon
decorated with ribands and branches of trees, was raised the tricolor
flag, black, red, and white,--the signal of revolt. A herald, dressed
in the same colours, read the twelve articles, and invited the people
to join in the rebellion. Whoever refused was banished from the

Erelong this march, which at first was peaceable, became more
disquieting. "We must compel the lords to submit to our alliance,"
exclaimed they. And to induce them to do so, they plundered the
granaries, emptied the cellars, drew the seigneurial fish-ponds,
demolished the castles of the nobles who resisted, and burnt the
convents. Opposition had inflamed the passions of those rude men;
equality no longer satisfied them; they thirsted for blood, and swore
to put to death every man who wore a spur.


At the approach of the peasants, the cities that were unable to resist
them opened their gates and joined them. In whatever place they
entered, they pulled down the images and broke the crucifixes; armed
women paraded the streets and threatened the monks. If they were
defeated in one quarter, they assembled again in another, and braved
the most formidable forces. A committee of peasants was established at
Heilbrunn. The Counts of Lowenstein were taken prisoners, dressed in a
smock-frock, and then, a white staff having been placed in their
hands, they were compelled to swear to the twelve articles. "Brother
George, and thou, brother Albert," said a tinker of Ohringen to the
Counts of Hohenlohe, who had gone to their camp, "swear to conduct
yourselves as our brethren; for you also are now peasants; you are no
longer lords." Equality of rank, the dream of many democrats, was
established in aristocratic Germany.

Many nobles, some through fear, others from ambition, then joined the
insurgents. The famous Goetz von Berlichingen, finding his vassals
refuse to obey him, desired to flee to the Elector of Saxony; but his
wife, who was lying-in, wishing to keep him near her, concealed the
elector's answer. Goetz, being closely pursued, was compelled to put
himself at the head of the rebel army. On the 7th of May the peasants
entered Wurtzburg, where the citizens received them with acclamations.
The forces of the princes and knights of Swabia and Franconia, which
had assembled in this city, evacuated it, and retired in confusion to
the citadel, the last bulwark of the nobility.

But the movement had already extended to other parts of Germany.
Spires, the Palatinate, Alsace, and Hesse accepted the twelve
articles, and the peasants threatened Bavaria, Westphalia, the Tyrol,
Saxony, and Lorraine. The Margrave of Baden, having rejected the
articles, was compelled to flee. The coadjutor of Fulda acceded to
them with a smile. The smaller towns said, they had no lances with
which to oppose the insurgents. Mentz, Treves, and Frankfort obtained
the liberties which they had claimed.


An immense revolution was preparing in all the empire. The
ecclesiastical and secular privileges, that bore so heavily on the
peasants, were to be suppressed; the possessions of the clergy were to
be secularized, to indemnify the princes and provide for the wants of
the empire; taxes were to be abolished, with the exception of a
tribute payable every ten years; the imperial power was to subsist
alone, as being recognised by the New Testament; all the other princes
were to cease to reign; sixty-four free tribunals were to be
established, in which men of all classes should have a seat; all ranks
were to return to their primitive condition; the clergy were to be
henceforward merely the pastors of the churches; princes and knights
were to be simply the defenders of the weak; uniformity in weights and
measures was to be introduced, and only one kind of money was to be
coined throughout the empire.

Meanwhile the princes had shaken off their first lethargy, and George
von Truchsess, commander-in-chief of the imperial army, was advancing
on the side of the Lake of Constance. On the 2d of May he defeated the
peasants at Beblingen, marched on the town of Weinsberg, where the
unhappy Count of Helfenstein had perished, burnt and razed it to the
ground, giving orders that the ruins should be left as an eternal
monument of the treason of its inhabitants. At Fürfeld he united with
the Elector Palatine and the Elector of Treves, and all three moved
towards Franconia.


The Frauenburg, the citadel of Wurtzburg, held out for the princes,
and the main army of the peasants still lay before its walls. As soon
as they heard of Truchsess' march, they resolved on an assault, and at
nine o'clock at night on the 15th of May, the trumpets sounded, the
tricolor flag was unfurled, and the peasants rushed to the attack with
horrible shouts. Sebastian von Rotenhan, one of the warmest partisans
of the Reformation, was governor of the castle. He had put the
fortress in a formidable state of defence, and having exhorted the
garrison to repel the assault with courage, the soldiers, holding up
three fingers, had all sworn to do so. A most terrible conflict then
took place. To the vigour and despair of the insurgents the fortress
replied from its walls and towers by petards, showers of sulphur and
boiling pitch, and the discharges of artillery. The peasants, thus
struck by their unseen enemies, were staggered for a moment; but in
an instant their fury grew more violent. The struggle was prolonged as
the night advanced. The fortress, lit up by a thousand battle-fires,
appeared in the darkness like a towering giant, who, vomiting flames,
struggled alone amidst the roar of thunder for the salvation of the
empire against the ferocious valour of these furious hordes. Two hours
after midnight the peasants withdrew, having failed in all their

They now tried to enter into negotiations, either with the garrison or
with Truchsess, who was advancing at the head of his army. But this
was going out of their path; violence and victory alone could save
them. After some little hesitation, they resolved to march against the
imperial forces, but the cavalry and artillery made terrible havoc in
their ranks. At Königshofen, and afterwards at Engelstadt, those
unfortunate creatures were totally defeated. The princes, nobles, and
bishops, abusing their victory, indulged in the most unprecedented
cruelties. The prisoners were hung on the trees by the wayside. The
Bishop of Wurtzburg, who had run away, now returned, traversed his
diocese accompanied by executioners, and watered it alike with the
blood of the rebels and of the peaceful friends of the Word of God.
Goetz von Berlichingen was sentenced to imprisonment for life. The
Margrave Casimir of Anspach put out the eyes of eighty-five
insurgents, who had sworn that their eyes should never look upon that
prince again; and he cast this troop of blinded individuals upon the
world, who wandered up and down, holding each other by the hand,
groping along, tottering, and begging their bread. The wretched boy,
who had played the dead-march on his fife at the murder of
Helfenstein, was chained to a post; a fire was kindled around him, and
the knights looked on laughing at his horrible contortions.

Public worship was everywhere restored in its ancient forms. The most
flourishing and populous districts of the empire exhibited to those
who travelled through them nothing but heaps of dead bodies and
smoking ruins. Fifty thousand men had perished, and the people lost
nearly everywhere the little liberty they had hitherto enjoyed. Such
was the horrible termination of this revolt in the south of Germany.


     Munzer at Mulhausen--Appeal to the People--March of the
     Princes--End of the Revolt--Influence of the
     Reformers--Sufferings--Changes--Two Results.


But the evil was not confined to the south and west of Germany.
Munzer, after having traversed a part of Switzerland, Alsace, and
Swabia, had again directed his steps towards Saxony. A few citizens of
Mulhausen, in Thuringia, had invited him to their city, and elected
him their pastor. The town-council having resisted, Munzer deposed it
and nominated another, consisting of his friends, with himself at
their head. Full of contempt for that Christ, "sweet as honey," whom
Luther preached, and being resolved to employ the most energetic
measures, he exclaimed: "Like Joshua, we must put all the Canaanites
to the sword." He established a community of goods, and pillaged the
convents.[400] "Munzer," wrote Luther to Amsdorff on the 11th of April
1525, "Munzer is not only pastor, but king and emperor of Mulhausen."
The poor no longer worked; if any one needed corn or cloth, he went
and demanded it of some rich man; if the latter refused, the poor man
took it by force; if he resisted, he was hung. As Mulhausen was an
independent city, Munzer was able to exercise his power for nearly a
year without opposition. The revolt in the south of Germany led him to
imagine that it was time to extend his new kingdom. He had a number of
heavy guns cast in the Franciscan convent, and endeavoured to raise
the peasantry and miners of Mansfeldt. "How long will you sleep?" said
he to them in a fanatical proclamation. "Arise and fight the battle
of the Lord! The time is come. France, Germany, and Italy are moving.
On, on, on!--Dran, Dran, Dran!.....Heed not the groans of the impious
ones. They will implore you like children; but be pitiless.--Dran,
Dran, Dran!......The fire is burning: let your sword be ever warm with
blood.[401]--Dran, Dran, Dran!......Work while it is yet day." The
letter was signed "MUNZER, servant of God against the wicked."

  [400] Omnia simul communia. L. Opp. xix. 292.

  [401] Lasset euer Schwerdt nicht kalt werden von Blut. L. Opp. xix.


The country people, thirsting for plunder, flocked round his standard.
Throughout all the districts of Mansfeldt, Stolberg, and Schwartzburg
in Hesse, and the duchy of Brunswick, the peasantry rose in
insurrection. The convents of Michelstein, Ilsenburg, Walkenried,
Rossleben, and many others in the neighbourhood of the Hartz, or in
the plains of Thuringia, were devastated. At Reinhardsbrunn, which
Luther had visited, the tombs of the ancient landgraves were profaned,
and the library destroyed.

Terror spread far and wide. Even at Wittemberg some anxiety was felt.
Those doctors, who had feared neither the emperor nor the pope,
trembled in the presence of a madman. They were always on the watch
for news, and every step of the rebels was counted. "We are here in
great danger," said Melancthon. "If Munzer succeeds, it is all over
with us, unless Christ should rescue us. Munzer advances with a worse
than Scythian cruelty,[402] and it is impossible to repeat his
dreadful threats."

  [402] Moncerus plus quam Scythicam crudelitatem præ se fert. Corp.
  Ref. i. 741.


The pious elector had long hesitated what he should do. Munzer had
exhorted him and all the princes to be converted, because (said he)
their hour was come; and he had signed these letters: "MUNZER, armed
with the sword of Gideon." Frederick would have desired to reclaim
these misguided men by gentle measures. On the 14th of April, when he
was dangerously ill, he had written to his brother John: "We may have
given these wretched people more than one cause for insurrection.
Alas! the poor are oppressed in many ways by their spiritual and
temporal lords." And when his attention was directed to the
humiliation, the revolutions, the dangers to which he would expose
himself, unless he promptly stifled the rebellion, he replied:
"Hitherto I have been a mighty elector, having chariots and horses in
abundance; if it be God's pleasure to take them from me now, I will go
on foot."[403]

  [403] So wolle er hinkünftig zu fuss gehen. Seck. p. 685.

The youthful Philip, landgrave of Hesse, was the first of the princes
who took up arms. His knights and soldiers swore to live and die with
him. After pacifying his own states, he directed his march towards
Saxony. On their side, Duke John, the elector's brother, Duke George
of Saxony, and Duke Henry of Brunswick, advanced and united their
troops with those of Hesse. The peasants, terrified at the sight of
this army, fled to a small hill, where, without any discipline,
without arms, and for the most part without courage, they formed a
rampart with their waggons. Munzer had not even prepared ammunition
for his large guns. No succours appeared; the rebels were hemmed in by
the army; they lost all confidence. The princes, taking pity on them,
offered them propositions which they appeared willing to accept. Upon
this Munzer had recourse to the most powerful lever that enthusiasm
can put in motion. "To-day we shall behold the arm of the Lord," said
he, "and all our enemies shall be destroyed." At this moment a rainbow
appeared over their heads; the fanatical host, who carried a rainbow
on their flags, beheld in it a sure prognostic of the Divine
protection. Munzer took advantage of it: "Fear nothing," said he to
the citizens and peasants; "I will catch all their balls in my
sleeve."[404] At the same time he cruelly put to death a young
gentleman, Maternus von Geholfen, an envoy from the princes, in order
to deprive the insurgents of all hope of pardon.

  [404] Ihr sollt sehen dass ich alle Büchsensteine im Ermel fassen
  will. L. Opp. xix. 297.


The landgrave, having assembled his horsemen, said to them: "I well
know that we princes are often in fault, for we are but men; but God
commands all men to honour the powers that be. Let us save our wives
and children from the fury of these murderers. The Lord will give us
the victory, for he has said: _Whosoever resisteth the power,
resisteth the ordinance of God_." Philip then gave the signal of
attack. It was the 15th of May 1525. The army was put in motion; but
the peasant host stood immovable, singing the hymn, "Come, Holy
Ghost," and waiting for Heaven to declare in their favour. The
artillery soon broke down their rude rampart, carrying dismay and
death into the midst of the insurgents. Their fanaticism and courage
at once forsook them; they were seized with a panic-terror, and ran
away in disorder. Five thousand perished in the flight.

After the battle the princes and their victorious troops entered
Frankenhausen. A soldier, who had gone into a loft in the house where
he was quartered, found a man in bed.[405] "Who art thou," asked he;
"art thou one of the rebels?" Then observing a pocket-book, he took it
up, and found several letters addressed to Thomas Munzer. "Art thou
Munzer?" demanded the trooper. The sick man answered "No." But as the
soldier uttered dreadful threats, Munzer, for it was really he,
confessed who he was. "Thou art my prisoner," said the horseman. When
Munzer was taken before Duke George and the landgrave, he persevered
in saying that he was right to chastise the princes, since they
opposed the Gospel. "Wretched man!" replied they, "think of all those
of whose death you have been the cause." But he answered, smiling in
the midst of his anguish: "They would have it so!" He took the
sacrament under one kind, and was beheaded at the same time with
Pfeiffer, his lieutenant. Mulhausen was taken, and the peasants were
loaded with chains.

  [405] So findet er einen am Bett.

A nobleman having observed among the crowd of prisoners a peasant of
favourable appearance, went up and said to him: "Well, my man, which
government do you like best--that of the peasants or of the princes?"
The poor fellow made answer with a deep sigh: "Ah, my lord, no knife
cuts so deep as the rule of peasant over his fellows."[406]

  [406] Kein Messer scherpfer schirrt denn wenn ein Baur des andern Herr
  wird. Mathes. p. 48.


The relics of the insurrection were quenched in blood; Duke George, in
particular, acted with the greatest severity. In the states of the
elector, there were neither executions nor punishment.[407] The Word
of God, preached in all its purity, had shown its power to restrain
the tumultuous passions of the people.

  [407] Hic nulla carnificina, nullum supplicium. Corp. Ref. i. 752.

From the very beginning, indeed, Luther had not ceased to struggle
against the rebellion, which was, in his opinion, the forerunner of
the judgment-day. Advice, prayers, and even irony had not been spared.
At the end of the articles drawn up at Erfurth by the rebels, he had
subjoined, as a supplementary article: "_Item_, The following article
has been omitted. Henceforward the honourable council shall have no
power; it shall do nothing; it shall sit like an idol or a log of
wood; the commonalty shall chew its food, and it shall govern with its
hands and feet tied; henceforth the waggon shall guide the horses, the
horses shall hold the reins, and we shall go on admirably, in
conformity with the glorious system set forth in these articles."

Luther did not confine himself to writing. While the disturbance was
still at its height, he quitted Wittemberg and went through some of
the districts where the agitation was greatest. He preached, he
laboured to soften his hearers' hearts, and his hand, to which God had
given power, turned aside, quieted, and brought back the impetuous and
overflowing torrents into their natural channels.

In every quarter the doctors of the Reformation exerted a similar
influence. At Halle, Brentz had revived the drooping spirits of the
citizens by the promises of God's Word, and four thousand peasants had
fled before six hundred citizens.[408] At Ichterhausen, a mob of
peasants having assembled with an intent to demolish several castles
and put their lords to death, Frederick Myconius went out to them
alone, and such was the power of his words, that they immediately
abandoned their design.[409]

  [408] Eorum animos fractos et perturbatos verbo Dei erexit. M. Adami
  Vit. Brentii, p. 441.

  [409] Agmen rusticorum qui convenerant ad demeliendas arces, unice
  oratione sic compescuit. M. Adami Vita Fred. Myconii, p. 178.


Such was the part taken by the reformers and the Reformation in the
midst of this revolt; they contended against it with all their might,
with the sword of the Word, and boldly maintained those principles
which alone, in every age, can preserve order and subjection among the
nations. Accordingly, Luther asserted that if the power of sound
doctrine had not checked the fury of the people, the revolt would have
extended its ravages far more widely, and have overthrown both Church
and State. Everything leads us to believe that these melancholy
prognostics would have been realized.

If the reformers thus contended against sedition, it was not without
receiving grievous wounds. That moral agony which Luther had first
suffered in his cell at Erfurth, became still more serious after the
insurrection of the peasants. No great change takes place among men
without suffering on the part of those who are its instruments. The
birth of Christianity was effected by the agony of the cross; but He
who hung upon that cross addressed these words to each of his
disciples: _Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and
to be baptized with the same baptism that I am baptized with?_

On the side of the princes, it was continually repeated that Luther
and his doctrine were the cause of the revolt, and, however absurd
this idea may be, the reformer could not see it so generally
entertained without experiencing the deepest grief. On the side of the
people, Munzer and all the leaders of the insurrection represented him
as a vile hypocrite, a flatterer of the great,[410] and these
calumnies easily obtained belief. The violence with which Luther had
declared against the rebels had displeased even moderate men. The
friends of Rome exulted;[411] all were against him, and he bore the
heavy anger of his times. But his greatest affliction was to behold
the work of heaven thus dragged in the mire, and classed with the most
fanatical projects. Here he felt was his Gethsemane: he saw the bitter
cup that was presented to him; and foreboding that he would be
forsaken by all, he exclaimed: "Soon, perhaps, I also shall be able
to say: _All ye shall be offended because of me this night_."[412]

  [410] Quod adulator principum vocer. L. Epp. ii. 671.

  [411] Gaudent papistæ de nostro dissidio. Ibid. 612.

  [412] Matt. xxvi. 31. L. Epp. ii. 671.

[Sidenote: CHANGE.]

Yet in the midst of this deep bitterness, he preserved his faith: "He
who has given me power to trample the enemy under foot," said he,
"when he rose up against me like a cruel dragon or a furious lion,
will not permit this enemy to crush me, now that he appears before me
with the treacherous glance of the basilisk.[413] I groan as I
contemplate those calamities. Often have I asked myself, whether it
would not have been better to have allowed the papacy to go on
quietly, rather than witness the occurrence of so many troubles and
seditions in the world. But no! it is better to have snatched a few
souls from the jaws of the devil, than to have left them all between
his murderous fangs."[414]

  [413] Qui cum toties hactenus sub pedibus meis calcavit et contrivit
  leonem et draconem, non sinet etiam basiliscum super me calcare. Ibid.

  [414] Es ist besser einige aus dem Rachen des Teufels herausreissen.
  L. Opp. H. Ed. ix. 961.

Now terminated the revolution in Luther's mind that had begun at the
period of his return from the Wartburg. The inner life no longer
satisfied him: the Church and her institutions now became most
important in his eyes. The boldness with which he had thrown down
everything was checked at the sight of still more sweeping
destructions; he felt it his duty to preserve, govern, and build up;
and from the midst of the blood-stained ruins with which the peasant
war had covered all Germany, the edifice of the new Church began
slowly to arise.

These disturbances left a lasting and deep impression on men's minds.
The nations had been struck with dismay. The masses, who had sought in
the Reformation nothing but political reform, withdrew from it of
their own accord, when they saw it offered them spiritual liberty
only. Luther's opposition to the peasants was his renunciation of the
ephemeral favour of the people. A seeming tranquillity was soon
established, and the noise of enthusiasm and sedition was followed in
all Germany by a silence inspired by terror.[415]

  [415] Ea res incussit......vulgo terrorem ut nihil usquam moveatur.
  Corp. Ref. i. 752.

[Sidenote: TWO RESULTS.]

Thus the popular passions, the cause of revolution, the interests of a
radical equality, were quelled in the empire; but the Reformation did
not yield. These two movements, which many have confounded with each
other, were clearly marked out by the difference of their results. The
insurrection was from below; the Reformation from above. A few
horsemen and cannons were sufficient to put down the one; but the
other never ceased to rise in strength and vigour, in despite of the
reiterated assaults of the empire and the Church.


     Death of the Elector Frederick--The Prince and the
     Reformer--Roman-catholic Alliance--Plans of Charles the

Meanwhile the cause of the Reformation itself appeared as if it would
perish in the gulf that had swallowed up the liberties of the people.
A melancholy event seemed destined to accelerate its fall. At the
moment when the princes were marching against Munzer, and ten days
before his defeat, the aged Elector of Saxony, that man whom God had
raised up to defend the Reformation against all dangers from without,
descended to the tomb.

His strength diminished day by day; the horrors that accompanied the
peasant war wrung his feeling heart. "Alas!" exclaimed he with a deep
sigh, "if it were God's will, I should die with joy. I see neither
love, nor truth, nor faith, nor any good remaining upon earth."[416]

  [416] Noch etwas gutes mehr in der Welt. Seckend. p. 702.


Averting his eyes from the struggles then prevailing throughout
Germany, this pious prince, who was at that time residing in the
castle of Lochau, tranquilly prepared to depart. On the 4th of May he
called for his chaplain, the faithful Spalatin: "You do right to come
and see me," said he mildly, as the chaplain entered: "for it is our
duty to visit the sick." Then ordering his couch to be wheeled towards
the table near which Spalatin was sitting, he bade his attendants
leave the room, and then affectionately taking his friend's hand,
spoke with him familiarly about Luther, the peasants, and his
approaching departure. Spalatin came again at eight in the evening;
the aged prince then unburdened his soul, and confessed his sins in
the presence of God. On the morrow, it was the 5th of May, he received
the communion under both kinds. No member of his family was near him;
his brother and his nephew were gone with the army; but his domestics
stood around him, according to the ancient custom of those times. As
they gazed on that venerable prince, whom it had been so sweet a task
to serve, they all burst into tears.[417] "My little children," said
he tenderly, "if I have offended any one of you, forgive me for the
love of God; for we princes often give offence to the poor, and that
is wrong." Thus did Frederick obey the injunction of the apostle: _Let
him that is rich rejoice in that he is made low; because as the flower
of the grass he shall pass away_.[418]

  [417] Dass alle Umstehende zum weinen bewegt. Seckend. p. 702.

  [418] James i. 10.

Spalatin did not leave him again; he set before him the rich promises
of the Gospel, and the pious elector drank in its powerful
consolations with indescribable peace. The doctrine of the Gospel was
no longer to him that sword which attacks error, following it up
wherever it may be found, and after a vigorous contest triumphing over
it at last; it fell upon his heart like the dew, or the gentle rain,
filling it with hope and joy. Frederick had forgotten the present
world: he saw nothing but God and eternity.


Feeling the rapid approach of death, he destroyed a will that he had
made some years before, and in which he had commended his soul to "the
mother of God;" and dictated another, in which he called upon the holy
and the sole merits of Jesus Christ "for the forgiveness of his
sins," and declared his firm assurance "that he was redeemed by the
precious blood of his beloved Saviour."[419] He then added: "I can say
no more!" and that evening, at five o'clock, he quietly fell asleep.
"He was a child of peace," exclaimed his physician, "and in peace he
has departed."--"O bitter death to all whom he has left behind him!"
said Luther.[420]

  [419] Durch das theure Blut meines allerliebsten Heylandes erlöset.
  Seck. p. 703.

  [420] O mors amara! L. Epp. ii. 659.

Luther, who was then travelling through Thuringia to allay the
excitement, had never seen the elector, except at a distance, at Worms
at the side of Charles the Fifth. But these two men had met in spirit
from the very moment the reformer appeared. Frederick laboured for
nationality and independence, as Luther did for truth and reformation.
Unquestionably the Reformation was above all things a spiritual work;
but it was perhaps necessary for its early success that it should be
linked with some national interest. Accordingly Luther had no sooner
risen up against indulgences than the alliance between the prince and
the monk was tacitly concluded:--an alliance that was purely moral,
without contract or writing, or even words, and in which the strong
man lent no aid to the weak, but only allowed him to act. But now that
the vigorous oak was cut down under whose shelter the Reformation had
gradually grown up,--now that the enemies of the Gospel were
everywhere manifesting fresh force and hatred, and that its supporters
were compelled to hide themselves or remain silent, nothing seemed
able to defend them any longer against the sword of those who were
pursuing it with such violence.

The confederates of Ratisbon, who had conquered the peasants in the
south and west of the empire, were in all parts attacking the
Reformation and the revolt alike. At Wurtzburg and at Bamberg they put
to death many of the most peaceable citizens, and even some of those
who had resisted the peasants. "What matters it?" said they openly;
"these people were attached to the Gospel." This was enough to make
their heads fall on the scaffold.[421]

  [421] Ranke, Deutsche Gesch. ii. 226.


Duke George hoped to impart his hatred and his affections to the
landgrave and Duke John. "See," said he to them after the defeat of
the peasants, as he pointed to the field of battle, "see what miseries
Luther has occasioned!" John and Philip appeared to give him hopes
that they would adopt his ideas. "Duke George," said the reformer,
"imagines he shall triumph, now that Frederick is dead; but Christ
reigns in the midst of His enemies: in vain do they gnash their
teeth,......their desire shall perish."[422]

  [422] Dux Georgius, mortuo Frederico, putat se omnia posse. L. Epp.
  iii. 22.

George lost no time in forming a confederation in the north of
Germany, similar to that of Ratisbon. The Electors of Mentz and
Brandenburg, Dukes Henry and Erick of Brunswick, and Duke George, met
at Dessau and concluded a Romish alliance in the month of July.[423]
George urged the new elector and his son-in-law the landgrave to join
it. And then, as if to intimate what might be expected of it, he
beheaded two citizens of Leipsic in whose house some of the reformer's
writings had been found.

  [423] Habito conciliabulo conjuraverunt restituros sese esse

At the same time letters from Charles V., dated from Toledo, arrived
in Germany, by which another diet was convoked at Augsburg. Charles
wished to give the empire a constitution that would enable him to
dispose of the forces of Germany at his good pleasure. Religious
differences offered him the means; he had only to let loose the
Catholics against the followers of the Gospel, and when they had
exhausted their strength, he would easily triumph over both. Down with
the Lutherans! was therefore the cry of the emperor.[424]

  [424] Sleidan. Hist. de la Réf. i. 214.

[Sidenote: DANGERS.]

Thus all things combined against the Reformation. Never had Luther's
spirit been overwhelmed by so many fears. The remnants of Munzer's
party had sworn to take his life; his sole protector was no more; Duke
George, he was informed, intended to have him arrested in Wittemberg
itself;[425] the princes who might have defended him bowed their
heads, and seemed to have forsaken the Gospel; it was rumoured that
the university, the number of whose students was already diminished by
these troubles, was about to be suppressed by the new elector; and
Charles, victorious at Pavia, was assembling a new diet with the end
of giving a deathblow to the Reformation. What dangers must not Luther
have foreboded!......This anguish, these inward struggles, that had so
often tortured him to groans, now wrung his soul. How can he resist so
many enemies? In the midst of these agitations, in the face of so many
dangers, beside the corpse of Frederick that was scarcely cold, and
the dead bodies of the peasants that yet strewed the plains of
Germany, Luther--none could certainly have imagined such a
thing--Luther married.

  [425] Keil, Luther's Leben, p. 160.


     The Nuns of Nimptsch--Luther's Sentiments--The Convent
     dissolved--Luther's Marriage--Domestic Happiness.


In the monastery of Nimptsch, near Grimma in Saxony, dwelt in the year
1523 nine nuns, who were diligent in reading the Word of God, and who
had discovered the contrast that exists between a christian and a
cloistered life. Their names were Magdalen Staupitz, Eliza Canitz, Ava
Grossen, Ava and Margaret Schonfeldt, Laneta Golis, Margaret and
Catherine Zeschau, and Catherine Bora. The first impulse of these
young women, after they were delivered from the superstitions of the
monastery, was to write to their parents. "The salvation of our
souls," said they, "will not permit us to remain any longer in a
cloister."[426] Their parents, fearing the trouble likely to arise
from such a resolution, harshly rejected their prayers. The poor nuns
were dismayed. How can they leave the monastery? Their timidity was
alarmed at so desperate a step. At last, the horror caused by the
papal services prevailed, and they promised not to leave one another,
but to repair in a body to some respectable place, with order and
decency.[427] Two worthy and pious citizens of Torgau, Leonard Koppe
and Wolff Tomitzsch, offered their assistance,[428] which they
accepted as coming from God himself, and left the convent of Nimptsch
without any opposition, and as if the hand of the Lord had opened the
doors to them.[429] Koppe and Tomitzsch received them in their waggon;
and on the 7th of April 1523, the nine nuns, amazed at their own
boldness, stopped in great emotion before the gate of the old
Augustine convent in which Luther resided.

  [426] Der Seelen Seligkeit halber. L. Epp. ii. 323.

  [427] Mit aller Zucht und Ehre an redliche Stätte und Orte kommen. L.
  Epp. ii. 322.

  [428] Per honestos cives Torgavienses adductæ. Ibid. 319.

  [429] Mirabiliter evaserunt. Ibid.

"This is not my doing," said Luther, as he received them; "but would
to God that I could thus rescue all captive consciences and empty all
the cloisters![430]--the breach is made!" Many persons offered to
receive these nuns into their houses, and Catherine Bora found a
welcome in the family of the burgomaster of Wittemberg.

  [430] Und alle Klöster ledig machen. Ibid. 322.

If Luther at that time thought of preparing for any solemn event, it
was to ascend the scaffold, and not to approach the altar. Many months
after this, he still replied to those who spoke to him of marriage:
"God may change my heart, if it be his pleasure; but now at least I
have no thought of taking a wife; not that I do not feel any
attractions in that estate; I am neither a stock nor a stone; but
every day I expect the death and the punishment of a heretic."[431]

  [431] Cum expectem quotidie mortem et meritum hæretici supplicium. L.
Epp. ii. 570. Letter to Spalatin, 30th November 1524.


Yet everything in the Church was advancing. The habits of a monastic
life, the invention of man, were giving way in every quarter to those
of domestic life, appointed by God. On Sunday the 9th of October 1524,
Luther, having risen as usual, laid aside the frock of the Augustine
monk, and put on the dress of a secular priest; he then made his
appearance in the church, where this change caused a lively
satisfaction. Renovated Christendom hailed with transport everything
that announced that the old things were passed away.

Shortly after this, the last monk quitted the convent; but Luther
remained; his footsteps alone re-echoed through the long galleries; he
sat silent and solitary in the refectory that had so lately resounded
with the babbling of the monks. An eloquent silence, attesting the
triumphs of the Word of God! The convent had ceased to exist. About
the end of December 1524, Luther sent the keys of the monastery to the
elector, informing him that he should see where it might please God to
feed him.[432] The elector gave the convent to the university, and
invited Luther to continue his residence in it. The abode of the monks
was destined erelong to be the sanctuary of a christian family.

  [432] Muss und will Ich sehen wo mich Gott ernähret. L. Epp. ii. 582.

Luther, whose heart was formed to taste the sweets of domestic life,
honoured and loved the marriage state; it is even probable that he had
some liking for Catherine Bora. For a long while his scruples and the
thought of the calumnies which such a step would occasion had
prevented his thinking of her; and he had offered the poor Catherine,
first to Baumgartner of Nuremberg,[433] and then to Dr. Glatz of
Orlamund. But when he saw Baumgartner refuse to take her, and when she
had declined to accept Glatz, he asked himself seriously whether he
ought not to think of marrying her himself.

  [433] Si vis Ketam tuam a Bora tenere. Ibid. 553.


His aged father, who had been so grieved when he embraced a monastic
life, was urging him to enter the conjugal state.[434] But one idea
above all was daily present before Luther's conscience, and with
greater energy: marriage is an institution of God,--celibacy an
institution of man. He had a horror of every thing that emanated from
Rome. He would say to his friends, "I desire to retain nothing of my
papistical life."[435] Day and night he prayed and entreated the Lord
to deliver him from his uncertainty. At last a single thought broke
the last links that still held him captive. To all the motives of
propriety and personal obedience which led him to apply to himself
this declaration of God, _It is not good that man should be
alone_,[436] was added a motive of a higher and more powerful nature.
He saw that if he was called to the marriage-state as a man, he was
also called to it as a reformer: this decided him.

  [434] Aus Begehren meines lieben Vaters. Ibid. iii. 2.

  [435] Ibid. 1.

  [436] Genesis ii. 18.

"If this monk should marry," said his friend Schurff the lawyer, "he
will make all the world and the devil himself burst with laughter, and
will destroy the work that he has begun."[437] This remark made a very
different impression on Luther from what might have been supposed. To
brave the world, the devil, and his enemies, and, by an action which
they thought calculated to ruin the cause of the Reformation, prevent
its success being in any measure ascribed to him--this was all he
desired. Accordingly, boldly raising his head, he replied, "Well,
then, I will do it; I will play the devil and the world this trick; I
will content my father, and marry Catherine!" Luther, by his marriage,
broke off still more completely from the institutions of the Papacy;
he confirmed the doctrine he had preached, by his own example, and
encouraged timid men to an entire renunciation of their errors.[438]
Rome appeared to be recovering here and there the ground she had lost;
she flattered herself with the hope of victory; and now a loud
explosion scattered terror and surprise through her ranks, and still
more fully disclosed to her the courage of the enemy she fancied she
had crushed. "I will bear witness to the Gospel," said Luther, "not by
my words only, but also by my works. I am determined, in the face of
my enemies who already exult and raise the shout of victory, to marry
a nun, that they may see and know that they have not conquered
me.[439] I do not take a wife that I may live long with her; but
seeing the nations and the princes letting loose their fury against
me, foreseeing that my end is near, and that after my death they will
again trample my doctrine under foot, I am resolved for the
edification of the weak to bear a striking testimony to what I teach
here below."[440]

  [437] Risuros mundum universum et diabolum ipsum. M. Adami Vita Luth.
  p. 130.

  [438] Ut confirmem facto quæ docui, tam multos invenio pusillanimes in
  tanta luce Evangelii. L. Epp. iii. 13.

  [439] Nonna ducta uxore in despectum triumphantium et clamantium Jo!
  Jo! hostium. Ibid. 21.

  [440] Non duxi uxorem ut diu viverem, sed quod nunc propiorem finem
  meum suspicarer. L. Epp. iii. 32.


On the 11th of June 1525, Luther went to the house of his friend and
colleague Amsdorff. He desired Pomeranus, whom he styled emphatically
_The Pastor_, to bless his union. The celebrated painter Lucas Cranach
and Doctor John Apella witnessed the marriage. Melancthon was not

No sooner was Luther married than all Europe was disturbed. He was
overwhelmed with accusations and calumnies from every quarter. "It is
incest," exclaimed Henry VIII. "A monk has married a vestal," said
some.[441]--"Antichrist will be the offspring of such a union," said
others; "for a prophecy announces that he will be born of a monk and a
nun." To this Erasmus replied with a sarcastic smile: "If the prophecy
is true, what thousands of antichrists do not already exist in the
world!"[442] But while Luther was thus assailed, many wise and
moderate men, whom the Roman Church still counted among her members,
undertook his defence. "Luther," said Erasmus, "has taken a wife from
the noble family of Bora, but she has no dowry."[443] A more valuable
testimony was now given in his favour. The master of Germany, Philip
Melancthon, whom this bold step had at first alarmed, said with that
grave voice to which even his enemies listened with respect: "It is
false and slanderous to maintain that there is anything unbecoming in
Luther's marriage.[444] I think that in marrying he must have done
violence to himself. A married life is one of humility, but it is also
a holy state, if there be any such in the world, and the Scriptures
everywhere represent it as honourable in the eyes of God."

  [441] Monachus cum vestali copularetur. M. Ad. Vit. Luth. p. 131.

  [442] Quot Antichristorum millia jam olim habet mundus. Er. Epp. p.

  [443] Erasmus adds, alluding to reports spread by Luther's enemies
  that he had not been married more than a fortnight when his wife was
  already brought to bed of a son; "Partu maturo sponsæ vanus erat
  rumor." Ibid. pp. 780, 789.

  [444] Ὁτι ψεὑδος τοὑτο καἱ διαβολἡ
  ἑστι. Corp. Ref. i. 753, ad Camerarius.

Luther was troubled at first when he saw such floods of anger and
contempt poured out upon him; Melancthon became more earnest in
friendship and kindness towards him;[445] and it was not long before
the reformer could see a mark of God's approbation in this opposition
of man. "If I did not offend the world," said he, "I should have cause
to fear that what I have done is displeasing to God."[446]

  [445] Πἁρα απουδἡ καἱ ευνοἱα. Ibid.

  [446] And he adds: Offenditur etiam in carne ipsius divinitatis et
  creatoris. L. Epp. iii. 32.


Eight years had elapsed between the time when Luther had attacked the
indulgences and his marriage with Catherine Bora. It would be
difficult to ascribe, as is still done, his zeal against the abuses of
the Church to an "impatient desire" for wedlock. He was then forty-two
years old, and Catherine Bora had already been two years in

Luther was happy in this union. "The best gift of God," said he, "is a
pious and amiable wife, who fears God, loves her family, with whom a
man may live in peace, and in whom he may safely confide." Some months
after his marriage he informed one of his friends of Catherine's
pregnancy,[447] and a year after they came together she gave birth to
a son.[448] The sweets of domestic life soon dispersed the storms that
the exasperation of his enemies had at first gathered over him. His
Ketha, as he styled her, manifested the tenderest affection towards
him, consoled him in his dejection by repeating passages from the
Bible, exonerated him from all household cares, sat near him during
his leisure moments, worked his portrait in embroidery, reminded him
of the friends to whom he had forgotten to write, and often amused him
by the simplicity of her questions. A certain dignity appears to have
marked her character, for Luther would sometimes call her, _My Lord
Ketha_. One day he said playfully, that if he were to marry again, he
would carve an obedient wife for himself out of a block of stone, for,
added he, "it is impossible to find such a one in reality." His
letters overflowed with tenderness for Catherine; he called her "his
dear and gracious wife, his dear and amiable Ketha." Luther's
character became more cheerful in Catherine's society, and this happy
frame of mind never deserted him afterwards, even in the midst of his
greatest trials.

  [447] This letter is dated October 21, 1525. Catena mea simulat vel
  vere implet illud Genes. 3. Tu dolore gravida eris. Ibid. 35.

  [448] Mir meine liebe Kethe einen Hansen Luther bracht hat, gestern um
  zwei. Ibid. 116. June 8, 1526.


The almost universal corruption of the clergy had brought the
priesthood into general contempt, from which the isolated virtues of a
few faithful servants of God had been unable to extricate it. Domestic
peace and conjugal fidelity, those surest foundations of happiness
here below, were continually disturbed in town and country by the
gross passions of the priests and monks. No one was secure from those
attempts at seduction. They took advantage of the access allowed them
into every family, and sometimes even of the confidence of the
confessional, to instil a deadly poison into the souls of their
penitents, and to satisfy their guilty desires. The Reformation, by
abolishing the celibacy of the ecclesiastics, restored the sanctity of
the conjugal state. The marriage of the clergy put an end to an
immense number of secret crimes. The reformers became the models of
their flocks in the most intimate and important relations of life; and
the people were not slow in rejoicing to see the ministers of religion
once more husbands and fathers.


     The Landgrave--The
     Archbishop of Mentz--Conference at Friedwalt--Diet--Alliance
     of Torgau--Resistance of the Reformers--Alliance of
     Magdeburg--The Catholics redouble their Exertions--The
     Emperor's Marriage--Threatening Letters--The two Parties.


At the first glance, Luther's marriage had, in truth, seemed to add to
the difficulties of the Reformation. It was still suffering from the
blow inflicted on it by the revolt of the peasants; the sword of the
emperor and of the princes was yet unsheathed against it; and its
friends, the Landgrave Philip and the new Elector John, appeared
discouraged and silenced.

This state of things did not, however, last long. The youthful
landgrave in a short time boldly raised his head. Ardent and
courageous as Luther, the noble character of the reformer had won his
esteem. He threw himself into the Reformation with all the enthusiasm
of a young man, and at the same time studied it with all the gravity
of a superior mind.

In Saxony, Frederick's place could not be supplied either in
discretion or in influence; but his brother, the Elector John, instead
of confining himself to the passive part of a protector, interposed
more directly and with greater courage in religious affairs. As he was
leaving Weimar on the 16th of August 1525, he said to the assembled
clergy, "I desire that you will in future preach the pure Word of God,
without any additions of man." Some aged ecclesiastics, who were
puzzled how to obey his directions, replied artlessly, "But we are not
forbidden to say mass for the dead, or to bless the water and
salt?"--"Everything," said the elector, "ceremonies as well as
sermons, must be conformed to God's Word."

Erelong the landgrave formed the extraordinary project of converting
his father-in-law, Duke George. At one time he would establish the
sufficiency of Scripture; at another, he would attack the mass, the
papacy, and compulsory vows. Letter followed letter, and all the
declarations of the Word of God were in turns opposed to the faith of
the aged duke.[449]

  [449] Rommel's Urkundenbuch, i. 2.

These efforts did not prove unavailing. The son of Duke George was won
to the new doctrine. But Philip did not succeed with the father. "A
hundred years hence we shall see who is right," said the latter. "A
terrible saying," observed the Elector of Saxony; "what can that faith
be which requires such long experience?[450] Poor duke!......he will
wait long enough. I fear God has hardened his heart, as he did
Pharaoh's of old."

  [450] Was das für ein Glaube sey, der eine solche Erfahrung erfordert.
  Seck. p. 739.


In Philip the evangelical party found a bold and intelligent leader,
capable of making head against the terrible attacks the enemy were
planning against them. But have we not cause to regret that the chief
of the Reformation should have been from this moment a man of the
sword, and not simply a disciple of the Word of God? The human element
expanded in the Reformation, and the spiritual element declined. This
was injurious to the work; for every work should develop itself in
accordance with the laws of its own nature, and the Reformation was of
a nature essentially spiritual.

God was adding to the number of its supporters. Prussia, that powerful
state on the frontiers of Germany, had already taken its station with
joy under the banner of the Gospel. The chivalrous and religious
spirit which had founded the Teutonic order gradually faded away with
the ages in which it had arisen. The knights, consulting their own
interests alone, had dissatisfied the people under their rule. Poland
had taken advantage of this in 1466 to compel the order to recognise
her supremacy. The people, the knights, the grand-master, the Polish
domination, were so many contrary powers ever in collision and
rendering the prosperity of the country impossible.


Then came the Reformation, and it was perceived that this was the
only means of salvation remaining for the unhappy people. Brismann,
Speratus, Poliander who had been Dr. Eck's secretary at the Leipsic
dispute, and many others, preached the Gospel in Prussia.

One day a mendicant from the country under the rule of the Teutonic
knights, arrived at Wittemberg, and stopping before Luther's house,
sang with a solemn voice the beautiful hymn by Poliander:--

  "To us at last salvation's come!"[451]

  [451] Es ist das Heyl uns kommen her.

The reformer, who had never heard this christian strain, listened in
astonishment and rapture; the foreign accent of the singer added to
his delight: "Again, again," said he when the mendicant had finished.
He then asked where he had learned the hymn; and his tears began to
flow when the poor man informed him that a cry of deliverance was
sounding from the shores of the Baltic even to Wittemberg. Luther
clasped his hands and thanked God.[452]

  [452] Dankte Gott mit Freuden. Seck. p. 668.

In truth the tidings of salvation had gone thither.

"Have pity on our wretched state," said the people of Prussia to the
grand-master, "and give us preachers who teach the pure doctrine of
the Gospel." Albert at first made no reply; but entered into
correspondence with Sigismund, king of Poland, his uncle and

The latter recognised him as hereditary duke of Prussia,[453] and the
new prince made a public entry into his capital of Konigsberg with the
ringing of bells and the acclamations of the people; all the houses
were splendidly decorated, and the streets strewn with flowers. "There
is but one order," said Albert, "and that is Christianity." The
monastic orders were disappearing, and this Divine order was

  [453] Sleidan, Hist. Ref. p. 220.

The bishops resigned their secular rights to the new duke; the
convents were changed into hospitals, the Gospel was preached in the
meanest villages, and in the following year Albert married Dorothea,
daughter of the King of Denmark, whose "faith in the one only Saviour"
was not to be shaken.

The pope called upon the emperor to take severe measures against this
"apostate" monk, and Charles laid Albert under an interdict.


Another prince of the family of Brandenburg, the Cardinal-archbishop
of Mentz, was then on the point of following his cousin's example. The
peasant-wars more especially threatened the ecclesiastical states; the
elector, Luther, and all Germany imagined they were on the eve of a
great revolution. The archbishop, thinking the only way of preserving
his principality would be to secularize it, secretly invited Luther to
prepare the people for this daring step,[454] which the latter did by
a letter addressed to the archbishop and intended to be made public:
"God," said he, "has laid his heavy hand upon the clergy; they must
fall, nothing can save them."[455] But the peasant-war having come to
an end more speedily than had been anticipated, the cardinal kept his
temporal possessions; his anxiety disappeared, and he renounced his
plans of secularization.

  [454] Seckend. p. 712.

  [455] Er muss herunter. L. Epp. ii. 674.

While John of Saxony, Philip of Hesse, and Albert of Prussia were
taking so prominent a part in the Reformation, and instead of the
prudent Frederick three princes were found full of resolution and
courage, the holy work was advancing in the Church and among the
nations. Luther entreated the elector to establish the evangelical
ministry instead of the Roman priesthood, and to direct a general
visitation of the churches.[456] About the same time they were
beginning at Wittemberg to exercise the episcopal functions and to
ordain ministers. "Let not the pope, the bishops, the monks, and the
priests exclaim: 'We are the Church; whosoever separates from us,
separates from the Church!' There is no other Church than the assembly
of those who have the Word of God, and who are purified by it."[457]
Such was the language of Melancthon.

  [456] L. Epp. iii. 28, 38, 51, &c.

  [457] Dass Kirche sey allein diejenige, so Gottes Wort haben und damit
  gereiniget werden. Corp. Ref. i. 766.

All this could not be said and done without occasioning a strong
reaction. Rome had thought the Reformation extinguished in the blood
of the rebellious peasants: but its flames burst forth again in every
quarter with greater power and brightness. She resolved on making
another effort. The pope and the emperor wrote threatening
letters,--the one from Rome, the other from Spain. The imperial
government prepared to set matters on their old footing; and the idea
was seriously entertained of effectually crushing the Reformation in
the approaching diet.


On the 7th of November, the electoral prince of Saxony and the
landgrave met in alarm at the castle of Friedewalt, and agreed that
their deputies at the diet should act in concert. Thus in the forest
of Sullingen were created the first elements of an evangelical
alliance, in opposition to the leagues of Ratisbon and Dessau.

The diet opened at Augsburg on the 11th of December. The evangelical
princes were not present in person. From the very first the deputies
of Saxony and Hesse spoke out boldly: "The insurrection of the
peasants," said they, "was owing to an impolitic severity. It is
neither by fire nor sword that God's truth can be torn from the heart.
If you determine to employ violent measures against the Reformation,
more terrible calamities will befall you than those from which you
have so recently and so narrowly escaped."

It was felt that whatever resolution was adopted, its results would be
of the greatest importance. Every one desired to put off the decisive
moment, in order to increase his own strength. They therefore
determined to assemble again at Spires in the month of May following;
and that in the meanwhile the _recess_ of Nuremberg should continue in
force. Then, said they, we will enter thoroughly into the subject "of
the holy faith, of justice, and of peace."

The landgrave persevered in his plan. He had a conference with the
elector at Gotha at the end of February 1526. These two princes agreed
that if they were attacked on account of the Word of God, they should
unite their forces to resist their adversaries. This alliance was
ratified at Torgau, and was destined to produce important results.


The alliance of Torgau did not satisfy the landgrave. Convinced that
Charles V. was endeavouring to form a league "against Christ and his
holy Word," he wrote letter after letter to the elector, representing
to him the necessity of combining with other states. "As for me,"
wrote he, "I would rather die than renounce the Word of God and allow
myself to be driven from my throne."[458]

  [458] Seckendorf, p. 768.

There was great uncertainty at the electoral court. In fact, a serious
obstacle stood in the way of any union between the evangelical
princes, and this obstacle was Luther and Melancthon. Luther desired
that the evangelical doctrine should be defended by God alone. He
thought that the less men interfered with it, the more striking would
be God's interposition. It seemed to him that whatever measures they
desired to take, they must be ascribed to an unworthy timidity or a
blamable mistrust. Melancthon feared that the alliance of the
evangelical princes would precipitate that very struggle which they
were desirous of avoiding.

The landgrave was not to be checked by these considerations, and he
endeavoured to bring the neighbouring states into the alliance; but
his exertions were not crowned with success. Frankfort refused to
enter it. The Elector of Treves abandoned his opposition and accepted
a pension from the emperor. Even the elector-palatine, whose
evangelical disposition was well known, rejected Philip's proposals.

Thus the landgrave failed on the side of the Rhine; but the elector,
notwithstanding the opinions of the theologians of the Reformation,
entered into negotiations with the princes who had at all times
rallied round the powerful house of Saxony. On the 12th of June, the
elector and his son, the Dukes Philip, Ernest, Otho, and Francis of
Brunswick and Luneburg, Duke Henry of Mecklenburg, Prince Wolff of
Anhalt, Counts Albert and Gebhard of Mansfeldt, assembled at
Magdeburg; and there, under the presidence of the elector, they formed
an alliance similar to that of Torgau.

"Almighty God," said these princes, "having in his unspeakable mercy
revived among men his holy and eternal Word, the food of our souls,
and our greatest treasure here below; and great exertions having been
made on the part of the clergy and their adherents to suppress and
extirpate it, we, being firmly assured that He who hath sent it to
glorify His name upon earth, will also know how to maintain it, bind
ourselves to preserve that blessed Word for our people, and to that
end to employ our goods, our lives, our states, our subjects, and all
that we possess; putting our trust, not in our armies, but solely in
the omnipotence of the Lord, whose instruments we desire to be."[459]
Such was the language of the princes.

  [459] Allein auf Gott den Allmächtigen, als dessen Werkzeuge sie
  handeln. Hortleber, Ursache des Deutschen Krieges. i. 1490.


Two days after, the city of Magdeburg was received into the alliance,
and the new duke of Prussia, Albert of Brandenburg, acceded to it by a
separate treaty.

The evangelical alliance was thus formed; but the perils that it was
intended to avert became every day more threatening. The clergy and
the princes friendly to Rome had seen the Reformation, which they had
thought stifled, suddenly growing up before them in a formidable
shape. Already the partisans of the Reformation were almost as
powerful as those of the pope. If they had a majority in the diet, the
consequences to the ecclesiastical states might easily be imagined.
Now or never! It is no longer a question of refuting a heresy; they
have to contend against a powerful party. Other victories than those
of Dr. Eck are required to save Christendom.

Effectual precautions had already been taken. The metropolitan chapter
of the collegiate church at Mentz had called a meeting of all its
suffragans, and decided on sending a deputation to the emperor and the
pope, calling on them to preserve the Church.

At the same time, Duke George of Saxony, Duke Henry of Brunswick, and
the Cardinal-elector Albert, had met at Halle, and resolved to address
a memorial to Charles V. "The detestable doctrine of Luther," said
they, "is making rapid progress. Every day attempts are made to gain
over even us; and as they cannot succeed by gentle measures, they are
striving to compel us, by exciting our subjects to revolt. We implore
the assistance of the emperor."[460] Immediately after this
conference, Brunswick himself set out for Spain in order to influence
Charles's determination.

  [460] Schmidt, Deutsche Gesch. viii. 202.


He could not have arrived at a more favourable moment; the emperor had
just concluded the famous treaty of Madrid with France; he seemed to
have nothing more to fear in that quarter, and his eyes were now
turned solely towards Germany. Francis I. had offered to defray a
moiety of the expenses of a war, either against the heretics or
against the Turks.

The emperor was at Seville, where he was about to marry a princess of
Portugal, and the banks of the Guadalquivir re-echoed with the noise
of his festivities. A glittering train of nobles and a vast concourse
of people crowded that ancient capital of the Moors. Under the arched
roof of its magnificent cathedral were displayed all the pompous
ceremonies of the Church; a legate from the pope officiated, and
never, even under the dominion of the Arabs, had Andalusia witnessed a
spectacle of greater splendour and solemnity.

At this very moment Henry of Brunswick arrived from Germany, and
besought Charles to rescue the empire and the Church from the attacks
of the monk of Wittemberg. His request was immediately taken into
consideration, and the emperor decided on adopting vigorous measures.

On the 23d of March 1526, he wrote to several of the princes and
cities that had remained faithful to Rome. At the same time he gave
Henry of Brunswick a special commission to inform them verbally that
he had been seriously grieved to learn that the continual progress of
the Lutheran heresy threatened to fill Germany with sacrilege,
devastation, and bloodshed; that on the contrary he beheld with
extreme pleasure the fidelity of the majority of the states; that,
laying aside all other occupations, he was about to leave Spain and
repair to Rome, to come to an understanding with the pope, and from
thence proceed to Germany to fight against the abominable pest of
Wittemberg; that, on their parts, it was their duty to adhere to their
faith; and if the Lutherans sought to lead them into error by
stratagem or force, they should form a close alliance and boldly
resist them; and that he would soon arrive and support them with all
his power.[461]

  [461] Weimar State-papers. Seckendorff, p. 768.

[Sidenote: LUTHER'S AID.]

When Brunswick returned to Germany, the Romish party were transported
with joy and proudly lifted up their heads. The Dukes of Brunswick and
Pomerania, Albert of Mecklenburg, John of Juliers, George of Saxony,
the Dukes of Bavaria, and all the princes of the Church, thought
themselves secure of victory, as they read the menacing letters of the
conqueror of Francis I. They resolved to attend the approaching diet,
to humble the heretical princes, and if they did not submit, to compel
them by the sword. Duke George is reported to have said, "I may be
Elector of Saxony whenever I please;"[462] he subsequently, however,
endeavoured to give another meaning to these words. "Luther's cause
will not last long: let him look to it!" said the duke's chancellor
one day at Torgau, with an air of triumph.

  [462] Ranke, Deutsch. Gesch. ii. p. 349; Rommel Urkunden, p. 22.

Luther, indeed, was looking to it, but not as the chancellor
understood the expression; he was attentively watching the motions of
the enemies of God's Word, and, like Melancthon, imagined he saw
thousands of swords unsheathed against the Gospel. But he sought for
other and higher strength than that of man. "Satan," wrote he to
Frederick Myconius, "is putting forth his fury; ungodly pontiffs are
conspiring; and we are threatened with war. Exhort the people to
contend valiantly before the throne of the Lord by faith and prayer,
so that our enemies, vanquished by the Spirit of God, may be
constrained to peace. Our chief want, our chief labour is prayer; let
the people know that they are now exposed to the edge of the sword and
to the rage of Satan, and let them pray."[463]

  [463] Ut in mediis gladiis et furoribus Satanæ posito et periclitanti.
  L. Epp. iii. 100.

[Sidenote: THE TWO PARTIES.]

Thus were all things tending towards a decisive struggle. The
Reformation had on its side the prayers of Christians, the sympathy
of the people, and an increasing influence over men's minds that no
power could check. The papacy had in its favour the ancient order of
things, the strength of old custom, the zeal and hatred of formidable
princes, and the power of that mighty emperor who reigned over two
worlds, and who had just before given so rude a check to the ambition
of Francis the First.

Such was the state of affairs when the Diet of Spires was opened. Now
let us return to Switzerland.





     Unity in Diversity--Primitive Fidelity and
     Liberty--Formation of Romish Unity--Leo Juda and the
     Monk--Zwingle's Theses--The Disputation of January.


We are about to contemplate the diversities, or, as they have been
called, the _variations_ of the Reformation. These diversities are one
of its most essential characteristics.

Unity in diversity and diversity in unity, is a law of nature as well
as of the Church.

Truth is like the light of the sun: it descends from heaven one and
ever the same; and yet it assumes different colours upon earth,
according to the objects on which it fails. In like manner,
formularies somewhat different may sometimes express the same
christian idea considered under different aspects.

How dull would creation be if this boundless variety of forms and
colours, which gives it beauty, were replaced by an absolute
uniformity! But how melancholy also would be its appearance, if all
created beings did not form a magnificent unity!

Divine unity has its rights, so also has human diversity. In religion
we must suppress neither God nor man. If you have not unity, your
religion is not of God; if you have not diversity, the religion is not
of man; but it ought to be of both. Would you erase from creation one
of the laws that God himself has imposed on it,--that of infinite
diversity? _And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe
or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be
known what is piped or harped?_[464] But if there is a diversity in
religion arising from the difference of individuality, and which
consequently must subsist even in heaven, there is one that proceeds
from man's rebellion, and this is indeed a great calamity.

  [464] 1 Corinthians xiv. 7.

There are two tendencies which equally lead us into error. The one
exaggerates diversity, the other exaggerates unity. The essential
doctrines of salvation are the limit between these two courses. To
require more than these doctrines, is to infringe this diversity; to
require less, is to infringe unity.

The latter excess is that of rash and rebellious minds, who look
beyond Jesus Christ to form systems and doctrines of men.

The former exists in various exclusive sects, and particularly in that
of Rome.

The Church should reject error, and unless this be done, Christianity
cannot be maintained. But if this idea were carried to extremes, it
would follow that the Church should take arms against the least
deviation, and put herself in motion for mere verbal disputes. Faith
would thus be fettered, and the feelings of Christians reduced to
bondage. Such was not the condition of the Church in the times of real
catholicity,--the catholicity of the primitive ages. She rejected the
sects that attacked the fundamental truths of the Gospel; but these
truths once received, it left full liberty to faith. Rome soon
departed from this wise course; and in proportion as the dominion and
teaching of men arose in the Church, there sprung up by their side a
unity of man.


When a merely human system had been once invented, coercion increased
from age to age. The christian liberty, respected by the catholicism
of the earlier ages, was at first limited, then enslaved, and finally
stifled. Conviction, which according to the laws of human nature and
of the Word of God should be freely formed in the heart and
understanding of man, was imposed from without, completely formed and
symmetrically arranged by the masters of mankind. Reflection, will,
feeling, all the faculties of the human being, which, subjected to the
Word and Spirit of God, should work and bear fruit freely, were
deprived of their liberty, and constrained to expand in shapes that
had been determined upon beforehand. The mind of man became as a
mirror on which extraneous objects are reflected, but which possesses
nothing by itself. Doubtless there still existed many souls that had
been taught direct of God. But the great majority of Christians from
that time received the convictions of others only; a faith peculiar to
the individual was rare; it was the Reformation alone that restored
this treasure to the Church.

And yet for some time there was a space within which the human mind
was permitted to move; there were certain opinions that might be
received or rejected at will. But as a hostile army day by day presses
closer to a besieged city, compels the garrison to move only within
the narrow boundary of its ramparts, and at last forces it to
surrender; so the hierarchy, from age to age, and almost from year to
year, contracted the space that it had temporarily granted to the
human mind, until at last this space, from continual encroachments,
had ceased to exist. All that man ought to love, believe, or do, was
regulated and decreed in the offices of the Roman chancery. The
faithful were relieved of the fatigue of examining, of reflecting, of
contending; all that they had to do was to repeat the formularies they
had been taught.

From that time, if there appeared in the bosom of Roman-catholicism
any one who had inherited the catholicism of the apostolic ages, such
a man feeling his inability to expand in the bonds in which he was
confined, was compelled to snap them asunder, and display again to the
astonished world the unfettered bearing of a Christian, who
acknowledges no law save that of God.

The Reformation, by restoring liberty to the Church, was destined also
to restore its original diversity, and to people it with families
united by the great features of resemblance they derive from their
common parent; but different in their secondary features, and
reminding us of the varieties inherent in human nature. Perhaps it
would have been desirable for this diversity to exist in the universal
Church without leading to sectarian divisions. Nevertheless, we must
not forget that these sects are but the expression of this diversity.


Switzerland and Germany, which had till this time developed themselves
independently of each other, began to come in contact in the years
whose history we are about to retrace, and realized the diversity of
which we have been speaking, and which was to be one of the
characteristics of Protestantism. We shall there behold men perfectly
agreed on all the great doctrines of faith, and yet differing on
certain secondary points. Passion, indeed, entered into these
discussions; but while deploring such a melancholy intermixture,
Protestantism, far from seeking to conceal her diversity, publishes
and proclaims it. Its path to unity is long and difficult, but this
unity is the real unity.

Zwingle was advancing in the christian life. While the Gospel had
freed Luther from that profound melancholy to which he had formerly
given way in the convent of Erfurth, and had developed in him a
serenity which often amounted to gaiety, and of which the reformer
afterwards gave so many proofs, even in the face of great dangers,
Christianity had produced the very opposite effect on the joyous child
of the Tockenburg mountains. Tearing Zwingle from his thoughtless and
worldly life, it had imprinted a seriousness on his character that was
not natural to him. This seriousness was very necessary to him. We
have seen how towards the close of the year 1522 numerous enemies
appeared rising up against the Reformation.[465] Zwingle was
overwhelmed with reproaches from every quarter, and disputes would
often take place even in the churches.

  [465] See Vol. II. book viii. near the end.


Leo Juda, who (says an historian) was a man of small stature,[466] but
full of love for the poor, and zeal against false teachers, had
arrived at Zurich about the end of the year 1522 to occupy the station
of pastor of St. Peter's church. He had been replaced at Einsidlen by
Oswald Myconius.[467] This was a valuable acquisition for Zwingle and
for the Reformation.

  [466] Er war ein kurzer Mann. Füsslin Beyträge. iv. 44.

  [467] Ut post abitum Leonis, monachis aliquid legam. Zw. Epp. 253.

One day, not long after his arrival, as he was in the church of which
he had been appointed pastor, he heard an Augustine monk asserting
forcibly that man is able of himself to satisfy the righteousness of
God. "Reverend father prior," said Leo, "listen to me for an instant;
and you, my dear citizens, keep still; I will speak as becomes a
Christian." He then proved to the people the falseness of the doctrine
to which he had been listening.[468] Upon this a great disturbance
arose in the church; and immediately several persons angrily fell upon
"the little priest" from Einsidlen. Zwingle appeared before the great
council, requiring permission to give an account of his doctrine in
the presence of the deputies of the bishop; and the council, desirous
of putting an end to these disturbances, convened a conference for the
29th of January 1523. The news spread rapidly through the whole of
Switzerland. His adversaries exclaimed in their vexation: "A _diet_ of
vagabonds is to be held at Zurich; all the beggars from the highways
will be there."

  [468] J. J. Hottinger, Helv. Kirch. Gesch. iii. 605.

Zwingle, desiring to prepare for the struggle, published sixty-seven
theses. The mountaineer of the Tockenburg boldly assailed the pope in
the eyes of all Switzerland.

"All those (said he) who maintain that the Gospel is nothing without
the confirmation of the Church, blaspheme God.

"Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation for all those who have
been, who are, or who shall be.

"All Christians are Christ's brethren, and brethren of one another,
and they have no father upon earth: thus orders, sects, and parties
fall to the ground.

"We should not constrain those who will not acknowledge their error,
unless they disturb the public peace by their seditious behaviour."

Such were some of Zwingle's propositions.


Early in the morning of Thursday the 29th of January, more than six
hundred persons had collected in the hall of the Great Council at
Zurich. Citizens and strangers, scholars, men of rank and the clergy,
had responded to the call of the council. "What will be the end of all
this?" asked they of one another.[469] No one ventured to reply; but
the attention, emotion, and agitation prevailing in this assembly,
clearly manifested that they were expecting some extraordinary result.

  [469] Ein grosses Verwunderen, was doch uss der Sach werden wollte.
  Bullinger Chronik. i. 97.

The burgomaster Roust, who had fought at Marignan, presided at the
conference. The chevalier James d'Anwyl, grand-master of the episcopal
court at Constance, the vicar-general Faber, and many other doctors,
were present as the bishop's representatives. Sebastian Hofmeister had
been sent by Schaffhausen, and he was the only deputy from the
cantons: such was still the weakness of the Reformation in
Switzerland. On a table in the middle of the hall lay a Bible; in
front of it sat Zwingle: "I am agitated and tormented on every side,"
he had said, "and yet I stand firm, relying not on my own strength,
but on Christ the rock, with whose help I can do all things."[470]

  [470] Immotus tamen maneo, non meis nervis nixus, sed petra Christo,
  in quo omnia possum. Zw. Epp. p. 261.

Zwingle stood up and said: "I have preached that salvation is found in
Jesus Christ alone, and for this reason I am stigmatized throughout
Switzerland as a heretic, a seducer of the people, a rebel......Now,
then, in the name of God, here I stand!"[471]

  [471] Nun wohlan in dem Namen Gottes, hie bin ich. Bullinger Chronik.
  p. 98.

Upon this all eyes were turned towards Faber, who rose and made
answer: "I was not sent here to dispute, but merely to listen!" The
assembly in surprise began to laugh. "The Diet of Nuremberg,"
continued Faber, "has promised a council within a year; we must wait
until it meets."

"What!" said Zwingle, "is not this vast and learned meeting as good as
any council?" Then turning to the presidents, he added: "Gracious
lords, defend the Word of God."


A deep silence followed this appeal; it was interrupted by the
burgomaster, who said: "If there is any one here who has anything to
say, let him do so." There was another pause. "I call upon all those
who have accused me, and I know that there are several here," said
Zwingle, "to come forward and reprove me for the love of truth." No
one said a word. Zwingle repeated his request a second and third time,
but to no purpose. Faber, thus closely pressed, dropped for an instant
the reserve he had imposed on himself, to declare that he had
convicted the pastor of Filispach of his error, and who was now
confined in prison; but immediately after resumed his character as a
spectator. It was in vain that he was urged to set forth the reasons
by which he had convinced this pastor: he obstinately refused. This
silence on the part of the Romish doctors tired the patience of the
meeting. A voice was heard exclaiming from the farther part of the
hall: "Where are now these valiant fellows,[472] who talk so loudly in
the streets? Come along, step forward, there's your man!" No one
moved. Upon this the burgomaster said with a smile: "It would appear
that this famous sword with which you smote the pastor of Filispach
will not come out of its sheath to-day;" and he then broke up the

  [472] Sc. the monks. Wo sind nun die grossen Hansen......Zw. Opp. i.

When the assembly met again in the afternoon, the council declared
that Master Ulrich Zwingle, not being reproved by any one, might
continue to preach the holy Gospel, and that the rest of the clergy in
the canton should teach nothing that they could not substantiate by

"Praised be God, who will cause his holy Word to prevail in heaven and
earth!" exclaimed Zwingle. Upon this Faber could not restrain his
indignation. "The theses of Master Ulrich," said he, "are contrary to
the honour of the Church and the doctrine of Christ; and I will prove
it." "Do so," replied Zwingle. But Faber declined his challenge,
except it should be at Paris, Cologne, or Friburg. "I will have no
other judge than the Gospel," said Zwingle. "Sooner than you can shake
one of its words, the earth will open before you."[473] "The Gospel!"
sneered Faber, "always the Gospel!......Men might live in holiness,
peace, and charity, even if there were no Gospel."[474]

  [473] Es müss das Erdrych brechen. Zw. Opp. i. 148.

  [474] Man möcht denocht früntlich, fridlich und tugendlich läben, wenn
  glich kein Evangelium were. Bull. Chron. p. 107; Zw. Opp. i. 152.

At these words the spectators rose indignantly from their seats. Thus
terminated the disputation.


     Papal Temptations--Progress of the Reformation--The Idol at
     Stadelhofen--Sacrilege--The Ornaments of the Saints.


The Reformation had gained the day; it was now to accelerate its
conquests. After this battle of Zurich, in which the most skilful
champions of the papacy were dumb, who would be bold enough to oppose
the new doctrine? But weapons of a different kind were tried.
Zwingle's firmness and republican bearing overawed his adversaries;
accordingly they had recourse to peculiar measures to subdue him.
While Rome was pursuing Luther with her anathemas, she endeavoured to
win over the reformer of Zurich by gentleness. The dispute was
scarcely ended when Zwingle received a visit from the captain of the
pope's guard--the son of the burgomaster Roust. He was accompanied by
the legate Einsius, the bearer of a papal brief, in which Adrian VI.
called Zwingle his beloved son, and assured him of "his special
favour."[475] At the same time the pope urged Zink to gain over
Zwingle. "And what has the pope commissioned you to offer him?" asked
Oswald Myconius. "Everything," replied Zink, "except the papal

  [475] Cum de tua egregia virtute specialiter nobis sit cognitum. Zw.
  Epp. p. 266.

  [476] Serio respondit: Omnia certe præter sedem papalem. Vita Zwingli,
  per Osw. Myc.


There was no mitre, or crozier, or cardinal's hat, that the pope would
not have given to bribe the reformer of Zurich. But Rome was strangely
mistaken in this respect; all her proposals were unavailing. In
Zwingle, the Romish Church had a still more pitiless enemy than
Luther. He cared far less than the Saxon reformer for the ideas and
ceremonies of former ages; it was enough for him that any custom,
however innocent in itself, was connected with some abuse; he fell
violently upon it. The Word of God (thought he) should stand alone.

But if Rome understood so imperfectly what was then taking place in
Christendom, she found counsellors who endeavoured to put her in the

Faber, exasperated at seeing the pope thus humble himself before his
adversary, hastened to enlighten him. He was a courtier with a
constant smile upon his lips and honied words in his mouth; to judge
from his own language, he was everybody's friend, even of those whom
he accused of heresy. But his hatred was mortal. Accordingly, the
reformer, playing on his name (Faber), used to say, "the Vicar of
Constance is a lie-smith. Let him openly take up arms, and see how
Christ defends us."[477]

  [477] Prodeant volo, palamque arma capiant. Zw. Epp. p. 292.

These words were no mere idle boasting; for while the pope was
complimenting Zwingle on his eminent virtues, and the special
confidence he placed in him, the enemies of the reformer were
increasing in number throughout Switzerland. The veteran soldiers, the
great families, the herdsmen of the mountains, combined their hatred
against this doctrine which thwarted their tastes. At Lucerne, the
magnificent representation of Zwingle's _passion_ was announced; in
effect, the people dragged the reformer's effigy to the scaffold,
shouting out that they were going to put the heretic to death; and
laying hands on some Zurichers who happened to be at Lucerne,
compelled them to be spectators of this mock execution. "They shall
not trouble my repose," said Zwingle; "Christ will never be wanting to
his followers."[478] Even the diet re-echoed with threats against him.
"My dear confederates," said the councillor of Mullinen to the
cantons, "make a timely resistance to the Lutheran cause......At
Zurich a man is no longer master in his own house!"

  [478] Christum suis nunquam defecturum. Ibid. p. 278.


This agitation among the enemy announced what was passing in Zurich
more loudly than any proclamations could have done. The victory was
indeed bearing fruit; the conquerors were gradually taking possession
of the country, and every day the Gospel made fresh progress.
Twenty-four canons and a great number of chaplains voluntarily
petitioned the council to reform their statutes. It was decided to
replace these sluggish priests by pious and learned men, with
commission to give the Zurich youth a Christian and liberal education,
and to establish in the place of their vespers and Latin masses, a
daily explanation of a chapter in the Bible, according to the Hebrew
and Greek texts, first for the learned, and afterwards for the people.


There are unfortunately in every army a number of those desperate
heroes who leave their ranks and make unseasonable attacks on points
that ought still to be respected. A young priest, Louis Hetzer, had
published a treatise in German entitled, _The judgment of God against
Images_, which produced a great sensation, and the images wholly
engrossed the thoughts of a part of the people. It is only to the
detriment of those essentials that ought to occupy his mind, that man
can fix his attention on secondary matters. At a place called
Stadelhofen, outside the city gates, stood a crucifix elaborately
carved and richly ornamented. The most zealous partisans of the
Reformation, shocked at the superstitions to which this image gave
rise, could not pass by without giving vent to their indignation. A
citizen named Claude Hottinger, "a worthy man," says Bullinger, "and
well read in the Holy Scriptures," having fallen in with the miller of
Stadelhofen, to whom the crucifix belonged, asked him when he intended
to throw down his idols. "No one compels you to worship them," replied
the miller.--"But do you not know," retorted Hottinger, "that the Word
of God forbids us to have any graven images?"--"Well then," said the
miller, "if you are authorized to remove them, I abandon them to you."
Hottinger thought himself empowered to act, and shortly after, about
the end of September, he was seen to pass the gates with a body of
citizens. On arriving at the crucifix, they deliberately dug round
it, until the image, yielding to their efforts, fell to the earth with
a loud crash.

This daring action spread dismay on every side: one might have thought
that religion itself had fallen with the crucifix of Stadelhofen.
"They are guilty of sacrilege! They deserve to be put to death!"
exclaimed the friends of Rome. The council caused the image-breakers
to be apprehended.

"No!" cried Zwingle and his colleagues from their pulpits: "Hottinger
and his friends are not guilty in the sight of God and worthy of
death.[479] But they may be punished for having acted with violence
and without the sanction of the magistrates."[480]

  [479] An exposition of the same principles may be seen in the speeches
  of MM. de Broglie and Royer-Collard, at the period of the famous
  debates on the law of sacrilege in France 1824.

  [480] Dorum habend ir unser Herren kein rächt zu inen, sy zu töden.
  Bull. Chron. p. 127.

Meantime acts of a similar nature were continually taking place. A
curate of Saint Peter's, one day remarking in front of the church a
number of poor people ill fed and with tattered garments, said to one
of his colleagues, as he turned his eyes on the costly ornaments of
the saints: "I should like to strip these idols of wood to procure
clothing for these poor members of Jesus Christ." A few days later, at
three o'clock in the morning, the saints and all their ornaments
disappeared. The council flung the curate into prison, notwithstanding
he protested his innocence of this proceeding. "What!" exclaimed the
people, "is it these logs of wood that Jesus ordered us to clothe? Is
it on account of these images that he will say to the righteous: _I
was naked, and ye clothed me_?"

Thus, the greater the resistance, the higher soared the Reformation;
and the more it was compressed, the more energetically did it spring
forward, and threaten to overthrow all that withstood it.


     The Disputation of October--Zwingle on the Church--The
     Church--Commencement of Presbyterianism--Discussion on the
     Mass--Enthusiasts--The Language of Discretion--Victory--A
     Characteristic of the Swiss Reformation--Moderation--Oswald
     Myconius at Zurich--Revival of Literature--Thomas Plater of
     the Valais.


Even these excesses were destined to be salutary; a new combat was
needed to secure fresh triumphs; for in the things of the Spirit, as
in the affairs of the world, there is no conquest without a struggle;
and as the soldiers of Rome stood motionless, the conflict was to be
brought on by the undisciplined sons of the Reformation. In fact, the
magistrates were embarrassed and agitated; they felt the necessity of
having their consciences enlightened, and with this view they resolved
to appoint another public disputation in the German language, in which
the question of idols should be examined according to Scripture.

The Bishops of Coire, Constance, and Basle, the university of the
latter city, and the twelve cantons, were accordingly requested to
send deputies to Zurich. But the bishops declined the invitation, and
calling to mind the wretched figure their deputies had made at the
former disputation, they had little inclination to repeat such
humiliating scenes. Let the evangelicals dispute if they please, but
let them dispute alone. On the first occasion, the Romish party had
kept silence; on the second they were resolved not to appear. Rome may
possibly have imagined that the great combat would cease for want of
combatants. The bishops were not alone in refusing to attend. The men
of Unterwalden replied that they had no scholars among them, but only
worthy and pious priests, who explained the Gospel as their fathers
had done; that they would send no deputy to Zwingle "and his fellows;"
but that, if he fell into their hands, they would treat him in such a
manner as to deprive him of all wish to relapse into the same
faults.[481] Schaffhausen and St. Gall alone sent representatives.

  [481] So wollten wir Ihm den Lohn geben, dass er's nimmer mehr thäte.
  Simmler Samml. MS. ix.


On the 26th of October, after the sermon, an assembly of more than
nine hundred persons, composed of members of the Great Council and of
three hundred and fifty priests, filled the large hall of the
town-house. Zwingle and Leo Juda were seated at a table, on which lay
the Old and New Testament in the original languages. Zwingle spoke
first, and overthrowing with a vigorous arm the authority of the
hierarchy and of its councils, established the rights of every
Christian Church, and claimed the liberty of the primitive ages--of
those times when the Church knew neither general nor provincial
councils. "The universal Church," said he, "is spread over the whole
world, wherever there is faith in Christ, in India as well as at
Zurich......And as for particular churches, we have them at Berne, at
Schaffhausen, and even here. But the popes, with their cardinals and
their councils, form neither the universal Church nor a particular
Church.[482] The assembly before which I now speak," continued he with
energy, "is the Church of Zurich; it desires to hear the Word of God,
and it has the right of ordering all that may appear to it conformable
with the Holy Scriptures."

  [482] Der Päbste, Cardinäle und Bischöffe Concilia sind nich die
  christliche Kirche. Fussl. Beytr. iii. 20.

Thus did Zwingle rely on the Church, but on the true Church; not on
the clergy alone, but on the assembly of Christians,--on the people.
All that the Scriptures say of the Church in general, he applied to
particular churches. He did not think that any church could err which
listened with docility to the Word of God. In his eyes, the Church was
represented politically and ecclesiastically by the Great
Council.[483] At first he explained every question from the pulpit;
and when his hearers' minds were convinced of the truth, he carried
the matter before the Great Council, who, in harmony with the
ministers of the Church, formed such decisions as the Church called

  [483] Diacosion Senatus summa est potestas Ecclesiæ vice. Zw. Opp.
  iii. 339.

  [484] Ante omnia multitudinem de quæstione probe docere ita factum
  est, ut quidquid diacosii (the great council of two hundred), cum
  verbi ministris ordinarent, jamdudum in animis fidelium ordinatum
  esset. Zw. Opp. iii. 339.


In the absence of the bishop's deputies, Conrad Hoffmann, the same
aged canon who had procured Zwingle's election to Zurich, undertook
the defence of the pope. He maintained that the Church, the flock, the
"third estate," had no right to discuss such matters. "I was thirteen
years at Heidelberg," said he, "living in the house of a very great
scholar, whose name was Doctor Joss, a worthy and pious man, with whom
I long ate and drank and led a merry life; but I always heard him say
that it was not proper to discuss such matters; so you see......" All
were ready to burst into laughter; but the burgomaster checked them.
"Let us therefore wait for a council," continued Hoffmann. "For the
present, I shall not dispute, but obey the bishop's orders, even
should he be a knave!"

"Wait for a council!" replied Zwingle. "And who will attend a council?
The pope with some sluggish and ignorant bishops who will do nothing
but what suits their fancy. No! the Church is not there! Höng and
Küssnacht (these were two Zurich villages) are certainly more of a
church than all the bishops and popes put together!"

Thus did Zwingle vindicate the rights of the christian people, whom
Rome had deprived of their privileges. The assembly before which he
was speaking was not, in his judgment, the Church of Zurich, but its
first representative. This is the beginning of the Presbyterian system
in the age of the Reformation. Zwingle was withdrawing Zurich from the
jurisdiction of the Bishop of Constance, separating it from the Latin
hierarchy, and founding on this idea of the flock, of the christian
assembly, a new ecclesiastical constitution, to which other countries
were afterwards to adhere.


The disputation continued. Many priests having risen to defend the
images, but without having recourse to Holy Writ, Zwingle and the
other reformers confuted them by the Bible. "If no one stands forward
to defend the use of images by arguments derived from Scripture," said
one of the presidents, "we shall call upon some of their advocates by
name." As no one arose, the priest of Wadischwyl was called. "He is
asleep," answered one of the spectators. The priest of Horgen was next
called. "He has sent me in his place," replied his curate, "but I will
not answer for him." Evidently the power of God's Word was making
itself felt in this assembly. The partisans of the Reformation were
full of energy, liberty, and joy; their adversaries appeared
speechless, uneasy, and dejected. They summoned, one after another,
the parish-priests of Laufen, Glattfelden, Wetzikon, the rector and
priest of Pfaffikon, the dean of Elgg, the priest of Bäretschwyl, with
the Dominicans and Grayfriars, notorious for their preaching in
defence of images, the virgin, the saints, and the mass; but all made
answer that they could say nothing in their favour, and that
henceforward they would apply themselves to the study of the truth.
"Hitherto," said one of them, "I have put my trust in the old doctors;
now, I will believe in the new."--"You should believe not in us, but
in God's Word," exclaimed Zwingle. "It is Scripture alone that can
never err!" The sitting had been long, and night was approaching. The
president, Hofmeister of Schaffhausen, stood up and said: "Blessed be
the Almighty and Everlasting God for that in all things he has
vouchsafed us the victory;" and he then exhorted the councillors of
Zurich to pull down all the images.

On Tuesday the assembly met again in order to discuss the doctrine of
the mass. Vadian was in the chair. "My brethren in Christ," said
Zwingle, "far from us be the thought that there is any deception or
falsehood in the body and blood of Christ.[485] Our only aim is to
show that the mass is not a sacrifice that one man can offer to God
for another, unless any one should maintain also that a man can eat
and drink for his friend."

  [485] Dass einigerley Betrug oder Falschsyg in dem reinen Blut und
  Fleisch Christi. Zw. Opp. i. 498.

[Sidenote: VICTORY.]

Vadian having twice demanded if any there present desired to uphold by
Scripture the doctrine impugned, and no one having replied, the
canons of Zurich, the chaplains, and many other ecclesiastics declared
that they agreed with Zwingle.

But scarcely had the reformers thus vanquished the partisans of the
old doctrines, than they had to contend against those impatient
spirits who call for sudden and violent innovations, and not for wise
and gradual reforms. The wretched Conrad Grebel rose and said: "It is
not enough to have disputed about the mass, we must put an end to its
abuses."--"The council will draw up an edict on the subject," replied
Zwingle. Upon this Simon Stumpf exclaimed: "The Spirit of God has
already decided: why refer to the decision of the council?"[486]

  [486] Der Geist Gottes urtheilet. Zw. Opp. i. 529.

The commander Schmidt of Küssnacht arose gravely, and in language full
of wisdom said, "Let us teach Christians to receive Christ in their
hearts.[487] Until this hour, ye have all gone after idols. The
dwellers in the plain have run to the mountains, and those of the
mountains have gone to the plain; the French to Germany, and the
Germans to France. Now ye know whither ye ought to go. God has
combined all things in Christ. Ye noble citizens of Zurich! go to the
true source; and may Christ at length re-enter your territory, and
there resume his ancient empire."

  [487] Wie sy Christum in iren Herzen sollind bilden and machen. Ibid.

This discourse made a deep impression, and no one stood up to reply to
it. Zwingle rose with emotion and said, "Gracious lords, God is with
us......He will defend his cause. Now, then, forward in the name of
God." Here Zwingle's agitation became so great that he could not
proceed. He wept, and many joined their tears with his.[488]

  [488] Dass er sich selbst mit vil andren bewegt zu weinen. Ibid. 537.

Thus ended the disputation. The presidents rose; the burgomaster
thanked them; and the aged warrior, turning to the council, said
gravely, with that voice which had so often been heard on the field of
battle, "Now, then,......let us grasp the sword of God's Word, and may
the Lord prosper his work."


This dispute, which took place in the month of October 1523, was
decisive. The majority of the priests, who had been present at it,
returned full of zeal to the different parts of the canton, and the
effect of these two days was felt throughout Switzerland. The Church
of Zurich, that had always preserved a certain independence with
respect to the see of Constance, was then entirely emancipated.
Instead of resting on the pope through the bishop, it rested
henceforward through the people on the Word of God. Zurich recovered
the privileges that Rome had taken from her. Town and country vied
with each other in interest for the work of the Reformation, and the
Great Council did but follow the movements of the people. On all
important occasions the city and the villages made known their
opinions. Luther had restored the Bible to the christian world;
Zwingle went farther, he restored their rights. This is a
characteristic feature of the Swiss Reformation. The maintenance of
sound doctrine was thus confided, under God, to the people; and recent
events have shown that a christian people can guard this precious
deposit better than priests and pontiffs.[489]

  [489] In 1839, the celebrated pantheist and unbeliever, Strauss,
having been nominated professor of dogmatical theology in the
university of Zurich, the people of all the canton resisted the
appointment, and raised a new government into power.

Zwingle did not allow himself to be elated by victory; on the
contrary, the Reformation, according to his wish, was carried on with
great moderation. "God knows my heart," said he, when the council
asked his advice; "He knows that I am inclined to build up, and not to
throw down. I am aware that there are timid souls who ought to be
conciliated; let the mass, therefore, for some time longer be read on
Sunday in all the churches, and let us avoid insulting the priests who
celebrate it."[490]

  [490] Ohne dass jemand sich unterstehe die Messpriester zu
  beschimpfen. Wirtz. H. K. G., v. 208.

The council drew up an edict to this purport. Hottinger and
Hochrutiner, one of his friends, were banished from the canton for two
years, and forbidden to return without permission.


The Reformation at Zurich followed a prudent and christian course.
Daily raising this city more and more, it surrounded her with glory
in the eyes of all the friends of the Word of God. Accordingly those
in Switzerland who had saluted the new light that was dawning upon the
Church felt themselves powerfully attracted towards Zurich. Oswald
Myconius, expelled from Lucerne, had been residing for six months at
Einsidlen, when, as he was returning one day from a journey he had
made to Glaris,[491] oppressed by fatigue and by the heat of the sun,
he saw his little boy Felix running to meet him, and to tell him that
he had been invited to Zurich to superintend one of the schools.
Oswald could not believe such joyful tidings: he hesitated between
fear and hope.[492] "I am thine," wrote he at last to Zwingle.
Geroldsek saw him depart with regret; gloomy thoughts filled his mind.
"Alas!" said he to Oswald, "all those who confess Christ are going to
Zurich; I fear that one day we shall all perish there together."[493]
A melancholy presentiment, which by the death of Geroldsek himself and
of so many other friends of the Gospel, was but too soon fulfilled on
the plains of Cappel.

  [491] Inesperato nuntio excepit me filius redeuntem ex Glareana. Zw.
  Epp. p. 322.

  [492] Inter spem et metum. Ibid.

  [493] Ac deinde omnes simul pereamus. Ibid. p. 323.

At Zurich, Myconius found at last a safe retreat. His predecessor, who
from his stature had been nicknamed at Paris "the great devil," had
neglected his duties; Oswald devoted all his heart and strength to
their fulfilment. He explained the Greek and Latin classics, taught
rhetoric and logic, and the youth of the city listened to him with
delight.[494] Myconius was destined to become for the rising
generation what Zwingle was to those of riper years.

  [494] Juventus illum lubens audit. Ibid. p. 264.

[Sidenote: THOMAS PLATER.]

At first Myconius was alarmed at the advanced age of the scholars
under his care; but he had gradually resumed his courage, and was not
long in distinguishing among his pupils a young man, twenty-four years
of age, from whose eyes beamed forth a love of study. Thomas Plater,
for such was his name, was a native of the Valais. In that beautiful
valley, where the torrent of the Viége rolls its noisy waters, after
issuing from the sea of ice and snow which encircles Mount Rosa,
between St. Nicholas and Stalden, on the lofty hill that rises on the
right bank of the river, may still be seen the village of Grächen.
This was Plater's birthplace. From the neighbourhood of these colossal
Alps was to proceed one of the most original of all the characters
that appeared in the great drama of the sixteenth century. At the age
of nine years, he had been placed under the care of a priest who was
his relation, by whom the little peasant was often so cruelly beaten
that he cried (as he tells us himself) like a kid under the knife. He
was taken by one of his cousins to attend the German schools. But he
had already attained the age of twenty years, and yet, through running
from school to school, he scarcely knew how to read.[495] When he
arrived at Zurich, he came to the determination of gaining knowledge;
and having taken his place in Oswald's school, he said to himself,
"There shalt thou learn or die." The light of the Gospel shone into
his heart. One very cold morning, when he had no fuel for the
school-room stove, which it was his duty to keep up, he thought to
himself: "Why should you want wood, while there are many idols in the
church!" There was no one as yet in the church, although Zwingle was
to preach, and the bells were already summoning the congregation.
Plater entered very softly, laid hold of an image of St. John that
stood upon an altar, and thrust it into the stove, saying: "Down with
you, for in you must go." Most assuredly neither Myconius nor Zwingle
would have sanctioned such a proceeding.

  [495] See his Autobiography.

It was in truth by better arms than these that incredulity and
superstition were to be combated. Zwingle and his colleagues had given
the hand of fellowship to Myconius; and the latter daily expounded the
New Testament in the church of Our Lady before an eager and attentive
crowd.[496] Another public disputation, held on the 13th and 14th of
January 1524, had again proved fatal to Rome; and in vain did the
canon Koch exclaim: "Popes, cardinals, bishops, councils--these are my

  [496] Weise, Füsslin Beyt. iv. 66.

Everything was making progress in Zurich; men's minds were becoming
more enlightened, their hearts more decided, and the Reformation was
increasing in strength. Zurich was a fortress gained by the new
doctrine, and from her walls it was about to spread over the whole


     Diet of Lucerne--Hottinger arrested--His Death--Deputation
     from the Diet to Zurich--Abolition of religious
     Processions--Abolition of Images--The Two
     Reformations--Appeal to the People.

[Sidenote: DIET OF LUCERNE.]

The adversaries were aware of what might be the consequences of these
changes in Zurich. They felt that they must now decide upon striking a
vigorous blow. They had been silent spectators long enough. The
iron-clad warriors of Switzerland determined to rise at last; and
whenever they arose, the field of battle had been dyed with blood.

The diet had met at Lucerne; the clergy were endeavouring to excite
the chief council of the nation in their favour. Friburg and the
Forest Cantons proved their docile instruments; Berne, Basle, Soleure,
Glaris, and Appenzel were undecided. Schaffhausen was inclining
towards the Gospel; but Zurich alone stood forward boldly in its
defence. The partisans of Rome urged the assembly to yield to their
demands and prejudices. "Let the people be forbidden," said they, "to
preach or repeat any new or Lutheran doctrine in private or in public,
and to talk or dispute about such things in taverns and over their
wine."[497] Such was the ecclesiastical law they were desirous of
establishing in the confederation.

  [497] Es soll nieman in den Wirtzhüseren, oder sunst hinter dem Wyn
  von Lutherischen, oder newen Sachen uzid reden. Bull. Chr. p. 144.

Nineteen articles were drawn up to this effect, approved of by all the
states, except Zurich, on the 26th of January 1523, and sent to all
the bailiffs with orders to see that they were strictly observed:
"which caused great joy among the priests," says Bullinger, "and great
sorrow among believers." A persecution, regularly organized by the
supreme authority of the confederation, was about to begin.


One of the first who received the mandate of the diet was Henry
Flackenstein of Lucerne, bailiff of Baden. Hottinger, when banished
from Zurich for pulling down the crucifix of Stadelhofen, had retired
to this bailiwick, where he had not concealed his opinions. One day,
as he chanced to be dining at the Angel tavern in Zurzach, he had said
that the priests wrongly interpreted Holy Scripture, and that man
should put his trust in God alone.[498] The landlord, who was
continually going in and out to bring bread or wine, listened to what
appeared to him such very extraordinary language. Another day,
Hottinger paid a visit to his friend John Schutz of Schneyssingen.
After they had eaten and drunk together, Schutz asked him: "What is
this new faith that the Zurich pastors are preaching?" "They preach,"
replied Hottinger, "that Christ was sacrificed _once_ for all
Christians; that by this one sacrifice he has purified and redeemed
them from all their sins; and they show by Holy Scripture that the
mass is a lie."

  [498] Wie wir unser pitt Hoffnung und Trost allein uf Gott. Bull. Chr.
  p. 146.

After this (in February 1523), Hottinger had quitted Switzerland, and
gone on business to Waldshut, on the other side of the Rhine. Measures
were taken to seize his person, and about the end of the same month
the poor unsuspecting Zuricher, having recrossed the river, had
scarcely reached Coblentz, a village on the left bank of the Rhine,
before he was arrested. He was taken to Klingenau, and as he there
frankly confessed his faith, the exasperated Flackenstein said: "I
will take you to a place where you will find people to make you a
suitable answer."

In effect, the bailiff conducted him successively before the judges of
Klingenau, before the superior tribunal of Baden, and, since he could
find no one who would declare him guilty, before the diet sitting at
Lucerne. He was firmly resolved to seek judges who would condemn his


The diet lost no time, and condemned Hottinger to be beheaded. When
informed of his sentence, he gave glory to God: "That will do," said
James Troger, one of his judges, "we do not sit here to listen to
sermons. You can have your talk some other time." "He must have his
head taken off this once," said the bailiff Am Ort, with a laugh; "if
he should ever get it on again, we will all embrace his faith." "May
God forgive all those who have condemned me," said the prisoner. A
monk then presented a crucifix to his lips, but he put it away,
saying: "It is in the heart that we must receive Jesus Christ."

When he was led out to execution, many of the spectators could not
refrain from tears. "I am going to eternal happiness," said he,
turning towards them. On reaching the place where he was to die, he
raised his hands to heaven, exclaiming: "Into thy hands, O my
Redeemer, I commit my spirit!" In another minute his head rolled upon
the scaffold.

The blood of Hottinger was hardly cold before the enemies of the
Reformation seized the opportunity of still further inflaming the
anger of the confederates. It was in Zurich itself that the mischief
should be crushed. The terrible example that had just been given must
have filled Zwingle and his partisans with terror. Another vigorous
effort, and the death of Hottinger would be followed by that of the
Reform......The diet immediately resolved that a deputation should be
sent to Zurich, calling upon the councils and the citizens to renounce
their faith.

The deputation received an audience on the 21st of March. "The ancient
christian unity is broken," said the deputies; "the disease is gaining
ground; already have the clergy of the four Forest Cantons declared,
that unless the magistrates come to their aid, they must discontinue
their functions. Confederates of Zurich, join your efforts to ours;
stifle this new faith;[499] dismiss Zwingle and his disciples, and
then let us all unite to remedy the injuries that have been inflicted
on the popes and their courtiers."

  [499] Zurich selbigen ausreuten und untertrucken helfe. Hott. Helv. K.
  G. iii. 170.

Thus spoke the adversaries: and what would the citizens of Zurich do?
Would their hearts fail them? Had their courage cooled with the blood
of their fellow-citizen?

Zurich did not leave her friends or enemies long in suspense. The
council announced calmly and nobly that they could make no concessions
in what concerned the Word of God; and then proceeded to make a still
more forcible reply.


Ever since the year 1351, it had been customary for a numerous
procession, each member of which bore a cross, to go on Whitmonday on
a pilgrimage to Einsidlen to worship the Virgin. This festival, which
had been established in commemoration of the battle of Tatwyll, was
attended with great disorders.[500] The procession should have taken
place on the 7th of May. On the petition of the three pastors it was
prohibited by the council, and all the other processions were reformed
in their turn.

  [500] Uff einen Creitzgang, sieben unehelicher kinden überkommen
  wurdend. Bull. Chr. p. 160.

They did not stop here. The relics, that source of innumerable
superstitions, were honourably interred;[501] and then, at the request
of the three pastors, the council published a decree, to the effect
that honour being due to God alone, the images should be removed from
all the churches of the canton, and their ornaments sold for the
benefit of the poor. Twelve councillors, one from each guild, the
three pastors, the city-architect, blacksmiths, carpenters, builders,
and masons, went into the various churches, and having closed the
doors,[502] took down the crosses, defaced the frescoes, whitewashed
the walls, and took away the images, to the great delight of the
believers, who regarded this proceeding (says Bullinger) as a striking
homage paid to the true God. In some of the country churches, the
ornaments were burnt "to the honour and glory of God." Erelong the
organs were taken down, on account of their connexion with many
superstitious practices; and a baptismal service was drawn up, from
which everything unscriptural was excluded.[503]

  [501] Und es eerlich bestattet hat. Ibid. 161.

  [502] Habend die nach inen zu beschlossen. Ibid, 175.

  [503] See note, vol. I. p. 145.

The burgomaster Roust and his colleague, with their dying eyes
joyfully hailed the triumph of the Reformation. They had lived long
enough, and they died at the very time of this great renovation of
public worship.


The Swiss Reformation here presents itself under an aspect somewhat
different from that of the German Reformation. Luther had risen up
against the excesses of those who had broken the images in the
churches of Wittemberg; and in Zwingle's presence the idols fell in
the temples of Zurich. This difference is explained by the different
lights in which the two reformers viewed the same object. Luther
desired to maintain in the Church all that was not expressly contrary
to the Scriptures, and Zwingle to abolish all that could not be proved
by them. The German reformer wished to remain united to the Church of
the preceding ages, and was content to purify it of all that was
opposed to the Word of God. The Zurich reformer passed over these
ages, returned to the apostolic times, and, carrying out an entire
transformation of the Church, endeavoured to restore it to its
primitive condition.

Zwingle's Reformation was therefore the more complete. The work that
Providence had confided to Luther, the restoration of the doctrine of
justification by faith, was doubtless the great work of the
Reformation; but when this was accomplished, others remained to be
done, which, although secondary, were still important; and to these
Zwingle's exertions were more especially directed.

In fact, two mighty tasks had been imposed on the reformers. Christian
Catholicism, born in the midst of Jewish pharisaism and Greek
paganism, had gradually felt the influence of these two religions,
which had transformed it into Roman-catholicism. The Reformation that
was called to purify the Church, was destined to purge it alike from
the Jewish and the pagan element.

The Jewish element prevailed chiefly in that part of the christian
doctrine which relates to man. Catholicism had received from Judaism
the pharisaical ideas of self-righteousness, of salvation by human
strength or works.

The pagan element prevailed especially in that part of the christian
doctrine which relates to God. Paganism had corrupted in the catholic
church the idea of an infinite Deity, whose power, being perfectly
all-sufficient, is at work in all times and in all places. It had
established in the Church the reign of symbols, images, and
ceremonies; and the saints had become the demigods of popery.


Luther's reform was directed essentially against the Jewish element.
It was against this element that he had been compelled to struggle,
when an impudent monk on behalf of the pope was making a trade of the
salvation of souls.

Zwingle's reform was particularly directed against the pagan element.
It was this element with which he had come in contact at the temple of
our Lady of Einsidlen, when a crowd, gathered together from every
side, fell down blindly before a gilded idol, as of old in the temple
of the Ephesian Diana.

The German reformer proclaimed the great doctrine of justification by
faith, and with it inflicted a death-blow on the pharisaical
righteousness of Rome. The reformer of Switzerland unquestionably did
the same; the inability of man to save himself forms the basis of the
work of all the reformers. But Zwingle did something more: he
established the sovereign, universal, and exclusive agency of God, and
thus inflicted a deadly blow on the pagan worship of Rome.

Roman-catholicism had exalted man and lowered God. Luther lowered man,
and Zwingle exalted God.

These two tasks, which were specially but not exclusively theirs, were
the complement of each other. Luther laid the foundation of the
building; Zwingle raised its crowning stone.

It was reserved for a still more capacious genius to impress, from the
banks of the Leman lake, these two characters conjointly upon the

  [504] Litterarischer Anzeiger, 1840, No. 27.

[Sidenote: OPPOSITION.]

But while Zwingle was thus advancing with mighty strides to the head
of the confederation, the disposition of the cantons became daily more
hostile. The Zurich government felt the necessity of relying on the
people. The people, moreover, that is to say the assembly of
believers, was, according to Zwingle's principles, the highest power
to which there could be any appeal on earth. It was resolved to test
the state of public opinion, and the bailiffs were enjoined to demand
of all the parishes whether they were ready to suffer everything for
our Lord Jesus Christ, "who," said the council, "gave his life and his
blood for us sinners."[505] The whole canton had carefully followed
the progress of the Reformation in the city; and in many places, the
cottages of the peasants had become christian schools, wherein the
Holy Scriptures were read.

  [505] Der sin rosenfarw Blüt alein fur uns arme Sünder vergossen hat.
  Bull. Chron. p. 180.

The proclamation of the council was read and enthusiastically received
in every parish. "Let our lords," answered they, "remain fearlessly
attached to the Word of God: we will aid them in upholding it;[506]
and if any one seeks to molest them, we will come to their support
like brave and loyal fellow-citizens." The peasantry of Zurich showed
then, that the strength of the Church is in the christian people.

  [506] Meine Herrn sollten auch nur dapfer bey dem Gottsworte
  verbleiben. Füsslin Beytr. iv. p. 107, which contains the replies
  given by all the parishes.

But the people were not alone. The man whom God had placed at their
head answered worthily to the call. Zwingle appeared to multiply
himself for the service of God. All that were enduring persecution in
the Helvetic cantons for the cause of the Gospel addressed themselves
to him.[507] The responsibility of public affairs, the care of the
churches, the anxieties of the glorious conflict that was going on in
every valley of Switzerland, weighed heavily upon the evangelist of
Zurich.[508] At Wittemberg, the news of his courageous proceedings was
received with joy. Luther and Zwingle were two great lights, placed in
Upper and Lower Germany; and the doctrine of salvation, so powerfully
proclaimed by both, filled the vast tracts that extend from the summit
of the Alps to the shores of the Baltic and of the North Sea.

  [507] Scribunt ex Helvetiis ferme omnes qui propter Christum
  premuntur. Zw. Epp. p. 348.

  [508] Negotiorum strepitus et ecclesiarum curæ ita me undique
  quatiunt. Ibid.


     New Opposition--Abduction of Œxlin--The Family of the
     Wirths--The Populace at the Convent of Ittingen--The Diet of
     Zug--The Wirths apprehended and given up to the Diet--Their


The Word of God could not thus invade extensive countries, without its
triumphs exasperating the pope in his palace, the priest in his
presbytery, and the Swiss magistrates in their councils. Their terror
increased from day to day. The people had been consulted; the
christian people became of consequence in the Christian Church, and
appeals were made to their sympathy and faith and not to the decrees
of the Roman chancery! So formidable an attack required a still more
formidable resistance. On the 18th of April, the pope addressed a
brief to the confederates, and the diet, which met at Zug in the month
of July, yielding to the urgent exhortations of the pontiff, sent a
deputation to Zurich, Schaffhausen, and Appenzel, commissioned to
acquaint these states with the firm resolve of the diet to crush the
new doctrine, and to prosecute its adherents to the forfeiture of
their goods, their honours, and even of their lives. Zurich did not
hear this warning without emotion; but a firm reply was made, that, in
matters of faith, the Word of God alone must be obeyed. On receiving
this answer, Lucerne, Schwytz, Uri, Unterwalden, Friburg, and Zug,
trembled with rage; and, unmindful of the reputation and strength the
accession of Zurich had formerly given to the infant confederation,
forgetting the precedence that had been immediately accorded to her,
the simple and solemn oaths that had been made to her, and of the many
victories and reverses they had shared with her,--these states
declared that they would no longer sit in diet with Zurich. Thus in
Switzerland, as in Germany, the partisans of Rome were the first to
break the federal unity. But threats and the rupture of alliances were
not enough. The fanaticism of the cantons called for blood; and it
was soon seen with what arms Rome intended combating the Word of God.


One of Zwingle's friends, the worthy Œxlin,[509] was pastor of Burg
upon the Rhine, in the neighbourhood of Stein. The bailiff Am-Berg,
who had appeared to listen to the Gospel with delight,[510] being
desirous of obtaining that bailiwick, had promised the leading men of
Schwytz to root out the new faith. Œxlin, although not within his
jurisdiction, was the first upon whom he exercised his severity.

  [509] See Vol. II. p. 312.

  [510] Der war anfangs dem Evangelio günstig. Bull. Chr. p. 180.

About midnight, on the 7th of July 1524, some persons knocked at the
pastor's door; they were the bailiff's soldiers, who entered the
house, seized Œxlin, and carried him away prisoner, in defiance of
his cries. Thinking they meant to assassinate him, he cried "Murder;"
the inhabitants started from their beds in affright, and the village
soon became the scene of a frightful tumult, which was heard as far as
Stein. The sentinel on guard at the castle of Hohenklingen fired the
alarm-gun; the tocsin was rung, and the inhabitants of Stein,
Stammheim, and the adjoining places, were soon moving, and inquiring
of one another in the darkness what was the matter.

At Stammheim lived the deputy-bailiff Wirth, whose two eldest sons,
Adrian and John, both young priests full of piety and courage, were
preaching the Gospel with great unction. John especially abounded in
faith, and was ready to sacrifice his life for his Saviour. This was
truly a patriarchal family. Hannah, the mother, who had borne the
bailiff many children, and brought them up in the fear of the Lord,
was revered for her virtues throughout the whole district. At the
noise of the tumult in Burg, the father and the two eldest sons went
out like their neighbours. The father was indignant that the bailiff
of Frauenfeld should have exercised his authority in a manner contrary
to the laws of the country. The sons learned with sorrow that their
brother, their friend, the man whose good example they were delighted
to follow, had been dragged away like a criminal. Each of them seized
a halberd, and in spite of the fears of a tender wife and mother, the
father and his two sons joined the band of citizens of Stein with the
determination of rescuing their pastor. Unhappily, a number of those
miscreants who make their appearance in every disorder had joined the
expedition; they pursued the bailiff's officers; the latter, hearing
the tocsin and the shouts of alarm, redoubled their speed, dragging
their victim after them, and soon placed the river Thur between
themselves and their pursuers.


When the people of Stein and Stammheim reached the bank of the river,
and found no means of crossing, they halted, and resolved to send a
deputation to Frauenfeld. "Oh!" said the bailiff Wirth, "the pastor of
Stein is so dear to us, that for his sake I would willingly sacrifice
my goods, my liberty, and my life."[511] The populace, finding
themselves near the Carthusian convent of Ittingen, whose inmates were
believed to have encouraged the tyranny of the bailiff Am-Berg,
entered the building and took possession of the refectory. These
miserable wretches soon became intoxicated, and shameful disorders
were the consequence. Wirth vainly entreated them to leave the
convent;[512] he was in danger of being maltreated by them. His son
Adrian remained outside the cloister. John entered, but soon came out
again, distressed at what he had seen.[513] The drunken peasants
proceeded to ransack the wine-cellars and the store-rooms, to break
the furniture, and burn the books.

  [511] Sunder die Kuttlen im Buch fur Im wagen. Bull. Chr. p. 193.

  [512] Und badt sy um Gottes willen uss dem Kloster zu gand. Ibid. p.

  [513] Dan es Im leid was. Ibid. p. 195.

When the news of these disorders reached Zurich, some deputies from
the council hastened to the spot, and ordered all persons under the
jurisdiction of the canton to return to their homes. They did so
immediately. But a body of Thurgovians, attracted by the disturbance,
established themselves in the convent, for the sake of its good cheer.
On a sudden a fire broke out, no one knew how, and the monastery was
burnt to the ground.

[Sidenote: THE DIET AT ZUG.]

Five days after this, the deputies of the cantons met at Zug. Nothing
was heard in the assembly but threats of vengeance and of death. "Let
us march with banners flying on Stein and Stammheim," said they, "and
put the inhabitants to the sword." The deputy-bailiff and his two sons
had long been objects of especial dislike on account of their faith.
"If any one is guilty," said the deputy of Zurich, "he must be
punished, but according to the laws of justice, and not by violence."
Vadian, deputy of St. Gall, supported this opinion. Upon this the
avoyer John Hug of Lucerne, unable to contain himself any longer,
exclaimed with frightful imprecations:[514] "The heretic Zwingle is
the father of all these insurrections; and you too, doctor of St.
Gall, are favourable to his infamous cause, and aid him in securing
its triumphs......You ought no longer to have a seat among us." The
deputy of Zug endeavoured to restore peace, but in vain. Vadian left
the hall, and as the populace had designs upon his life, he quitted
the town secretly, and reached the convent of Cappel by a circuitous

  [514] Mit Fluchen und Wüten. Bull. Chr. p. 184.


Zurich, intent on suppressing every disorder, resolved to apprehend
provisionally those persons who were marked out by the rage of the
confederates. Wirth and his two sons were living quietly at Stammheim.
"Never will the enemies of God be able to vanquish His friends," said
Adrian Wirth from the pulpit. The father was warned of the fate
impending over him, and was entreated to flee with his two sons. "No,"
answered he; "I will wait for the officers, putting my trust in God."
And when the soldiers made their appearance at his house, he said: "My
lords of Zurich might have spared themselves all this trouble: if they
had only sent a child I should have obeyed their summons."[515] The
three Wirths were taken to Zurich and put in prison. Rutiman, bailiff
of Nussbaum, shared their fate. They were strictly examined, but
nothing reprehensible was found in their conduct.

  [515] Dann hättind sy mir ein Kind geschikt. Ibid. p. 186.

As soon as the deputies of the cantons had heard of the imprisonment
of these four citizens, they required them to be sent to Baden, and
ordered that in case of refusal their troops should march upon Zurich
and carry them off by force. "To Zurich belongs the right of
ascertaining whether these men are guilty or not," said the deputies
of that state; "and we have found no fault in them." On this the
deputies of the cantons exclaimed: "Will you surrender them to us?
Answer yes or no, and not a word more." Two deputies of Zurich mounted
their horses, and rode off with all haste to their constituents.

On their arrival, the whole town was in agitation. If the prisoners
were refused, the confederates would come and seek them with an armed
force; to give them up was consenting to their death. Opinions were
divided: Zwingle declared for their refusal. "Zurich," said he, "ought
to remain faithful to its constitution." At last it was supposed a
middle course had been found. "We will deliver the prisoners into your
hands," said they to the diet, "but on condition that you will examine
them solely with regard to the affair of Ittingen, and not on their
faith." The diet acceded to this proposition, and on the Friday before
St. Bartholomew's day (18th August 1524) the three Wirths and their
friend, accompanied by four councillors of state and several armed
men, quitted Zurich.

A deep concern was felt by all the city at the prospect of the fate
which awaited the two youths and their aged companions. Sobbing alone
was heard as they passed along. "Alas!" exclaims a contemporary, "what
a mournful procession!"[516] The churches were all filled. "God will
punish us!" cried Zwingle. "Let us at least pray him to impart his
grace to these poor prisoners, and to strengthen them in the

  [516] O weh! was elender Fahrt war das! Bern. Weyss. Fussl. Beyt. iv.
  p. 56.

  [517] Sy troste und in warem glouben starokte. Bull. Chr. p. 188.


On Friday evening the accused arrived at Baden, where an immense crowd
was waiting for them. At first they were taken to an inn, and thence
to prison. They could scarcely advance, the crowd so pressed around to
catch a sight of them. The father, who walked in front, turned towards
his two sons, and observed to them meekly: "See, my dear children, we
are (as the apostle says) men appointed to death; for we are made a
spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men" (1 Cor. iv. 9).
Then, as he saw among the crowd his deadly enemy, Am-Berg, the cause
of all his misfortunes, he went up to him and held out his hand,
although the bailiff would have turned away: "There is a God in heaven
who knows all things," said he calmly, as he grasped his adversary's

The examination began on the following day: the bailiff Wirth was
first brought in. He was put to the torture, without any regard to his
character or his age; but he persisted in declaring his innocence of
the pillage and burning of Ittingen. He was then accused of having
destroyed an image representing St. Anne. Nothing could be
substantiated against the other prisoners, except that Adrian Wirth
was married, and preached after the manner of Zwingle and Luther; and
that John Wirth had given the sacrament to a sick man without bell and

  [518] On Kerzen, Schellen und anders so bisshar geüpt ist. Bull. Chr.
  p. 196.

But the more apparent their innocence, the greater was the fury of
their adversaries. From morning until noon they inflicted the cruelest
tortures on the old man. His tears could not soften his judges. John
Wirth was treated with still greater barbarity. "Tell us," they asked
him in the midst of his anguish, "whence did you learn this heretical
faith? From Zwingle or from any other person?" And when he exclaimed,
"O merciful and everlasting God, help and comfort me!" "Where is your
Christ now?" said one of the deputies. When Adrian appeared, Sebastian
of Stein, the Bernese deputy, said to him: "Young man, tell us the
truth; for if you refuse to do so, I swear by the knighthood that I
gained on the very spot where the Lord suffered martyrdom, that we
will open your veins one after another." They then fastened the young
man to a rope, and hoisted him into the air: "There, my little
master," said Stein with a devilish sneer, "there is your wedding
present;"[519] alluding to the marriage of this youthful servant of
the Lord.

  [519] Alls man inn am folter seyl uffzog, sagt der zum Stein: Herrli,
  das ist die Gaab die wir üch zu üwer Hussfrowen schänckend. Ibid. p.


When the examination was ended, the deputies returned to their
cantons to deliver their report, and did not meet again till four
weeks after. The bailiff's wife, the mother of the two priests,
repaired to Baden, carrying an infant child in her arms, to intercede
with the judges. John Escher of Zurich accompanied her as her
advocate. Among the judges he saw Jerome Stocker, landamman of Zug,
who had been twice bailiff of Frauenfeld: "Landamman!" said he, "you
know the bailiff Wirth; you know that he has always been an upright
man."--"You say the truth, my dear Escher," replied Stocker, "he has
never injured anybody; fellow-citizens and strangers were always
kindly welcomed to his table; his house was a convent, an inn, and an
hospital;[520] and so, if he had committed robbery or murder, I would
have made every exertion to obtain his pardon. But seeing that he has
burnt Saint Anne, Christ's grandmother, he must die!"--"The Lord have
mercy upon us," exclaimed Escher.

  [520] Sin Huss ist alwey gsin wie ein Kloster, Wirtshuss und Pitall.
  Bull. Chr. p. 198.

The gates were now shut: it was the 28th September, and the deputies
of Berne, Lucerne, Uri, Schwytz, Unterwalden, Zug, Glaris, Friburg,
and Soleure, having proceeded to deliberate on their judgment with
closed doors, as was customary, passed sentence of death on the
bailiff Wirth, on his son John, who was the firmest in his faith, and
who appeared to have led away the others, and on the bailiff Rutiman.
Adrian, the second son, was granted to his mother's tears.

The officers proceeded to the tower to fetch the prisoners. "My son,"
said the father to Adrian, "never avenge our death, although we have
not deserved punishment." Adrian burst into tears. "Brother," said
John, "the cross of Christ must always follow his Word."[521]

  [521] Doch allwäg das Crütz darbey. Ibid.

[Sidenote: EXECUTION.]

After the sentence was read, the three Christians were led back to
prison; John Wirth walking first, the two vice-bailiffs next, and a
priest behind them. As they were crossing the castle bridge, on which
was a chapel dedicated to St. Joseph, the priest called out to the two
old men, "Fall down and call upon the saints." John Wirth, who was in
front, turned round at these words and said, "Father, be firm. You
know that there is only one Mediator between God and man, the Lord
Jesus Christ."--"Assuredly, my son," replied the old man, "and by the
help of His grace I will continue faithful even to the end." Upon this
they all three began to repeat the Lord's Prayer, "Our Father which
art in heaven," and so crossed the bridge.

They were next conducted to the scaffold. John Wirth, whose heart was
filled with the tenderest anxiety for his parent, bade him farewell.
"My dearly beloved father," said he, "henceforward thou art no longer
my father, and I am no longer thy son, but we are brothers in Christ
our Lord, for whose name we must suffer death.[522] To-day, if it be
God's pleasure, my beloved brother, we shall go to Him who is the
Father of us all. Fear nothing." "Amen!" replied the old man, "and may
God Almighty bless thee, my beloved son and brother in Christ!"

  [522] Furohin bist du nitt me min Vatter und ich din Sun, sondern wir
  sind Brüdern in Christo. Bull. Chr. p. 204.

Thus, on the threshold of eternity, did father and son take leave of
each other, hailing the new mansions in which they should be united by
everlasting ties. The greater part of those around them shed floods of
tears.[523] The bailiff Rutiman prayed in silence.

  [523] Des gnadens weyneten vil Lüthen herzlich. Ibid.

All three then knelt down "in Christ's name," and their heads rolled
upon the scaffold.

The crowd, observing the marks of torture upon their bodies, gave loud
utterance to their grief. The two bailiffs left twenty-two children,
and forty-five grandchildren. Hannah was obliged to pay twelve golden
crowns to the executioner who had deprived her husband and her son of

Thus blood, innocent blood, had been shed. Switzerland and the
Reformation were baptized with the blood of the martyrs. The great
enemy of the Gospel had done his work; but in doing it, his power was
broken. The death of the Wirths was to accelerate the triumphs of the


     Abolition of the Mass--Zwingle's Dream--Celebration of the
     Lord's Supper--Fraternal Charity--Original Sin--The
     Oligarchs opposed to the Reform--Various Attacks.


It was not thought desirable to proceed to the abolition of the mass
in Zurich immediately after the suppression of images; but now the
proper moment seemed to have arrived.

Not only had the light of the Gospel been diffused among the people;
but the violence of the blows struck by the enemy called upon the
friends of God to reply to them by some impressive demonstration of
their unalterable fidelity. Every time that Rome erects a scaffold,
and that heads fall upon it, the Reformation will exalt the holy Word
of the Lord, and throw down some abuses. When Hottinger was executed,
Zurich suppressed images; and now that the heads of the Wirths have
rolled on the ground, Zurich will reply by the abolition of the mass.
The more Rome increases her cruelties, the more will the Reformation
increase in strength.

On the 11th of April 1525, the three pastors of Zurich, accompanied by
Megander and Oswald Myconius, appeared before the Great Council, and
demanded the re-establishment of the Lord's Supper. Their language was
solemn;[524] all minds were absorbed in meditation; every man felt the
importance of the resolution which the council was called upon to
take. The mass, that mystery which for more than three centuries had
been the very soul of the religious service of the Latin Church, was
to be abolished, the corporeal presence of Christ to be declared an
illusion, and the illusion itself removed from the minds of the
people. Courage was needed to arrive at such a resolution, and there
were men in the council who shuddered at this daring thought. Joachim
Am-Grütt, under-secretary of state, alarmed at the bold demand of the
pastors, opposed it with all his might. "These words, _This is my
body_," said he, "unquestionably prove that the bread is the body of
Christ himself." Zwingle observed that εστἱ (is) is the
proper word in the Greek language to express _signifies_, and he
quoted several instances in which this word is employed in a
figurative sense. The Great Council were convinced and did not
hesitate; the Gospel doctrines had penetrated their hearts; besides,
as they were separating from the Church of Rome, there was a certain
satisfaction in making that separation as complete as possible, and in
digging a gulf between it and the Reformation. The council, therefore,
ordered the mass to be suppressed, and decreed that on the next day,
Holy Thursday, the Lord's Supper should be celebrated in conformity
with the apostolical usages.

  [524] Und vermantend die ernstlich. Bull. Chron. p. 263.

[Sidenote: ZWINGLE'S DREAM.]

Zwingle was seriously engrossed by these thoughts, and when he closed
his eyes at night, was still seeking for arguments with which to
oppose his adversaries. The subjects that had so strongly occupied his
mind during the day presented themselves before him in a dream. He
fancied that he was disputing with Am-Grütt, and that he could not
reply to his principal objection. Suddenly a figure stood before him
and said: "Why do you not quote the 11th verse of the 12th chapter of
Exodus: _Ye shall eat it_ (the lamb) _in haste_: _it is the Lord's
passover_?" Zwingle awoke, sprung out of bed, took up the Septuagint
translation, and there found the same word εστἱ (is), which
all are agreed is synonymous with _signifies_ in this passage.

Here then, in the institution of the paschal feast under the old
covenant, is the very meaning that Zwingle defends. How can he avoid
concluding that the two passages are parallel?

On the following day Zwingle preached a sermon on this text, and spoke
so forcibly that he removed every doubt.

This circumstance, which admits of so simple an explanation, and the
very expression Zwingle employs to show that he could not recall the
appearance of the figure he had seen in his dream,[525] have given
rise to the assertion that Zwingle received this doctrine from the

  [525] Ater fuerit an albus nihil memini (I do not remember whether he
  was white or black); somnium enim narro.


The altars had disappeared; plain tables bearing the sacramental bread
and wine were substituted in their place, and an attentive crowd
pressed round them. There was something particularly solemn in this
multitude. On Holy Thursday, the young people,--on Friday, the day of
the Passion, the adult men and women,--and on Easter Sunday, the aged,
celebrated in turn the death of the Lord.[526]

  [526] Fusslin Beyträge, iv. 64.

The deacons read aloud the passages of Scripture that relate to this
sacrament; the pastors addressed the flock in an earnest exhortation,
calling upon all to retire from this sacred feast who, by persevering
in their sin, would pollute the body of Jesus Christ. The people knelt
down, the bread was carried round on large platters or wooden plates,
and each one broke off a morsel; the wine was next distributed in
wooden goblets: in this manner it was thought they made a nearer
approach to the simplicity of the primitive Supper. Emotions of
surprise or joy filled every heart.[527]

  [527] Mit grossen verwundern viler Lüthen und noch mit vil grössern
  fröuden der Glöubigen. Bull. Chron. p. 264.

Thus was the Reform carried on in Zurich. The simple celebration of
the Lord's Supper appeared to have shed anew over the Church the love
of God and of the brethren. The words of Jesus Christ were once more
spirit and life. While the different orders and parties in the Church
of Rome were incessantly disputing among themselves, the first effect
of the Gospel was to restore charity among the brethren. The love of
the first ages was then revived in Christendom. Enemies were seen
renouncing their long-cherished and inveterate enmities, and embracing
one another after having partaken of the sacramental bread. Zwingle,
delighted at these affecting manifestations, returned thanks to God
that the Lord's Supper was again working those miracles of charity
which the sacrifice of the mass had long ceased to accomplish.[528]

  [528] Expositio fidei. Zw. Opp. ii. 241.


"Peace dwells in our city," exclaimed he; "among us there is no fraud,
no dissension, no envying, no strife. Whence can proceed such harmony
except from the Lord, and that the doctrine we preach inclines us to
innocence and peace?"[529]

  [529] Ut tranquillitatis et innocentiæ studiosos reddat. Zw. Epp. p.

Charity and unity then prevailed, although there was no uniformity.
Zwingle in his _Commentary on True and False Religion_,[530] which he
dedicated to Francis I. in March 1525, the year of the battle of
Pavia, had put forward some truths in the manner best calculated to
procure their reception by human reason, following in this respect the
example of several of the most distinguished scholastic divines. In
this way he had given the name of _disease_ to our original
corruption, and reserved the appellation of _sin_ for the actual
transgression of the law.[531] But these statements, which called
forth some objections, did not however interrupt brotherly love; for
Zwingle, even when he persisted in calling original sin a disease,
added, that all men were lost by this disease, and that Jesus Christ
was the only remedy.[532] In this position there is no error of

  [530] De vera et falsa religione commentarius. Zw. Opp. iii. 145-325.

  [531] Peccatum ergo _morbus_ est cognatus nobis, quo fugimus aspera et
  gravia, sectamur jucunda et voluptuosa: secundo loco accipitur
  _peccatum_ pro eo quod contra legem fit. Ibid. 204.

  [532] Originali morbo perdimur omnes; remedio vero quod contra ipsum
  invenit Deus, incolumitati restituimur. De pecc. orig. declaratio ad
  Urbanum Rhegium. Ibid. i. 632.


But while the celebration of the Lord's Supper at Zurich was attended
by a return to Christian brotherhood, Zwingle and his friends had to
support a severer struggle against their adversaries from without.
Zwingle was not only a christian teacher, he was also a true patriot;
and we know how zealously he contended against the foreign
capitulations, pensions, and alliances. He felt convinced that these
external influences must tend to destroy piety, blind the reason, and
scatter discord on every side. But his bold protests were destined to
prejudice the advancement of the Reformation. In almost every canton,
the chiefs who received the pensions of the foreigner, and the
officers who led the youth of Helvetia to battle, formed powerful
factions, formidable oligarchies, that attacked the Reformation, not
so much on behalf of the Church as on account of the injury it would
inflict on their interests and honours. They had already gained the
victory in Schwytz; and that canton, where Zwingle, Leo Juda, and
Oswald Myconius had taught, and which seemed as if it would walk in
the footsteps of Zurich, had suddenly reverted to the mercenary
capitulations, and shut its gates against the Reformation.

Even in Zurich, some wretches, instigated by foreign intrigues,
attacked Zwingle during the night, flung stones at his house, broke
the windows, and called with loud cries for "the red haired Uli, the
vulture of Glaris;" so that Zwingle awoke from his sleep and ran to
his sword.[533] This action is very characteristic of the man.

  [533] Interea surgere Zwinglius ad ensem suum. Zw. Opp. iii. 411.--Uli
  is an abridgment of Ulrich. Zwingle had been priest at Glaris.

But these isolated attacks could not paralyze the movement by which
Zurich was carried onward, and which was beginning to shake all
Switzerland. They were pebbles thrown into a torrent to check its
course. Everywhere its waters were swelling, threatening to sweep away
the most formidable obstacles.

The Bernese having informed the people of Zurich that several states
had refused to sit with them in future in the diet: "Well, then,"
replied these men of Zurich with calmness, and raising their hands
towards heaven, as the heroes of Rutli in old time, "we have the firm
assurance that God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in whose name the
confederation was formed, will not desert us, and will at last, of his
great mercy, make us sit at the right hand of his sovereign
majesty."[534] Possessing such faith the Reformation had nothing to
fear. But would it gain similar victories in the other states of the
confederation? Would not Zurich remain alone on the side of God's
Word? Would Berne, Basle, and other cantons remain subject to the
power of Rome? This we shall soon see. Let us therefore turn towards
Berne, and study the progress of the Reformation in the most
influential state of the confederation.

  [534] Bey Ihm zuletzt sitzen. Kirchhofer Ref. v. Bern. p. 55.


     Berne--The Provost Watteville--First Successes of the
     Reformed Doctrines--Haller at the Convent--Accusation and
     Deliverance--The Monastery of Königsfeldt--Margaret
     Watteville to Zwingle--The Convent opened--Two
     Champions--Clara May and the Provost Watteville.


Nowhere was the struggle likely to be so severe as at Berne, for there
the Gospel counted both powerful friends and formidable adversaries.
At the head of the reforming party were the banneret John Weingarten,
Bartholomew May, member of the Smaller Council, his sons Wolfgang and
Claudius, his grandsons James and Benedict, and above all, the family
of the Wattevilles. The avoyer James Watteville, who since 1512 had
occupied the first station in the republic, had early read the
writings of Luther and Zwingle, and had often conversed about the
Gospel with John Haller, pastor of Anseltingen, whom he had protected
against his persecutors.


His son Nicholas, then thirty-one years of age, had been for two years
provost of the church of Berne, and as such, by virtue of the papal
ordinances, enjoyed great privileges; accordingly Berthold Haller used
to call him "our bishop."[535] The prelates and the pope spared no
endeavours to bind him to the interests of Rome;[536] and it seemed as
if everything would keep him from a knowledge of the Gospel; but the
ways of God are more powerful than the flatteries of man. Watteville
was turned from darkness to the mild light of the Gospel, says
Zwingle.[537] As a friend of Berthold Haller, he read all the letters
which the latter received from Zwingle, and could not find language
to express his admiration.[538]

  [535] Episcopus noster _Vadivillius_. Zw. Epp. p. 285.

  [536] Tantum favoris et amicitiæ quæ tibi cum tanto summorum
  pontificum et potentissimorum episcoporum cœtu hactenus
  intercessit. Zw. Opp. i. anc. ed. lat. 305.

  [537] Ex obscuris ignorantiæ tenebris in amœnam Evangelii lucem
  productum. Ibid.

  [538] Epistolas tuæ et eruditionis et humanitatis testes
  locupletissimas. Zw. Epp. p. 287.

The influence of the two Wattevilles, one of whom was at the head of
the state and the other of the church, would apparently draw after it
the whole republic. But the opposite party was not less powerful.

Amongst its leaders were the schulthess of Erlach, the banneret
Willading, and many patricians whose interests were identical with
those of the convents under their administration. Behind these
influential men were an ignorant and corrupted clergy, who called the
evangelical doctrine "an invention of hell"--"My dear confederates,"
said the councillor Mullinen before a full assembly in the month of
July, "take care that this Reformation does not come here; at Zurich a
man is not safe in his own house, and he is obliged to have a guard to
protect him." Accordingly they invited to Berne the reader of the
Dominicans of Mentz, one John Hein, who went into the pulpit and
declaimed against the Reformation with the eloquence of a Saint

  [539] Suo Thomistico Marte omnia invertere. Ibid.

Thus were the two parties drawn up in battle-array against each other;
a struggle seemed inevitable, and already the result did not appear
doubtful. In fact, one common faith united a part of the people to the
most distinguished families of the state. Berthold Haller exclaimed,
full of confidence in the future: "Unless God's anger be turned
against us, it is not possible for the Word of God to be banished from
this city, for the Bernese are hungering after it!"[540]

  [540] Famem verbi Bernates habent. Ibid. 295.


Shortly after this two acts of the government appeared to incline the
balance to the side of the Reformation. The Bishop of Lausanne having
announced an episcopal visitation, the council intimated to him
through the provost Watteville, that he had better refrain from so
doing.[541] And at the same time the councils of Berne issued an
ordinance which, whilst in appearance it conceded something to the
enemies of the Reformation, sanctioned the principles of the new
doctrines. They decreed that the Gospel and the doctrine of God, as it
is laid down by the books of the Old and New Testament, should be
preached exclusively, freely, and openly; and that the ministers
should abstain from every doctrine, discussion, or writing, proceeding
from Luther or other teachers.[542] Great was the surprise of the
adversaries of the Reformation when they saw the evangelical preachers
boldly appealing to this ordinance. This decree, which was the basis
of all those that succeeded, was the legal commencement of the
Reformation in Berne. From that time the progress of this canton was
more decided, and Zwingle, whose attentive eyes watched everything
that was passing in Switzerland, was able to write to the provost
Watteville: "All Christians are overjoyed, on account of the faith
which the pious city of Berne has just received."[543]--"The cause is
the cause of Christ," exclaimed the friends of the Gospel;[544] and
they devoted themselves to it with an increase of courage.

  [541] Ut nec oppidum, nec pagos Bernatum visitare prætendat omnino.

  [542] Alein das heilig Evangelium und die lehr Gottes frey, offentlich
  und unverborgen. Bull. Chr. p. 111.

  [543] Alle Christen sich allenthalben fröuwend des glaubens. Zw. Opp.
  i. 426.

  [544] Christi negotium agitur. Zw. Epp. 9th May 1523.

The enemies of the Reformation, alarmed at these first advantages,
closed their ranks, and resolved to strike a blow that would secure
their victory. They conceived the project of getting rid of these
ministers whose bold discourses were overthrowing the most
time-honoured customs; and it was not long before a favourable
opportunity occurred. There existed in Berne, on the spot now occupied
by the hospital of the Island, a convent of nuns of St. Dominic,
consecrated to St. Michael. The anniversary of the archangel (29th
September) was a great festival at the monastery. Many of the clergy
were present this year, and among others Wittenbach of Bienne,
Sebastian Meyer, and Berthold Haller. Having entered into conversation
with the nuns, among whom was Clara, daughter of Claudius May, a
supporter of the Reformation, Haller said to her, in the presence of
her grandmother: "The merits of the conventual life are imaginary,
whilst marriage is an honourable state, instituted by God himself."
Some of the nuns to whom Clara repeated Berthold's words were
horrified at them. "Haller maintains," was the rumour in the city,
"that all nuns are children of the devil." The opportunity which the
enemies of the Reformation were looking for was found. Going before
the Smaller Council, they referred to an ancient law which enacted
that whoever carried off a nun from her convent should lose his head,
but asked for a mitigation of the penalty, and that, without giving
the three ministers a hearing, they should be banished for life. The
Smaller Council acceded to their prayer, and the matter was
immediately carried before the Great Council.


Thus was Berne about to be deprived of her reformers: the intrigues of
the papal party were successful. But Rome, who triumphed when she
addressed herself to the oligarchs, was beaten before the people or
their representatives. Scarcely had they heard the names of Haller,
Meyer, and Wittembach, men whom all Switzerland venerated, than an
energetic opposition was manifested by the Great Council against the
Smaller Council and the clergy. "We cannot condemn the accused
unheard," exclaimed Tillmann; "their testimony is surely as good as
that of a few women." The ministers were called before them: the
affair was embarrassing. At length John Weingarten said: "Let us give
credit to both parties." They did so: the ministers were discharged,
with an intimation to confine themselves to their pulpits, and not to
meddle with the cloisters. But the pulpit was sufficient for them. The
efforts of their adversaries had redounded to their own disgrace. It
was a great victory for the Reformation. Accordingly one of the
patricians exclaimed: "It is all over now: Luther's affair must go

  [545] Es ist nun gethan. Der Lutherische Handel muss vorgehen.
  Anshelm, Wirtz, K. G. v. 290.


And it did in fact go forward, and in the very places where they
expected it the least. At Königsfeldt, on the Aar, near the castle of
Hapsburg, stood a monastery adorned with all the conventual
magnificence of the Middle Ages, and where reposed the ashes of
several members of that illustrious house which had given so many
emperors to Germany. Here the daughters of the greatest families of
Switzerland and Swabia used to take the veil. It was not far from the
spot where, on the 1st of May 1308, the Emperor Albert had fallen by
the hand of his nephew John of Swabia; and the beautiful painted
windows of the church of Königsfeldt represented the horrible
punishments that had been inflicted on the relations and vassals of
the murderer. Catherine of Waldburg-Truchsess, abbess of the convent
at the period of the Reformation, numbered among her nuns Beatrice of
Landenberg, sister to the Bishop of Constance, Agnes of Mullinen,
Catherine of Bonstetten, and Margaret of Watteville, the provost's
sister. The liberty enjoyed in this convent, which in former times had
given room for scandalous disorders, now permitted the Holy Scriptures
with the writings of Zwingle and Luther to be introduced; and soon a
new life entirely changed its aspect. Near that cell to which Queen
Agnes, Albert's daughter, had retired, after having bathed in torrents
of blood as in "maydew," and where, plying the distaff or embroidering
ornaments for the church, she had mingled exercises of devotion with
thoughts of vengeance,--Margaret Watteville had only thoughts of
peace, and divided her time between reading the Scriptures and
compounding salutary ingredients to form an excellent electuary.
Retiring to her cell, this youthful nun had the boldness to write to
the doctor of Switzerland. Her letter displays to us, better than any
reflections could do, the christian spirit that existed in those pious
women, who are still so grievously calumniated even in our own days.


     "May grace and peace in the Lord Jesus be given and
     multiplied towards you always by God our heavenly Father,"
     wrote the nun of Königsfeldt to Zwingle. "Most learned,
     reverend, and dear Sir, I entreat you to take in good part
     the letter I now address to you. The love which is in Christ
     constrains me to do so, especially since I have learnt that
     the doctrine of salvation is spreading day by day through
     your preaching of the Word of God. For this reason I give
     praise to the everlasting God for enlightening us anew, and
     sending us by his Holy Spirit so many heralds of His blessed
     Word; and at the same time I offer up my ardent prayers that
     he will clothe with his strength both you and all those who
     proclaim His glad tidings, and that, arming you against all
     the enemies of the truth, He will cause his Divine Word to
     grow in all men. Very learned Sir, I venture to send your
     reverence this trifling mark of my affection; do not despise
     it; it is an offering of christian charity. If this
     electuary does you good, and you should desire more, pray
     let me know; for it would be a great pleasure to me to do
     anything that was agreeable to you; and it is not I only who
     think thus, but all those who love the Gospel in our convent
     of Königsfeldt. They salute your reverence in Jesus Christ,
     and we all commend you without ceasing to His almighty

     "Saturday before _Lætare_, 1523."

  [546] Cujus præsidio auxilioque præsentissimo, nos vestram dignitatem
  assidue commendamus. Zw. Epp. p. 280.

Such was the pious letter that the nun of Königsfeldt wrote to the
doctor of Switzerland.

A convent into which the light of the Gospel had thus penetrated could
not persevere in the observances of a monastic life. Margaret
Watteville and her sisters, convinced that they could better serve God
in the bosom of their families than in the cloister, asked permission
to leave it. The council of Berne in alarm endeavoured at first to
bring these nuns to reason, and the provincial and abbess employed
threats and promises by turns; but the sisters Margaret, Agnes,
Catherine, and their friends were not to be shaken. Upon this the
discipline of the convent was relaxed, the nuns were exempted from
fasting and matins, and their allowance was increased. "It is not the
liberty of the flesh that we require," said they to the council; "it
is that of the spirit. We, your poor and innocent prisoners, entreat
you to have pity on us!"--"_Our_ prisoners! _our_ prisoners!"
exclaimed the banneret Krauchthaler, "they shall be no prisoners of
mine!" This language from one of the firmest supporters of the
convents decided the council; the convent gates were opened, and
shortly after, Catherine Bonstetten was married to William of


And yet Berne, far from siding openly with the reformers, held a
middle course, and endeavoured to pursue a see-saw system. An
opportunity soon occurred for showing this vacillating procedure.
Sebastian Meyer, reader of the Franciscans, published a retractation
of his Romish errors, which created a great sensation, and in which,
describing a conventual life, he said: "In the convents the monks live
more impurely, fall more frequently, recover themselves more tardily,
walk more unsteadily, rest more dangerously, are pitied more rarely,
are cleansed more slowly, die more despairingly, and are condemned
more severely."[547] At the very time Meyer was thus denouncing the
cloisters, John Heim, reader of the Dominicans, was exclaiming from
the pulpit: "No! Christ has not, as the evangelists teach, made
satisfaction to his Father once for all. It is further necessary that
God should every day be reconciled to man by the sacrifice of the mass
and by good works." Two citizens who chanced to be present,
interrupted him by saying: "It is not true." There was immediately a
great disturbance in the church; Heim remained silent; many persons
urged him to continue, but he left the pulpit without finishing his
sermon. On the morrow, the Great Council struck a blow at once against
Rome and the Reformation; they turned the two great controversialists,
Meyer and Heim, out of the city. "They are neither muddy nor
clear,"[548] it was said of the Bernese, playing on the word _Luther_,
which in old German signifies _clear_.[549]

  [547] Langsamer gereiniget, verzweifelter stirbt, härter verdammet.
  Kirchhofer, Reform. v. Bern. p. 48.

  [548] Dass sie weder luther noch trüb seyen. Ibid. p. 50.

  [549] Romish writers, and M. de Haller in particular, following Salat
  and Tschudi, both enemies of the Reformation, quote a pretended letter
  of Zwingle's, addressed about this time to Kolb at Berne. It is as

      "Health and blessing from God our Lord. Dear Francis, proceed
    gently in the affair; at first throw the bear only one sour
    pear among many sweet ones; then two, and afterwards three;
    and when he has begun to eat them, throw him more and
    more--sour and sweet all together; at last empty the sack
    entirely, hard and soft, sweet, sour, and unripe; he will eat
    them all, and will no longer allow them to be taken away, or
    himself to be driven from them.--Zurich, Monday before St.
    George's day, 1525.

    "Your servant in Christ, ULRICH ZWINGLE."

  There are decisive reasons against the authenticity of this
  letter.--I. In 1525, Kolb was pastor at Wertheimer; he did not remove
  to Berne until 1527. (See Zw. Epp. p. 526.)--M. de Haller, indeed,
  very arbitrarily substitutes 1527 for 1525: this correction was no
  doubt very well meant; but here, unfortunately, Haller is at variance
  with Salat and Tschudi, who, although they do not agree as to the day
  on which this letter was alluded to in the diet, are unanimous as to
  the year, which with both is clearly 1525.--II. There is a difference
  as to the manner in which this letter was divulged; according to one
  version, it was intercepted; according to another, some of Kolb's
  parishioners communicated it to an inhabitant of the smaller cantons
  who chanced to be at Berne.--III. The original is in German; but
  Zwingle always wrote in Latin to his learned friends; and besides, he
  saluted them as their _brother_, and not as their _servant_.--IV. If
  we read Zwingle's letters, we shall see that it is impossible to find
  two styles more unlike than that of the pretended letter and his.
  Zwingle would never have written a letter to say so little; his
  epistles are generally long and full of news. To call the paltry jest
  preserved by Salat _a letter_, is mere mockery.--V. As an historian
  Salat deserves little confidence, and Tschudi appears to have copied
  him with a few variations. It is possible that a man of the smaller
  cantons may have had communication from some Bernese of Zwingle's
  letter to Haller, which we have mentioned in our second volume (p.
  359), where Zwingle employs this same comparison of the bears with
  much dignity, which moreover occurs in all the authors of that time.
  This may have suggested to some wag the idea of inventing this
  spurious letter as addressed by Zwingle to Kolb.

[Sidenote: CLARA KAY.]

But in vain did they seek to stifle the Reformation in Berne. It was
advancing on every side. The sisters of the convent of the Island had
not forgotten Haller's visit. Clara May and several of her friends,
anxiously pondering on what they ought to do, wrote to the learned
Henry Bullinger. "St. Paul," replied he, "enjoins young women not to
make vows, but to marry, and not to live in idleness under a false
show of piety. (1 Timothy v. 13, 14.) Follow Jesus Christ in humility,
charity, patience, purity, and kindness."[550] Clara, praying for help
from on high, resolved to adopt this advice, and renounce a life so
contrary to the Word of God, invented by men, and fraught with
temptation and sin. Her father Bartholomew, who had spent fifty years
on the battle-field or in the council-chamber, heard of his daughter's
resolution with delight. Clara left the convent.

  [550] Euerem Herrn Jesu nachfolget in Demuth. Kirchh. Ref. v. B. 60.

[Sidenote: BASLE.]

The provost Nicholas Watteville, whose whole interest bound him to the
Roman hierarchy, and who was to be raised to the first vacant
bishopric in Switzerland, also renounced his titles, his revenues, and
his expectations, that he might preserve an unspotted conscience; and
snapping all the bonds by which the popes had endeavoured to entangle
him, he entered into the marriage state, established by God from the
creation of the world. Nicholas Watteville married Clara May; and
about the same time, her sister Margaret, the nun of Königsfeldt, was
united to Lucius Tscharner of Coire.[551]

  [551] Zw. Epp. annotatio, p. 451. The Tscharners of Berne are
  descended from this marriage.


     Basle--Œcolampadius--He visits Augsburg--Enters a
     Convent--Retires to Sickingen's Castle--Returns to
     Basle--Ulrich Hütten--His Plans--Last Effort of
     Chivalry--Hütten dies at Ufnau.

Thus everything announced the triumphs that the Reformation would soon
obtain at Berne. Basle, a city of no less importance, and which was
then the Athens of Switzerland, was also arming herself for the great
combat that has distinguished the sixteenth century.


Each of the cities of the confederation had its peculiar character.
Berne was the city of the great families, and it seemed that the
question would be decided by the part adopted by certain of the
leading men. At Zurich, the ministers of the Word,--Zwingle, Leo Juda,
Myconius, and Schmidt,--carried with them a powerful class of
citizens. Lucerne was the city of arms and military capitulations;
Basle, of learning and the printing-press. Here Erasmus, the head of
the literary republic in the sixteenth century, had taken up his
abode; and preferring the liberty he enjoyed in this capital to the
flattering invitations of popes and kings, he had become the centre of
a numerous concourse of men of letters.

But an humble, meek, and pious man, though in genius far inferior to
Erasmus, was destined erelong to exercise in this very city a more
powerful influence than that of the prince of the schools. Christopher
of Utenheim, bishop of Basle, in concert with Erasmus, was
endeavouring to surround himself with men fitted to accomplish a kind
of half-way Reformation. With this view he had invited Capito and
Œcolampadius to his court. In the latter person there was a taint
of monasticism that often annoyed the illustrious philosopher. But
Œcolampadius soon became enthusiastically attached to him; and
perhaps would have lost all independence in this close intimacy, if
Providence had not separated him from his idol. In 1517, he returned
to Weinsberg, his native place, where he was soon disgusted with the
disorders and profane jests of the priests. He has left us a noble
monument of the serious spirit which then animated him, in his
celebrated work on _The Easter Revels_, which appears to have been
written about that time.[552]

  [552] Herzog, Studien und Kritiken, 1840, p. 334.


Having been invited to Augsburg about the end of 1518, as cathedral
preacher, he found that city still agitated by the famous conference
held there in the month of May between Luther and the papal legate. He
had to decide between one party and the other; Œcolampadius did not
hesitate, and declared in favour of the reformer. This frankness soon
gave rise to a violent opposition against him; and feeling convinced
that his timidity and the weakness of his voice would be prejudicial
to his success in the world, he looked around him, and fixed his eyes
on a convent of monks of Saint Bridget, near Augsburg, celebrated for
their piety and their profound and liberal studies. Feeling the need
of repose, of leisure, of study, and of prayer, he turned towards
these friars, and inquired: "Can I live among you according to the
Word of God?" The latter having replied in the affirmative,
Œcolampadius entered the monastery on the 23d of April 1520, with
the express condition that he should be free, if ever the service of
God's Word should call him elsewhere.

It was well that the future reformer of Basle should, like Luther,
become acquainted with that monastic life which is the highest
expression of Roman-catholicism. But here he found no repose; his
friends blamed the step; and he himself openly declared that Luther
was nearer the truth than his adversaries. Accordingly, Eck and the
other Romish doctors pursued him with their menaces, even in his calm

At this time Œcolampadius was neither reformed nor a follower of
Rome; he desired a certain purified catholicism, which is nowhere to
be found in history, but the idea of which has often bridged the way
to many minds. He began to correct the rules of his order in
conformity with the Word of God. "Do not, I beseech you," said he to
his brethren, "set a higher value upon your statutes than on the
ordinances of God!"--"We desire no other law," replied the brothers,
"than that of our Saviour. Take our books, and mark, as if in the
presence of Christ himself, whatever you find contrary to His Word."
Œcolampadius applied himself to the task, but was almost wearied by
the labour. "O Almighty God!" exclaimed he, "what abominations has not
Rome approved of in these statutes!"

As soon as he pointed out some of them, the anger of the monks was
aroused. "Heretic!" exclaimed they, "apostate! you deserve to be
thrown into a dungeon for the rest of your days!" They excluded him
from public prayers. But the danger from without was still greater.
Eck and his party had not relinquished their projects. "In three
days," he was told, "they will be here to arrest you." He went to the
brethren and said, "Will you give me up to assassins?" The monks were
silent and undetermined; they neither wished to save nor to destroy
him. At this moment some friends of Œcolampadius arrived near the
cloister with horses to carry him to a place of safety. On being
informed of this, the monks resolved to allow the departure of a
brother who had brought trouble into their convent. "Farewell," said
he, and was free. He had remained nearly two years in the cloister of
Saint Bridget.

Œcolampadius was saved; at last he began to breathe. "I have
sacrificed the monk," wrote he to a friend, "and have regained the
Christian." But his flight from the convent and his heretical writings
were known everywhere, and everywhere people shrunk back at his
approach. He knew not what would become of him, when, in the spring of
1522, Sickingen offered him an asylum, which he accepted.


His mind, oppressed by monastic servitude, took a new flight in the
midst of the noble warriors of Ebernburg. "Christ is our liberty,"
exclaimed he, "and death, which men consider their greatest
misfortune, is a real gain to us." He directly began reading the
Gospels and Epistles in German to the people. "As soon as these
trumpets sound," said he, "the walls of Jericho will fall down."

Thus, in a fortress on the banks of the Rhine, and in the midst of
illiterate warriors, the most humble man of his age was preparing for
that change of worship which Christianity was shortly to undergo. But
Ebernburg was too confined for him, and he felt the need of other
society than these armed men. The bookseller Cratander invited him to
Basle; Sickingen allowed him to depart, and Œcolampadius, delighted
at the thought of seeing his old friends again, arrived in that city
on the 16th of November 1522. After having lived there some time,
simply as a man of learning without any public occupation, he was
nominated curate of Saint Martin's church, and it was this call to an
humble and obscure employment[553] that possibly decided the
Reformation of Basle. An immense crowd filled the church whenever
Œcolampadius went into the pulpit.[554] At the same time the public
lectures delivered by himself and Pellican were crowned with such
success that even Erasmus was forced to exclaim, "Œcolampadius

  [553] Meis sumtibus non sine contemptu et invidia. Œcol. ad Pirekh.
  de Eucharistia.

  [554] Das er kein Predigt thate, er hatte ein mächtig Volk darinn,
  says his contemporary Peter Ryf. Wirtz. v. 350.

  [555] Œcolampadius apud nos triumphat. Eras. ad Zwing. Zw. Epp. p.


In effect, this mild yet firm man (says Zwingle) spread around him the
sweet savour of Christ, and all those who crowded about him grew in
truth.[556] Often, indeed, a rumour was circulated that he would be
forced to leave Basle and recommence his perilous pilgrimage. His
friends, Zwingle in particular, were alarmed; but erelong the tidings
of fresh victories gained by Œcolampadius scattered their fears and
raised their hopes. The renown of his lectures extended even to
Wittemberg, and delighted Luther, who talked with Melancthon about him
every day. And yet the Saxon reformer was not without anxiety. Erasmus
was at Basle, and Erasmus was the friend of Œcolampadius......Luther
thought it his duty to put the man whom he loved on his guard. "I much
fear," wrote he, "that Erasmus, like Moses, will die in the country of
Moab, and never lead us into the land of promise."[557]

  [556] Illi magis ac magis in omni bono augescunt. Eras. ad Zwing. Zw.
  Epp. p. 312.

  [557] Et in terram promissionis ducere non potest. L. Epp. ii. 353.

Erasmus had taken refuge at Basle, as in a quiet city, lying in the
centre of the literary movement, and from the bosom of which he could,
by means of the press of Frobenius, act upon France, Germany,
Switzerland, Italy, and England. But did not like men to come and
trouble him there; and if he looked upon Œcolampadius with
suspicion, another man inspired him with still greater apprehension.
Ulrich Hütten had followed Œcolampadius to Basle. For a long while
he had been attacking the pope, as one knight engages with another.
"The axe," said he, "is already laid at the root of the tree. Germans!
faint not in the heat of the battle; the die is cast; the work is
begun......Liberty for ever!" He had abandoned Latin, and now wrote
only in German; for it was the people he wished to address.


His views were noble and generous. It was his idea that there should
be an annual meeting of the bishops to regulate the interests of the
Church. A christian constitution, and above all a christian spirit,
was to go forth from Germany, as from Judea in other times, and spread
through the whole world. Charles V. was to be the youthful hero
appointed to realize this golden age; but Hütten, having seen the
failure of his hopes in this quarter, had turned towards Sickingen,
and sought from knighthood what the empire had refused him. Sickingen,
at the head of the feudal nobility, had played a distinguished part in
Germany; but the princes had besieged him in his castle of Landstein,
and the new invention of cannons had crushed those aged walls,
accustomed to other attacks.[558] The taking of Landstein had proved
the final defeat of chivalry,--the decisive victory of artillery over
shields and lances,--the triumph of modern times over the middle ages.
Thus the last exploit of the knights was destined to be in favour of
the Reformation; the first effort of these new arms and system of
warfare was to be against it. The mailed warriors that fell beneath
the unlooked for storm of balls, and lay among the ruins of Landstein,
gave way to other soldiers. Other conflicts were about to begin; a
spiritual chivalry succeeded to that of the Du Guesclins and Bayards.
And those old and ruined battlements, those battered walls, these
dying heroes, proclaimed with greater energy than even Luther could
have done, that not by such allies or such arms would the Gospel of
the Prince of peace obtain the victory.

  [558] Vol. I. p. 13.

The fall of Landstein and of chivalry had blasted all Hütten's hopes.
Standing beside the corpse of Sickingen, he bade farewell to those
brighter days which his imagination had conjured up before him, and
losing all confidence in man, he sought only for seclusion and repose.
In search of these he visited Erasmus in Switzerland. These two men
had long been friends; but the unpolished and turbulent knight,
braving the opinions of others, ever ready to lay his hand upon the
sword, dealing his blows right and left on all whom he met, could
scarcely live in harmony with the squeamish and timid Dutchman, with
his refined manners, his mild and polished language, his love of
approbation, and his readiness to sacrifice everything for its sake,
and fearing nothing in the world so much as a dispute. On arriving at
Basle, Hütten, poor, sick, and a fugitive, immediately inquired for
his old friend. But Erasmus trembled at the thought of receiving at
his table a person under the ban of the pope and the emperor, who
would spare no one, who would borrow money of him, and would no doubt
be dragging after him a crowd of those "Gospellers" whom Erasmus
dreaded more and more.[559] He refused to see him, and shortly after,
the magistrates of Basle desired Hütten to leave the city. Wounded to
the quick, and exasperated against his timid friend, Hütten repaired
to Mulhausen, and there published a violent pamphlet against Erasmus,
to which the latter replied in a paper overflowing with wit. The
knight had grasped his sword with both hands, and aimed a crushing
blow at his antagonist; the scholar, adroitly stepping aside, pecked
the soldier smartly in return.[560]

  [559] "Ille egens et omnibus rebus destitutus quærebat nidum aliquem
  ubi moveretur. Erat mihi gloriosus ille miles cum sua scabie in ædes
  recipiendus, simulque recipiendus ille chorus titulo _Evangelicorum_,"
  writes Erasmus to Melancthon, in a letter in which he endeavours to
  excuse himself. Er. Epp. p. 949.

  [560] Expostulatio Hutteni.--Erasmi Spongia.

[Sidenote: DEATH OF HUTTEN.]

Hütten was again compelled to flee; he reached Zurich, and there met
with a generous reception from the noble-hearted Zwingle. But
intrigues again compelled him to leave that city; and after passing
some time at the baths of Pfeffers, he repaired with a letter from the
Swiss reformer to the pastor John Schnepp, who inhabited the small
island of Ufnau in the lake of Zurich. This poor minister entertained
the sick and fugitive knight with the most touching charity. It was in
this peaceful and obscure retreat that Ulrich Hütten, one of the most
remarkable men of the sixteenth century, died obscurely about the end
of August 1523, after a most agitated life, expelled by one party,
persecuted by another, deserted by nearly all, and having always
contended against superstition, but, as it would seem, without having
ever possessed the truth. The poor pastor, who had some skill in the
healing art, had vainly lavished on him all his cares. With him
chivalry expired. He left neither money, nor furniture, nor
books;--nothing in the world but a pen.[561] Thus was broken the arm
of iron that had presumed to support the ark of God.

  [561] Libros nullos habuit, supellectilem nullam, præter calamum. Zw.
  Epp. p. 313.


     Erasmus and Luther--Vacillations of Erasmus--Luther to
     Erasmus--Erasmus's Treatise against Luther on Free
     Will--Three Opinions--Effect upon Luther--Luther on Free
     Will--The Jansenists and the Reformers--Homage to
     Erasmus--His Anger--The Three Days.


There was in Germany a man more formidable to Erasmus than the
ill-fated Hütten: this was Luther. The moment had now arrived when
these two great champions of the age were to measure their strength
hand to hand. The two reformations at which they arrived were very
different. While Luther desired a thorough reform, Erasmus, a friend
to half-measures, was endeavouring to obtain concessions from the
hierarchy that would unite the extreme parties. The vacillations and
inconsistency of Erasmus disgusted Luther. "You desire to walk upon
eggs without crushing them," said the latter, "and among glasses
without breaking them."[562]

  [562] Auf Eyern gehen und keines zu treten. L. Opp. xix. 11.

At the same time he met the vacillations of Erasmus with absolute
decision. "We Christians," said he, "ought to be sure of our doctrine,
and able to say _yes_ or _no_ without hesitation. To presume to hinder
us from affirming our belief with full conviction, is depriving us of
faith itself. The Holy Ghost is no sceptic;[563] and He has written in
our hearts a firm and strong assurance, which makes us as certain of
our faith as we are of life itself."

  [563] Der heilige Geist ist kein Scepticus. Ibid. 8.

These words alone suffice to show us on which side strength was to be
found. To accomplish a religious transformation, there is need of a
firm and living faith. A salutary revolution in the Church will never
proceed from philosophical views and mere human opinions. To fertilize
the earth after a long drought, the lightning must cleave the cloud
and the windows of heaven must be opened. Criticism, philosophy, and
even history may prepare the way for the true faith, but cannot supply
its place. In vain would you clear the water-courses and repair the
dikes, so long as the rain does not come down from heaven. All human
learning without faith is but an aqueduct without water.


Whatever might have been the essential difference between Luther and
Erasmus, the friends of Luther, and even the reformer himself, had
long hoped to see Erasmus unite with them against Rome. Many sayings
which his caustic humour let fall were quoted, as showing his
disagreement with the most zealous defenders of Romanism. One day, for
instance, when he was in England, he had a keen discussion with Thomas
More on transubstantiation: "Believe that you have the body of
Christ," said the latter, "and you have it really." Erasmus made no
reply. Shortly after, when leaving England, More lent him a horse to
carry him to the seaside; but Erasmus took it with him to the
Continent. As soon as More was informed of this, he wrote very
severely to him about it. Erasmus, by way of reply, sent him these

    "You said of the bodily presence of Christ:
      Believe that you have, and you have him!
    Of the nag that I took my reply is the same:
      Believe that you have, and you have him!"[564]


      Quod mihi dixisti nuper de corpore Christi:
        Crede quod habes, et habes;
      Hoc tibi rescribo tantum de tuo caballo:
        Crede quod habes, et habes.

      Paravicini Singularia, p. 71.

It was not only in England and Germany that Erasmus had thus become
known. It was said at Paris that Luther had only opened the door,
after Erasmus had picked the lock.[565]

  [565] Histoire Cathol. de notre temps, par S. Fontaine, de l'ordre de
  St. François, Paris, 1562.

The position taken by Erasmus was by no means easy: "I shall not be
unfaithful to the cause of Christ," wrote he to Zwingle, "at least so
far as the age will permit me."[566] In proportion as he beheld Rome
rising up against the friends of the Reformation, he prudently
retreated. He was applied to from all quarters; the pope, the emperor,
kings, princes, scholars, and even his most intimate friends,
entreated him to write against the reformer.[567] "No work," wrote the
pope, "can be more acceptable to God, and worthier of yourself and of
your genius."[568]

  [566] Quantum hoc seculum patitur. Zw. Epp. p. 221.

  [567] pontifice, a Cæsare, a regibus, et principibus, a doctissimis
  etiam et carissimis amicis huc provocor. Erasm. Zw. Epp. p. 308.

  [568] Nulla te et ingenio, eruditione, eloquentiaque tua dignior esse
  potest. Adrianus Papa, Epp. Er. p. 1202.

Erasmus long resisted these solicitations; he could not conceal from
himself that the cause of the reformers was the cause of religion as
well as of letters. Besides, Luther was an adversary with whom every
one feared to try his strength, and Erasmus already imagined he felt
the quick and vigorous blows of the Wittemberg champion. "It is very
easy to say, Write against Luther," replied he to a Romish theologian;
"but it is a matter full of peril."[569] Thus he would--and yet he
would not.

  [569] Res est periculi plena. Er. Epp. p. 758.


This irresolution on the part of Erasmus drew on him the attacks of
the most violent men of both parties. Luther himself knew not how to
reconcile the respect he felt for Erasmus's learning with the
indignation he felt at his timidity. Resolving to free himself from so
painful a dilemma, he wrote him a letter in April 1524, which he
intrusted to Camerarius. "You have not yet received from the Lord,"
said Luther, "the courage necessary to walk with us against the
papists. We put up with your weakness. If learning flourishes: if by
its means the treasures of Scripture are opened to all; this is a gift
which God has bestowed on us through you; a noble gift, and for which
our thanksgivings ascend to heaven! But do not forsake the task that
has been imposed upon you, and pass over to our camp. No doubt your
eloquence and genius might be very useful to us; but since you are
wanting in courage, remain where you are. I could wish that our people
would allow your old age to fall asleep peacefully in the Lord. The
greatness of our cause has long since gone beyond your strength. But
on the other hand, my dear Erasmus, refrain from scattering over us
with such profusion that pungent salt which you know so well how to
conceal under the flowers of rhetoric; for it is more dangerous to be
slightly wounded by Erasmus than to be ground to powder by all the
papists put together. Be satisfied to remain a spectator of our
tragedy;[570] and publish no books against me; and for my part, I will
write none against you."

  [570] Spectator tantum sis tragœdiæ nostræ. L. Epp. ii. 501.


Thus did Luther, the man of strife, ask for peace; it was Erasmus, the
man of peace, who began the conflict.

Erasmus received this communication from the reformer as the bitterest
of insults; and if he had not yet determined to write against Luther,
he probably did so then. "It is possible," he replied, "that Erasmus
by writing against you will be of more service to the Gospel than
certain dunces who write for you,[571] and who do not permit him to be
a simple spectator of this tragedy."

  [571] Quidam stolidi scribentes pro te. Unschuldige Nachricht, p. 545.

But he had other motives besides.

Henry VIII. of England, and the nobility of that kingdom, earnestly
pressed him to declare himself openly against the Reformation.
Erasmus, in a moment of courage, suffered the promise to be wrung from
him. His equivocal position had become a source of constant trouble to
him; he loved repose, and the necessity he felt of continually
justifying his conduct disturbed his existence; he was fond of glory,
and already men were accusing him of fearing Luther, and of being too
weak to answer him; he was accustomed to the highest seat, and the
little monk of Wittemberg had dethroned the mighty philosopher of
Rotterdam. He must then, by some bold step, recover the position he
had lost. All Christendom that adhered to the old worship implored him
to do so. A capacious genius and the greatest reputation of the age
were wanted to oppose the Reformation. Erasmus answered the call.


But what weapons will he employ? Will he hurl the thunders of the
Vatican? Will he defend the abuses that disgrace the papacy? Erasmus
could not act thus. The great movement that agitated men's minds
after the lethargy of so many centuries filled him with joy, and he
would have feared to trammel it. Unable to be the champion of Romanism
in what it has added to Christianity, he undertook to defend it in
what it had taken away. In attacking Luther, Erasmus selected the
point where Romanism is lost in Rationalism,--the doctrine of free
will, or the natural power of man. Thus, while undertaking the defence
of the Church, Erasmus gratified the men of the world, and while
battling for the popes, he contended also on behalf of the
philosophers. It has been said that he had injudiciously confined
himself to an obscure and unprofitable question.[572] Luther, the
reformers, and their age, judged very differently; and we agree with
them. "I must acknowledge," said Luther, "that in this controversy you
are the only man that has gone to the root of the matter. I thank you
for it with all my heart; for I would rather be occupied with this
subject than with all these secondary questions about the pope,
purgatory, and indulgences, with which the enemies of the Gospel have
hitherto pestered me."[573]

  [572] On this subject, M. Nisard says (Erasme, Revue des deux mondes,
  iii. 411), "We are grieved for our kind, when we see men capable of
  grappling with eternal truths, fencing all their lives against
  trivialities, like gladiators fighting against flies."

  [573] L. Opp. xix. 146.

His own experience and an attentive study of the Holy Scriptures, and
of St. Augustine, had convinced Luther that the natural powers of man
are so inclined to evil, that he cannot, of himself, reach any farther
than a certain outward rectitude, altogether insufficient in the eyes
of the Deity. He had at the same time recognised that it was God who
gives true righteousness, by carrying on freely the work of faith in
man by his Holy Spirit. This doctrine had become the mainspring of his
religion, the predominant idea in his theology, and the point on which
the whole Reformation turned.

While Luther maintained that every good thing in man came down from
God, Erasmus sided with those who thought that this good proceeded
from man himself. God or man,--good or evil,--these are certainly no
paltry questions; and if "trivialities" exist, they must be looked for


It was in the autumn of 1524 that Erasmus published his famous
treatise entitled _Dissertation on the Freedom of the Will_; and it
had no sooner appeared, than the philosopher could hardly believe his
own boldness. With eyes fixed on the arena, he looked tremblingly at
the gauntlet he had flung to his adversary. "The die is cast," wrote
he with emotion to Henry VIII.; "the book on _free will_ has
appeared.--Trust me, this is a daring act. I expect I shall be stoned
for it.--But I console myself by the example of your majesty, whom the
rage of these people has not spared."[574]

  [574] Jacta est alea......audax, mihi crede, facinus......expecto
  lapidationem. Er. Epp. p. 811.

His alarm soon increased to such a degree that he bitterly regretted
the step he had taken. "Why was I not permitted to grow old in the
garden of the Muses?" exclaimed he. "Here am I, at sixty, driven into
the arena, and holding the cestus and the net of the gladiator,
instead of the lyre!--I am aware," wrote he to the Bishop of
Rochester, "that in writing upon free will, I have gone beyond my
sphere......You congratulate me upon my triumphs! Ah! I know not that
I triumph. The faction (_i.e._ the Reformation) is spreading
daily.[575] Was it then fated, that at my time of life I should be
transformed from a friend of the Muses into a wretched gladiator!"

  [575] Quomodo triumphans nescio......Factio crescit in dies latius.
  Ibid. 809.

It was no doubt an important matter for the timid Erasmus to have
risen up against Luther; he was, however, far from showing any very
great boldness. In his book he seems to ascribe but little to man's
will, and to leave the greater portion to Divine grace; but at the
same time he chose his arguments in a manner to make it be believed
that man does everything, and God nothing. Not daring openly to
express his thoughts, he affirms one thing and proves another; and
hence we may be allowed to suppose that he believed what he proved and
not what he affirmed.


He distinguishes three several opinions, opposed in three different
degrees to Pelagianism. "Some think," said he, "that man can neither
will, nor commence, and still less perform, any good work, without
the special and continual aid of Divine grace; and this opinion seems
probable enough. Others teach that man's will is powerless except for
evil, and that it is grace alone which works in us any good; and
finally, there are some who assert that there has never been any free
will either in angels, or in Adam, or in us, either before or after
grace, but that God works in man both good and evil, and that
everything happens from an absolute necessity."[576]

  [576] De libero arbitrio Diatribe. Eras. Opp. ix. 1215, sqq.

Erasmus, while seeming to admit the former of these opinions, makes
use of arguments that confute it, and which the most decided Pelagian
might employ. In this manner, quoting the passages of Scripture in
which God offers man the choice between good and evil, he adds: "Man
must therefore have the power to will and to choose; for it would be
ridiculous to say to any one, Choose! when it was not in his power to
do so."

Luther did not fear Erasmus. "Truth," said he, "is mightier than
eloquence. The victory remains with him who lisps out the truth, and
not with him who puts forth a lie in flowing language."[577] But when
he received Erasmus's treatise in the month of October 1524, he found
it so weak that he hesitated to reply to it. "What! so much eloquence
in so bad a cause!" said he; "it is as if a man were to serve up mud
and dung on dishes of silver and gold.[578] One cannot lay hold of
you. You are like an eel that slips through the fingers; or like the
fabulous Proteus who changed his form in the very arms of those who
wished to grasp him."

  [577] Victoria est penes balbutientem veritatem, non apud mendacem
  eloquentiam. L. Epp. ii. 200.

  [578] Als wenn einer in silbern oder guldern Schusseln wolte Mist und
  Unflath auftragen. L. Opp. xix. 4.

But as Luther did not reply, the monks and scholastic divines began to
utter shouts of victory: "Well, where is your Luther now? Where is the
great Maccabeus? Let him come down into the lists! let him come forth!
Ah, ah! he has met with his match at last! He has learnt now to
remain in the back-ground; he has found out how to hold his

  [579] Sehet, sehet nun da zu! wo ist nun Luther. L. Opp. xix. 3.

[Sidenote: LUTHER'S REPLY.]

Luther saw that he must write an answer; but it was not until the end
of the year 1525 that he prepared to do so; and Melancthon having
informed Erasmus that Luther would be moderate, the philosopher was
greatly alarmed. "If I have written with moderation," said he, "it is
my disposition; but Luther possesses the wrath of Peleus' son
(Achilles). And how can it be otherwise? When a vessel braves a storm
such as that which has burst upon Luther, what anchor, what ballast,
what helm does it not require to prevent it from being driven out of
its course! If therefore he replies to me in a manner not in
accordance with his character, these sycophants will cry out that we
are in collusion."[580] We shall see that Erasmus was soon relieved of
this apprehension.

  [580] Ille si hic multum sui dissimilis fuerit, clamabunt sycophantæ
  colludere nos. Erasm. Epp. p. 819.

The doctrine of God's election as the sole cause of man's salvation
had always been dear to the reformer; but hitherto he had considered
it in a practical light only. In his reply to Erasmus, he investigated
it particularly in a speculative point of view, and endeavoured to
establish by such arguments as appeared to him most conclusive, that
God works everything in man's conversion, and that our hearts are so
alienated from the love of God that they cannot have a sincere desire
for righteousness, except by the regenerating influence of the Holy

"To call our will a free will," said he, "is to imitate those princes
who accumulate long titles, styling themselves lords of sundry
kingdoms, principalities, and distant islands (of Rhodes, Cyprus, and
Jerusalem, &c.), while they have not the least power over them." Here,
however, Luther makes an important distinction, clearly showing that
he by no means participated in the third opinion that Erasmus had
pointed out and imputed to him. "Man's will may be called a free will,
not in relation to that which is above him, that is to say, to God;
but with respect to that which is below, that is, to the things of
the earth.[581] As regards my property, my fields, my house, my farm,
I can act, do, and manage freely. But in the things of salvation, man
is a captive; he is subjected to the will of God, or rather of the
devil.[582] Show me but one of all these advocates of free will (he
exclaims) that has found in himself sufficient strength to endure a
trifling injury, a fit of anger, or merely a look from his enemy, and
bear it with joy; then--without even asking him to be ready to give up
his body, his life, his wealth, his honour, and all things--I
acknowledge you have gained your cause."[583]

  [581] Der Wille des Menschen mag......L. Opp. xix. 29.

  [582] Ibid. 33.

  [583] Ibid.


Luther's glance was too penetrating not to discover the contradictions
into which his opponent had fallen. And accordingly, in his reply he
endeavours to fasten the philosopher in the net in which he had
entangled himself. "If the passages you quote," said he, "establish
that it is easy for us to do good, why do we dispute? What need have
we of Christ and of the Holy Ghost? Christ would then have acted
foolishly in shedding his blood to acquire for us a power that we
already possessed by nature." In truth, the passages cited by Erasmus
must be taken in quite a different sense. This much debated question
is clearer than it appears to be at first sight. When the Bible says
to man, Choose, it presupposes the assistance of God's grace, by which
alone he can do what it commands. God, in giving the commandment, also
gives the strength to fulfil it. If Christ said to Lazarus, Come
forth, it was not that Lazarus had power to restore himself; but that
Christ, by commanding him to leave the sepulchre, gave him also the
strength to do so, and accompanied His words with His creative power.
He spoke, and it was done. Moreover, it is very true that the man to
whom God speaks must will; it is he who wills, and not another; he can
receive this will but from God alone; but it is in him that this will
must be, and the very commandment that God addresses to him, and
which, according to Erasmus, establishes the ability of man, is so
reconcilable with the workings of God, that it is precisely by these
means that the working is effected. It is by saying to the man "Be
converted," that God converts him.


But the idea on which Luther principally dwelt in his reply is, that
the passages quoted by Erasmus are intended to teach men their duty,
and their inability to perform it, but in no way to make known to them
the pretended power ascribed to them. "How frequently it happens,"
says Luther, "a father calls his feeble child to him, and says: 'Will
you come, my son! come then, come!' in order that the child may learn
to call for his assistance, and allow himself to be carried."[584]

  [584] L. Opp. xix. 55.

After combating Erasmus's arguments in favour of free will, Luther
defends his own against the attacks of his opponent. "Dear
Dissertation," says he ironically, "mighty heroine, who pridest
thyself in having overthrown these words of our Lord in St. John:
_Without me ye can do_ NOTHING, which thou regardest nevertheless as
the prop of my argument, and callest it _Luther's Achilles_, listen to
me. Unless thou canst prove that this word _nothing_, not only may but
must signify _little_, all thy high-sounding phrases, thy splendid
examples, have no more effect than if a man were to attempt to quench
an immense fire with a handful of straw. What are such assertions as
these to us: _This may mean; that may be understood_......whilst it
was thy duty to show us that it must be so understood......Unless thou
doest so, we take this declaration in its literal meaning, and laugh
at all thy examples, thy great preparations, and thy pompous

  [585] Ibid. 116.

Finally, in a concluding part, Luther shows, and always from
Scripture, that the grace of God does everything. "In short," says he
at the end, "since Scripture everywhere contrasts Christ with that
which has not the spirit of Christ; since it declares that all which
is not Christ and in Christ is under the power of error, darkness, the
devil, death, sin, and the wrath of God, it follows that all these
passages of the Bible that speak of Christ are opposed to free will.
Now such passages are numberless; the Holy Scriptures are full of

  [586] L. Opp. xix. 143.


We perceive that the discussion which arose between Luther and Erasmus
is the same as that which a century after took place between the
Jansenists and Jesuits, between Pascal and Molina.[587] How is it
that, while the results of the Reformation were so immense, Jansenism,
though adorned by the noblest geniuses, wasted and died away? It is
because Jansenism went back to Augustine and relied on the Fathers;
while the Reformation went back to the Bible and leant upon the Word
of God. It is because Jansenism entered into a compromise with Rome,
and wished to establish a middle course between truth and error, while
the Reformation, relying upon God alone, cleared the soil, swept away
all the rubbish of past ages, and laid bare the primitive rock. To
stop half way is a useless work; in all things we should persevere to
the end. Accordingly, while Jansenism has passed away, the destinies
of the world are bound up with evangelical Christianity.

  [587] It is unnecessary to state that I do not speak of personal
  discussions between these two men, one of whom died in 1600, and the
  other was not born until 1623.

Further, after having keenly refuted error, Luther paid a brilliant
but perhaps a somewhat sarcastic homage to Erasmus himself. "I
confess," said he, "that you are a great man; where have we ever met
with more learning, intelligence, or ability, both in speaking and
writing? As for me, I possess nothing of the kind; there is only one
thing from which I can derive any glory,--I am a Christian. May God
raise you infinitely above me in the knowledge of the Gospel, so that
you may surpass me as much in this respect as you do already in every

  [588] L. Opp. xix. pp. 146, 147.

Erasmus was beside himself when he read Luther's reply; and would see
nothing in his encomiums but the honey of a poisoned cup, or the
embrace of a serpent at the moment he darts his envenomed sting. He
immediately wrote to the Elector of Saxony, demanding justice; and
Luther having desired to appease him, he lost his usual temper, and,
in the words of one of his most zealous apologists, began "to pour
forth invectives with a broken voice and hoary hair."[589]

  [589] M. Nisard, Erasme, p. 419.

Erasmus was vanquished. Hitherto, moderation had been his
strength,--and he had lost it. Passion was his only weapon against
Luther's energy. The wise man was wanting in wisdom. He replied
publicly in his _Hyperaspistes_, accusing the reformer of barbarism,
lying, and blasphemy. The philosopher even ventured on prophesying. "I
prophesy," said he, "that no name under the sun will be held in
greater execration than Luther's." The jubilee of 1817 has replied to
this prophecy, after a lapse of three hundred years, by the enthusiasm
and acclamations of the whole Protestant world.

[Sidenote: THE THREE DAYS.]

Thus, while Luther with the Bible was setting himself at the head of
his age, Erasmus, standing up against him, wished to occupy the same
place with philosophy. Which of these two leaders has been followed?
Both undoubtedly. Nevertheless Luther's influence on the nations of
Christendom has been infinitely greater than that of Erasmus. Even
those who did not thoroughly understand the grounds of the dispute,
seeing the conviction of one antagonist and the doubts of the other,
could not refrain from believing that the first was right and the
second wrong. It has been said that the three last centuries, the
sixteenth, the seventeenth, and the eighteenth, may be conceived as an
immense battle of three days' duration.[590] We willingly adopt this
beautiful comparison, but not the part that is assigned to each of the
days. The same struggle has been ascribed to the sixteenth and to the
eighteenth century. On the first day, as on the last, it is philosophy
that breaks the ranks. The sixteenth century philosophical!......Strange
error! No: each of these days has its marked and distinct character.
On the first day of the conflict, it was the Word of God, the Gospel
of Christ, that triumphed; and then Rome was defeated, as well as
human philosophy, in the person of Erasmus and her other
representatives. On the second day, we grant that Rome, her
authority, her discipline, her doctrine, reappeared and were about to
triumph by the intrigues of a celebrated society and the power of the
scaffold, aided by men of noble character and sublime genius. On the
third day, human philosophy arose in all its pride, and finding on the
field of battle, not the Gospel, but Rome, made short work, and soon
carried every intrenchment. The first day was the battle of God, the
second the battle of the priest, the third the battle of reason. What
will be the fourth?......In our opinion, the confused strife, the
deadly contest of all these powers together, to end in the victory of
Him to whom triumph belongs.

  [590] Port Royal, by M. Sainte Beuve, i. 20.


     The Three Adversaries--Source of Truth--Grebel--The Fanatics
     and Zwingle--Constitution of the Church--Prison--The Prophet
     Blaurock--Fanaticism at Saint Gall--Schucker and
     Family--Discussion at Zurich--The Limits of the
     Reformation--Punishment of the Fanatics.


But the battle fought by the Reformation in the great day of the
sixteenth century, under the standard of the Word of God, was not one
and single, but manifold. The Reformation had many enemies to contend
with at once; and after having first protested against the decretals
and the supremacy of the pope, and then against the cold apophthegms
of the rationalists, philosophers, or schoolmen, it had equally to
struggle with the reveries of enthusiasm and the hallucinations of
mysticism; opposing alike to these three powers the shield and the
sword of Divine revelation.

It must be admitted that there is a great similarity, a striking
unity, between these three powerful adversaries. The false systems
that in every age have been the most opposed to evangelical
Christianity, have always been distinguished by their making religious
knowledge proceed from within the man himself. Rationalism makes it
proceed from reason; mysticism from certain inner lights; and
Romanism from an illumination of the pope. These three errors look for
truth in man: evangelical Christianity looks for it wholly in God; and
while mysticism, rationalism, and Romanism, admit a permanent
inspiration in certain of our fellow-men, and thus open a door to
every extravagance and diversity, evangelical Christianity recognises
this inspiration solely in the writings of the apostles and prophets,
and alone presents that great, beautiful, and living unity which is
ever the same in all ages.

The task of the Reformation has been to re-establish the rights of the
Word of God, in opposition not only to Romanism, but also to mysticism
and rationalism.


The fanaticism, which had been extinguished in Germany by Luther's
return to Wittemberg, reappeared in full vigour in Switzerland, and
threatened the edifice that Zwingle, Haller, and Œcolampadius had
built on the Word of God. Thomas Munzer, having been forced to quit
Saxony in 1521, had reached the frontiers of Switzerland. Conrad
Grebel, whose restless and ardent disposition we have already
noticed,[591] had become connected with him, as had also Felix Manz, a
canon's son, and several other Zurichers; and Grebel had immediately
endeavoured to gain over Zwingle. In vain had the latter gone farther
than Luther; he saw a party springing up which desired to proceed
farther still. "Let us form a community of true believers," said
Grebel to him; "for to them alone the promise belongs, and let us
found a church in which there shall be no sin."[592]--"We cannot make
a heaven upon earth," replied Zwingle; "and Christ has taught us that
we must let the tares grow up along with the wheat."[593]

  [591] Vol. II. p. 348.

  [592] Vermeintend ein Kilchen ze versammlen die one Sünd wär. Zw. Opp.
  ii. 231.

  [593] Ibid. iii. 362.


Grebel having failed with the reformer, would have desired to appeal
to the people. "The whole community of Zurich," said he, "ought to
have the final decision in matters of faith." But Zwingle feared the
influence these radical enthusiasts might exercise over a large
assembly. He thought that, except on extraordinary occasions when the
people might be called upon to express their accordance, it was better
to confide the interests of religion to a college, which might be
considered the chosen representatives of the Church. Accordingly the
Council of Two Hundred, which exercised the supreme political
authority in Zurich, was also intrusted with the ecclesiastical power,
on the express condition that they should conform in all things to the
Holy Scriptures. No doubt it would have been better to have thoroughly
organized the Church, and called on it to appoint its own
representatives, who should be intrusted solely with the religious
interests of the people; for a man may be very capable of
administering the interests of the State, and yet very unskilful in
those of the Church; just as the reverse of this is true also.
Nevertheless the inconvenience was not then so serious as it would
have been in these days, since the members of the Great Council had
frankly entered into the religious movement. But, however this may be,
Zwingle, while appealing to the Church, was careful not to make it too
prominent, and preferred the representative system to the actual
sovereignty of the people. This is what, after three centuries, the
states of Europe have been doing in the political world for the last
fifty years.

Being rejected by Zwingle, Grebel turned to another quarter. Rubli,
formerly pastor at Basle, Brödtlein, pastor at Zollikon, and Louis
Herzer, received him with eagerness. They resolved to form an
independent congregation in the midst of the great congregation, a
Church within the Church. The baptism of adult believers only, was to
be their means of assembling their congregation. "Infant baptism,"
said they, "is a horrible abomination, a flagrant impiety, invented by
the wicked spirit, and by Nicholas II., pope of Rome."[594]

  [594] Impietatem manifestissimam, a cacodæmone, a Nicolao II. esse.
  Hottinger iii. 219.

The council of Zurich was alarmed, and ordered a public discussion to
be held; and as they still refused to abjure their opinions, some of
the Zurichers among their number were thrown into prison, and several
foreigners were banished. But persecution only inflamed their zeal:
"Not by words alone," cried they, "but with our blood, we are ready to
bear testimony to the truth of our cause." Some of them, girding
themselves with cords or ozier twigs, ran through the streets,
exclaiming: "Yet a few days, and Zurich will be destroyed! Woe to
thee, Zurich! Woe! woe!" The simple-minded and pious were agitated and
alarmed. Fourteen men, among whom was Felix Mantz, and seven women,
were apprehended, in despite of Zwingle's intercession, and put on
bread and water in the heretic's tower. After being confined a
fortnight, they managed to loosen some planks in the night, and aiding
one another, effected their escape. "An angel," said they, "had opened
the prison and led them forth."[595]

  [595] Wie die Apostel von dem Engel Gottes gelediget. Bull. Chr. p.


A monk, who had escaped from his convent, George Jacob of Coire,
surnamed Blaurock, as it would seem, from the blue dress he constantly
wore, joined their sect, and from his eloquence was denominated _a
second Paul_. This daring monk travelled from place to place,
constraining many, by his imposing fervour, to receive his baptism.
One Sunday, when at Zollikon, the impetuous monk interrupted the
deacon as he was preaching, calling out in a voice of thunder: "It is
written, _My house is a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of
thieves_." Then raising the staff he carried in his hand, he struck
four violent blows.

"I am a door," exclaimed he; "whosoever entereth by me shall find
pasture. I am a good shepherd. My body I give to the prison; my life I
give to the sword, the stake, or the wheel. I am the beginning of the
baptism and of the bread of the Lord."[596]

  [596] Ich bin ein Anfänger der Taufe und des Herrn Brodes. Füssl.
  Beytr. i. 264.

While Zwingle was opposing this torrent in Zurich, Saint Gall was soon
inundated with it. Grebel arrived there, and was received by the
brethren with acclamations; and on Palm Sunday he proceeded to the
banks of the Sitter with a great number of his adherents, whom he
there baptized.


The news quickly spread through the adjoining cantons, and a great
crowd flocked from Zurich, Appenzel, and several other places to the
"Little Jerusalem."

Zwingle's heart was wrung at the sight of this agitation. He saw a
storm bursting on these districts where the seed of the Gospel was
just beginning to spring up.[597] Resolving to oppose these sentiments
on baptism,[598] he wrote a treatise on that subject,[599] which the
council of St. Gall, to whom it was addressed, ordered to be read in
the church before all the people.

  [597] Mich beduret seer das ungewitter. Zw. to Council of St. Gall,
  ii. 230.

  [598] See Vol. I. p. 145 bot.

  [599] Vom Tauf, vom Widertauf, und vom Kindertauf. Zw. to Council of
  St. Gall, ii. 230.

"My dear brethren in the Lord," said Zwingle, "the water of the
torrents that issue from our rocks carries with it everything within
its reach. At first it is only small stones; but these dash violently
against larger ones, until at last the torrent becomes so strong that
it carries away all it meets, and leaves in its track wailing and vain
regrets, and fertile meadows changed into a wilderness. The spirit of
strife and self-righteousness acts in a similar manner: it excites
discord, destroys charity, and where it found beautiful and
flourishing churches, leaves behind it nothing but flocks plunged into
mourning and desolation."

Thus spoke Zwingle, the child of the Tockenburg mountains. "Give us
the Word of God," exclaimed one who was present in the church; "and
not the word of Zwingle." Immediately confused voices were heard:
"Away with the book! away with the book!" shouted the multitude. After
this they rose and quitted the church, crying out: "You may keep the
doctrine of Zwingle; as for us, we will keep the Word of God."[600]

  [600] So wollen wir Gottes Wort haben. Ibid. 237.

The fanaticism now broke forth into the most lamentable disorders.
Maintaining that the Lord had exhorted us to become like children,
these unhappy creatures began to clap their hands, and skip about in
the streets, to dance in a ring, sit on the ground, and tumble each
other about in the dust. Some burnt the New Testament, saying: "The
letter killeth, the Spirit giveth life." Others, falling into
convulsions, pretended to have revelations from the Holy Ghost.


In a solitary house on the Müllegg near St. Gall, lived an aged
farmer, John Schucker, with his five sons. They had all of them,
including the domestics, received the new religion; and two of the
sons, Thomas and Leonard, were distinguished for their fanaticism. On
Shrove Tuesday (7th February 1526), they invited a large party to
their house, and their father killed a calf for the feast. The viands,
the wine, and this numerous assembly, heated their imaginations; the
whole night was passed in fanatical conversation and gesticulations,
convulsions, visions, and revelations.[601]

  [601] Mit wunderbaren geperden und gesprächen, verzucken, gesichten
  und offenbarungen. Bull. Chr. i. 324.

In the morning, Thomas, still agitated by this night of disorder, and
having, as it would seem, lost his reason, took the calf's bladder,
and placing in it part of the gall, intending thus to imitate the
symbolical language of the prophets, approached his brother Leonard,
saying with a gloomy voice: "Thus bitter is the death thou art to
suffer!" He then added: "Brother Leonard, kneel down!" Leonard fell on
his knees; shortly after, "Brother Leonard, arise!" Leonard stood up.
The father, brothers, and others of the company looked on with
astonishment, asking themselves what God would do. Thomas soon
resumed: "Leonard, kneel down again!" He did so. The spectators,
alarmed at the gloomy countenance of the wretched man, said to him:
"Think of what you are about, and take care that no mischief
happens."--"Fear not," replied Thomas, "nothing will happen but the
will of the Father." At the same time he hastily caught up a sword,
and striking a violent blow at his brother, kneeling before him as a
criminal before the executioner, he cut off his head, exclaiming: "Now
the will of the Father is accomplished." All the bystanders recoiled
with horror at the deed; and the farm resounded with groans and
lamentations. Thomas, who had nothing on but a shirt and trousers,
rushed barefooted and bareheaded out of the house, ran to St. Gall
with frenzied gestures, entered the house of the burgomaster Joachim
Vadian, and said to him with haggard looks and wild cries: "I proclaim
to thee the day of the Lord!" The frightful news soon spread through
St. Gall. "He has slain his brother, as Cain slew Abel," said the
people.[602] The culprit was seized. "It is true I did it," he
continually repeated; "but it is God who did it through me." On the
16th of February, this unhappy creature lost his head by the sword of
the executioner. Fanaticism had made its last effort. Men's eyes were
opened, and, according to an old historian, the same blow took off the
head of Thomas Schucker and of fanaticism in Saint Gall.

  [602] Glych wie Kain den Abel sinen Bruder ermort hat! Bull. Chron. i.


It still prevailed at Zurich. On the 6th of November in the preceding
year, a public discussion on the subject of infant baptism[603] had been
held in the council hall, when Zwingle and his friends proposed the
following theses:--

"Children born of believing parents are children of God, like those
who were born under the Old Testament, and consequently may receive

"Baptism[603] under the New Testament is what circumcision was under
the Old; consequently, baptism ought now to be administered to
children, as circumcision was formerly.

"We cannot prove the custom of re-baptizing[603] either by examples,
texts, or arguments drawn from Scripture; and those who are
re-baptized crucify Jesus Christ afresh."

  [603] See note, Vol. I. p. 145.


But the dispute was not confined to religious questions; they called
for the abolition of tithes, on the ground that they were not of
Divine appointment. Zwingle replied, that the maintenance of the
schools and churches depended on the tithes. He desired a complete
religious reform; but was decided not to permit the public order or
political institutions to be in the least degree shaken. This was the
limit at which he perceived that word from heaven, written by the hand
of God, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther."[604] It was
necessary to stop somewhere, and here Zwingle and the reformers
halted, in spite of those headstrong men who endeavoured to hurry them
farther still.

  [604] Job xxxviii. 11.

But if the reformers halted, they could not stop the enthusiasts, who
seemed placed at their sides as if in contrast with their discretion
and prudence. It was not enough for them to have formed a church; this
church in their eyes was the state. When they were summoned before the
tribunals, they declared they did not recognise the civil authority,
that it was only a remnant of paganism, and that they would obey no
other power than God. They taught that it was not lawful for
Christians to fill public offices, or to carry the sword; and
resembling in this respect certain irreligious enthusiasts that have
sprung up in our days, they looked upon a community of goods as the
perfection of humanity.[605]

  [605] Füssli Beyträge, i. 229-258; ii. 263.

Thus the danger was increasing; the existence of civil society was
threatened. It rose up to reject from its bosom these destructive
elements. The government, in alarm, suffered itself to be hurried into
strange measures. Being resolved to make an example, it condemned
Mantz to be drowned. On the 5th of January 1527, he was placed in a
boat; his mother (the aged concubine of the canon) and his brother
were among the crowd that followed him to the water's edge. "Persevere
unto the end," exclaimed they. When the executioner prepared to throw
Mantz into the lake, his brother burst into tears; but his mother,
calm and resolute, witnessed with dry and burning eyes the martyrdom
of her son.[606]

  [606] Ohne das er oder die Mutter, sondern nur der Bruder, geweinet.
  Hott. Helv. K. Gesch. iii. 385.

On the same day Blaurock was scourged with rods. As they were leading
him outside of the city, he shook his blue cloak and the dust from off
his feet against the state of Zurich.[607] It would appear that two
years later this unhappy creature was burnt alive by the
Roman-catholics of the Tyrol.

  [607] Und schüttlet sinen blauen Rock und sine Schüh über die Statt
  Zurich. Bull. Chr. i. 382.


Undoubtedly a spirit of rebellion existed; no doubt the old
ecclesiastical law, condemning heretics to death, was still in force,
and the Reformation could not in one or two years reform every error;
and further, there is no question that the Romish states would have
accused the Protestant states of encouraging disorder if they had not
punished these enthusiasts; but these considerations may explain,
although they cannot justify, the severity of the magistrates. They
might have taken measures against everything that infringed the civil
authority; but religious errors, being combated by the teachers,
should have enjoyed complete liberty before the civil tribunals. Such
opinions are not to be expelled by the scourge; they are not drowned
by throwing their professors into the water; they float up again from
the depth of the abyss; and fire but serves to kindle in their
adherents a fiercer enthusiasm and thirst for martyrdom. Zwingle, with
whose sentiments on this subject we are acquainted, took no part in
these severities.[608]

  [608] Quod homines seditiosi, reipublicæ turbatores, magistratuum
  hostes, justa Senatus sententia, damnati sunt, num id Zwinglio fraudi
  esse poterit? Rod. Gualteri Ep. ad lectorem, Opp. 1544, ii.


     Progression and Immobility--Zwingle and Luther--Luther's
     Return to Scholasticism--Respect for
     Tradition--Occam--Contrary Tendency in Zwingle--Beginning of
     the Controversy--Œcolampadius and the Swabian
     Syngramma--Strasburg mediates.

It was not, however, on baptism[609] alone that diversities were to
prevail; more serious differences were to arise on the doctrine of the
Lord's Supper.

  [609] Vol. I. p. 145, bot.


The human mind, freed from the yoke that had pressed upon it for so
many ages, made use of its liberty; and if Roman-catholicism has to
fear the shoals of despotism, Protestantism is equally exposed to
those of anarchy. Progression is the character of Protestantism, as
immobility is that of Romanism.

Roman-catholicism, which possesses in the papacy a means of
continually establishing new doctrines, appears at first sight,
indeed, to contain a principle eminently favourable to variations. It
has in truth largely availed itself of it, and from age to age we see
Rome bringing forward or ratifying new doctrines. But its system once
complete, Roman-catholicism has declared itself the champion of
immobility. In this its safety lies; it resembles those buildings
which tremble at the least motion, and from which nothing can be taken
without bringing them wholly to the ground. Permit the Romish priests
to marry, or aim a blow at the doctrine of transubstantiation, and the
whole system is shaken, the whole edifice crumbles into dust.

It is not thus with evangelical Christianity. Its principle is much
less favourable to variations, and much more so to progression and to
life. In fact, on the one hand it recognises Scripture only as the
source of truth, one and always the same, from the beginning of the
Church to the end: how then should it vary as Popery has done? But, on
the other hand, each Christian is to go and draw for himself from this
fountain; and hence proceed action and liberty. Accordingly,
evangelical Christianity, while it is the same in the nineteenth as in
the sixteenth century, and as in the first, is in every age full of
spontaneity and motion, and is now filling the world with its
researches, its labours, bibles, missionaries, light, salvation, and

It is a great error to classify together and almost to confound
evangelical Christianity with mysticism and rationalism, and to impute
their irregularities to it. Motion is in the very nature of Christian
Protestantism; it is directly opposed to immobility and lethargy; but
it is the motion of health and life that characterizes it, and not the
aberrations of man deprived of reason, or the convulsions of disease.
We shall see this characteristic manifested in the doctrine of the
Lord's Supper.


Such a result might have been expected. This doctrine had been
understood in very different manners in the former ages of the Church,
and this diversity existed until the time when the doctrine of
transubstantiation and the scholastic theology began simultaneously to
rule over the middle ages. But when this dominion was shaken, the old
diversities were destined to reappear.

Zwingle and Luther, who had each been developed separately, the one in
Switzerland and the other in Saxony, were however one day to meet face
to face. The same spirit, and in many respects the same character,
animated both. Both alike were filled with love for the truth and
hatred of injustice; both were naturally violent; and this violence
was moderated in each by a sincere piety. But there was one feature in
Zwingle's character destined to carry him farther than Luther. It was
not only as a man that he loved liberty, but also as a republican and
fellow-countryman of Tell. Accustomed to the decision of a free state,
he did not permit himself to be stopped by those considerations before
which Luther recoiled. He had moreover studied less profoundly the
scholastic theology, and thus found his motions less fettered. Both
were ardently attached to their own convictions; both resolved to
defend them; and, little habituated to yield to the convictions of
another, they were now to meet, like two proud war-horses, which,
rushing through the contending ranks, suddenly encounter each other in
the hottest of the strife.

A practical tendency predominated in the character of Zwingle and in
the Reformation of which he was the author, and this tendency was
directed to two great objects, simplicity of worship and
sanctification of life. To harmonize the worship with the necessities
of the mind, that seeks not external pomp but invisible things--this
was Zwingle's first aim. The idea of the corporeal presence of Christ
in the Lord's Supper, the origin of so many ceremonies and
superstitions of the Church, must therefore be abolished. But another
desire of the Swiss reformer led to the same results. He found that
the Roman doctrine of the eucharist, and even that of Luther,
presupposed a certain magical influence prejudicial to sanctification;
he feared lest Christians, imagining they received Jesus Christ in the
consecrated bread, should henceforward less earnestly seek to be
united to him by faith in the heart. "Faith," said he, "is not
knowledge, opinion, imagination; it is a reality.[610] It leads to a
real union with Divine things." Thus, whatever Zwingle's adversaries
may have asserted, it was not a leaning to rationalism, but a
profoundly religious view, that led him to his peculiar doctrines.

  [610] Fidem rem esse, non scientiam, non opinionem vel imaginationem.
  Comment. de vera relig. Zw. Opp. iii. 230.

But there was another element in Zwingle's convictions: he was subject
to those historical influences which we must everywhere recognise in
the annals of the Church as in that of the world. It has been long
supposed that he was acquainted with the sentiments of Ratram,
Wickliffe, and Peter Waldo; but we possess a much safer historical
clue to the convictions of the Swiss reformer.


The two Netherlanders, Rhodius and Sagarus, whom we have seen arrive
at Wittemberg, and there occasion the first difference between Luther
and Carlstadt, had turned their steps towards Switzerland, carrying
with them Wessel's manuscripts, and reached Basle, where Luther
himself had commended them to Œcolampadius. The latter person, who
was of timid character, finding that Luther did not approve of the
opinions which these brethren from Holland were endeavouring to
propagate, did not venture to declare his sentiments, and sent them to
Zwingle. They arrived at Zurich in 1521, and having waited on the
reformer, immediately turned the conversation on the doctrine of the
Lord's Supper.[611]

  [611] Factum est ut Johannes Rhodius et Georgius Sagarus, pii et docti
  viri, Tigurum venirent, ut de Eucharistia cum Zwinglio conferrent.
  Lavateri Hist. de origine controv. sacram. Tiguri, 1564, p. 1.


Rhodius and his friend did not at first make known their opinions, but
after listening to Zwingle, they gave thanks to God for having
delivered them from so great an error.[612] They then presented the
letter from Cornelius Hoen, which Zwingle read, and published shortly

  [612] Qui cum ejus sententiam audivissent dissimulantes suam, gratias
  egerunt Deo, quod a tanto errore liberati essent atque Honii Batavi
  epistolam protulerunt. Ibid.

This letter had an incalculable influence on the destinies of the
Reformation. Hoen, resting his arguments on Christ's words in the
sixth chapter of Saint John, said: "Christ gives himself to us by
means of the bread:[613] but let us distinguish between the bread we
receive by the mouth, and Christ whom we receive by faith. Whoever
thinks that he receives only what he takes into his mouth, does not
discern the body of the Lord, and eats and drinks his own
condemnation, because by eating and drinking he bears testimony to the
presence of Christ, whilst by his unbelief he remains far from
Him."--At the same time the Netherlanders laid Wessel's theses before
Zwingle.[614] These writings made a deep impression on the reformer's

  [613] Dominus per panem se ipsum tradit nobis. Epist. Christiana per
  Honnium Batavum Hist. Ev. i. 231-260.

  [614] Propositiones ex evangelio de corpore et sanguine Christi
  sumendo, &c. It is uncertain whether Zwingle had, at this time,
  received Wessel's treatise _de Eucharistia_.

The result of Zwingle's inquiries corresponded with his tendencies. By
studying Scripture as a whole, which was his custom, and not in
detached passages, and by having recourse to classical antiquity for
the solution of the difficulties of language, he arrived at the
conviction that the word is, employed in the formula of the
institution of the Lord's Supper, ought to be taken (as Hoen said) in
the meaning of _signifies_, and as early as 1523 he wrote to his
friend Wittembach that the bread and wine are in the Eucharist what
the water is in baptism. "It would be in vain," added he, "for us to
plunge a man a thousand times in water, if he does not believe. Faith
is the one thing needful."[615]

  [615] Haud aliter hic panem et vinum esse puto quam aqua est in
  baptismo. Ad Wittenbachium Ep. 15th June 1523.

It would appear, besides, that Zwingle had been prepared,[616]
indirectly at least, for these views by Erasmus. Melancthon says:
"Zwingle confessed to me (at Marburg) that it was originally from the
writings of Erasmus that he had derived his opinions on the Lord's
Supper." In fact Erasmus wrote in 1526: "The sentiments of
Œcolampadius would not displease me if the testimony of the Church
were not against them. I do not see what an insensible body can do, or
what utility would be derived from it, even if we could feel it; it is
enough that spiritual grace be found in the symbols."[617]

  [616] Zwinglius mihi confessus est, se ex Erasmi scriptis primum
  hausisso opinionem suam de cœna Domini. Corp. Ref. iv. 970.

  [617] Nec enim video quid agat corpus insensibile, nec utilitatem
  allaturum si sentiretur, modo adsit in Symbolis gratia spiritualis.
  Er. Opp. iii. 941.


Luther at first set out, in appearance at least, from principles very
similar to those of the Zurich doctor. "It is not the sacrament that
sanctifieth," said he, "but faith in the sacrament." But the
extravagances of those whose mysticism spiritualized everything, led
to a great change in his views. When he saw enthusiasts who pretended
to a particular inspiration, breaking images, rejecting baptism,[618]
and denying the presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper, he was
alarmed; he had a sort of prophetic presentiment of the dangers that
would threaten the Church if this ultra-spiritual tendency should get
the upperhand, and he accordingly threw himself into the very opposite
course; like a pilot who, seeing his boat lean too much on one side
and near foundering, throws himself on the other to restore the

  [618] Vol. I. p. 145 bot.

From that time Luther attached a higher importance to the sacraments.
He maintained that they were not only signs, by means of which
Christians were outwardly distinguished, as Zwingle said, but
testimonials of the Divine will, calculated to strengthen our faith.
More than this, Christ, in his view, had determined to give believers
a full assurance of their salvation, and in order to seal this promise
in the most effectual manner, he had added his real body to the bread
and wine. "Just as iron and fire," continued he, "which are
nevertheless two distinct substances, are confounded together in a
heated mass of iron so that in each of its parts there is at once iron
and fire; in like manner, and with much greater reason, the glorified
body of Christ is found in all the parts of the bread."


Thus at this period there seems to have been some return on the part
of Luther towards the scholastic theology. In his doctrine of
justification by faith he had entirely renounced it; but in that of
the sacrament he abandoned one point only, transubstantiation, and
preserved the other, the corporeal presence. He even went so far as to
say, that he would rather receive the blood only with the pope, than
the wine only with Zwingle.

Luther's great principle was never to depart from the doctrine and
customs of the Church, except when the language of Scripture rendered
it absolutely necessary. "Where has Christ commanded us to elevate the
host and exhibit it to the people?" Carlstadt had demanded.--"And
where has Christ forbidden it?" was Luther's reply. In this answer
lies the principle of the two Reformations. Ecclesiastical traditions
were dear to the Saxon reformer. If he separated from them on several
points, it was not until after terrible struggles, and because, above
all, it was necessary to obey the Scriptures. But when the letter of
the Word of God appeared in harmony with the tradition and usages of
the Church, he adhered to it with immovable firmness. Now this was
what happened in the question of the eucharist. He did not deny that
the word _is_ might be taken in the sense indicated by Zwingle. He
acknowledged, for instance, that in the words, _That rock was
Christ_,[619] it must be so understood; but he denied that this word
must have the same meaning in the institution of the Lord's Supper.

  [619] 1 Cor. x. 4.

He found in one of the later schoolmen, Occam,[620] whom he preferred
to all others, an opinion which he embraced. Like Occam, he gave up
the continually repeated miracle, by virtue of which, according to the
Roman Church, the body and blood of Christ took the place of the bread
and wine after every consecration by the priest; and with this doctor,
he substituted a universal miracle, worked once for all,--that of the
ubiquity and omnipresence of the body of Jesus Christ. "Christ," said
he, "is present in the bread and wine, because he is present
everywhere, and above all, wherever he wills to be."[621]

  [620] Diu multumque legit scripta Occami cujus acumen anteferebat
  Thomæ et Scoto. Melancth. Vita Luth.

  [621] Occam und Luther, _Studien und Kritiken_, 1839, p. 69.


The turn of Zwingle's mind was very different from Luther's. He was
less inclined to preserve a certain union with the universal Church
and to maintain his connexion with the traditions of past ages. As a
theologian, he looked at Scripture alone, and thence only would he
receive his faith freely and immediately, without troubling himself
about what others had thought before him. As a republican, he looked
to his _commune_ of Zurich. It was the idea of the present Church that
engrossed his thoughts, and not that of the Church of former times. He
clung particularly to these words of St. Paul: _For we being many are
one bread, and one body_; and he saw in the Lord's Supper the sign of
a spiritual communion between Christ and all Christians. "Whoever acts
unworthily," said he, "is guilty towards the body of Christ of which
he is a member." This thought had a great practical influence over
men's minds; and the effects it produced in the lives of many
confirmed Zwingle in it.

Thus Luther and Zwingle had insensibly separated from each other. It
is probable however that peace might have subsisted longer between
them, if the turbulent Carlstadt, who kept passing to and fro between
Switzerland and Germany, had not inflamed these contrary opinions.


A step taken with a view to maintain peace led to the explosion. The
council of Zurich, desirous of preventing all controversy, forbade the
sale of Carlstadt's works. Zwingle, who disapproved of his violence,
and blamed his mystical and obscure expressions,[622] thought himself
now called upon to defend his doctrine, both in the pulpit and before
the council; and shortly after wrote a letter to Albert, pastor of
Reutlingen, in which he said: "Whether or not Christ speaks of the
sacrament in the sixth chapter of St. John, it is very evident that he
there inculcates a manner of eating his flesh and drinking his blood,
in which there is nothing corporeal."[623] He then proceeded to prove
that the Lord's Supper, by reminding the faithful, according to
Christ's intention, of his body which was broken for them, procured
for them that spiritual eating which alone is truly salutary.

  [622] Quod morosior est (Carlstadius) in cæremoniis non ferendis, non
  admodum probo. Zw. Epp. p. 369.

  [623] A manducatione cibi, qui ventrem implet, transiit ad verbi
  manducationem, quam cibum vocat cœlestem, qui mundum vivificet. Zw.
  Opp. iii. 573.

Yet Zwingle shrunk from a rupture with Luther; he trembled at the
thought that these unhappy disputes might tear in pieces that new
society which was then forming in the midst of fallen Christendom. But
it was not so with Luther. He did not hesitate to class Zwingle with
those enthusiasts against whom he had already broken so many lances.
He did not reflect that if the images had been taken down at Zurich,
it was done legally and by order of the public authority. Accustomed
to the forms of the German principalities, he knew but little of the
proceedings of the Swiss republics; and he inveighed against the grave
divines of Helvetia, as he had done against the Munzers and

Luther having published his _Treatise against the Celestial Prophets_,
Zwingle no longer hesitated, and at nearly the same time he gave to
the world his _Letter to Albert_, and his _Commentary on True and
False Religion_, dedicated to Francis I. In this last he said: "Since
Christ, in the sixth chapter of St. John, ascribes to faith the power
of imparting eternal life, and of uniting the believer to Him in the
closest union, what need have we of more? Why should He afterwards
have ascribed this virtue to His flesh, whilst He himself declares
that His flesh profiteth nothing? The flesh of Christ, so far as it
suffered death for us, is of incalculable utility, for it saves us
from perdition; so far as it is eaten by us, it is of no use

The struggle began. Pomeranus, Luther's friend, rushed into the
conflict, and attacked the evangelist of Zurich somewhat too
contemptuously. Œcolampadius then began to blush at having so long
combated his doubts, and at having preached doctrines that already
began to waver in his mind. He took courage, and wrote from Basle to
Zwingle: "The dogma of the real presence is the fortress and safeguard
of their impiety. So long as they preserve this idol, no one can
conquer them." He then entered into the lists, by publishing a book on
the meaning of our Lord's words: _This is my body_.[624]

  [624] He took the word is in its usual acceptation, but by _body_ he
  understood a symbol of the body.


The mere fact that Œcolampadius had joined the reformer of Zurich
excited an immense sensation, not only in Basle but in all Germany.
Luther was deeply affected by it. Brenz, Schnepff, and twelve other
pastors of Swabia, to whom Œcolampadius had dedicated his book, and
most of whom had been his pupils, experienced the keenest sorrow. "At
this very moment when I am separating from him in a just cause," said
Brenz, taking up the pen to reply to him, "I honour and admire him as
much as it is possible for a man to do. The bonds of love are not
broken between us because we are not of one opinion." He then
published, conjointly with his friends, the famous _Swabian
Syngramma_, in which he replied to Œcolampadius with firmness but
with charity and respect. "If an emperor," said the authors, "give a
wand to a judge, saying: 'Take; this is the power of judging;' the
wand no doubt is a mere sign; but the words being added, the judge has
not only the symbol but the power itself." The true members of the
reformed churches may admit this illustration. The _Syngramma_ was
received with acclamations; its authors were looked upon as the
champions of truth; many theologians, and even laymen, desirous of
sharing in their glory, began to defend the doctrine attacked, and
fell upon Œcolampadius.

Strasburg then came forward to mediate between Switzerland and
Germany. Capito and Bucer were the friends of peace, and the question
in debate was, in their opinion, of secondary consequence; they
therefore placed themselves between the two parties, sent one of their
colleagues, George Cassel, to Luther, and conjured him to beware of
snapping the ties of fraternity which united him with the Swiss


Nowhere did Luther's character shine forth more strikingly than in
this controversy on the Lord's Supper. Never were more clearly
displayed that firmness with which he clung to a conviction which he
believed to be christian, his faithfulness in seeking for no other
foundation than Scripture, the sagacity of his defence, his animated
eloquence, and often overwhelming powers of argumentation. But never
also were more clearly shown the obstinacy with which he adhered to
his own opinions, the little attention he paid to the reasons of his
opponents, and the uncharitable haste with which he ascribed their
errors to the wickedness of their hearts, or to the wiles of the
devil. "One or other of us," said he to the Strasburg mediator, "must
be ministers of Satan--the Swiss or ourselves."

This was what Capito styled "the frenzies of the Saxon Orestes;" and
these frenzies were followed by exhaustion. Luther's health was
affected by them; one day he fainted in the arms of his wife and
friends; he was a whole week as if in "death and hell."[625]--"He had
lost Jesus Christ," he said, "and was tossed to and fro by the
tempests of despair. The world was passing away, and announcing by
prodigies that the last day was at hand."

  [625] In morte et in inferno jactatus. L. Epp. iii. 132.

But the divisions among the friends of the Reformation were destined
to have still more fatal consequences. The Romish theologians exulted,
particularly in Switzerland, at being able to oppose Luther to
Zwingle. And yet if, after three centuries, the recollection of these
divisions should convey to evangelical Christians the precious fruits
of unity in diversity, and of charity in liberty, they will not have
been in vain. Even then, the reformers, by opposing one another,
showed that they were not governed by a blind hatred against Rome, and
that truth was the primary object of their inquiries. Herein we must
acknowledge there is something generous; and conduct so disinterested
did not fail to bear fruit, and to extort, even from enemies, a
feeling of interest and esteem.


And further than this, we may here again recognise that sovereign
hand which directs all things, and permits nothing without the wisest
design. Luther, notwithstanding his opposition to the Papacy, was in
an eminent degree conservative. Zwingle, on the contrary, was inclined
to a radical reform. These two opposite tendencies were necessary. If
Luther and his friends had stood alone at the time of the Reformation,
the work would have been stopped too soon, and the reforming principle
would not have accomplished its prescribed task. If, on the contrary,
there had been only Zwingle, the thread would have been snapped too
abruptly, and the Reformation would have been isolated from the ages
that had gone before.

These two tendencies, which to a superficial observer might seem to
have existed only to combat each other, were ordained to complete each
other; and after a lapse of three centuries we can say that they have
fulfilled their mission.


     The Tockenburg--An Assembly of the People--Reformation--The
     Grisons--Disputation at Ilantz--Results--Reformation at

Thus the Reformation had struggles to maintain in every quarter, and
after having contended with the rationalist philosophy of Erasmus, and
the fanaticism of some of the anabaptists,[626] it had still to endure
an intestine war. But its great conflict was always with popery; and
the attack begun in the cities of the plain was now carried on among
the most distant mountains.

  [626] A term applied to them by their opponents, but which they never
  admitted as applicable to themselves.

The mountains of the Tockenburg had heard the sound of the Gospel, and
three ecclesiastics were there persecuted by order of the bishop, as
inclining to heresy. "Convince us by the Word of God," said Militus,
Döring, and Farer, "and we will submit not only to the chapter, but
even to the least of our brethren in Christ; otherwise we will obey no
one, not even the mightiest among men."[627]

  [627] Ne potentissimo quidem, sed soli Deo ejusque verbo. Zw. Epp. p.


This was truly the spirit of Zwingle and of the Reformation. A
circumstance occurred shortly after that inflamed the minds of the
inhabitants of these lofty valleys. A meeting of the people took place
on Saint Catherine's day; the citizens were assembled, and two men of
Schwytz, having come to the Tockenburg on business, were seated at one
of the tables; they entered into conversation. "Ulrich Zwingle," said
one of them, "is a heretic and a robber!" Steiger, the secretary of
state, undertook Zwingle's defence. Their noise attracted the
attention of the whole meeting. George Bruggmann, Zwingle's uncle, who
was at an adjoining table, sprung angrily from his seat, exclaiming:
"Surely they are speaking of Master Ulrich!" All the guests rose and
followed him, fearing a brawl.[628] As the tumult kept increasing, the
bailiff hastily assembled the council in the street, and prayed
Bruggmann, for the sake of peace, to be content with saying to these
men: "If you do not retract your words, it is you who are guilty of
lying and thieving."--"Recollect what you have just said," replied the
men of Schwytz; "be sure we shall remember them." They then mounted
their horses, and galloped off on the road to Schwytz.[629]

  [628] Totumque convivium sequi, grandem conflictum timentes. Zw. Epp.
  p. 371.

  [629] Auf solches, ritten sie wieder heim. Ibid. p. 374.

The government of Schwytz then addressed a threatening letter to the
inhabitants of the Tockenburg, which spread dismay among them. "Be
bold and fearless,"[630] wrote Zwingle to the council of his native
place. "Be not concerned at the lies they utter against me! Any
brawler can call me a heretic; but do you refrain from insults,
disorders, debauchery, and mercenary wars; relieve the poor, protect
those who are oppressed, and whatever abuse may be heaped upon you,
preserve an unshaken confidence in Almighty God."[631]

  [630] Macti animo este et interriti. Ibid. p. 351.

  [631] Verbis diris abstinete......opem ferte egenis......spem
  certissimam in Deo reponatis omnipotente. Zw. Epp. p. 351. There must
  be a mistake in the dates of one of the letters, 14th and 23d (anno
  1524), or else one of Zwingle's letters to his fellow-countrymen is

Zwingle's exhortations produced the desired effect. The council still
hesitated, but the people, meeting in their respective parishes,
unanimously decreed that the mass should be abolished, and that they
would be faithful to the Word of God.[632]

  [632] Parochiæ uno consensu statuerunt in verbo Dei manere. Ibid. p.


The conquests were not less important in Rhætia, which Salandronius
had been compelled to leave, but where Comander was boldly proclaiming
the Gospel. The enthusiasts, indeed, by preaching their fanatical
doctrines in the Grisons, had at first done great mischief to the
Reformation. The people were divided into three parties. Some had
embraced the views of these new prophets; others, amazed and
confounded, regarded this schism with anxiety; and lastly, the
partisans of Rome were loud in their exultation.[633]

  [633] Pars tertia papistarum est in immensum gloriantium de schismate
  inter nos facto. Zw. Epp. p. 400.

A meeting was held at Ilantz, in the gray league, for a public
disputation; the supporters of the papacy, on the one hand, the
friends of the Reformation on the other, collected their forces. The
bishop's vicar at first sought how to evade the combat. "These
disputes lead to great expense," said he; "I am ready to lay down ten
thousand florins in order to meet them; but I require the opposite
party to do as much."--"If the bishop has ten thousand florins at his
disposal," exclaimed the rough voice of a peasant in the crowd, "it is
from us he has wrung them; to give as much more to these poor priests
would be too bad."--"We are poor people with empty purses," said
Comander, pastor of Coire; "we have hardly the means of buying food:
where then can we find ten thousand florins?"[634] Every one laughed
at this expedient, and the business proceeded.

  [634] Sie wären gute arme Gesellen mit lehren Secklen. Füssl. Beytr.
  i. 358.


Among the spectators were Sebastian Hofmeister and James Amman of
Zurich; they held in their hands the Holy Bible in Greek and Hebrew.
The bishop's vicar desired that all strangers should be excluded.
Hofmeister understood this to be directed against him. "We have come
provided with a Greek and Hebrew Bible," said he, "in order that no
violence may be done in any manner to Scripture. Yet sooner than
prevent the conference, we are willing to withdraw."--"Ah!" exclaimed
the priest of Dintzen, looking at the books of the Zurichers, "if the
Greek and Hebrew languages had never entered our country, there would
have been fewer heresies!"[635]--"St. Jerome," said another, "has
translated the Bible for us; we do not want the books of the
Jews!"--"If the Zurichers are turned out," said the banneret of
Ilantz, "the _commune_ will interfere."--"Well then," replied others,
"let them listen, but be silent." The Zurichers remained accordingly,
and their Bible with them.

  [635] Wäre die Griechische und Hebraische Sprache nicht in das Land
  gekommen. Füssl. Beytr. i. 360.

After this Comander stood up and read the first of the theses he had
published; it ran thus: "The christian Church is born of the Word of
God; it must abide by this Word, and listen to no other voice." He
then proved what he had advanced by numerous passages from Scripture.
"He trod with a firm step," said an eye-witness,[636] "each time
setting down his foot with the firmness of an ox."--"There is too much
of this," said the vicar.--"When he is at table with his friends
listening to the pipers," said Hofmeister, "he does not find it too

  [636] Satzte den Fuss wie ein müder Ochs. Ibid. 362.

  [637] Den Pfeiffern zuzuhören, die......wie den Fürsten hofierten.


Then a man arose and advanced from the midst of the crowd, tossing his
arms, knitting his brows, blinking his eyes,[638] and who appeared to
have lost his senses; he rushed towards the reformer, and many thought
he was about to strike him. He was a schoolmaster of Coire. "I have
committed several questions to writing," said he to Comander; "answer
them instantly."--"I am here," said the reformer of the Grisons, "to
defend my doctrine: attack it, and I will defend it; or else return to
your place. I will answer you when I have done." The schoolmaster
remained a moment in suspense. "Very well," said he at last, and
returned to his seat.

  [638] Blintzete mit den Augen, rumfete die Stirne. Ibid. 368.

It was proposed to pass on to the doctrine of the sacraments. The
Abbot of St. Luke's declared that he could not approach such a subject
without awe, and the horrified curate in alarm made the sign of the

The schoolmaster of Coire, who had already made one attempt to attack
Comander, began with much volubility to argue in favour of the
doctrine of the sacrament according to the text, "This _is_ my
body."--"My dear Berre," said Comander, "how do you understand these
words, John is Elias?"--"I understand," replied Berre, who saw what
Comander was aiming at, "that he was really and essentially
Elias."--"Why then," continued Comander, "did John the Baptist himself
say to the Pharisees that he was not Elias?" The schoolmaster was
silent: at last he replied, "It is true." Everybody began to laugh,
even those who had urged him to speak.

The Abbot of St. Luke's made a long speech on the eucharist, which
closed the conference. Seven priests embraced the evangelical
doctrine; complete religious liberty was proclaimed, and the Romish
worship was abolished in several churches. "Christ," to use the
language of Salandronius, "grew up everywhere in these mountains, as
the tender grass of spring; and the pastors were like living
fountains, watering these lofty valleys."[639]

  [639] Vita, moribus et doctrina herbescenti Christo apud Rhætos fons
  irrigans. Zw. Epp. p. 485.

The Reform made still more rapid strides at Zurich. The Dominicans,
the Augustines, the Capuchins, so long at enmity, were reduced to the
necessity of living together; a foretaste of hell for these poor
monks. In the place of these corrupted institutions were founded
schools, an hospital, a theological college: learning and charity
everywhere supplanted indolence and selfishness.


     The Oligarchs--Bernese Mandate of 1526 in Favour of the
     Papacy--Discussion at Baden--Regulations of the
     Discussion--Riches and Poverty--Eck and
     Œcolampadius--Discussion--Zwingle's Share in the
     Discussion--Vaunts of the Romanists--Abusive Language of a
     Monk--Close of the Disputation.


These victories of the Reformation could not remain unnoticed. Monks,
priests, and prelates, in distraction, felt that the ground was
everywhere slipping from beneath their feet, and that the Romish
Church was on the point of sinking under unprecedented dangers. The
oligarchs of the cantons, the advocates of foreign pensions and
capitulations, saw that they could delay no longer, if they wished to
preserve their privileges; and at the very moment when the Church was
frightened and beginning to sink, they stretched out their mailed
hands to save it. A Stein and a John Hug of Lucerne united with a John
Faber; and the civil authority rushed to the support of that
hierarchical power which openeth its mouth to blaspheme and maketh war
upon the saints.[640]

  [640] Revelation xiii. 5, 6, 7.

Their first efforts were directed against Berne. The seven
Roman-catholic cantons, in collusion with the Bernese oligarchs, sent
a deputation to that city, who laid their complaints before the
council on Whitmonday 1526. "All order is destroyed in the Church,"
said the schulthess (chief magistrate) of Lucerne, "God is blasphemed,
the sacraments, the mother of God, and the saints are despised, and
imminent and terrible calamities threaten to dissolve our praiseworthy
confederation." At the same time the Bernese partisans of Rome, in
harmony with the Forest cantons, had summoned to Berne the deputies of
the country, chosen from those who were devoted to the papacy. Some of
them had the courage to pronounce in favour of the Gospel. The sitting
was stormy. "Berne must renounce the evangelical faith and walk with
us," said the Forest cantons. The Bernese councils decreed that they
would maintain "the ancient christian faith, the holy sacraments, the
mother of God, the saints, and the ornaments of the churches."[641]
Thus Rome triumphed, and the mandate of 1526 was about to annul that
of 1523. In effect, all the married priests not born in the canton
were compelled to leave it; they drove from their borders all who were
suspected of Lutheranism; they exercised a vigilant censorship over
every work sold by the booksellers, and certain books were publicly
burnt. Even John Faber, with audacious falsehood, said publicly that
Haller had bound himself before the council to perform mass again, and
to preach the doctrine of Rome. It was resolved to take advantage of
so favourable an opportunity to crush the new faith.

  [641] Actum uff den heil. Pfingsel Montag, 1526. Tschudi.


For a long while public opinion had been demanding a discussion; this
was the only means left of quieting the people.[642] "Convince us by
the Holy Scriptures," said the council of Zurich to the diet, "and we
will comply with your wishes."--"The Zurichers," it was everywhere
said, "have made you a promise; if you can convince them by the Bible,
why not do so? if you cannot, why do you not conform to the Bible?"

  [642] Das der gmein man, one eine offne Disputation, nit zu stillen
  was. Bull. Chr. i. 331

The conferences held at Zurich had exercised an immense influence, and
it was felt necessary to oppose them by a conference held in a Romish
city, with all necessary precautions to secure the victory to the
pope's party.

True, these discussions had been pronounced unlawful, but means were
found to evade this difficulty. "It is only intended," said they, "to
check and condemn the pestilent doctrines of Zwingle."[643] This being
settled, they looked about for a vigorous champion, and Doctor Eck
offered himself. He feared nothing. "Zwingle no doubt has milked more
cows than he has read books," said he, by Hofmeister's account.[644]

  [643] Diet of Lucerne, 13th March 1526.

  [644] Er habe wohl mehr Kühe gemolken, als Bücher gelesen. Zw. Opp.
  ii. 405.


The Great Council of Zurich sent Dr. Eck a safe-conduct to go direct
to Zurich; but Eck replied that he would wait for the answer of the
confederation. Zwingle then offered to dispute at Saint Gall or
Schaffhausen; but the council, acting on an article of the federal
compact, which provided "that every accused person should be tried in
the place of his abode," ordered Zwingle to withdraw his offer.

At last the diet fixed that the conference should take place at Baden
on the 16th of May 1526. This meeting promised to be important; for it
was the result and the seal of the alliance which had just been
concluded between the clergy and the oligarchs of the confederation.
"See," said Zwingle to Vadian, "what Faber and the oligarchs now
venture to attempt."[645]

  [645] Vide nunc quid audeant oligarchi atque Faber. Zw. Epp. p. 484.

Accordingly, the decision of the diet produced a great sensation in
Switzerland. It was not doubted that a conference held under such
auspices would be favourable to the Reformation. Are not the five
cantons the most devoted to the pope supreme in Baden, said the
Zurichers? Have they not already declared Zwingle's doctrine
heretical, and pursued it with fire and sword? Was not Zwingle burnt
in effigy at Lucerne, with every mark of ignominy? At Friburg, were
not his writings committed to the flames? Do they not everywhere call
for his death? Have not the cantons that exercise sovereign rights in
Baden declared, that in whatever part of their territory Zwingle made
his appearance, he should be apprehended?[646] Did not Uberlinger, one
of their chiefs, say that the only thing in the world that he desired
was to hang Zwingle, though he should be called a hangman all the rest
of his days?[647] And has not Doctor Eck himself, for years past,
been crying out that the heretics must be attacked with fire and
sword? What then will be the end of this conference? what other result
can it have, but the death of the reformer?

  [646] Zwingli in ihrem Gebiet, wo er betreten werde, gefangen zu
  nehmen. Zw. Opp. ii. 422.

  [647] Da wollte er gern all sein Lebtag ein Henker genannt werden.
  Ibid. 454.


Such were the fears that agitated the commission appointed at Zurich
to examine into the affair. Zwingle, an eye-witness of their
agitation, rose and said: "You know what happened at Baden to the
valiant men of Stammheim, and how the blood of the Wirths dyed the
scaffold......and it is to the very place of their execution that they
challenge us!......Let Zurich, Berne, Saint Gall, or even Basle,
Constance, and Schaffhausen, be selected for the conference; let it be
agreed to discuss essential points only, employing nothing else than
the Word of God; let no judge be set above it; and then I am ready to

  [648] Wellend wir ganz geneigt syn ze erschynen. Zw. Opp. ii. 423.

Meanwhile, fanaticism was already bestirring itself and striking down
its victims. A consistory, headed by that same Faber who had
challenged Zwingle, on the 10th of May 1526, about a week before the
discussion at Baden, condemned to the flames, as a heretic, an
evangelical minister named John Hügel, pastor of Lindau,[649] who
walked to the place of execution singing the _Te Deum_. At the same
time, another minister, Peter Spengler, was drowned at Friburg by
order of the Bishop of Constance.

  [649] Hunc hominem hæreticum damnamus, projicimus et conculcamus.
  Hotting. Helv. K. Gesch. iii. 300.

Sinister rumours reached Zwingle from all quarters. His
brother-in-law, Leonard Tremp, wrote to him from Berne: "I entreat
you, as you regard your life, not to repair to Baden. I know that they
will not respect your safe-conduct."[650]

  [650] Caveatis per caput vestrum......Zw. Epp. p. 483.

It was affirmed that a plan had been formed to seize and gag him,
throw him into a boat, and carry him off to some secret place.[651]
With these threats and persecutions before them, the council of Zurich
decreed that Zwingle should not go to Baden.[652]

  [651] Navigio captum, ore mox obturato, clam fuisse deportandum. Osw.
  Myc. Vit. Zw.

  [652] Zwinglium Senatus Tigurinus Badenam dimittere recusavit. Ibid.


The discussion being fixed for the 19th of May, the disputants and the
representatives of the cantons and bishops began to arrive gradually.
On the side of the Roman-catholics appeared in the foremost place the
warlike and vain-glorious Doctor Eck; on the side of the Protestants,
the retiring and gentle Œcolampadius. The latter was well aware of
the perils attending this discussion. "He had long hesitated, like a
timid stag worried by furious dogs," says an old historian; at length
he decided on going to Baden, previously making this solemn
declaration, "I acknowledge no other standard of judgment than the
Word of God." At first, he had earnestly desired that Zwingle should
share his danger;[653] but he soon became convinced that, if the
intrepid doctor had appeared in that fanatical city, the anger of the
Romanists, kindling at his sight, would have caused the death of both
of them.

  [653] Si periclitaberis, periclitabimur omnes tecum. Zw. Epp. p. 312.

They began by determining the regulations of the conference. Doctor
Eck proposed that the deputies of the Forest Cantons should be
empowered to pronounce the final judgment; which was, in truth,
anticipating the condemnation of the reformed doctrines. Thomas
Plater, who had come from Zurich to attend the colloquy, was
despatched by Œcolampadius to ask Zwingle's advice. Arriving during
the night, he was with difficulty admitted into the reformer's house.
"Unlucky disturber," said Zwingle to him, as he rubbed his eyes, "for
six weeks I have not gone to bed, owing to this discussion.[654]......
What are your tidings?" Plater stated Eck's demands. "And who can make
those peasants understand such things?" replied Zwingle; "they would
be much more at home in milking their cows."[655]

  [654] Ich bin in sechs Wochen nie in das Beth Kommen. Plater's Leben,
  p. 263.

  [655] Sie verstunden sich bas auf Kuh mälken. Ibid.


On the 21st of May the conference opened. Eck and Faber, accompanied
by prelates, magistrates, and doctors, robed in garments of damask and
silk, and adorned with rings, chains, and crosses,[656] repaired to
the church. Eck haughtily ascended a pulpit splendidly decorated,
while the humble Œcolampadius, meanly clothed, was forced to take
his seat in front of his opponent on a rudely carved stool. "All the
time the conference lasted," said the chronicler Bullinger, "Eck and
his friends were lodged at the Baden parsonage, faring sumptuously,
living gaily and scandalously, and drinking much wine, with which the
abbot of Wettingen provided them.[657] Eck took the baths at Baden (it
was said) but......in wine. The evangelicals, on the contrary, made a
sorry appearance, and the people laughed at them as at a troop of
mendicants. Their way of living was in strong contrast to that of the
papal champions. The landlord of the Pike, the inn at which
Œcolampadius lodged, being curious to know what the latter did in
his room, reported that every time he peeped in, he found him reading
or praying. It must be confessed (said he) that he is a very pious

  [656] Mit Syden, Damast und Sammet bekleydet. Bull. Chr. i. 351.

  [657] Verbruchten vil wyn. Bull. Chr. i. 351.

The disputation lasted eighteen days, and during the whole time the
clergy walked daily in solemn procession, chanting litanies in order
to ensure victory. Eck alone spoke in defence of the Romish doctrines.
He was still the champion of the Leipsic disputation, with the same
German accent, broad shoulders, and strong lungs, an excellent
town-crier, and in outward appearance having more resemblance to a
butcher than a theologian. According to his usual custom he disputed
with great violence, seeking to gall his adversaries by sarcasm, and
from time to time slipping out an oath.[658] But the president never
called him to order.

  [658] So entwuscht imm ettwan ein Schwür. Ibid.

    Eck stamps with his feet, and thumps with his hands,
      He blusters, he swears, and he scolds;
    Whatever the pope and the cardinals teach,
      Is the faith, he declares, that he holds.[659]

  [659] Egg zablet mit fussen and henden
        Fing an schelken und schenden, &c.

           Contemporary Poems by Nicholas Manuel of Berne.


Œcolampadius, on the contrary, with his calm features and noble and
patriarchal air, spoke with so much mildness, and at the same time
with such courage and ability, that even his adversaries, affected and
impressed, said one to another: "Oh! that the tall sallow man were on
our side."[660]......At times, however, he was moved when he saw the
hatred and violence of his auditors: "How impatiently they listen to
me!" said he; "but God will not forsake His glory, and that is all we

  [660] O were der lange gäl man uff unser syten. Bull. Chr. i. 353.

  [661] Domino suam gloriam, quam salvam cupimus ne utiquam deserturo.
  Zw. Epp. p. 511.

Œcolampadius having combated Dr. Eck's first thesis on the real
presence, Haller, who had come to Baden after the opening of the
conference, entered the lists against the second. But little used to
such conferences, of a timid character, tied down by the orders of his
government, and embarrassed by the looks of his avoyer Gaspard of
Mullinen, a great enemy to the Reformation, Haller possessed not the
haughty confidence of his opponent; but he had more real strength.
When Haller had finished, Œcolampadius returned to the combat, and
pressed Eck so closely, that the latter was compelled to fall back on
the customs of the Church. "Custom," replied Œcolampadius, "has no
force in our Switzerland, unless it be according to the constitution;
now, in matters of faith, the Bible is our constitution."

The third thesis on the invocation of saints; the fourth on images;
the fifth on purgatory, were successively discussed. No one rose to
contest the truth of the two last, which turned on original sin and

Zwingle took an active part in the whole of the discussion. The Romish
party, which had appointed four secretaries, had forbidden all other
persons to take notes under pain of death.[662] But Jerome Walsch, a
student from the Valais, who possessed an excellent memory, impressed
on his mind all that he heard, and on returning home, hastened to
commit it to writing. Thomas Plater and Zimmerman of Winterthur
carried these notes to Zwingle every day, with letters from
Œcolampadius, and brought back the reformer's answers. Soldiers
armed with halberds were posted at all the gates of Baden, and it was
only by inventing different excuses that these two messengers evaded
the inquiries of the sentinels, who could not understand why they were
so frequently passing to and fro.[663] Thus Zwingle, though absent
from Baden in body, was present in spirit.

  [662] Man sollte einem ohne aller weiter Urtheilen, den Kopf abhauen.
  Thom. Plateri Lebens Beschreib. p. 262.

  [663] When they asked me: "What are you going to do?" I replied: "I am
  carrying chickens to sell to the gentlemen at the baths;" for they
  gave me some chickens at Zurich, and the sentries could not make out
  how I procured them always, and in so short a time. Plater's
  Autobiography, p. 262. Leben's Beschrieb.

He advised and strengthened his friends, and refuted his adversaries.
"Zwingle," said Oswald Myconius, "has laboured more by his
meditations, his sleepless nights, and the advice which he transmitted
to Baden, than he would have done by discussing in person in the midst
of his enemies."[664]

  [664] Quam laborasset disputando vel inter medios hostes. Osw. Myc.
  Vita. Zw.--See also Zwingle's several writings having reference to the
  Baden disputation. Opp. ii. pp. 398-520.


During the whole conference, the Roman-catholics were in commotion,
sending letters in every direction and loudly boasting of their
victory. "Œcolampadius," exclaimed they, "vanquished by Dr. Eck and
laid prostrate in the lists, has sung his recantation;[665] the
dominion of the pope will be everywhere restored."[666] These
statements were circulated through the cantons, and the people, prompt
to believe everything they hear, gave credit to all the vaunts of the
Romish partisans.

  [665] Œcolampadius victus jacet in arena prostratus ab Eccio,
  herbam porrexit. Zw. Epp. p. 514.

  [666] Spem concipiunt lætam fore ut regnum ipsorum restituatur. Ibid.


When the dispute was finished, the monk Murner of Lucerne, nicknamed
"the tom-cat," stepped forward, and read forty charges against
Zwingle. "I thought," said he, "that the coward would come and reply
to them; but he has not appeared. Well, then, by every law, both human
and divine, I declare forty times that the tyrant of Zurich and all
his partisans are traitors, liars, perjurers, adulterers, infidels,
robbers, sacrilegers, gallows-birds, and such that every honest man
must blush at having any intercourse whatever with them." Such was
the abuse which at this time was honoured with the name of "christian
controversy," by doctors whom the Romish church should herself

Great agitation prevailed in Baden; the general impression was, that
the Roman champions had talked the loudest, but argued the
weakest.[667] Only Œcolampadius and ten of his friends voted
against Eck's theses; while eighty persons, including the presidents
of the debate and all the monks of Wittingen, adopted them. Haller had
quitted Baden before the end of the conference.

  [667] Die Evangelische weren wol überschryen, nicht aber
  überdisputiert worden. Hotting. Helv. K. Gesch. iii. 320.

The majority of the diet then decreed that, as Zwingle, the chief of
this pestilent doctrine, had refused to appear, and as the ministers
who had come to Baden had resisted all conviction, they were all
together cast out from the bosom of the catholic church.[668]

  [668] Von gemeiner Kyrchen ussgestossen. Bull. Chr. p. 355.


     Consequences at Basle, Berne, Saint Gall, and other
     Places--Diet at Zurich--The small Cantons--Threats against
     Berne--Foreign Support.


But this famous conference, owing to the zeal of the oligarchs and
clergy, was destined to be fatal to both. Those who had combated for
the Gospel were, on their return home, to fill their countrymen with
enthusiasm for the cause they had defended, and two of the most
important cantons in the Helvetic alliance, Berne and Basle, were
thenceforth to begin their separation from the papacy.

The first blows were to fall on Œcolampadius, a stranger in
Switzerland; and he did not return to Basle without apprehension. But
his anxiety was soon dissipated. The mildness of his language had
struck all impartial witnesses, much more than the clamours of Dr.
Eck, and all pious men received him with acclamation. The adversaries
made, in truth, every exertion to drive him from the pulpit, but in
vain; he taught and preached with greater energy than before, and the
people had never shown such thirst for the Word.[669]

  [669] Plebe Verbi Domini admodum sitiente. Zw. Epp. p. 518.

Similar results followed at Berne. The conference at Baden, intended
to crush the Reformation, gave it a new impulse in this canton, the
most powerful of all the Swiss league. Haller had no sooner arrived in
the capital, than the Smaller Council had summoned him before them,
and ordered him to celebrate the mass. Haller demanded permission to
reply before the Great Council, and the people, thinking it their duty
to defend their pastor, hastened to the spot. Haller in alarm declared
that he would rather leave the city than be the occasion of any
disturbance. Upon this, tranquillity being restored: "If I am required
to perform this ceremony," said the reformer, "I must resign my
office; the honour of God and the truth of his Holy Word are dearer to
me than any care about what I shall eat or wherewithal I shall be
clothed." Haller uttered these words with emotion; the members of the
council were affected; even some of his opponents burst into
tears.[670] Once more it was found that moderation was stronger than
power. To satisfy Rome in some degree, Haller was deprived of his
canonry, but nominated preacher. His most violent enemies, Lewis and
Anthony Diesbach, and Anthony d'Erlach, incensed at this resolution,
immediately withdrew from the council and the city, and renounced
their citizenship. "Berne stumbled," said Haller, "but has risen up
again with greater strength than ever." This firmness in the Bernese
made a deep impression in Switzerland.[671]

  [670] Tillier, Gesch. v. Bern., iii. 242.

  [671] Profuit hic nobis Bernates tam dextre in servando Berchtoldo suo
  egisse. Ecol. ad Zw. Epp. p. 518.


But the results of the conference at Baden were not limited to Basle
and Berne. While these events were taking place in these powerful
cities, a movement, more or less similar, was going on in several
other states of the confederation. The preachers of St. Gall, on their
return from Baden, proclaimed the Gospel;[672] the images were removed
from the parochial church of St. Lawrence after a conference, and the
inhabitants sold their costly garments, their jewels, rings, and gold
chains, to found almshouses. The Reformation despoiled, but it was to
clothe the poor; and the spoils were those of the reformed

  [672] San Gallenses officiis suis restitutos. Zw. Epp. p. 518.

  [673] Kostbare Kleider, Kleinodien, Ring, Ketten, &c. freywillig
  verkauft. Hott. iii. p. 338.

At Mulhausen the Gospel was preached with fresh courage; Thurgovia and
the Rheinthal daily approximated more and more to Zurich. Immediately
after the disputation, Zurzach removed the images from its churches,
and almost the whole district of Baden received the Gospel.

Nothing was better calculated to show which party had really
triumphed; and hence Zwingle, as he looked around him, gave glory to
God. "We have been attacked in many ways," said he, "but the Lord is
not only above their threats, but also the wars themselves. In the
city and canton of Zurich there is an admirable agreement in favour of
the Gospel. We shall overcome all things by prayers offered up with
faith."[674] And shortly after, addressing Haller, Zwingle said:
"Everything here below has its course. The rude north wind is followed
by the gentle breeze. After the scorching heat of summer, autumn pours
forth its treasures. And now, after severe contests, the Creator of
all things, whom we serve, has opened a way for us into the camp of
our adversaries. At last we may welcome among us the christian
doctrine, that dove so long repulsed, and which ceased not to watch
for the hour of her return. Be thou the Noah to receive and save her."

  [674] Fideli enim oratione omnia superabimus. Zw. Epp. p. 519.

This same year, Zurich had made an important acquisition. Conrad
Pellican, superior of the Franciscans at Basle, professor of divinity
at the age of twenty-four, had been invited, through Zwingle's
exertions, to be Hebrew professor at Zurich. "I have long since
renounced the pope," said he on arriving, "and desired to live to
Jesus Christ."[675] Pellican, by his critical talents, became one of
the most useful labourers in the work of the Reformation.

  [675] Jamdudum papæ renuntiavi et Christo vivere concupivi. Zw. Epp.
  p. 455.


Zurich, still excluded from the diet by the Romish cantons, wishing to
take advantage of the more favourable disposition manifested by some
of the confederates, convened, in the beginning of 1527, a diet to be
held in Zurich itself. The deputies of Berne, Basle, Schaffhausen,
Appenzell, and St. Gall attended it. "We desire," said the deputies of
Zurich, "that the Word of God, which leads us solely to Christ
crucified, should be the only thing preached, taught, and exalted. We
abandon all human doctrines, whatever may have been the custom of our
forefathers; being assured that had they possessed this light of the
Divine Word which we enjoy, they would have embraced it with more
reverence than we their feeble descendants have done."[676] The
deputies present promised to take the representations of Zurich into

  [676] Mit höherem Werth and mehr Dankbarkeit dann wir angenommen.
  Zurich. Archiv. Absch. Sonntag nach Lichtmesse.


Thus the breach in the walls of Rome was widened daily. The discussion
at Baden had been intended to repair it; and from that time, on the
contrary, the wavering cantons seemed willing to walk with Zurich.
Already the inhabitants of the plain inclined towards the Reformation;
already it was hemming in the mountains; already it was invading them,
and the primitive cantons, which were as the cradle, and are still the
citadel, of Switzerland, shut up in their higher Alps, seemed alone to
adhere firmly to the doctrine of their sires. These mountaineers,
continually exposed to violent storms, to avalanches, to overflowing
torrents and rivers, are compelled all their lives to struggle against
these formidable enemies, and to sacrifice everything to preserve the
meadow in which their herds graze, and the cottage where they shelter
themselves from the storms, and which the first inundation sweeps
away. Accordingly the conservative principle is strongly developed in
them, and transmitted from age to age, from generation to generation.
To preserve what they have received from their fathers constitutes the
whole wisdom of these mountains. These rude Helvetians were then
struggling against the Reformation, which aimed at changing their
faith and their worship, as they struggle to this day against the
torrents that fall in thunder from their snowy peaks, or against the
new political ideas that have been established at their very doors in
the surrounding cantons. They will be the last to lay down their arms
before that twofold power which already raises its banners on all the
hills around, and threatens daily and more nearly these conservative

Accordingly these cantons, at the period which I am recording, still
more irritated against Berne than against Zurich, and trembling lest
this powerful state should desert them, assembled their deputies in
Berne itself a week after the conference at Zurich. They called on the
council to depose the new teachers, to prosecute their doctrines, and
to maintain the ancient and true christian faith, as confirmed by past
ages and confessed by the martyrs. "Convoke all the bailiwicks of the
canton," added they; "if you refuse, we will take it upon ourselves."
The Bernese replied with irritation: "We have power enough ourselves
to speak to those under our jurisdiction."

This reply only increased the anger of the Forest Cantons, and these
cantons, which had been the cradle of the political freedom of
Switzerland, alarmed at the progress of religious liberty, began to
seek, even from without, for allies to destroy it. To combat the
enemies of foreign service, that foreign service might reasonably be
resorted to; and if the oligarchy of Switzerland could not suffice
alone, was it not natural to have recourse to the princes, their
allies? In fact, Austria, who had found it impossible to maintain her
own authority in the confederation, was ready to interfere to
strengthen the power of Rome. Berne learnt with dismay that Ferdinand,
brother of Charles V., was making preparations against Zurich and all
those who adhered to the Reformation.[677]

  [677] Berne to Zurich, Monday after _Misericorde_. Kirchhoff. B.
  Haller, p. 85.


Circumstances were becoming more critical. A succession of events,
more or less unfortunate, the excesses of the fanatics, the disputes
with Luther on the Eucharist, and others besides, appear to have
seriously compromised the Reformation in Switzerland. The discussion
at Baden had disappointed the hopes of the papal party, and the sword
they had brandished against their adversaries had broken in their
hands; but this had only increased their vexation and anger, and they
were preparing for a fresh effort. Already the imperial power itself
was beginning to move; and the Austrian bands which had been routed in
the defiles of Morgarten and on the heights of Sempach, were ready to
enter Switzerland with colours flying, to re-establish the tottering
power of Rome. The moment was critical; it was no longer possible to
halt between two opinions, and be neither "muddy nor clear." Berne and
other cantons, which had long hesitated, were now to come to a
decision. They must either promptly return to the papacy, or take
their stand with fresh courage under the banners of Christ.

A Frenchman from the mountains of Dauphiny, William Farel by name, at
this time gave a powerful impulse to Switzerland, decided the
Reformation of Roman Helvetia, still immersed in deep slumber, and
thus turned the balance throughout the whole confederation in favour
of the new doctrines. Farel arrived on the field of battle like those
fresh troops which, when the issue of the contest hangs in the
balance, rush into the thickest of the fight and decide the victory.
He prepared the way in Switzerland for another Frenchman, whose
austere faith and commanding genius were to put a finishing hand to
the Reformation, and make the work complete. By means of these
illustrious men, France took her part in that vast commotion which
agitated christian society. It is now time that we should turn our
eyes towards that country.


THE FRENCH. 1500-1526.


     Universality of Christianity--Enemies of the Reform in
     France--Heresy and Persecution in Dauphiny--A country
     Mansion--The Farel Family--Pilgrimage to the Holy
     Cross--Immorality and Superstition--William desires to
     become a Student.


Universality is one of the essential characteristics of Christianity.
It is not so with human religions. They are adapted to a certain
people, and to the degree of cultivation they have attained; they keep
these nations stationary, or if by any extraordinary circumstance the
people attain a fuller growth, their religion is left behind, and by
that means becomes useless to them.

There has been an Egyptian, a Grecian, a Latin, and even a Jewish
religion; Christianity is the only religion of mankind.

Its starting point in man is sin; and this is a characteristic not
peculiar to any one race, but is the heritage of every human being.
Hence the Gospel, as satisfying the universal and most elevated wants
of our nature, is received as coming from God by the most barbarous
and by the most civilized nations. It does not, like the religions of
antiquity, deify national peculiarities; but it does not destroy them
as modern cosmopolitism would do. It does better; it sanctifies,
ennobles, and raises them to a holy unity by the new and living
principle it communicates to them.

The introduction of Christianity into the world has wrought a great
revolution in history. Until then, there had only been a history of
nations; now there is a history of mankind; and the idea of a
universal education of the human race, accomplished by Jesus Christ,
has become the historian's compass, the clue to history, and the hope
of the nations.

But Christianity exerts its influence not only on all nations, but
also on every period of their history.

At the moment of its appearance, the world was like a torch about to
become extinct, and Christianity rekindled it with fire from heaven.

Subsequently, the barbarian tribes, having rushed upon the Roman
empire, had shattered and confounded every thing; and Christianity,
stemming that desolating torrent with the cross, subdued by it the
savage children of the north, and gave society a new form.

Yet an element of corruption already lay hid in the religion carried
by courageous missionaries to those barbarous tribes. Their faith came
from Rome almost as much as from the Bible. This element soon gathered
strength; man everywhere substituted himself for God,--the essential
characteristic of the Romish church; and a renovation of religion
became necessary. This Christianity accomplished at the epoch of which
we are treating.

The history of the Reformation in the countries that we have hitherto
surveyed has shown us the new doctrine rejecting the extravagances of
enthusiasts and of the new prophets; but in the country towards which
we now turn our attention, infidelity is the shoal which it has to
encounter. Nowhere had bolder protests been made against the
superstitions and abuses of the Church: nowhere had there been a more
striking development of a certain love of learning, independent of
Christianity, which often ends in irreligion. France carried in her
bosom two reformations at the same time,--the one of man, the other of
God. "Two nations were in her womb, and two manner of people were to
be separated from her bowels."[678]

  [678] Genesis xxv. 23.


In France, the Reformation had to combat not only with infidelity as
well as superstition, but there was a third antagonist which it had
not yet encountered, at least in such force, among the people of
German origin: this was immorality. The scandals in the Church were
very great; debauchery sat on the throne of Francis I. and Catherine
de Medicis; and the austere virtues of the reformers irritated these
"Sardanapaluses."[679] Everywhere, no doubt, but especially in France,
the Reformation was of necessity not only doctrinal and
ecclesiastical, but moral also.

  [679] Sardanapalus (Henry II.) inter scorta. Calvin's Epp. MS.

Those violent enemies which the Reformation encountered simultaneously
in France, gave it a character altogether peculiar. Nowhere did it so
often dwell in dungeons, or so much resemble primitive Christianity in
faith, in charity, and in the number of its martyrs. If, in the
countries of which we have hitherto spoken, the Reformation was more
glorious by its triumphs, in that which is now to engage our
attention, it was still more so by its defeats. If elsewhere it could
point to thrones and sovereign councils, here it might point to
scaffolds and "hill-side" meetings. Whoever knows what constitutes the
true glory of Christianity upon earth, and the features that
assimilate it to its Head, will study with a livelier feeling of
respect and love the often blood-stained history that we now proceed
to relate.

The majority of the men who have afterwards glittered on the stage of
the world were born in the provinces where their minds first began to
expand. Paris is a tree that presents many flowers and fruits to the
eye, but whose roots spread far and wide into the bosom of the earth,
to draw from thence the nutritious juices which they transform. The
Reformation also followed this law.

The Alps, which beheld bold and christian men spring up in every
canton and almost in every valley of Switzerland, were destined in
France also to cover with their lengthened shadows the infancy of some
of the first reformers. For ages they had guarded the treasure more or
less pure in their high valleys, among the inhabitants of the
Piedmontese districts of Luzerne, Angrogne, and La Peyrouse. The
truth, which Rome could not reach there, had spread from these
valleys to the other side of these mountains, and along their base to
Provence and Dauphiny.

The year after the accession of Charles VIII., son of Louis XI., a
sickly and timid child, Innocent VIII. had assumed the pontifical
tiara (1484). He had seven or eight sons by different mothers; and
hence, according to an epigram of the times, Rome unanimously saluted
him with the name of Father.[680]


      Octo nocens pueros genuit totidemque puellas.
      Hunc merito poterit dicere Roma Patrem.


There was at that time on all the slopes of the Dauphinese Alps, and
along the banks of the Durance, a new growth of the old Waldensian
opinions. "The roots," says an old chronicler, "were continually
putting forth new shoots in every direction."[681] Bold men called the
Roman Church the church of devils, and maintained that it was as
profitable to pray in a stable as in a church.

  [681] In Ebredunensi archiepiscopatu veteres Waldensium hæreticorum
  fibræ repullularunt. Raynald, Annales Eccles. ad ann. 1487.

The priests, the bishops, and the Roman legates uttered a cry of
alarm, and on the 5th kalends of May (27th April) 1487, Innocent
VIII., the father of the Romans, issued a bull against these humble
Christians. "To arms," said the pontiff, "and trample these heretics
under foot as venomous serpents."[682]

  [682] Armis insurgant, eosque veluti aspides
  venenosos......conculcent. Bull of Innocent VIII. preserved at
  Cambridge. Leger, ii. 8.

At the approach of the legate, followed by an army of eighteen
thousand men and a number of volunteers, who wished to share the
spoils of the Waldenses, the latter abandoned their houses and took
refuge in the mountains, caverns, and clefts of the rocks, as the
birds flee for shelter when the storm begins to lower. Not a valley,
nor a wood, nor a rock, escaped their persecutors; everywhere in this
part of the Alps, and particularly on the Italian side, these poor
disciples of Christ were hunted down like beasts of prey. At last the
pope's satellites were worn out; their strength was exhausted, their
feet could no longer scale the steep retreats of the "heretics," and
their arms refused to strike.


In these alpine districts, then disturbed by Romish fanaticism, three
leagues from the ancient town of Gap,[683] in the direction of
Grenoble, not far from the flowery turf that clothes the table-land of
Bayard's mountain, at the foot of the Aiguille and near the pass of
Glaize, towards the place where the Buzon takes its rise, stood and
still stands a group of houses, half hidden by the surrounding trees,
and which bears the name of Farel,--or, in the dialect of the country,
Fareau.[684] On an extensive terrace raised above the neighbouring
cottages might be seen a house of that class which is denominated
_Gentilhommière_, a manor-house. It was surrounded by an orchard which
led to the village. Here, in these days of trouble, dwelt a noble
family of established piety, known by the name of Farel.[685] In 1489,
the very year in which the papacy was employing its severest measures
in Dauphiny, was born in this modest mansion a son who received the
name of William. Three brothers, Daniel, Walter, and Claude, and one
sister, grew up with William, and shared his sports on the banks of
the Buzon and at the foot of the Bayard.

  [683] Chief town of the Hautes Alpes.

  [684] Revue du Dauphiné, July 1837, p. 35. As you go from Grenoble to
  Gap, a quarter of an hour's journey beyond the last post-house, and
  about a stone's throw to the right of the high road, may be seen the
  village of the Farels. The site of the house inhabited by Farel's
  father is still shown. It is now occupied only by a cottage, but from
  its dimensions it may be seen that it could not have belonged to an
  ordinary house. The present inhabitant bears the name of Farel. I am
  indebted for this information to M. Blanc, pastor of Mens.

  [685] Gulielmum Farellum, Delphinatem, nobili familia ortum. Bezæ
  Icones.--Calvin, writing to Cardinal Sadolet, sets off Farel's
  disinterestedness-_-sorti de si noble maison_ (sprung from so noble a
  family). Opuscula, p. 148.

There William's childhood and early youth were passed. His parents
were among the most devoted servants of the papacy. "My father and
mother believed everything," he tells us himself;[686] "and
accordingly they brought up their children in all the observances of
Romish devotion."

  [686] Du vray usage de la croix, par Guillaume Farel, p. 237.


God had bestowed rare qualities on William Farel, such as were fitted
to give him a great ascendency over his fellows. Possessing a
penetrating mind and lively imagination, sincere and upright, having a
greatness of soul that never allowed him, at whatever risk, to betray
the convictions of his heart, he was remarkable also for ardour, fire,
indomitable courage, and daring, which never shrunk from any obstacle.
But, at the same time, he had all the defects allied to these
qualities; and his parents were often compelled to check his

William threw himself with his whole soul into the superstitious
habits of his credulous family. "I am horror-struck," said he, "when I
consider the hours, the prayers, and the divine honours, which I
myself have offered and caused others to offer to the cross and other
such things."[687]

  [687] Du vray usage de la croix, by W. Farel, p. 232.

Four leagues to the south of Gap, near Tallard, in a hill that rises
above the impetuous stream of the Durance, was a place in great
repute, named Sainte Croix (the holy cross). William was only seven or
eight years old when his father and mother resolved to take him
thither on a pilgrimage.[688] "The cross in that place," they told
him, "is made of the very wood on which Christ was crucified."

  [688] J'estoye fort petit et à peine je savoye lire. Ibid. p. 237. Le
  premier pélerinage auquel j'ay esté a esté à la saincte croix. Ibid.
  p. 233.

The family began their journey, and at last reached the highly
venerated cross, before which they all fell prostrate. After gazing
for a time on the sacred wood and the copper of the cross, the latter
being made (as the priest told them) of the basin in which Christ
washed his apostles' feet, the pilgrims turned their eyes to a small
crucifix attached to the cross: "When the devils send us hail and
thunder," continued the priest, "this crucifix moves about so
violently, that it seems to get loose from the cross, as if desirous
of running at the devil, and it continues throwing out sparks of fire
against the storm; if it were not for this, nothing would be left upon

  [689] Ibid. p. 235-239.

The pious pilgrims were deeply moved by the account of these wonderful
prodigies. "No one," continued the priest, "sees or knows aught of
these things except myself and this man." The pilgrims turned their
heads, and saw a strange-looking person standing near them. "It was
frightful to look at him," said Farel.[690] White scales covered the
pupils of his eyes, "whether they were there in reality, or Satan only
made them appear so." This extraordinary man, whom the incredulous
denominated "the priest's wizard," on being appealed to by the latter,
immediately replied that the prodigy was true.[691]

  [690] Du vray usage de la croix, par Guillaume Farel, p. 237.

  [691] Ibid. p. 238.


A new episode completed the picture by mingling a suspicion of
criminal disorders with these superstitions. "There came up a young
woman, intent on other devotion than that of the cross, carrying her
infant wrapped in a cloth. Then the priest went up, took hold of the
woman and child, and led them into the chapel. I may safely assert,
that never did dancer take a woman and lead her out more lovingly than
these two did. But such was our blindness, that neither their looks
nor their gestures, even when they had behaved in an unseemly manner
before us, appeared otherwise than good and holy. It was clear that
the woman and my gallant of a priest understood the miracle
thoroughly, and made it a cover to their intercourse."[692]

  [692] Ibid. p. 235.

Such is a faithful picture of religion and morals in France at the
commencement of the Reformation. Morality and belief were alike
poisoned, and both required a powerful renovation. The greater the
value attached to external works, the farther men were removed from
sanctification of heart; dead ordinances had been everywhere
substituted for a christian life, and a strange but not unnatural
union had taken place between the most scandalous debauchery and the
most superstitious devotion. Theft had been committed before the
altar, seduction practised in the confessional, poison mingled with
the consecrated elements, adultery perpetrated at the foot of the
cross. Superstition, by destroying belief, had destroyed morality.


There were, however, numerous exceptions in the Christianity of the
middle ages. Even a superstitious faith might be sincere, and of this
William Farel is an example. The same zeal that afterwards urged him
to travel to so many different places to spread the knowledge of Jesus
Christ was at this time attracting him wherever the Church exhibited a
miracle or claimed any adoration. Dauphiny had its seven wonders,
which long possessed the power of striking the imagination of the
people.[693] But the beauties of nature that surrounded him had also
their influence in raising his soul to the Creator.

  [693] The burning spring, the cisterns of Sassenage, the manna of
  Briançon, &c.

The magnificent chain of the Alps, those summits covered with eternal
snow,--those vast rocks, here rearing their sharp peaks to heaven,
there stretching their immense and jagged ridges high above the
clouds, as if an island was suspended in the air;--all these wonders
of creation, which were at this time elevating the soul of Ulrich
Zwingle in the Tockenburg, were appealing also in mute but powerful
language to the heart of William Farel among the mountains of
Dauphiny. He thirsted for life, for knowledge, and for light;--he
aspired to be something great;--he asked permission to study.

This was a great blow to his father, who thought that a young noble
ought to know nothing beyond his rosary and his sword. At this time
fame was trumpeting the prowess of a young countryman of William
Farel's, a Dauphinese like himself, named Du Terrail, but better known
as Bayard, who at the battle of the Tar, on the other side of the
Alps, had just given a signal display of courage. "Such sons," it was
observed, "are like arrows in the hand of a strong man. Blessed is the
man that hath his quiver full of them!" Accordingly, Farel's father
opposed the taste which William manifested for learning. But the young
man was not to be shaken. God destined him for nobler conquests than
those of Bayard. He persevered in his entreaties, and the old
gentleman gave way at last.[694]

  [694] Cum a parentibus vix impetrassem ad literas concessum. (Farel,
  Natali Galeoto, 1527. MS. letters belonging to the consistory of

Farel immediately applied to study with surprising ardour. The masters
whom he found in Dauphiny were of little help to him, and he had to
contend with bad methods and the incapability of his teachers.[695]
These difficulties excited instead of discouraging him, and he soon
surmounted these obstacles. His brothers followed his example. Daniel
afterwards entered on the career of politics, and was employed in
important negotiations concerning religion.[696] Walter gained the
entire confidence of the Count of Furstemberg.

  [695] A præceptoribus præcipue in Latina lingua ineptissimis
  institutus. Farelli Epist.

  [696] Vie de Farel. MS. at Geneva.


Farel, eager in the pursuit of knowledge, having learnt all that could
be acquired in his province, turned his eyes elsewhere. The renown of
the university of Paris had long filled the christian world. He
desired to see "this mother of all learning, this true lamp of the
Church which never knew eclipse, that clear and polished mirror of the
faith, dimmed by no cloud, and spotted by no touch."[697] He obtained
the permission of his parents, and set out for the capital of France.

  [697] Universitatem Parisiensem matrem omnium
  scientiarum......speculum fidei torsum et politum......Prima Apellat.
  Universit. an. 1396, Bulœus, iv. p. 806.


     Louis XII. and the Assembly of Tours--Francis and
     Margaret--Learned Men--Lefevre--His Courses at the
     University--Meeting between Lefevre and Farel--Farel's
     Hesitation and Researches--First Awakening--Lefevre's
     Prophecy--Teaches Justification by
     Faith--Objections--Disorder of the Colleges--Effects on
     Farel--Election--Sanctification of Life.


One day in the year 1510, or shortly after, the young Dauphinese
arrived in Paris. The province had made him an ardent follower of the
papacy; the capital was to make him something very different. In
France the Reformation was not destined to go forth, as in Germany,
from a small city. All the movements that agitate the people proceed
from the metropolis. A concurrence of providential circumstances made
Paris, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, a focus whence a
spark of life might easily escape. The young man from the
neighbourhood of Gap, who arrived there humble and ignorant, was to
receive that spark in his heart, and many others with him.

Louis XII., the father of his people, had just convoked the
representatives of the French clergy to meet at Tours. This prince
seems to have anticipated the times of the Reformation; so that had
this great revolution taken place during his reign, the whole of
France might have become protestant. The assembly of Tours had
declared that the king possessed the right of waging war on the pope,
and of enforcing the decrees of the Council of Basle. These measures
were the object of general conversation in the colleges, the city, and
the court; and must have made a deep impression on the mind of young

Two children were then growing up in the court of Louis XII. One was a
prince of tall stature, striking features, who showed little
moderation in his character, and followed blindly wherever his
passions led him; so that the king was in the habit of saying: "That
great boy will spoil all."[698] This was Francis of Angoulême, duke of
Valois, and cousin to the king. Boisy, his tutor, had taught him,
however, to honour literature.

  [698] Mezeray, vol. iv. 127.

By the side of Francis was his sister Margaret, his senior by two
years, "a princess," says Brantôme, "of great mind and ability, both
natural and acquired."[699] Accordingly, Louis had spared no pains in
her education, and the most learned men in the kingdom hastened to
acknowledge her as their patroness.

  [699] Brant., Dames illustres, p. 331.

Already, indeed, a group of illustrious men surrounded these two
Valois. William Budœus, a man giving the run to his passions, fond
of the chase, living only for his hawks, his horses, and his hounds,
on a sudden, at the age of twenty-three, had stopped short, sold his
hunting train, and applied himself to study with the zeal he had
formerly displayed in scouring the fields and forests with his
dogs;[700] the physician Cop, Francis Vatable, whose knowledge of
Hebrew was admired by the Jews themselves; James Tusan, a celebrated
Hellenist; and many others, encouraged by Stephen Poncher, bishop of
Paris, by Louis Ruzé, the civil lieutenant, and by Francis de Luynes,
and already protected by the two young Valois, resisted the violent
attacks of the Sorbonne, who looked upon the study of Greek and Hebrew
as the most deadly heresy. At Paris, as in Germany and Switzerland,
the restoration of sound doctrine was to be preceded by the revival of
letters. But in France the hands that thus prepared the materials were
not destined to construct the edifice.

  [700] His wife and sons came to Geneva in 1540, after his death.


Among all the doctors who then adorned the capital, was observed a man
of very diminutive stature, of mean appearance, and humble
origin,[701] whose intellect, learning, and powerful eloquence had an
indefinable attraction for all who heard him. His name was Lefevre;
and he was born about 1455 at Etaples, a village in Picardy. He had
received a rude, or as Theodore Beza calls it, a barbarous education;
but his genius had supplied the want of masters; and his piety,
learning, and nobility of soul, shone out with so much the brighter
lustre. He had travelled much, and it would appear that his desire of
acquiring knowledge had led him into Asia and Africa.[702] As early as
1493, Lefevre, then doctor of divinity, was professor in the
university of Paris. He immediately occupied a distinguished rank,
and, in the estimation of Erasmus, was the first.[703]

  [701] Homunculi unius neque genere insignis. Bezæ Icones.

  [702] In his Commentary on 2 Thessalonians ii. will be found a curious
  account of Mecca and its temple, furnished to him by some traveller.

  [703] Fabro, viro quo vix in multis millibus reperias vel integriorem
  vel humaniorem, says Erasmus. Epp. p. 174.


Lefevre saw that he had a task to perform. Although attached to the
practices of the Romish Church, he resolved to attack the barbarism
then prevailing in the university;[704] he began to teach the various
branches of philosophy with a clearness hitherto unknown. He
endeavoured to revive the study of languages and learned antiquity. He
went farther than this; he perceived that, as regards a work of
regeneration, philosophy and learning are insufficient. Abandoning,
therefore, scholasticism, which for so many ages had reigned supreme
in the schools, he returned to the Bible, and revived in Christendom
the study of the Holy Scriptures and evangelical learning. He did not
devote his time to dry researches, he went to the heart of the Bible.
His eloquence, his candour, his amiability, captivated all hearts.
Serious and fervent in the pulpit, he indulged in a sweet familiarity
with his pupils. "He loves me exceedingly," wrote Glarean, one of
their number, to his friend Zwingle. "Full of candour and kindness, he
often sings, prays, disputes, and laughs at the follies of the world
with me."[705] Accordingly, a great number of disciples from every
country sat at his feet.

  [704] Barbariem nobilissimæ academiæ......incumbentem detrudi. Beza

  [705] Supra modum me amat totus integer et candidus, mecum cantillat,
  ludit, disputat, ridet mecum. Zw. Epp. p. 26.


This man, with all his learning, submitted with the simplicity of a
child to every observance of the Church. He passed as much time in the
churches as in his study, so that a close union seemed destined to
unite the aged doctor of Picardy and the young scholar of Dauphiny.
When two natures so similar as these meet together, though it be
within the wide circuit of a capital, they tend to draw near each
other. In his pious pilgrimages, young Farel soon noticed an aged man,
and was struck by his devotion. He prostrated himself before the
images, and remained long on his knees, praying with fervour and
devoutly repeating his hours. "Never," said Farel, "never had I seen a
chanter of the mass sing it with greater reverence."[706] This man was
Lefevre. William Farel immediately desired to become acquainted with
him; and could not restrain his joy when he found himself kindly
received by this celebrated man. William had gained his object in
coming to the capital. From that time his greatest pleasure was to
converse with the doctor of Etaples, to listen to him, to hear his
admirable lessons, and to kneel with him devoutly before the same
shrines. Often might the aged Lefevre and his young disciple be seen
adorning an image of the Virgin with flowers; and alone, far from all
Paris, far from its scholars and its doctors, they murmured in concert
the fervent prayers they offered up to Mary.[707]

  [706] Ep. de Farel à tous seigneurs, peuples et pasteurs.

  [707] Floribus jubebat Marianum idolum, dum una soli murmuraremus
  preces Marianas ad idolum, ornari. Farel to Pellican, anno 1556.

Farel's attachment to Lefevre was noticed by many. The respect felt
towards the old doctor was reflected on his young disciple. This
illustrious friendship drew the Dauphinese from his obscurity. He soon
acquired a reputation for zeal; and many devout rich persons in Paris
intrusted him with various sums of money intended for the support of
the poorer students.[708]

  [708] Geneva MS.

Some time elapsed ere Lefevre and his disciple arrived at a clear
perception of the truth. It was not the hope of a rich benefice or a
propensity to a dissolute life which bound Farel to the pope; those
vulgar ties were not made for souls like his. To him the pope was the
visible head of the Church, a sort of deity, by whose commandments
souls might be saved. Whenever he heard any one speaking against this
highly venerated pontiff, he would gnash his teeth like a furious
wolf, and would have called down lightning from heaven "to overwhelm
the guilty wretch with utter ruin and confusion."--"I believe," said
he, "in the cross, in pilgrimages, images, vows, and relics. What the
priest holds in his hands, puts into the box, and there shuts it up,
eats, and gives others to eat, is my only true God, and to me there is
no other, either in heaven or upon earth."[709]--"Satan," says he in
another place, "had so lodged the pope, the papacy, and all that is
his in my heart, that even the pope had not so much of it in himself."

  [709] Ep. de Farel. A tous seigneurs, &c.


Thus, the more Farel appeared to seek God, the more his piety decayed
and superstition increased in his soul; everything was going from bad
to worse. He has himself described this condition in energetic
language:[710] "Alas! how I shudder at myself and at my faults," said
he, "when I think upon it; and how great and wonderful a work of God
it is, that man should ever have been dragged from such an abyss!"

  [710] Quo plus pergere et promovere adnitebar, eo amplius
  retrocedebam. Farellus Galeoto, MS. Letters at Neufchatel.

From this abyss he emerged only by degrees. He had at first studied
the profane authors; his piety finding no food there, he began to
meditate on the lives of the saints; infatuated as he was before,
these legends only made him still more so.[711] He then attached
himself to several doctors of the age; but as he had gone to them in
wretchedness, he left them more wretched still. At last he began to
study the ancient philosophers, and expected to learn from Aristotle
how to be a Christian; again his hopes were disappointed. Books,
images, relics, Aristotle, Mary, and the saints--all proved
unavailing. His ardent soul wandered from one human wisdom to another,
without finding the means of allaying its burning thirst.

  [711] Quæ de sanctis conscripta offendebam, verum ex stulto insanum
  faciebant. Farellus Galeoto, MS. Letters at Neufchatel.

Meantime the pope, allowing the writings of the Old and New Testaments
to be called _The Holy Bible_, Farel began to read them, as Luther had
done in the cloister at Erfurth; he was amazed[712] at seeing that
everything upon earth was different from what is taught in the
Scriptures. Perhaps he was on the point of reaching the truth, but on
a sudden a thicker darkness plunged him into another abyss. "Satan
came suddenly upon me," said he, "that he might not lose his prize,
and dealt with me according to his custom."[713] A terrible struggle
between the Word of God and the word of the Church then took place in
his heart. If he met with any passages of Scripture opposed to the
Romish practices, he cast down his eyes, blushed, and dared not
believe what he read.[714] "Alas!" said he, fearing to keep his looks
fixed on the Bible, "I do not well understand these things; I must
give a very different meaning to the Scriptures from that which they
seem to have. I must keep to the interpretation of the Church, and
indeed of the pope."

  [712] Farel. A tous seigneurs, &c.

  [713] Ibid.

  [714] Oculos demittens, visis non credebam. Farellus Natali Galeoto.


One day, as he was reading the Bible, a doctor who happened to come in
rebuked him sharply. "No man," said he, "ought to read the Holy
Scriptures before he has learnt philosophy and taken his degree in
arts." This was a preparation the apostles had not required; but Farel
believed him. "I was," says he, "the most wretched of men, shutting my
eyes lest I should see."[715]

  [715] Oculos a luce avertebam. Farellus Natali Galeoto.

From that time the young Dauphinese had a return to his Romish
fervour. The legends of the saints inflamed his imagination. The
greater the severity of the monastic rules, the greater was the
attraction he felt towards them. In the midst of the woods near Paris,
some Carthusians inhabited a group of gloomy cells; he visited them
with reverence, and shared in their austerities. "I was wholly
employed, day and night, in serving the devil," said he, "after the
fashion of that man of sin, the pope. I had my Pantheon in my heart,
and such a troop of mediators, saviours, and gods, that I might well
have passed for a papal register."

The darkness could not grow deeper; the morning star was soon to
arise, and it was destined to appear at Lefevre's voice. There were
already some gleams of light in the doctor of Etaples; an inward
conviction told him that the Church could not long remain in its
actual position; and often, at the very moment of his return from
saying mass, or of rising from before some image, the old man would
turn towards his youthful disciple, and grasping him by the hand would
say in a serious tone of voice: "My dear William, God will renew the
world, and you will see it!"[716] Farel did not thoroughly understand
these words. Yet Lefevre did not confine himself to this mysterious
language; a great change which was then wrought in him, was destined
to produce a similar effect on his disciple.

  [716] A tous seigneurs.--See also his letter to Pellican. Ante annos
  plus minus quadraginta, me manu apprehensum ita alloquebatur:
  "Gulielme, oportet orbem immutari et tu videbis!"


The old doctor was engaged in a laborious task; he was carefully
collecting the legends of the saints and martyrs, and arranging them
according to the order in which their names are found in the
calendar. Two months had already been printed, when one of those beams
of light which come from heaven, suddenly illuminated his soul. He
could not resist the disgust which such puerile superstitions must
ever cause in the heart of a Christian. The sublimity of the Word of
God made him perceive the paltry nature of these fables. They now
appeared to him no better than "brimstone fit to kindle the fire of
idolatry."[717] He abandoned his work, and throwing these legends
aside, turned ardently towards the Holy Scriptures. At the moment when
Lefevre, quitting the wondrous tales of the saints, laid his hand on
the Word of God, a new era began in France, and is the commencement of
the Reformation.

  [717] A tous seigneurs, peuples et pasteurs.

In effect, Lefevre, weaned from the fables of the Breviary, began to
study the Epistles of St. Paul; the light increased rapidly in his
heart, and he immediately imparted to his disciples that knowledge of
the truth which we find in his commentaries.[718] Strange doctrines
were those for the school and for the age, which were then first heard
in Paris, and disseminated by the press throughout the christian
world. We may easily understand that the young disciples who listened
to them were aroused, impressed, and changed by them; and that thus,
prior to the year 1512, the dawn of a brighter day was preparing for

  [718] The first edition of his Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul
  is, if I mistake not, that of 1512. A copy is extant in the
  Bibliothèque Royale of Paris. The second edition is that from which I
  quote. The learned Simon says (Observations on the New Testament),
  that "James Lefevre deserves to be ranked among the most skilful
  commentators of the age." We should give him greater praise than this.


The doctrine of justification by faith, which overthrew by a single
blow the subtleties of the schoolmen and the observances of popery,
was boldly proclaimed in the bosom of the Sorbonne. "It is God alone,"
said the doctor, and the vaulted roofs of the university must have
been astonished as they re-echoed such strange sounds, "it is God
alone, who by his grace, through faith, justifies unto everlasting
life.[719] There is a righteousness of works, there is a
righteousness of grace; the one cometh from man, the other from God;
one is earthly and passeth away, the other is heavenly and eternal;
one is the shadow and the sign, the other the light and the truth; one
makes sin known to us that we may escape death, the other reveals
grace that we may obtain life."[720]

  [719] Solus enim Deus est qui hanc justitiam per fidem tradit, qui
  sola gratia ad vitam justificat æternam. Fabri Comm. in Epp. Pauli, p.

  [720] Illa umbratile vestigium atque signum, hæc lux et veritas est.
  Fabri Comm. in Epp. Pauli, p. 70.

"What then!" asked his hearers, as they listened to this teaching,
which contradicted that of four centuries; "has any one man been ever
justified without works?" "One!" answered Lefevre, "they are
innumerable. How many people of disorderly lives, who have ardently
prayed for the grace of baptism, possessing faith alone in Christ, and
who, if they died the moment after, have entered into the life of the
blessed without works!"--"If, therefore, we are not justified by
works, it is in vain that we perform them," replied some. The Paris
doctor answered, and the other reformers would not perhaps have
altogether approved of this reply: "Certainly not! they are not in
vain. If I hold a mirror to the sun, its image is reflected; the more
I polish and clear it, the brighter is the reflection; but if we allow
it to become tarnished, the splendour of the sun is dimmed. It is the
same with justification in those who lead an impure life." In this
passage, Lefevre, like Augustine in many, does not perhaps make a
sufficient distinction between sanctification and justification. The
doctor of Etaples reminds us strongly of the Bishop of Hippona. Those
who lead an unholy life have never received justification, and
therefore cannot lose it. But Lefevre may have intended to say that
the Christian, when he has fallen into any sin, loses the assurance of
salvation, and not salvation itself. If so, there is no objection to
be made against his doctrine.


Thus a new life and a new teaching had penetrated into the university
of Paris. The doctrine of faith, formerly preached in Gaul by Pothinus
and Irenæus, was heard there again. From this time there were two
parties, two people in this great school of Christendom. Lefevre's
lessons and the zeal of his disciples formed the most striking
contrast to the scholastic teaching of the majority of the doctors,
and the irregular and frivolous lives of most of the students. In the
colleges, they were far more busily engaged in learning their parts in
comedies, in masquerading, and in mountebank farces, than in studying
the oracles of God. In these plays the honour of the great, of the
princes, of the king himself, was frequently attacked. The parliament
interfered about this period; and summoning the principals of several
colleges before them, forbade those indulgent masters to permit such
dramas to be represented in their houses.[721]

  [721] Crévier, Hist. de l'Université, v. 95.

But a more powerful diversion than the decrees of parliament suddenly
came to correct these disorders. Jesus Christ was preached. Great was
the uproar on the benches of the university, and the students began to
occupy themselves almost as much with the evangelical doctrines as
with the quibbles of the school or with comedies. Many of those whose
lives were the least irreproachable, adhered however to the doctrine
of works; and feeling that the doctrine of faith condemned their way
of living, they pretended that St. James was opposed to St. Paul.
Lefevre, resolving to defend the treasure he had discovered, showed
the agreement of these two apostles: "Does not St. James in his first
chapter declare that every good and perfect gift cometh down _from
above_? Now, who will deny that justification is the good and perfect
gift?......If we see a man moving, the respiration that we perceive is
to us a sign of life. Thus works are necessary, but only as signs of a
living faith, which is accompanied by justification.[722] Do
eye-salves or lotions give light to the eye?......No! it is the
influence of the sun. Well, then, these lotions and these eye-salves
are our works. The ray that the sun darts from above is justification

  [722] Opera signa vivæ fidei, quam justificatio sequitur. Fabri Comm.
  in Epp. Pauli, p. 73.

  [723] Sed radius desuper a sole vibratus, justificatio est. Ibid.


Farel listened earnestly to this teaching. These words of salvation by
grace had immediately an indescribable charm for him. Every objection
fell: every struggle ceased. No sooner had Lefevre put forward this
doctrine than Farel embraced it with all the ardour of his soul. He
had undergone labour and conflicts enough to be aware that he could
not save himself. Accordingly, immediately he saw in the Word that God
saves freely, he believed. "Lefevre," said he, "extricated me from the
false opinion of human merits, and taught me that everything came from
grace: which I believed as soon as it was spoken."[724] Thus by a
conversion as prompt and decisive as that of St. Paul was Farel led to
the faith,--that Farel who (as Theodore Beza says), undismayed by
difficulties, threats, abuse, or blows, won over to Jesus Christ
Montbelliard, Neufchatel, Lausanne, Aigle, and finally Geneva.[725]

  [724] Farel. A tous seigneurs.

  [725] Nullis difficultatibus fractus, nullis minis, convitiis,
verberibus denique inflictis territus. Bezæ Icones.

Meanwhile Lefevre, continuing his lessons, and delighting, as Luther
did, in employing contrasts and paradoxes containing weighty truths,
extolled the greatness of the mysteries of redemption: "Ineffable
exchange," exclaimed he, "the innocent One is condemned and the
criminal acquitted; the Blessing is cursed, and he who was cursed is
blessed; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is covered with
shame, and He who was put to shame is covered with glory."[726] The
pious doctor, going still deeper, acknowledged that all salvation
proceeds from the sovereignty of God's love. "Those who are saved,"
said he, "are saved by election, by grace, by the will of God, not by
their own. Our own election, will, and works, are of no avail: the
election of God alone is profitable. When we are converted, it is not
our conversion that makes us the elect of God, but the grace, will,
and election of God which convert us."[727]

  [726] O ineffabile commercium!......Fabri Comm. 145, verso.

  [727] Inefficax est ad hoc ipsum nostra voluntas, nostra electio: Dei
  autem electio efficacissima et potentissima est, &c. Ibid. p. 89,


But Lefevre did not confine himself to doctrines alone: if he gave to
God the glory, he required obedience from man, and urged the
obligations which proceed from the great privileges of the Christian.
"If thou art a member of Christ's Church, thou art also a member of
his body," said he; "and if thou art a member of Christ's body, thou
art full of the Divinity; for in him dwelleth the fulness of the
Godhead bodily. Oh! if men could but understand this privilege, how
chastely, purely, and holily would they live, and they would look upon
all the glory of this world as disgrace, in comparison with that inner
glory which is hidden from the eyes of the flesh."[728]

  [728] Si de corpore Christi, divinitate repletus es. Fabri Comm. p.
  176, verso.

Lefevre perceived that the office of a teacher of the Word is a lofty
station; and he exercised it with unshaken fidelity. The corruption of
the times, and particularly that of the clergy, excited his
indignation, and became the subject of severe rebuke. "How scandalous
it is," said he, "to see a bishop asking persons to drink with him,
gambling, rattling the dice, spending his time with hawks and dogs,
and in hunting, hallooing after rooks and deer, and frequenting houses
of ill-fame![729]......O men deserving a severer punishment than
Sardanapalus himself!"

  [729] Et virgunculas gremio tenentem, cum suaviis sermones miscentem.
  Ibid. p. 208.


     Farel and the Saints--The University--Farel's
     Conversion--Farel and Luther--Other Disciples--Date of the
     Reform in France--Spontaneous Rise of the different
     Reforms--Which was the first?--Lefevre's Place.


Thus taught Lefevre. Farel listened, trembling with emotion; he
received all, and rushed suddenly into the new path that was opening
before him. There was, however, one point of his ancient faith which
he could not as yet entirely renounce; this was the invocation of
saints. The best spirits often have these relics of darkness, which
they cling to after their illumination. Farel was astonished as he
heard the illustrious doctor declare that Christ alone should be
invoked. "Religion has but one foundation," said Lefevre, "one object,
one Head, Jesus Christ, blessed for evermore: alone hath He trodden
the wine-press. Let us not then call ourselves after St. Paul, or
Apollos, or St. Peter. The cross of Christ alone openeth the gates of
heaven, and shutteth the gates of hell." When he heard these words, a
fierce conflict took place in Farel's soul. On the one hand, he beheld
the multitude of saints with the Church; on the other, Jesus Christ
alone with his master. Now he inclined to one side, now to another; it
was his last error and his last battle. He hesitated, he still clung
to those venerable men and women at whose feet Rome falls in
adoration. At length the decisive blow was struck from above. The
scales fell from his eyes. Jesus alone appeared deserving of his
worship. "Then," said he, "popery was utterly overthrown; I began to
detest it as devilish, and the holy Word of God had the chief place in
my heart."[730]

  [730] Farel. A tous seigneurs.

Public events accelerated the course of Farel and his friends. Thomas
de Vio, who afterwards contended with Luther at Augsburg and at
Leipsic, having advanced in one of his works that the pope was the
absolute monarch of the Church, Louis XII. laid the book before the
university in the month of February 1512. James Allmain, one of the
youngest doctors, a man of profound genius and indefatigable
application, read before the faculty of theology a refutation of the
cardinal's assertions, which was received with the greatest

  [731] Crévier, Hist. de l'Université de Paris, v. 81.

[Sidenote: PEACE AND JOY.]

What impression must not such discourses have produced on the minds of
Lefevre's young disciples! Could they hesitate when the university
seemed impatient under the papal yoke? If the main body itself was in
motion, ought not they to rush forward as skirmishers and clear the
way? "It was necessary," said Farel, "that popery should have fallen
little by little from my heart; for it did not tumble down at the
first shock."[732] He contemplated the abyss of superstitions in which
he had been plunged. Standing on the brink, he once more surveyed its
depth with an anxious eye, and shrunk back with a feeling of terror.
"Oh! what horror do I feel at myself and my sins, when I think of
these things!" exclaimed he.[733] "O Lord," he continued, "would that
my soul had served thee with a living faith, as thy obedient servants
have done; would that it had prayed to and honoured thee as much as I
have given my heart to the mass and to serve that enchanted wafer,
giving it all honour!" In such terms did the youthful Dauphinese
deplore his past life, and repeat in tears, as St. Augustine had done
before: "I have known Thee too late; too late have I loved Thee!"

  [732] Farel. A tous seigneurs.

  [733] Farel. A tous seigneurs.

Farel had found Jesus Christ; and having reached the port, he was
delighted to find repose after such terrible storms.[734] "Now," said
he, "every thing appears to me under a fresh aspect.[735] Scripture is
cleared up; prophecy is opened; the apostles shed a strong light upon
my soul.[736] A voice, till now unknown, the voice of Christ, my
Shepherd, my Master, my Teacher, speaks to me with power."[737] He was
so changed that, "instead of the murderous heart of a ravening wolf,
he came back," he tells us, "quietly, like a meek and harmless lamb,
having his heart entirely withdrawn from the pope, and given to Jesus

  [734] Animus per varia jactatus, verum nactus portum, soli hæsit.
  Farel Galeoto.

  [735] Jam rerum nova facies. Ibid.

  [736] Notior scriptura, apertiores prophetæ, lucidiores apostoli.

  [737] Agnita pastoris, magistri, et præceptoris Christi vox. Ibid.

  [738] Farel. A tous seigneurs.

Having escaped from so great an evil, he turned towards the
Bible,[739] and began to study Greek and Hebrew with much
earnestness.[740] He read the Scriptures constantly, with ever
increasing affection, and God enlightened him from day to day. He
still continued to attend the churches of the established worship; but
what found he there? loud voices, interminable chantings, and words
spoken without understanding.[741] Accordingly, when standing in the
midst of a crowd that was passing near an image or an altar, he would
exclaim, "Thou alone art God! thou alone art wise! thou alone art
good![742] Nothing must be taken away from thy holy law, and nothing
added. For thou alone art the Lord, and thou alone wilt and must

  [739] Lego sacra ut causam inveniam. Farel Galeoto.

  [740] Life of Farel, Geneva and Choupard MSS.

  [741] Clamores multi, cantiones innumeræ. Farel Galeoto, Neufchatel

  [742] Vere tu solus Deus. Farel Galeoto, Neufchatel MS.

Thus fell in his eyes all men and all teachers from the height to
which his imagination had raised them, and he now saw nothing in the
world but God and his Word. The other doctors of Paris, by their
persecutions of Lefevre, had already fallen in his esteem; but erelong
Lefevre himself, his beloved guide, was no more than a man like
himself. He loved and venerated him still; but God alone became his


Of all the reformers, Farel and Luther are perhaps those whose early
spiritual developments are best known to us, and who had to pass
through the greatest struggles. Quick and ardent, men of conflict and
strife, they underwent the severest trials before attaining peace.
Farel is the pioneer of the Reformation in France and Switzerland; he
rushes into the wood, and hews down the aged giants of the forest with
his axe. Calvin came after, like Melancthon, from whom he differs
indeed in character, but whom he resembles in his part as theologian
and organizer. These two men, who have something in common with the
legislators of antiquity,--the one in its graceful, the other in its
severe style,--built up, settled, and gave laws to the territory
conquered by the first two reformers. If, however, Luther and Farel
approximate in some of their features, we must acknowledge that the
latter resembles the Saxon reformer in one aspect only. Besides his
superior genius, Luther had, in all that concerned the Church, a
moderation and wisdom, an acquaintance with the past, a comprehensive
judgment, and even an organizing faculty, that did not exist to the
same degree in the Dauphinese reformer.

Farel was not the only young Frenchman into whose mind the new light
then beamed. The doctrines that fell from the lips of the illustrious
doctor of Etaples fermented among the crowd who listened to his
lectures, and in his school were trained the daring soldiers who, in
the hour of battle, were to contend even to the foot of the scaffold.
They listened, compared, discussed, and keenly argued on both sides.
It is probable that among the small number of scholars who defended
the truth was young Peter Robert Olivetan, born at Noyon about the
close of the fifteenth century, who afterwards translated the Bible
into French from Lefevre's version, and who seems to have been the
first to draw the attention of a youth of his family, also a native of
Noyon, to the Gospel, and who became the most illustrious chief of the

  [743] Biogr. Univ., art. _Olivetan_. Hist. du Calvinisme by Maimbourg,
  p. 53.


Thus in 1512, at a time when Luther had made no impression on the
world, and was going to Rome on some trifling monkish business,--at an
epoch when Zwingle had not yet begun to apply himself earnestly to
sacred learning, and was crossing the Alps with the confederates to
fight for the pope,--Paris and France were listening to the teaching
of those vital truths from which the Reformation was ordained to
issue; and souls prepared to disseminate them were drinking them in
with holy thirst. Hence Theodore Beza, speaking of Lefevre, hails him
as the man "who boldly began the revival of the pure religion of Jesus
Christ;"[744] and remarks that, "as in ancient times the school of
Isocrates sent forth the best orators, so from the lecture-room of the
doctor of Etaples issued many of the best men of the age and of the

  [744] Et purioris religionis instaurationem fortiter aggressus. Beza

  [745] Sic ex Stapulensis auditorio præstantissimi viri plurimi
  prodierint. Ibid.


The Reformation was not, therefore, in France a foreign importation.
It was born on French soil; it germinated in Paris; it put forth its
first shoots in the university itself, that second authority in Romish
Christendom. God planted the seeds of this work in the simple hearts
of a Picard and a Dauphinese, before they had begun to bud forth in
any other country upon earth. The Swiss Reformation, as we have
seen,[746] was independent of the German Reformation; and in its turn
the Reformation in France was independent of that of Switzerland and
of Germany. The work commenced at the same time in different
countries, without any communication one with the other; as in a
battle all the divisions begin to move at the same moment, although
one has not told the other to march, but because one and the same
command, issuing from a higher power, has been heard by all. The time
had come, the nations were prepared, and God was everywhere beginning
the revival of his Church at the same time. Such facts demonstrate
that the great revolution of the sixteenth century was a work of God.

  [746] See Vol. II. p. 281.

If we look only to dates, we must acknowledge that neither to
Switzerland nor to Germany belongs the honour of having begun this
work, although, hitherto, these two countries alone have contended for
it. This honour belongs to France. This is a truth, a fact that we are
anxious to establish, because until now it may possibly have been
overlooked. Without dwelling on the influence that Lefevre exercised
directly or indirectly on many individuals, and in particular on
Calvin himself, as we conjecture, let us reflect on that which he had
on one only of his disciples,--on Farel, and on the energetic activity
which this servant of God manifested ever afterwards. Can we, after
that, resist the conviction, that if Zwingle and Luther had never
appeared, there would still have been a reforming movement in France?
It is impossible, no doubt, to calculate what might have been its
extent; we must even acknowledge that the report of what was taking
place on the other side of the Rhine and the Jura afterwards animated
and accelerated the progress of the French reformers. But they were
the first awakened by the trumpet that sounded from heaven in the
sixteenth century, and they were the first on foot and under arms upon
the field of battle.

Nevertheless Luther is the great workman of the sixteenth century, and
in the fullest sense the first reformer. Lefevre is not so complete as
Calvin, Farel, and Luther. He is of Wittemberg and Geneva, but there
is still a tinge of the Sorbonne; he is the first catholic in the
reform movement, and the last of the reformers in the catholic
movement. He is to the end a sort of go-between, a mediator not
altogether free from mystery, destined to remind us of the connexion
between the old things and the new, which seemed for ever separated by
an impassable gulf. Though rejected and persecuted by Rome, he still
clings to Rome by a slender thread which he has no desire to break.
Lefevre of Etaples has a station apart in the theology of the
sixteenth century: he is the link connecting the ancient times with
the modern, and the man in whom the transition is made from the
theology of the middle ages to the theology of the Reformation.


     Character of Francis I.--Commencement of Modern
     Times--Liberty and Obedience--Margaret of Valois--The
     Court--Briçonnet, Count of Montbrun--Lefevre commends him to
     the Bible--Francis I. and "his Children"--The Gospel brought
     to Margaret--Conversion--Adoration--Margaret's Character.


Thus the whole university was in a state of restlessness. But the
Reformation in France was not to be a work of the learned only. It was
to take its place among the great ones of the world, and even in the
court of the sovereign.

The youthful Francis I. of Angoulême had succeeded his father-in-law
and cousin Louis XII. His beauty and address, his courage and love of
pleasure, made him the first knight of his time. He aspired, however,
at being something more; he desired to be a great and even a good
king, provided everything would bend to his sovereign pleasure.
Valour, a taste for letters, and a love of gallantry, are three terms
that will express the character of Francis and the spirit of his age.
Two other illustrious kings, Henry IV. and especially Louis XIV.,
presented the same features in after-years. But these princes wanted
what the Gospel communicates; and although there had always existed in
the nation elements of holiness and christian elevation, we may say
that these three great monarchs of modern France have in some measure
stamped upon their subjects the impress of their own peculiarities, or
rather that they themselves were the faithful images of the character
of their people. If the Gospel had entered France with the most
illustrious of the Valois family, it would have brought the nation
what it does not possess,--a spiritual tendency, a christian holiness,
a knowledge of divine things, and would thus have perfected it in what
constitutes the real strength and greatness of a people.


It was in the reign of Francis I. that France and Europe passed from
the middle ages to modern times. The new world, which was then in the
bud, grew up and entered into possession. Two classes of men imposed
their influence on the new state of society. On the one hand were the
men of faith, men also of wisdom and holiness; and by their side were
the courtly writers, friends of the world and of vice, who by the
freedom of their principles contributed as much to the depravation of
morals as the former to their reformation.

If Europe in the days of Francis I. had not witnessed the rise of the
reformers, and had been handed over by the severe judgment of
Providence to the unbelieving innovators, her fate and that of
Christianity would have been decided. The danger was great. For some
time these two classes of combatants, the antagonists of the pope and
the opponents of the Gospel, were mixed up together; and as they both
claimed liberty, they appeared to employ the same arms against the
same enemies. An unpractised eye could not distinguish between them
amid the dust and clouds of the battle-field. If the former had
allowed themselves to be carried away by the latter, all would have
been lost. The enemies of the hierarchy were passing rapidly to the
extremes of impiety, and pushing christian society into a frightful
abyss; the papacy itself was helping towards this terrible
catastrophe, and accelerating by its ambition and its disorders the
destruction of the remnants of truth and life still surviving in the
Church. But God raised up the Reformation, and Christianity was saved.
The reformers who had shouted liberty, soon called for obedience. The
very men who had cast down the throne whence the Roman pontiff issued
his oracles, fell prostrate before the Word of God. Then a clear and
definite separation took place; nay more, the two bodies engaged in
war against each other. The one party had desired liberty only for
themselves, the others had claimed it for the Word of God. The
Reformation became the most formidable enemy of that incredulity
towards which Rome is often so lenient. After restoring liberty to the
Church, the reformers restored religion to the world. Of these two
gifts, the latter was the most needed.


The friends of infidelity hoped, for a while, to reckon among their
number Margaret of Valois, duchess of Alençon, whom Francis tenderly
loved, and always called "_sa mignonne_," his darling, as we learn
from Brantôme.[747] The same tastes, the same acquirements,
distinguished both brother and sister. Possessing, like Francis, a
handsome person, Margaret combined with those eminent qualities that
make great characters those gentler virtues that win the affections.
In the world, in the gay entertainments at the court of the king and
of the emperor, she shone like a queen, charming, surprising, and
captivating all hearts. Passionately fond of letters, and endowed with
a rare genius, she would retire to her closet, and there indulge in
the sweet pleasures of thought, study, and learning. But her ruling
passion was to do good and prevent evil. When ambassadors had been
received by the king, they went and paid their respects to Margaret.
"They were mightily enchanted with her," says Brantôme, "and made a
glowing report of her to their own countrymen." And the king would
often refer matters of importance to her, "leaving them solely to her

  [747] Vie des Dames illustres, p. 333. La Haye, 1740.

  [748] Ibid. p. 337.

This celebrated princess was distinguished for the strictness of her
morals; but while many confine this strictness to their lips, and are
lax in their behaviour, Margaret did the contrary. Irreproachable in
conduct, she was not altogether free from censure in her writings.
Instead of being surprised at this, we might rather wonder that a
woman so dissolute as Louisa of Savoy should have a daughter so pure
as Margaret. While visiting different parts of the country with the
court, she amused herself with describing the manners of the time, and
particularly the disorders of the priests and monks. "I have heard
her," says Brantôme, "thus narrating tales to my grandmother, who
always accompanied her in her litter, as lady-in-waiting, and who had
charge of her inkhorn."[749]

  [749] Vie des Dames illustres, p. 346.


This Margaret, so beautiful, so full of wit, and living in the
atmosphere of a corrupted court, was one of the first to be carried
away by the religious movement then beginning in France. But how could
the Duchess of Alençon be reached by the Reformation in the midst of
so profane a court, and of the licentious tales by which it was
amused? Her elevated soul felt wants that the Gospel alone could
satisfy; grace works everywhere; and Christianity, which even before
an apostle had appeared in Rome already counted followers in the house
of Narcissus and in the court of Nero,[750] penetrated rapidly, at the
period of its renovation, into the court of Francis I. High-bred dames
and noble lords addressed the princess in the language of faith; and
that sun, then rising upon France, shed its earliest beams upon an
illustrious head, by which they were immediately reflected on the
Duchess of Alençon.

  [750] Romans xvi. 11; Philip. iv. 22.

Among the most distinguished noblemen at the court was William of
Montbrun, son of Cardinal Briçonnet of St. Malo, who had entered the
church after the decease of his wife. Count William, who was fond of
study, took holy orders, and became successively bishop of Lodève and
of Meaux. Being twice sent ambassador to Rome, he returned to Paris,
unseduced by the flattery and pomps of Leo X.

At the period of his return to France, the sap was everywhere
beginning to move. Farel, then master of arts, was lecturing in the
celebrated college of the Cardinal Lemoine, one of the four principal
colleges of the theological faculty in Paris, equal in rank to the
Sorbonne. Two fellow-countrymen of Lefevre, Arnaud and Gerard Roussel,
with several others, increased the circle of liberal and generous
minds. Briçonnet, fresh from the gay entertainments and festivities of
Rome, was astonished at what had taken place in Paris during his
absence. Thirsting for the truth, he renewed his ancient relations
with Lefevre, and passed many precious hours with the doctor of the
Sorbonne, with Farel, the two Roussels and their friends.[751] This
illustrious but humble-minded prelate was willing to be instructed by
the lowliest Christians, but particularly by the Lord himself. "I am
in darkness," said he, "awaiting the grace of the Divine benevolence,
from which I am exiled by my demerits." His mind was dazzled, as it
were, by the brilliancy of the Gospel. His eyelids drooped before its
unequalled brightness. "The eyes of all men," added he, "are
insufficient to receive the whole light of this great luminary."[752]

  [751] Histoire de la Révocat. de l'édit. de Nantes, i. 7. Maimbourg,
  Hist. du Calv. p. 12.

  [752] This passage is taken from a manuscript in the Bibliothèque
  Royale at Paris, entitled _Lettres de Marguerite, reine de Navarre_,
  and marked S. F. 337. I shall have frequent occasion to quote the
  manuscript, which I had great difficulty in deciphering.


Lefevre had recommended the bishop to the Bible; he had pointed to it
as the clue which ever leads men back to the primitive truth of
Christianity,--to what it was when schools, sects, ordinances, and
traditions were unknown, and as the powerful medium by which the
religion of Jesus Christ is renovated. Briçonnet read the Bible. "Such
is the sweetness of this Divine food," said he, "that it makes the
mind insatiable; the more we taste of it, the more we long for
it."[753] The simple and mighty truth of salvation charmed him: he
found Christ,--he found God himself. "What vessel," said he, "is able
to receive the exceeding fulness of this inexhaustible sweetness? But
the dwelling extends according to our desire to entertain the good
guest. Faith is the quartermaster who alone can find room for him, or,
more truly, who makes us dwell in him." But at the same time the good
bishop, afflicted at seeing this doctrine of life, which the
Reformation restored to the world, held in so little estimation at
court, in the city, and among the people, exclaimed: "Oh singular and
most worthy innovation, and yet to my fellow-men most unacceptable!"

  [753] Ibid.


It is in this way that evangelical opinions made their way into the
midst of the frivolous, dissolute, and literary court of Francis I.
Many of the men who composed it, and who enjoyed the entire confidence
of the king, as John du Bellay, Budæus, Cop the court physician, and
even Petit the king's confessor, appeared favourably disposed towards
the sentiments of Briçonnet and Lefevre. Francis, who loved learning,
who invited into his states learned men inclined to Lutheranism, and
who thought (as Erasmus says) "in this manner to adorn and illustrate
his age in a more magnificent manner than he could have done by
trophies, pyramids, or by the most pompous structures," was himself
carried away by his sister, by Briçonnet, and by the literary men of
his court and universities. He would often be present at the
discussions of the learned, listening with delight to their
conversation at table, and calling them "his children." He prepared
the way for the Word of God by founding Hebrew and Greek
professorships. And hence Theodore Beza, when placing his portrait at
the head of the reformers, says: "Pious spectator! do not shudder at
the sight of this adversary! Ought he not to have a part in this
honour, who expelled barbarism from the world, and with firm hand
substituted in its stead three languages and sound learning, to be as
it were the portals to the new building that was shortly to be

  [754] Neque rex potentissime pudeat......quasi atrienses hujus ædis
  futuras. Bezæ Icones.--Disputationibus eorum ipse interfuit. Flor.
  Ræmundi Hist. de ortu hæresum, vii. 2.


But there was at the court of Francis I. one soul in particular, which
seemed prepared to receive the evangelical influence of the doctor of
Etaples and the bishop of Meaux. Margaret, yet hesitating and
wavering, in the midst of the depraved society that surrounded her,
looked for support, and found it in the Gospel. She turned towards
this fresh breath that was reanimating the world, and inhaled it with
delight as an emanation from heaven. From some of the ladies of her
court she learnt what the new doctors were teaching; they lent her
their writings, their little books, called in the language of the
time, "tracts;" and spoke to her of the "primitive Church, of the pure
Word of God, of worshipping in spirit and in truth, of christian
liberty which shakes off the yoke of superstition and traditions of
men to bind them closer to God alone."[755] Erelong this princess
conversed with Lefevre, Farel, and Roussel; their zeal, their piety,
their purity of morals,--all in them struck her imagination; but it
was the Bishop of Meaux in particular, who had long enjoyed her
friendship, that became her guide in the path of faith.

  [755] Maimbourg, Hist. du Calvinisme, p. 17.

Thus, in the midst of the brilliant court of Francis I. and of the
profligate household of Louisa of Savoy, was accomplished one of those
conversions of the heart which, although not thoroughly evangelical,
are not the fruit of a mere æsthetical religion. Margaret subsequently
recorded in her poems the different movements of her soul at this
important period of her life; and in them we may trace the path she
then trod. We find that the sense of sin had taken strong hold of her,
and that she wept over the levity with which she had treated the
scandals of the world. She exclaimed:

    Is there a gulf of ill, so deep and wide
    That can suffice but e'en a tenth to hide
                      Of my vile sins?

This corruption, of which she had so long been ignorant, she
discovered everywhere, now that her eyes were opened.

    Well do I feel within me is the root,
    Without are branch and foliage, flower and fruit.[756]

  [756] Marguerites de la Marguerite des princesses. Lyon. 1547, tome i.
  Miroir de l'âme pécheresse, p. 15. The copy I have used appears to
  have belonged to the Queen of Navarre herself, and some notes that it
  contains are said to be in her own handwriting. It is now in the
  possession of a friend of the author's.

[Sidenote: ADORATION.]

Yet amidst the alarm caused by the state of her soul, she felt that a
God of peace had appeared to her:

    My God, thou hast come down on earth to me,--
    To me, although a naked worm I be.[757]

And erelong a sense of the love of God in Christ was shed abroad in
her heart.

Margaret had found faith, and her enraptured soul indulged in holy

    Word Divine, Jesus the Salvator,
    Only Son of the eternal Pater,
    The first, the last; of all things renovator,
    Bishop and king, and mighty triumphator,
    From death by death our liberator.
    By faith we're made the sons of the Creator.

From this time a great change took place in the Duchess of Alençon:--

    Though poor, and weak, and ignorant I be,
    How rich, how strong, how wise I am in Thee![759]

But the power of sin was not yet subdued in her. She found a struggle,
a discord in her soul that alarmed her:[760]--

    In spirit noble,--but in nature slave;
    Immortal am I,--tending to the grave;
    Essence of heaven,--and yet of earthly birth;
    God's dwelling place,--and yet how little worth.

Margaret, seeking in nature the symbols that might express the wants
and affections of her soul, chose for her emblem (says Brantôme) the
marigold, "which by its rays and leaves, has more affinity with the
sun, and turns wherever he goes."[761]--She added this device:--

    _Non inferiora secutus_,
    I seek not things below,

"as a sign," adds the courtly writer, "that she directed all her
actions, thoughts, desires, and affections, to that great sun which is
God; and hence she was suspected of being attached to the Lutheran

  [757] Ibid. pp. 18, 19.

  [758] Marguerites, &c. Discord de l'esprit et de la chair, p. 73. (The
  translator has endeavoured to preserve the quaintness of the original,
  both in rhyme and rhythm).

  [759] Ibid. Miroir de l'ame, p. 22.

  [760] Ibid. Discord de l'esprit, p. 71.

  [761] Vie des Femmes illustres, p. 33.

  [762] Ibid.


In fact, the princess experienced, not long after, the truth of the
saying, that _all who will live godly in Jesus Christ shall suffer
persecution_. At the court, they talked of Margaret's new opinions,
and the surprise was great. What! even the sister of the king takes
part with these people! For a moment it might have been thought that
Margaret's ruin was certain. She was denounced to Francis I. But the
king, who was tenderly attached to his sister, pretended to think that
it was untrue. Margaret's character gradually lessened the opposition.
Every one loved her, says Brantôme: "she was very kind, mild,
gracious, charitable, affable, a great alms-giver, despising nobody,
and winning all hearts by her excellent qualities."[763]

  [763] Vie des Femmes illustres, p. 341.

In the midst of the corruption and frivolity of that age, the mind
reposes with delight on this chosen soul, which the grace of God had
seized beneath such a load of vanities and grandeur. But her feminine
character held her back. If Francis I. had felt his sister's
convictions, he would no doubt have followed them out. The timid heart
of the princess trembled before the anger of the king. She was
constantly wavering between her brother and her Saviour, and could not
resolve to sacrifice either. We cannot recognise her as a Christian
who has reached the perfect liberty of the children of God: she is a
correct type of those elevated souls, so numerous in every age,
particularly among women, who, powerfully attracted towards heaven,
have not sufficient strength to detach themselves entirely from the

However, such as she is, she is a pleasing character on the stage of
history. Neither Germany nor England present her parallel. She is a
star, slightly clouded no doubt, but shedding an indescribable and
gentle radiance, and at the time of which I am treating her rays shone
out still more brightly. It is not until later years, when the angry
looks of Francis I. denounce a mortal hatred against the Reformation,
that his frightened sister will screen her holy faith from the light
of day. But now she raises her head in the midst of this corrupted
court, and appears a bride of Christ. The respect paid to her, the
high opinion entertained of her understanding and of her heart, plead
the cause of the Gospel at the court of France much better than any
preacher could have done. The gentle influence of woman gained
admission for the new doctrine. It is perhaps to this period we should
trace the inclination of the French nobility to embrace Protestantism.
If Francis had followed his sister, if all the nation had opened its
gates to Christianity, Margaret's conversion might have been the
saving of France. But while the nobles welcomed the Gospel, the king
and the people remained faithful to Rome; and there came a time when
it was a cause of serious misfortune to the Reformation to count a
Navarre and a Condé among its ranks.


     Enemies of the Reformation--Louisa--Duprat--Concordat of
     Bologna--Opposition of the Parliament and the
     University--The Sorbonne--Beda--His Character--His
     Tyranny--Berquin, the most learned of the Nobility--The
     Intriguers of the Sorbonne--Heresy of the three
     Magdalens--Luther condemned at Paris--Address of the
     Sorbonne to the King--Lefevre quits Paris for Meaux.


Thus already had the Gospel made illustrious conquests in France.
Lefevre, Briçonnet, Farel, and Margaret joyfully yielded in Paris to
the movement that was already beginning to shake the world. Francis I.
himself seemed at that time more attracted by the splendour of
literature, than repelled by the severity of the Gospel. The friends
of the Word of God were entertaining the most pleasing expectations;
they thought that the heavenly doctrine would be disseminated without
obstacle over their country, at the very moment when a formidable
opposition was organizing at court and in the Sorbonne. France, which
was to signalize itself among Roman-catholic states for nearly three
centuries by its persecutions, rose with pitiless severity against the
Reformation. If the seventeenth century was the age of a bloody
victory, the sixteenth was that of a cruel struggle. Probably in no
place did the reformed Christians meet with more merciless adversaries
on the very spot where they raised the standard of the Gospel. In
Germany, it was in the Romish states that their enemies were found; in
Switzerland, in the Romish cantons; but in France, it was face to
face. A dissolute woman and a rapacious minister then headed the long
list of the enemies of the Reformation.


Louisa of Savoy, mother of the king and of Margaret, notorious for her
gallantries, absolute in her will, and surrounded by a train of ladies
of honour whose licentiousness began at the court of France a long
series of immorality and scandal, naturally took part against the Word
of God; she was the more to be feared as she had always preserved an
almost unbounded influence over her son. But the Gospel met with a
still more formidable adversary in Louisa's favourite, Anthony Duprat,
who was nominated chancellor of the kingdom by her influence. This
man, whom a contemporary historian calls the most vicious of all
bipeds,[764] was more rapacious than Louisa was dissolute. Having
first enriched himself at the expense of justice, he desired
subsequently to increase his wealth at the expense of religion, and
entered holy orders to gain possession of the richest livings.

  [764] Bipedum omnium nequissimus. Belcarius, xv. 435.

Lust and avarice thus characterized these two persons, who, being both
devoted to the pope, endeavoured to conceal the disorders of their
lives by the blood of the heretics.[765]

  [765] Sismondi, Hist. des Français. xvi. 387.

One of their first acts was to deliver up the kingdom to the
ecclesiastical dominion of the pope. The king, after the battle of
Marignan, met Leo X. at Bologna, and there was sealed the famous
_concordat_, in virtue of which these two princes divided the spoils
of the Church between them. They annulled the supremacy of councils to
give it to the pope; and depriving the churches of their right to fill
up the vacant bishoprics and livings, conferred it on the king. After
this, Francis I., supporting the pontiff's train, proceeded to the
minster-church of Bologna to ratify this negotiation. He was sensible
of the injustice of the concordat, and turning to Duprat, whispered in
his ear: "It is enough to damn us both."[766] But what was salvation
to him? Money and the pope's alliance were what he wanted.

  [766] Mathieu, i. 16.


The parliament vigorously resisted the concordat. The king made its
deputies wait several weeks at Amboise, and then calling them before
him one day, as he rose from table, he said: "There is a king in
France, and I will not have a Venetian senate formed in my dominions."
He then commanded them to depart before sunset. Evangelical liberty
had nothing to hope from such a prince. Three days after, the
high-chamberlain La Tremouille appeared in parliament, and ordered the
concordat to be registered.

Upon this the university put itself in motion. On the 18th of March
1518, a solemn procession, at which all the students and the bachelors
with their hoods were present, repaired to the church of Saint
Catherine of the Scholars, to implore God to preserve the liberties of
the Church and of the kingdom.[767] "The colleges were closed, strong
bodies of the students went armed through the city, threatening and
sometimes maltreating the exalted personages who were publishing and
carrying out the said concordat by the king's orders."[768] The
university eventually tolerated the execution of this edict; but
without revoking the resolutions on which it had declared its
opposition; and from that time, says the Venetian ambassador Correro,
"the king began to give away the bishoprics with a liberal hand at the
solicitation of the court ladies, and to bestow abbeys on his
soldiers; so that at the court of France a trade was carried on in
bishoprics and abbeys, as at Venice in pepper and cinnamon."[769]

  [767] Crévier, v. 110.

  [768] Fontaine, Hist. Cathol., Paris, 1562, p. 16.

  [769] Raumer, Gesch. Europ. i. 270.


While Louisa and Duprat were preparing to destroy the Gospel by the
destruction of the liberties of the Gallican Church, a fanatical and
powerful party was forming against the Bible. Christian truth has
always had to encounter two powerful adversaries, the depravity of the
world and the fanaticism of the priests. The scholastic Sorbonne and a
profligate court were now to march forward hand in hand against the
confessors of Jesus Christ. In the early days of the Church, the
unbelieving Sadducees and the hypocritical Pharisees were the fiercest
enemies of Christianity; and so they have remained through every age.
Erelong from the darkness of the schools emerged the most pitiless
adversaries of the Gospel. At their head was Noel Bédier, commonly
called Beda, a native of Picardy and syndic of the Sorbonne, reputed
to be the greatest brawler and most factious spirit of his day.
Educated in the dry maxims of scholasticism, matured in the theses and
antitheses of the Sorbonne, having a greater veneration for the
distinctions of the school than for the Word of God, he was
transported with anger against those whose daring mouths ventured to
put forth other doctrines. Of a restless disposition, unable to enjoy
any repose, always requiring new pursuits, he was a torment to all
around him; confusion was his native element; he seemed born for
contention; and when he had no adversaries he fell foul of his
friends. This impetuous quack filled the university with stupid and
violent declamations against literature, against the innovations of
the age, and against all those who were not, in his opinion,
sufficiently earnest in repressing them. Many smiled as they listened
to him, but others gave credit to the invectives of the blustering
orator, and the violence of his character secured him a tyrannical
sway in the Sorbonne. He must always have some new enemy to fight,
some victim to drag to the scaffold; and accordingly he had created
heretics before any existed, and had called for the burning of Merlin,
vicar-general of Paris, for having endeavoured to justify Origen. But
when he saw the new doctors appear, he bounded like a wild beast that
suddenly perceives an easy prey within its reach. "There are three
thousand monks in one Beda," said the cautious Erasmus.[770]

  [770] In uno Beda sunt tria millia monachorum. Erasm. Epp. p. 373.

These excesses, however, were prejudicial to his cause. "What!" said
the wisest men of the age, "does the Roman Church rest on the
shoulders of such an Atlas as this?[771] Whence comes all this
disturbance, except from the absurdities of Beda himself?"

  [771] Talibus Atlantibus nititur Ecclesia Romana. Ibid. p. 1113.


In effect, the very invectives that frightened weak minds, disgusted
more generous spirits. At the court of Francis I. was a gentleman of
Artois, named Louis de Berquin, then about thirty years of age, and
who was never married. The purity of his life,[772] his profound
knowledge, which procured him the title of "the most learned of the
nobles,"[773] the openness of his disposition, his tender care for the
poor, and his unbounded attachment to his friends, distinguished him
above his equals.[774] There was not a more devout observer of the
ceremonies of the Church, fasts, festivals, and masses;[775] and he
held in the greatest horror all that was denominated heretical. It was
a matter of astonishment to witness so much devotion at the court.

  [772] Ut ne rumusculus quidem impudicitiæ sit unquam in illum exortus.
  Er. Epp. p. 1278.

  [773] Gaillard, Hist. de François I.

  [774] Mirere benignus in egenos et amicos. Er. Epp. p. 1238.

  [775] Constitutionum ac rituum ecclesiasticorum observantissimus.

It seemed as if nothing could make such a man incline to the side of
the Reformation; there were, however, one or two features in his
character that might lead him to the Gospel. He abhorred every kind of
dissimulation, and, as he never desired to injure any one himself, he
could not bear to see others injured. The tyranny of Beda and other
fanatics, their bickerings and persecutions, filled his generous soul
with indignation; and as he never did things by halves, he was
accustomed wherever he went, in the city or at the court, "even among
the highest personages in the kingdom,"[776] to inveigh with the
utmost vehemence against the tyranny of these doctors, and attack, "in
their very nests," says Theodore Beza, "those odious hornets who were
then the terror of the world."[777]

  [776] Actes des Martyrs deCrespin, p. 103.

  [777] Ut maxime omnium tunc metuendos crabrones in ipsis eorum
  cavis......Bezæ Icones.

He did not stop here: opposition to injustice led Berquin to inquire
after truth. He desired to know that holy Scripture, so dear to the
men against whom Beda and his creatures were raging; and he had
scarcely begun to read the book, before it won his heart. Berquin
immediately joined Margaret, Lefevre, Briçonnet, and all those who
loved the Word, and in their society tasted of the purest joys. He
felt that he had something more to do besides opposing the Sorbonne,
and would have loved to communicate the convictions of his soul to all
France. He immediately began to write and translate several christian
books into French. It seemed to him that every man ought to
acknowledge and embrace the truth as promptly as he had done himself.
That impetuosity which Beda had exerted in the service of human
traditions, Berquin employed in the service of the Word of God.
Although younger than the syndic of the Sorbonne, less prudent, and
less skilful, he had in his favour the noble enthusiasm of truth. They
were two strong wrestlers about to try which should throw the other.
But Berquin had another object in view than a triumph over Beda: he
would have desired to pour forth floods of truth over all his
countrymen. And hence Theodore Beza says, that France might have found
a second Luther in Berquin, if he had found a second elector in
Francis I.[778]

  [778] Gallia fortassis alterum esset Luterum nacta. Bezæ Icones.


Numerous obstacles were destined to impede his efforts. Fanaticism
finds disciples everywhere; it is a fire that spreads far and near.
The monks and ignorant priests took part with the syndic of the
Sorbonne. A party-spirit pervaded the whole troop, which was governed
by a few intriguing and fanatical leaders, who cleverly took advantage
of the insignificance or vanity of their colleagues, to infect them
with their own prejudices. At all their meetings these chiefs were the
only speakers: they domineered over their party by their violence, and
reduced the moderate and weak-minded to silence. Hardly had they made
any proposition, before these ringleaders exclaimed: "We shall soon
see now who are of the Lutheran faction."[779] Did any one give
utterance to a reasonable sentiment, a shuddering fell upon Beda,
Lecouturier, Duchesne, and the whole band; and all cried out at once:
"He is worse than Luther." This manœuvre was successful; the timid
minds that prefer peace to disputation, those who are ready to give up
their own opinions for their own advantage, those who do not
understand the simplest questions, and, lastly, those who are always
carried away by the clamour of others,--all became the willing
recruits of Beda and his satellites. Some were silent, others shouted,
all submitted to that influence which a proud and tyrannical mind
exercises over vulgar souls. Such was the state of this association,
which was regarded as so venerable, and which was at that time the
most violent enemy of evangelical Christianity. It would often be
sufficient to cast a single glance upon the most celebrated bodies to
estimate at its just value the war they wage upon truth.

  [779] Hic, inquiunt, apparebit qui sint Lutheranæ factionis. Er. Epp.
  p. 889.


Thus the university which, under Louis XII., had applauded Allmain's
aspirations after independence, abruptly plunged once more, under
Duprat and Louisa of Savoy, into fanaticism and servility. If we
except the Jansenists and a few other doctors, a noble and real
independence has never existed among the Gallican clergy. They have
never done more than oscillate between servility to the court and
servility to the pope. If under Louis XII. or Louis XIV. they had some
appearance of liberty, it was because their master in Paris was at
strife with their master at Rome. And thus we have an explanation of
the change we have pointed out. The university and the bishops forgot
their rights and duties as soon as the king ceased to enjoin their

For a long period Beda had been incensed against Lefevre; the renown
of the Picard doctor's lectures irritated his compatriot and ruffled
his pride; he would gladly have silenced him. Once already Beda had
attacked the doctor of Etaples, and as yet little able to distinguish
the evangelical doctrines, he had assailed his colleague on a point
which, however strange it may appear, was near sending Lefevre to the
scaffold.[780] This doctor had asserted that Mary, the sister of
Lazarus, Mary Magdalen, and the "woman which was a sinner," of whom
Saint Luke speaks in the seventh chapter of his Gospel, were three
distinct persons. The Greek fathers had distinguished them: the Latin
fathers had confounded them together. This terrible _heresy_ of the
three Magdalens set Beda and all his host in motion; Christendom was
roused; Fisher, bishop of Rochester, one of the most distinguished
prelates of the age, wrote against Lefevre, and the whole Church then
declared against an opinion now admitted by every Roman-catholic.
Already Lefevre, condemned by the Sorbonne, was prosecuted by the
parliament as a heretic, when Francis I., pleased at the opportunity
of striking a blow at the Sorbonne and of humbling the monks, rescued
him from the hands of his persecutors.

  [780] Gaillard, Hist. de François I. iv. 228.


Beda, enraged at seeing his victim snatched from his grasp, resolved
to take better aim another time. The name of Luther was beginning to
be heard in France. The reformer, after the dispute with Dr. Eck at
Leipsic, had agreed to acknowledge the universities of Erfurth and
Paris as his judges. The zeal displayed by the latter university
against the concordat, no doubt led him to hope that he should find
impartial judges in its members. But the times were changed, and the
more decided the theological faculty had been against the
encroachments of Rome, the more it was bent on showing its orthodoxy.
Beda accordingly found it quite disposed to enter into his views.

On the 20th of January 1520, the treasurer of the French nation[781]
bought twenty copies of the conference between Luther and Eck for
distribution among the members of the commission who were to make a
report on the matter. More than a year was employed in this
investigation. The German Reformation was beginning to create a strong
sensation in France. The universities, which were then truly catholic
institutions, to which students resorted from every country in
Christendom, brought Germany, France, Switzerland, and England, into
closer and speedier relation with each other, as regards theology and
philosophy, than those of the present day. The reports prevailing in
Paris of Luther's success strengthened the hands of such men as
Lefevre, Briçonnet, and Farel. Each of his victories increased their
courage. Many of the Sorbonne doctors were struck by the admirable
truths they found in the writings of the Wittemberg monk. There had
already been many a bold confession; but there had also been a
terrible resistance. "All Europe," says Crévier, "was waiting for the
decision of the university of Paris." The contest appeared doubtful.
At length Beda prevailed; and in April 1521, the university decreed
that Luther's works should be publicly burnt, and the author compelled
to retract.

  [781] It was formerly the custom in the university of Paris to
  classify its members into four nations: viz. France, Picardy,
  Normandy, and Germany.--Tr.


This was not enough. In fact Luther's disciples had crossed the Rhine
more speedily even than his writings. "In a short time," says the
Jesuit Maimbourg, "the university was filled with foreigners, who,
because they knew a little Hebrew and more Greek, acquired a
reputation, insinuated themselves into the houses of persons of
quality, and claimed an insolent liberty of interpreting the
Bible."[782] The faculty, therefore, appointed a deputation to bear
their remonstrances to the king.

  [782] Hist. du Calvinisme, p. 10.

Francis I., caring little for the quarrels of theologians, was
continuing his career of pleasure; and passing from castle to castle,
with his gentlemen and the ladies composing his mother's and his
sister's court, he indulged in every species of disorder, far from the
troublesome observation of the citizens of the capital. He thus made
his progresses through Brittany, Anjou, Guienne, Angoumois, and
Poitou, leading the same sumptuous life in villages and forests, as if
he had been at Paris in his palace of Tournelles. It was one round of
tournaments, sham-fights, masquerades, costly entertainments, and
banquets, which even those of Lucullus (as Brantôme says) could not

  [783] Vie des Hommes illustres, i. 326.

For a moment, however, he interrupted the course of his pleasures to
receive the grave deputies of the Sorbonne; but he saw only men of
learning in those whom the faculty pointed out as heretics. Could a
prince who boasted of having put the kings of France _hors de page_
(out of leading-strings), bend his head before a few fanatical
doctors? He replied: "I will not have these people molested. To
persecute those who teach us, would prevent able scholars from coming
into our country."[784]

  [784] Maimbourg, p. 11.

The deputation left the king's presence in great wrath. What will be
the consequence? The disease grows stronger every day; already the
heretical opinions are denominated "the sentiments of men of genius;"
the devouring flame is stealing into the most secret recesses; erelong
the conflagration will burst forth, and throughout France the edifice
of faith will fall with a terrible crash.


Beda and his party, failing to obtain the king's permission to erect
their scaffolds, resort to persecutions of a more invidious nature.
There was no kind of annoyance to which the evangelical teachers were
not subjected. Fresh reports and fresh denunciations followed each
other daily. The aged Lefevre, tormented by these ignorant zealots,
longed for repose. The pious Briçonnet, who was unremitting in his
veneration for the doctor of Etaples,[785] offered him an asylum.
Lefevre quitted Paris and retired to Meaux. This was the first victory
gained over the Gospel, and it was then seen that if the Romish party
cannot succeed in engaging the civil power on its side, there is a
secret and fanatical police, by means of which it is enabled to obtain
its end.

  [785] Pro innumeris beneficiis, pro tantis ad studia commodis. Epist.
  dedicatoria Epp. Pauli.


     Briçonnet visits his Diocese--Reform--The Doctors persecuted
     in Paris--Philiberta of Savoy--Correspondence between
     Margaret and Briçonnet.

Thus Paris was beginning to rise against the Reformation, and to trace
the outlines of that circumvallation which was destined for more than
three centuries to bar the entrance of the reformed worship. It had
been God's will that the first beams of light should shine upon the
capital; but men immediately arose to extinguish them; the spirit of
the _Sixteen_[786] was already fermenting in the metropolis, and other
cities were about to receive the light which Paris rejected.

  [786] About this time (1579) a popular society, more violent in its
  principles, was formed among the Leaguers, and which was called the
  _Sixteen_ (Seize), from the number of its directing committee, each of
  whom became a religious agitator in as many quarters of Paris. White's
  Universal History, p. 459.


Briçonnet, on returning to his diocese, had manifested the zeal of a
Christian and of a bishop. He had visited every parish, and,
assembling the deans, the incumbents, and their curates, with the
church-wardens and principal parishioners, had inquired into the
doctrine and lives of the preachers. At collection time (they
answered) the Franciscans of Meaux begin their rounds; a single
preacher will visit four or five parishes in a day, always delivering
the same sermon, not to feed the souls of his hearers, but to fill his
belly, his purse, and his convent.[787] Their wallets once
replenished, their end is gained, the sermons are over, and the monks
do not appear again in the churches until the time for another
collection has arrived. The only business of these shepherds is to
shear their sheep.[788]

  [787] Ea solum doceri quæ ad cœnobium illorum ac ventrem explendum
  pertinerent. Acta Mart. p. 334.

  [788] MS. of Meaux. I am indebted to the kindness of M. Ladevèze,
  pastor at Meaux, for a copy of this manuscript, which is preserved in
  that city.

The majority of the parish priests spent their stipends at Paris.
"Alas!" exclaimed the pious bishop, finding a presbytery deserted that
he had gone to visit, "are they not traitors who thus desert the
service of Jesus Christ?"[789] Briçonnet resolved to apply a remedy to
these evils, and convoked a synod of all his clergy for the 13th of
October 1519. But these worldly priests, who troubled themselves but
little about the remonstrances of their bishop, and for whom Paris had
so many charms, took advantage of a custom in virtue of which they
might substitute one or more curates to tend their flocks in their
absence. Out of one hundred and twenty-seven of these curates, there
were only fourteen of whom Briçonnet could approve upon examination.

  [789] MS. of Meaux.

Worldly-minded priests, imbecile curates, monks who thought only of
their belly;--such was then the condition of the Church. Briçonnet
interdicted the Franciscans from entering the pulpit;[790] published a
mandate on the 27th of October 1520, in which he declared "traitors
and deserters all those pastors who, by abandoning their flocks, show
plainly that what they love is their fleece and their wool; selected
others who were found to be capable, and gave them to the poor sheep,
ransomed by the most holy blood of Jesus Christ;"[791] and feeling
convinced that the only means of providing able ministers for his
diocese was to train them himself, he determined to establish a
theological school at Meaux, under the direction of pious and learned
doctors. It was necessary to find them, and Beda soon provided them.

  [790] Eis in universa diocesi sua prædicationem interdixit. Act. Mart.
  p. 334.

  [791] Histoire Généalogique de la maison des Briçonnets, by Eug.
  Britonneau, published in 1621, and quoted in the _Semeur_ of 4th May


This fanatic and his band did not relax their exertions; and, bitterly
complaining of the toleration of their government, declared that they
would make war on the new doctrines with it, without it, and against
it. In vain had Lefevre quitted the capital; did not Farel and his
friends remain behind? Farel, it is true, did not preach, for he was
not in holy orders; but at the university and in the city, with
professors and priests, students and citizens, he boldly maintained
the cause of the Reformation. Others, inspirited by his example, were
inculcating the Gospel more openly. A celebrated preacher, Martial
Mazurier, president of St. Michael's college, threw aside all reserve,
depicted the disorders of the age in the darkest and yet truest
colours, and it seemed impossible to resist the torrent of his
eloquence.[792] The anger of Beda and his theological friends was at
its height. "If we tolerate these innovators," said he, "they will
invade the whole body, and all will be over with our teaching, our
traditions, our places, and the respect felt towards us by France and
the whole of Christendom!"

  [792] Frequentissimas de reformandis hominum moribus conciones habuit.
  Lannoi, Navarræ gymnasii Hist. p. 261.

The divines of the Sorbonne were the stronger party. Farel, Mazurier,
Gerard Roussel, and his brother Arnold, soon found their active
exertions everywhere thwarted. The Bishop of Meaux entreated his
friends to come and join Lefevre; and these excellent men, hunted down
by the Sorbonne, and hoping to form, under Briçonnet's protection, a
sacred phalanx for the triumph of the truth, accepted the bishop's
invitation, and repaired to Meaux.[793] Thus the light of the Gospel
was gradually withdrawn from the capital, where Providence had kindled
its earliest sparks. _And this is the condemnation, that light is come
into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because
their deeds were evil._[794] It is impossible not to discover that
Paris then drew down upon its walls the judgment of God pointed out in
these words of Jesus Christ.

  [793] Ce fut la persécution qui se suscita contre eux à Paris en 1521,
  qui les obligea à quitter cette ville. Vie de Farel, par Choupard.

  [794] John iii. 19.


Margaret of Valois, successively deprived of Briçonnet, Lefevre, and
their friends, felt anxious at her lonely position in the midst of
Paris and the licentious court of Francis I. A young princess,
Philiberta of Savoy, her mother's sister, lived in close intimacy with
her. Philiberta, whom the King of France had given in marriage to
Julian the Magnificent, brother to Leo X., in confirmation of the
concordat, had repaired to Rome after her nuptials, when the pope,
delighted at so illustrious an alliance, had expended 150,000 ducats
in sumptuous festivities on the occasion.[795] Julian, who then
commanded the papal army, died, leaving his widow only eighteen years
of age. She became attached to Margaret, who by her talents and
virtues exercised a great influence over all around her. Philiberta's
grief opened her heart to the voice of religion. Margaret imparted to
her all she read; and the widow of the lieutenant-general of the
Church began to taste the sweets of the doctrine of salvation. But
Philiberta was too inexperienced to support her friend. Margaret often
trembled as she thought of her exceeding weakness. If the love she
bore the king and the fear she had of displeasing him led her to any
action contrary to her conscience, trouble immediately entered into
her soul, and turning sorrowfully towards the Lord, she found in him a
brother and a master more compassionate and dearer to her heart than
Francis himself. It was then she said to Jesus Christ:--[796]

    Sweet brother, who, when thou might'st justly chide
    Thy foolish sister, tak'st her to thy side;
    And grace and love giv'st her in recompense
    Of murmurings, injury, and great offence.
    Too much, too much, dear brother, thou hast done,
    Too much, alas! for such a worthless one.

  [795] Guichemon, Hist. gén. de Savoie, ii. 180.

  [796] Miroir de l'âme pécheresse. Marguerites de la Marguerite, i. 36.


Margaret seeing all her friends retiring to Meaux, looked sadly after
them from the midst of the festivities of the court. Everything
appeared to be deserting her again. Her husband, the Duke of Alençon,
was setting out for the army; her youthful aunt Philiberta was going
to Savoy. The duchess turned to Briçonnet.

"Monsieur de Meaux," wrote she, "knowing that One alone is necessary,
I apply to you, entreating you to be, by prayer, the means that He
will be pleased to guide according to His holy will, M. d'Alençon, who
by command of the king is setting out as lieutenant-general in his
army, which I fear will not be disbanded without a war. And thinking
that, besides the public weal of the kingdom, you have a good title in
whatsoever concerns his salvation and mine, I pray for your spiritual
aid. To-morrow, my aunt of Nemours departs for Savoy. I am obliged to
meddle with many things that cause me much fear. Wherefore, if you
should know that master Michael could undertake a journey hither, it
would be a consolation to me, which I beseech only for the honour of

  [797] Letters of Margaret, Queen of Navarre, in the Royal Library at
  Paris. S. F. 337 (1521).

Michael of Aranda, whose aid Margaret sought, was a member of the
evangelical society of Meaux, and who subsequently exposed himself to
many dangers in preaching the Gospel.


This pious princess beheld with alarm the opposition against truth
becoming more formidable every day. Duprat and the creatures of the
government, Beda and those of the Sorbonne, filled her with terror.
Briçonnet, to encourage her, replied: "It is the war which the gentle
Jesus told us in the Gospel he came to send on earth......and also the
fire......the great fire that transformeth earthliness into
heavenliness. I desire with all my heart to aid you, madam, but from
my own nothingness expect nothing but the will. Whoso hath faith,
hope, and love, hath all he requires, and needeth not aid or
support......God alone is all in all, and out of him can nothing be
found. To fight, take with you that great giant......love
unspeakable......The war is led on by love. Jesus demandeth the
presence of the heart: wretched is the man who withdraws from him.
Whoso fighteth in person is sure of victory. He often faileth who
fighteth by others."[798]

  [798] Lettres de Marguerite, MS. S. F. 12th June 1521.

The Bishop of Meaux was beginning to know by personal experience what
it is to fight for the Word of God. The theologians and monks,
irritated by the asylum he gave to the friends of the Reformation,
accused him with such violence that his brother, the Bishop of St.
Malo, came to Paris to inquire into the matter.[799] Hence Margaret
was the more touched by the consolations that Briçonnet addressed to
her, and she replied with offers of assistance.

  [799] MS. de Meaux.

"If in anything," she wrote, "you think that I can pleasure you or
yours, I pray you believe that every trouble will turn to my comfort.
May everlasting peace be yours after these long wars you are waging
for the faith, in which battle you desire to die......

  "Wholly your daughter,

  [800] MS. S. F. 227, de la Bibl. Royale.

It is to be lamented that Briçonnet did not die in the contest. Yet he
was then full of zeal. Philiberta of Nemours, respected by all for her
sincere devotion, her liberality towards the poor, and the great
purity of her life, read with increasing interest the evangelical
writings transmitted to her by the Bishop of Meaux. "I have all the
tracts that you have sent me," wrote Margaret to Briçonnet, "of which
my aunt of Nemours has her part, and I will forward her the last; for
she is in Savoy at her brother's wedding, which is no slight loss to
me; wherefore I beseech you have pity on my loneliness." Unhappily
Philiberta did not live long enough to declare herself openly in
favour of the Reformation. She died in 1524 at the castle of Virieu
le Grand, in Bugey, at the age of twenty-six.[801] This was a severe
blow to Margaret. Her friend, her sister, she who could fully
comprehend her, was taken from her. There was perhaps only one
individual, her brother, whose death would have occasioned her more
sorrow than this:

    Such floods of tears fall from my eyes,
    They hide from view both earth and skies.[802]

  [801] Guichemon, Hist. de la maison de Savoie, ii. 181.

  [802] Chanson spirituelle après la mort du Roi. Marguerites, i. 473.


Margaret, feeling her inability to resist her grief and the seductions
of the court, entreated Briçonnet to exhort her to the love of God,
and the humble bishop replied:--

"May the mild and gentle Jesus, who wills, and who alone is able to
effect what he mightily wills, in his infinite mercy visit your heart,
exhorting you to love him with your whole being. Other than he, madam,
none has the power to do this; you must not seek light from darkness,
or warmth from cold. By attracting he kindles; and by warmth he
attracts to follow him, enlarging the heart. Madam, you write to me to
have pity on you, because you are alone. I do not understand that
word. Whoso lives in the world and has his heart there, is alone; for
many and evil go together. But she whose heart sleeps to the world,
and is awake to the meek and gentle Jesus, her true and loyal husband,
is truly alone, for she lives on the one thing needful; and yet she is
not alone, not being forsaken by him who fills and preserves all
things. Pity I cannot, and must not, such loneliness, which is more to
be esteemed than the whole world, from which I am persuaded that the
love of God has saved you, and that you are no longer its
child......Abide, madam, alone in your only One......who has been
pleased to suffer a painful and ignominious death and passion.

"Madam, in commending myself to your good graces, I entreat you not to
use any more such words as in your last letters. Of God alone you are
the daughter and bride: other father you should not seek......I exhort
and admonish you, that you will be such and as good a daughter to him,
as he is a good Father to you......and forasmuch as you cannot attain
to this, because the finite cannot correspond to infinity, I pray that
he will vouchsafe to increase your strength, that you may love and
serve him with your whole heart."[803]

  [803] MS. Bibl. Roy. S. F. 337, dated 10th July.


Notwithstanding these exhortations, Margaret was not consoled. She
bitterly regretted the spiritual guides whom she had lost; the new
pastors forced upon her to bring her back did not possess her
confidence, and whatever the bishop might say, she felt herself alone
in the midst of the court, and all around her appeared dark and
desolate. "As a sheep in a strange country," wrote she to Briçonnet,
"wandering about, not knowing where to find its pasture, through lack
of knowing its new shepherds, naturally lifts its head to catch the
breeze from that quarter where the chief shepherd was once accustomed
to give her sweet nourishment, in such sort am I constrained to pray
for your charity......Come down from the high mountain, and in pity
regard, among this benighted people, the blindest of all thy fold.


  [804] Ibid.

The Bishop of Meaux, in his reply, taking up the image of the stray
sheep under which Margaret had depicted herself, uses it to describe
the mysteries of salvation under the figure of a wood: "The sheep
entering the forest, led by the Holy Ghost," said he, "is immediately
enchanted by the goodness, beauty, straightness, length, breadth,
depth, and height, and the fragrant and invigorating sweetness of this
forest......and when it has looked all around, has seen only Him in
all, and all in Him;[805] and moving rapidly through its depths, finds
it so pleasant, that the way is life, and joy, and consolation."[806]
The bishop then shows her the sheep searching in vain for the limits
of the forest (an image of the soul that would fathom the mysteries of
God), meeting with lofty mountains, which it endeavours to scale,
finding everywhere "inaccessible and incomprehensible infinity." He
then teaches her the road by which the soul, inquiring after God,
surmounts all these difficulties; he shows how the sheep in the midst
of the hirelings finds "the cabin of the great Shepherd," and "enters
on the wing of meditation by faith;" all is made smooth, all is
explained; and she begins to sing: "I have found him whom my soul

  [805] All in Christ.

  [806] MS. S. F. 337. Bibl. Roy.

[Sidenote: FIRE AND ICE.]

Thus wrote the Bishop of Meaux. At that period he was burning with
zeal, and would gladly have seen all France regenerated by the
Gospel.[807] Often would his mind dwell especially on those three
great individuals who seemed to preside over the destinies of its
people,--the king, his mother, and his sister. He thought that if the
royal family were enlightened, all the people would be so, and the
priests, stirred to rivalry, would at last awaken from their lethargy.
"Madam," wrote he to Margaret, "I humbly entreat Almighty God, that he
will be pleased of his goodness to kindle a fire in the hearts of the
king, of his mother, and in your own......so that from you there may
go forth a light burning and shining on the rest of the nation; and
particularly that class by whose coldness all others are frozen."

  [807] Studio veritatis aliis declarandæ inflammatus. Act. Martyrum, p.

Margaret did not share these hopes. She speaks neither of her brother
nor of her mother; they were subjects she dared not touch upon; but,
replying to the bishop in January 1522, with a heart wrung by the
indifference and worldliness of those around her, she said: "The times
are so cold, my heart so icy;" and signs her letter, "your frozen,
thirsty, and hungry daughter,


This letter did not discourage Briçonnet, but it made him ponder; and
feeling how much he, who desired to re-animate others, required to be
animated himself, he commended himself to the prayers of Margaret and
of Madam de Nemours. "Madam," wrote he, with great simplicity, "I
beseech you to awaken the poor slumberer with your prayers."[808]

  [808] MS. Bibl. Royale.

Such in 1521 were the sentiments interchanged at the court of France.
A strange correspondence, no doubt, and which, after more than three
centuries, a manuscript in the Royal Library has revealed to us. Was
this influence of the Reformation in such high places a benefit to it
or a misfortune? The sting of truth penetrated the court; but perhaps
it only served to arouse the drowsy beast, and exciting his rage,
caused it to spring with deadlier fury on the humblest of the flock.


     Beginning of the Church at Meaux--The Scriptures in
     French--The Artisans and the Bishop--Evangelical
     Harvest--The Epistles of St. Paul sent to the King--Lefevre
     and Roma--The Monks before the Bishop--The Monks before the
     Parliament--Briçonnet gives way.


The time was indeed approaching when the storm should burst upon the
Reformation; but it was first to scatter a few more seeds and to
gather in a few more sheaves. This city of Meaux, renowned a century
and a half later by the sublime defender[809] of the Gallican system
against the autocratic pretensions of Rome, was called to be the first
town of France where regenerated Christianity should establish its
dominion. It was then the field on which the labourers were prodigal
of their exertions and their seed, and where already the ears were
falling before the reapers. Briçonnet, less sunk in slumber than he
had said, was animating, inspecting, and directing all. His fortune
equalled his zeal; never did man devote his wealth to nobler uses, and
never did such noble devotedness promise at first to bear such
glorious fruits. The most pious teachers, transferred from Paris to
Meaux, from that time acted with more liberty. There was freedom of
speech, and great was the stride then taken by the Reformation in
France. Lefevre energetically expounded that Gospel with which he
would have rejoiced to fill the world. He exclaimed: "Kings, princes,
nobles, people, all nations should think and aspire after Christ
alone.[810] Every priest should resemble that archangel whom John saw
in the Apocalypse, flying through the air, holding the everlasting
Gospel in his hand, and carrying it to every people, nation, tongue,
and king. Come near ye pontiffs, come ye kings, come ye generous
hearts!......Nations, awake to the light of the Gospel, and inhale the
heavenly life.[811] The Word of God is all-sufficient."[812]

  [809] Bossuet.

  [810] Reges, principes, magnates omnes et subinde omnium nationum
  populi, ut nihil aliud cogitent......ac Christum. Fabri. Comm. in
  Evang. Præf.

  [811] Ubivis gentium expergiscimini ad Evangelii lucem. Fabri Comm. in
  Evang. Præf.

  [812] Verbum Dei sufficit. Ibid.


Such in truth was the motto of that school: THE WORD OF GOD IS
ALL-SUFFICIENT. In this device the whole Reformation is embodied. "To
know Christ and his Word," said Lefevre, Roussel, and Farel, "is the
only living and universal theology......He who knows that, knows

  [813] Hæc est universa et sola vivifica Theologia......Christum et
  verbum ejus esse omnia. Ibid. in Ev. Johan. p. 271.

The truth was making a deep impression at Meaux. Private meetings took
place at first; then conferences; and at last the Gospel was preached
in the churches. But a new effort inflicted a still more formidable
blow against Rome.

Lefevre desired to enable the Christians of France to read the Holy
Scriptures. On the 30th October 1522, he published a French
translation of the four Gospels; on the 6th November, the remaining
books of the New Testament; on the 12th October 1524, all these books
together, at the house of Collin in Meaux; and in 1525, a French
version of the Psalms.[814] Thus was begun in France, almost at the
same time as in Germany, that printing and dissemination of the
Scriptures in the vulgar tongue which, three centuries later, was to
be so wonderfully developed throughout the world. In France, as on the
other side of the Rhine, the Bible had a decisive influence.
Experience had taught many Frenchmen, that when they sought to know
Divine things, doubt and obscurity encompassed them on every side. In
how many moments and perhaps years in their lives had they been
tempted to regard the most certain truths as mere delusions! We need
a ray from heaven to enlighten our darkness. Such was the ejaculation
of many a soul at the epoch of the Reformation. With longings such as
these, numbers received the sacred writings from the hands of Lefevre;
they were read in their families and in private; conversations on the
Bible became frequent; Christ appeared to those souls so long misled,
as the centre and the sun of all revelation. No longer did they
require demonstrations to prove that Scripture was from God; they knew
it, for by it they had been transported from darkness to light.

  [814] Le Long. Biblioth. sacrée, 2d edit. p. 42.


Such was the course by which so many distinguished persons in France
attained a knowledge of God. But there were yet simpler and more
common paths, if such can be, by which many of the lower classes were
brought to the truth. The city of Meaux was almost wholly inhabited by
artisans and dealers in wool. "There was engendered in many," says a
chronicler of the sixteenth century, "so ardent a desire of knowing
the way of salvation, that artisans, fullers, and wool-combers took no
other recreation, as they worked with their hands, than to talk with
each other of the Word of God, and to comfort themselves with the
same. Sundays and holidays especially were devoted to the reading of
Scripture, and inquiring into the good pleasure of the Lord."[815]

  [815] Act. des Mart. p. 182.

Briçonnet rejoiced to see piety take the place of superstition in his
diocese. "Lefevre, aided by the renown of his great learning," says a
contemporary historian, "contrived so to cajole and circumvent Messire
Guillaume Briçonnet with his plausible talk, that he caused him to
turn aside grievously, so that it has been impossible up to this day
to free the city and diocese of Meaux from that pestilent doctrine,
where it has so marvellously increased. The misleading that good
bishop was a great injury, as until then he had been so devoted to God
and to the Virgin Mary."[816]

  [816] Histoire Catholique de notre temps, par Fontaine, de l'ordre de
  St. François. Paris, 1562.


Yet all were not so grievously turned aside, as the Franciscan says,
whom we have just quoted. The city was divided into two parties. On
the one side were the monks of St. Francis and the friends of the
Romish doctrine; on the other, Briçonnet, Lefevre, Farel, and all
those who loved the new preaching. A man of the poorer classes, by
name Leclerc, was one of the most servile adherents of the monks; but
his wife and two sons, Peter and John, had received the Gospel with
eagerness, and John, who was a wool-carder, soon distinguished himself
among the new Christians. James Pavanne, a learned and youthful
Picard, "a man of great sincerity and uprightness," whom Briçonnet had
invited to Meaux, showed an ardent zeal for the Reformation. Meaux had
become a focus of light. Persons called thither by business heard the
Gospel, and carried it back to their homes. It was not in the city
alone that men were examining the Scriptures; "many of the villages
did the same," says a chronicle, "so that in this diocese an image of
the renovated Church was seen to shine forth."

The environs of Meaux were covered with rich crops, and at harvest
season a crowd of labourers flocked thither from the surrounding
countries. Resting from their toils in the middle of the day, they
conversed with the people of the place, who spoke to them of other
seed-times and other harvests. Many peasants from Thierache, and
particularly from Landouzy, persevered, on their return home, in the
doctrines they had heard, and erelong an evangelical church was formed
in this district, which is one of the oldest churches in the
kingdom.[817] "The renown of this great blessing spread through
France," says the chronicler.[818] Briçonnet himself proclaimed the
Gospel from the pulpit, and endeavoured to scatter around him "that
infinite, sweet, mild, true, and only light (to use his own words)
which dazzles and enlightens every creature capable of receiving it,
and which, while it enlightens him, raises him by adoption to the
dignity of a son of God."[819] He besought his flock to lend no ear
to those who would turn them aside from the Word. "Though an angel
from heaven," said he, "should preach any other Gospel, do not listen
to him." Sometimes gloomy thoughts would prey upon his soul. He was
not sure of himself: he shrunk back in alarm, as he dwelt upon the
fatal consequences of his unfaithfulness; and forewarning his hearers,
he said to them: "Even should I, your bishop, change my language and
my doctrine, beware of changing like me."[820] At that moment nothing
seemed to indicate the possibility of such a misfortune. "Not only was
the Word of God preached," says the chronicle, "but it was followed;
all works of charity and love were practised there; the morals were
reformed and superstitions laid low."[821]

  [817] These particulars are derived from some old and much discoloured
  papers, found in the church of Landouzy-la-Ville, in the department of
  Aisne, by M. Colany, while pastor of that place.

  [818] Act. Mart. p. 182.

  [819] MS. Bibl. Roy. S. F. No. 337.

  [820] Hist. Catholique de Fontaine.

  [821] Act. Mart. p. 182.


Still clinging to the idea of gaining over the king and his mother,
the bishop sent to Margaret "the epistles of St. Paul, translated and
splendidly illuminated, most humbly entreating her to present them to
the king; which cannot but be most pleasing from your hands," added
the good bishop. "They are a royal dish," continued he, "fattening
without corruption, and healing all manner of sickness. The more we
taste them, the more we hunger after them with desire unsatiable, and
that never cloys."[822]

  [822] MS. Bibl. Roy. S. F. No. 337.

What more welcome message could Margaret receive? The moment seemed
favourable. Michael Aranda was at Paris, detained by order of the
king's mother, for whom he was translating portions of the Holy
Scripture.[823] But Margaret would have preferred that Briçonnet
should present this book himself to her brother. "You would do well to
come here," wrote she, "for you know the confidence that Madam and the
king place in you."[824]

  [823] Par le commandement de Madame à quy il a lyvré quelque chose de
  la saincte Escripture qu'elle désire parfaire. Ibid.

  [824] Ibid.

Thus, probably, was the Word of God placed at that time (in 1522 and
1523) under the eyes of Francis I. and Louisa of Savoy. They came into
contact with that Gospel which they were afterwards to persecute. We
do not find that this Word produced any salutary effect upon them. An
impulse of curiosity led them to open that Bible which was then making
so much noise; but they closed it as soon as they had opened it.


Margaret herself found it hard to contend against the worldliness by
which she was everywhere surrounded. Her tender affection towards her
brother, the obedience she owed to her mother, and the flatteries
lavished on her by the court, all seemed to conspire against the love
she had vowed to Christ. Christ was alone against many. Sometimes
Margaret's soul, assailed by so many adversaries, and stunned by the
noise of the world, turned aside from its Master. Then, becoming
sensible of her faults, the princess would shut herself up in her
apartments, and giving way to her sorrow, utter cries very different
from the joyous sounds with which Francis and the young lords, the
companions of his debauchery, filled the royal palaces in the midst of
their entertainments and festivities:--

    Left you I have, to follow pleasure's voice,
    Left you I have, and for an evil choice,
    Left you I have, and whither am I come?......[825]

  [825] Les Marguerites, i. 40.

Then turning towards Meaux, Margaret would exclaim in her anguish: "I
return to you, to M. Fabry (Lefevre) and all your gentlemen,
beseeching you, by your prayers, to obtain of the unspeakable Mercy an
alarum for the poor weak and sleepy one, to arouse her from her heavy
and deadly slumber."[826]

  [826] MS. Bibl. Roy. S. F. No. 337.

Thus had Meaux become a focus whence the light of the Gospel emanated.
The friends of the Reformation indulged in flattering illusions. Who
could resist the Gospel if the power of Francis cleared the way? The
corrupting influence of the court would then be changed into a holy
influence, and France would acquire a moral strength that would render
her the benefactress of the world.


But, on their side, the friends of Rome had taken the alarm. Among
those at Meaux was a Jacobin monk named Roma. One day, as Lefevre,
Farel, and their friends were talking with him and some other of the
papal partisans, Lefevre could not suppress his anticipations. "The
Gospel is already gaining the hearts of the great and of the people,"
said he, "and in a short time, spreading all over France, it will
everywhere throw down the inventions of men." The aged doctor was
animated; his eyes sparkled; his worn-out voice grew sonorous; one
might have compared him to the aged Simeon returning thanks to the
Lord, because his eyes had seen His salvation. Lefevre's friends
shared in his emotion: their amazed opponents were dumb. On a sudden
Roma started up impetuously, and exclaimed in the tone of a popular
tribune: "Then I and all the other religioners will preach a crusade;
we will raise the people; and if the king permits the preaching of
your Gospel, we will expel him from his kingdom by his own

  [827] Farel, Epître au Duc de Lorraine, Gen. 1634.

Thus did a monk venture to rise up against the knightly monarch. The
Franciscans applauded this language. They must not allow the doctor's
prophecy to be fulfilled. Already the friars were returning daily with
diminished offerings. The Franciscans in alarm went about among
private families. "These new teachers are heretics," said they; "they
attack the holiest observances, and deny the most sacred mysteries."
Then growing bolder, the most incensed among them issued from their
cloister, and proceeded to the bishop's residence. On being admitted,
they said to the prelate: "Crush this heresy, or else the pestilence,
which is already desolating the city of Meaux, will spread over the
whole kingdom."

Briçonnet was moved, and for an instant disturbed by this attack, but
he did not give way; he felt too much contempt for these ignorant
monks and their interested clamours. He went into the pulpit,
justified Lefevre, and called the monks pharisees and hypocrites.
Still this opposition had already excited trouble and conflict in his
soul; he sought to encourage himself by the persuasion that such
spiritual combats were necessary. "By this warfare," said he, in his
somewhat mystical language, "we arrive at a vivifying death, and by
continually mortifying life, we die living, and live dying."[828] The
way would have been surer if, casting himself upon the Saviour, as the
apostles when tossed by the winds and waves, he had exclaimed; "Lord,
help me! or I perish."

  [828] M.S. Bibl. Roy. S. F. No. 337.


The monks of Meaux, enraged at their unfavourable reception by the
bishop, resolved to carry their complaints before a higher tribunal.
An appeal lay open to them. If the bishop will not give way, he may be
reduced to compliance. Their leaders set out for Paris, and concerted
measures with Beda and Duchesne. They hastened before the parliament,
and denounced the bishop and the heretical teachers. "The city and all
the neighbourhood," said they, "are infected with heresy, and its
polluted waters flow from the episcopal palace."

Thus did France begin to hear the cry of persecution raised against
the Gospel. The sacerdotal and the civil power, the Sorbonne and the
parliament, grasped their arms,--arms that were to be stained with
blood. Christianity had taught mankind that there are duties and
rights anterior to all civil associations; it had emancipated the
religious mind, promoted liberty of conscience, and worked a great
change in society; for antiquity, which contemplated the citizen
everywhere and the man nowhere, had made religion a mere matter of
state. But these ideas of liberty had scarcely been given to the
world, ere the papacy corrupted them; for the despotism of the prince
it had substituted the despotism of the priest; and not unfrequently
it had raised both prince and priest against the christian people. A
new emancipation was needed; it took place in the sixteenth century.
Wherever the Reformation established itself, it broke the yoke of
Rome, and the religious mind was again enfranchised. But so rooted in
the nature of man is the disposition to tyrannize over truth, that
among many protestant nations, the Church, liberated from the
arbitrary power of the priest, has again in our days fallen under the
yoke of the civil power; destined, like its founder, to be bandied
from one despotism to another, to pass from Caiaphas to Pilate, and
from Pilate to Caiaphas.


Briçonnet had not the courage necessary for resistance. He would not
yield everything, but what he did concede satisfied Rome. "We may well
do without Luther's writings," he thought, "if we keep the Gospel; we
may easily accede to a certain invocation of the Virgin, if we add
that it is only by the mediation of Jesus Christ that she possesses
any influence." If beside the truth we place the power of error, the
papacy is satisfied. But the sacrifice which Briçonnet felt the
deepest, and which yet was required of him, was the loss of his
friends. If the bishop would escape, he must sacrifice his brethren.
Of timid character, but little prepared to give up his riches and his
station for Christ's sake, already alarmed, shaken, and cast down, he
was still further led astray by treacherous advisers: if the
evangelical doctors should quit Meaux (said some), they will carry the
Reformation elsewhere. His heart was torn by a painful struggle. At
last the wisdom of this world prevailed; he gave way, and, on the 15th
of October 1523, published three mandates, the first of which enjoined
prayers for the dead, and the invocation of the Virgin and of the
saints; the second forbade any one to buy, borrow, read, possess, or
carry about with him Luther's works, and ordered them to be torn in
pieces, to be scattered to the winds, or to be burnt; and the last
established in express terms the doctrine of purgatory. Then, on the
13th of November in the same year, Briçonnet forbade the parish
priests and their curates to permit the "Lutherans" to preach.[829]
This was not all. The first president of the Parliament of Paris, and
Andrew Verjus, councillor in the same court, and before whom Briçonnet
had shortly afterwards to appear, arrived at Meaux during Lent 1524,
no doubt to satisfy themselves of the bishop's proceedings. The poor
prelate did all he could to please them. Already on the 29th of
January he had taken the images of the saints under his especial
protection; he now began to visit his churches, to preach, and to
struggle hard in the presence of the first president and of councillor
Verjus to "weed out the heresies that were there shooting up."[830]
The deputies of the Parliament returned to Paris fully satisfied. This
was Briçonnet's first fall.

  [829] Hist. Généalogique de Briçonnet, ad annum.

  [830] MS. Bibl. Roy. S. F. No. 337.


Lefevre was the special object of hostility. His commentary on the
four Gospels, and particularly the "Epistle to Christian Readers,"
prefixed to it, had inflamed the anger of Beda and his allies. They
denounced this writing to the faculty. "Does he not dare to recommend
all the faithful to read the Scriptures?" said the fiery syndic. "Does
he not tell therein that whoever loves not Christ's Word is not a
Christian;[831] and that the Word of God is sufficient to lead to
eternal life?"

  [831] Qui verbum ejus hoc modo non diligunt, quo pacto hi Christiani
  essent. Præf. Comm. in Evang.

But Francis I. looked on this accusation as a mere theological
squabble. He appointed a commission; and Lefevre, having justified
himself before it, came off from this attack with all the honours of

Farel, who had not so many protectors at court, was compelled to leave
Meaux. It would appear that he first repaired to Paris;[832] and that,
having unsparingly attacked the errors of Rome, he could remain there
no longer, and was forced to retire to Dauphiny, whither he was eager
to carry the Gospel.

  [832] Farel, après avoir subsisté tant qu'il put à Paris. Beza, Hist.
  Eccl. i. 6.

At the time of the dispersion of the Christians at Meaux, another
Frenchman, quitting his native country, crossed the threshold of the
Augustine convent at Wittemberg, where Luther resided. This was in
January 1523.

Farel was not the only man in the south of France whom God had
prepared for his work. A little further to the south than Gap, on the
banks of the Rhone, in that city of Avignon called by Petrarch "the
third Babylon," may still be seen the walls of the "apostolic palace,"
which the popes and cardinals had long filled with their luxury and
debauchery, and which a Roman legate now inhabited, lonely and
dejected in the midst of this deserted city, whose narrow filthy
streets were seldom trod but by the feet of monks and priests.


The little court of the legate was, however, sometimes enlivened by a
beautiful, amiable, and laughing boy, who gambolled about its
halls.[833] This was Francis Lambert, son of the secretary of the
apostolic palace, born in 1487, two years before Farel. The child was
at first astonished at the irreligion and crimes of these
prelates,--"crimes so numerous and so enormous," says he, "that I
cannot describe them."[834] He became habituated to them, however, by
degrees, and it would appear that he was himself seduced by bad
example.[835] Yet God had implanted in his heart a desire for
holiness. His father being dead, his mother had the charge of his
education, and, according to the custom of the times, intrusted him to
the care of the Franciscans. The sanctified air of these monks imposed
on Francis, and his timid looks followed them respectfully, as he saw
them clad in coarse garments, barefoot, or with rude sandals only,
moving to and fro, begging in the city and calling on his mother; and
if at any time they chanced to smile upon him, he fancied himself (he
tells us) almost in heaven.[836] The monks worked upon this
disposition, and Francis, attracted by them, assumed the cowl at the
age of fifteen. "It was God's pleasure," said he in after-years, "that
I might make known to the world the impurity of these whited

  [833] In palatio sæpe versatus, quod genitor meus legationis ejus
  secretarius esset. Lamb. Epistola ad Galliæ Regem.

  [834] Impietates et horrenda scelera tam multa et enormia. Ibid.

  [835] Olim seductus et peccator. Ibid.

  [836] Rationes propter quas minoritarum conversationem, habitumque
  rejecerit. Wittenberg, 1523.


During the year of his noviciate everything went on smoothly; he was
studiously kept in the dark; but no sooner had he pronounced his vows,
than the monks showed themselves in all their deformity, and the halo
of sanctity that he had discovered around their heads faded away, and
he remained incensed, alarmed, and dejected. Francis soon began to
feel a secret strength within him, that drove him forcibly towards the
Holy Scriptures,[837] and bound him to believe and to teach the Word
of God. In 1517, he was nominated apostolical preacher of the convent,
and instead of running about like his colleagues after "fat presents
and well-stored tables," he employed himself in travelling afoot
through the deserted country, and calling those ignorant people to
conversion whom the fire and sincerity of his language drew around him
in crowds. But when, after spending several months in passing through
the Comtat Venaissin and the surrounding districts, he returned
exhausted to his convent on a mule that had been given him to carry
his weakened frame, and went to seek a brief repose in his poor cell,
some of the monks received him with coldness, others with raillery,
and a third party with anger; and they hastened to sell the animal,
which they all agreed in saying was the only profit of these
evangelical journeys.

  [837] Urgebat me vehementer latens quædam vis (confido non aliena a
  Domini spiritu) ad sacrarum studia literarum. Exegesis in S. Johannis
  Apocalypsia, præf.

One day, as brother Francis was preaching in a certain town, with a
gravity quite apostolic and the vivacity of a native of the south:
"Kindle a fire," exclaimed he, "before this sacred porch, and there
consume the spoils of your luxury, your worldly-mindedness, and your
debauchery." Immediately the whole assembly was in commotion; some
lighted up a fire; others ran into their houses and returned with
dice, playing-cards, and obscene pictures; and then, like the
Christians of Ephesus at the preaching of St. Paul, cast all into the
flames. A great crowd was gathered round the fire, and among them some
Franciscans, who perceiving an indecent drawing of a young female,
cunningly drew it away, and hid it under one of their frocks, "to add
fuel to their own flames," says Lambert. This did not escape the eye
of brother Francis; a holy indignation kindled within him, and boldly
addressing the monks, he inveighed against their lubricity and theft.
Abashed at being discovered, they sunk their heads, gave up the
picture, but swore to be revenged.[838]

  [838] Lambert von Avignon, by Professor Baum.


Lambert, surrounded with debauchery, and become an object of hatred to
the monks, felt from time to time an ardent desire to return into the
world, which appeared to him infinitely more holy than the cloister:
but he found something still better. Luther's works, carried to the
fairs of Lyons, descended the Rhone and reached his cell. They were
soon taken from him and burnt; but it was too late. The spirit that
animated the Augustine of Wittemberg had passed into the Franciscan of
Avignon: he was saved. Vainly until then had he resorted to frequent
fasting; vainly had he slept sitting on a stool;[839] vainly had he
shunned the looks of woman, worn haircloth next his skin, scourged
himself, and so weakened his body that he could scarcely hold himself
upright, and sometimes even fainted in the churches and fields as he
was preaching to the people. All this, he tells us, could not
extinguish the desires and banish the thoughts that preyed upon him,
and it was only in faith on the free grace of God and in the sanctity
of a married life that he found purity and peace.[840] This is one of
those numerous examples which prove that marriage, being of Divine
appointment, is a means of grace and holiness, and that the celibacy
of priests and monks, the invention of man, is one of the most
effectual agents to foster impurity, sully the imagination, disturb
the peace of families, and fill society with innumerable disorders.

  [839] Non aliter dormuisse multo tempore quam in scamno nudo sedentem.
  Lamb. de sacro conjugio.

  [840] Donec secundum altissimi jussionem conjux factus est. Ibid.

At last the friar had made up his mind; he will quit the convent, he
will abandon popery, he will leave France. He will go where the
streams of the Gospel flow abundant and pure, and he will there plunge
into them, and quench the fires that are consuming him.[841] Since all
his efforts are unavailing, he will go to Wittemberg, to that great
servant of God, whose name alone conjures and affrights the devil, in
order that he may find peace.[842] He took advantage of some letters
that were to be carried to one of the superiors of the order, and
having donned his frock, quitted the Franciscan convent of Avignon in
the spring of 1522, after twenty years of struggle. He ascended the
Rhone, traversed Lyons, and crossed the forests that cover the lower
ridges of the Jura. This tall, thin, ungraceful monk still wore the
habit of his order, and rode on an ass, his bare feet almost touching
the ground. We have already seen him pass through Geneva, Lausanne,
Berne, and Zurich.[843] In the beginning of 1523, he was at
Wittemberg, and embraced Luther. But let us return to France and to
the Church of Meaux.

  [841] Urebar tamen etiamsi nescirent alii. Ibid.

  [842] Tametsi non habeam scorta et multis modis niterer ad
  continentiam, nunquam pacem habui. Ibid.

  [843] Vol. II. p. 381.


     Lefevre and Farel persecuted--Difference between the
     Lutheran and Reformed Churches--Leclerc posts up his
     Placards--Leclerc branded--Berquin's Zeal--Berquin before
     the Parliament--Rescued by Francis I.--Mazurier's
     Apostacy--Fall and Remorse of
     Pavanne--Metz--Chatelain--Peter Toussaint becomes
     attentive--Leclerc breaks the Images--Leclerc's Condemnation
     and Torture--Martyrdom of Chatelain--Flight.


Lefevre intimidated, Briçonnet drawing back, Farel compelled to
fly--here was a beginning of victory. They already imagined at the
Sorbonne that they had mastered the movement; the doctors and monks
congratulated each other on their triumphs. But this was not enough;
blood had not flowed. They set to work again; and blood, since it must
be so, was erelong to gratify the fanaticism of Rome.

The evangelical Christians of Meaux, seeing their leaders dispersed,
sought to edify one another. The wool-carder, John Leclerc, whom the
lessons of the doctors, the reading of the Bible, and some tracts, had
instructed in the christian doctrine,[844] signalized himself by his
zeal and facility in expounding Scripture. He was one of those men
whom the Spirit of God fills with courage,[845] and soon places at the
head of a religious movement. It was not long before the Church of
Meaux regarded him as its minister.

  [844] Aliis pauculis libellis diligenter lectis. Bezæ Icones.

  [845] Animosæ fidei plenus. Ibid.


The idea of a universal priesthood, such a living principle among the
first Christians, had been re-established by Luther in the sixteenth
century.[846] But this idea seems then to have existed only in theory
in the Lutheran church, and to have been really acted upon solely
among the reformed Christians. The Lutheran Churches (and here they
agree with the Anglican Church) perhaps took a middle course between
the Romish and the Reformed Churches. Among the Lutherans, everything
proceeded from the pastor or the priest; and nothing was counted valid
in the Church that did not flow regularly through its chiefs. But the
Reformed Churches, while they maintained the Divine appointment of the
ministry, which some sects deny, approached nearer to the primitive
condition of the apostolical communities. From the times of which we
are speaking, they recognised and proclaimed that the christian flocks
ought not simply to receive what the pastor gives; that the members of
the Church, as well as its leaders, possess the key of that treasure
whence the latter derive their instruction, for the Bible is in the
hands of all; that the graces of God, the spirit of faith, of wisdom,
of consolation, of light, are not bestowed on the pastor only; that
every man is called upon to employ the gift he has received for the
good of all; and that a certain gift, necessary to the edification of
the Church, may be refused to a minister, and yet granted to one of
his flock. Thus the passive state of the Church was then changed into
a state of general activity; and in France, especially, this
revolution was accomplished. In other countries, the reformers were
almost exclusively pastors and doctors; but in France men of learning
had from the very beginning pious men of the people for their allies.
In that country God selected for his first workmen a doctor of the
Sorbonne and a wool-comber.

  [846] See Vol. II. p. 97.


The wool-comber Leclerc began to visit from house to house, confirming
the disciples. But not stopping short at these ordinary cares, he
would fain have seen the edifice of popery overthrown, and France,
from the midst of these ruins, turning with a cry of joy towards the
Gospel. His unguarded zeal may remind us of that of Hottinger at
Zurich, and of Carlstadt at Wittemberg. He wrote a proclamation
against the Antichrist of Rome, announcing that the Lord was about to
destroy it by the breath of his mouth. He then boldly posted his
"placards" on the gates of the cathedral.[847] Presently all was in
confusion around that ancient edifice. The faithful were amazed; the
priests exasperated. What! a fellow whose employment is wool-combing
dares measure himself with the pope! The Franciscans were outrageous,
and demanded that this once at least a terrible example should be
made. Leclerc was thrown into prison.

  [847] Cet hérétique écrivit des pancartes qu'il attacha aux portes de
  la grande église de Meaux (MS. de Meaux). See also Bezæ Icones;
  Crespin Actes des Martyrs, &c.

His trial was finished in a few days, under the eyes of Briçonnet
himself, who was now to witness and tolerate all that was done. The
carder was condemned to be whipped three days successively through the
city, and on the third to be branded on the forehead. This sad
spectacle soon began. Leclerc was led through the streets with his
hands bound, his back bare, and the executioners inflicted on him the
blows he had drawn upon himself by rising up against the Bishop of
Rome. An immense crowd followed in the track marked by the martyr's
blood. Some yelled with rage against the heretic; others by their
silence gave him no unequivocal marks of their tender compassion. One
woman encouraged the unhappy man by her looks and words: she was his


At last, on the third day, when the blood-stained procession was
ended, they halted with Leclerc at the usual place of execution. The
hangman prepared the fire, heated the iron that was to stamp its
burning mark on the evangelist, and approaching him, branded him on
the forehead as a heretic. A shriek was heard, but it did not proceed
from the martyr. His mother, a spectator of the dreadful scene, and
wrung with anguish, endured a bitter strife: it was the enthusiasm of
faith struggling in her heart with maternal love; faith prevailed at
last, and she exclaimed with a voice that made the adversaries
tremble: "Glory to Jesus Christ and to his witnesses!"[848] Thus did
that Frenchwoman of the sixteenth century fulfil the commandment of
the Son of God: "He that loveth his son more than me is not worthy of
me." Such boldness, and at such a moment, merited signal punishment;
but this christian mother had appalled the hearts both of priests and
soldiers. All their fury was controlled by a stronger arm than theirs.
The crowd, respectfully making way, allowed the martyr's mother slowly
to regain her humble dwelling. The monks, and even the town-sergeants,
gazed on her without moving. "Not one of her enemies dared lay hands
upon her," said Theodore Beza. After this execution, Leclerc, being
set at liberty, retired to Rosay in Brie, a small town about six
leagues from Meaux, and subsequently to Metz, where we shall meet with
him again.

  [848] Hist. Eccles. de Th. de Bèze, p. 4. Hist. des Martyrs de
  Crespin, p. 92.

The adversaries were triumphant. "The Cordeliers having re-captured
the pulpits, propagated their lies and trumpery as usual."[849] But
the poor workmen of the city, prevented from hearing the Word in
regular assemblies, "began to meet in secret," says our chronicler,
"after the manner of the sons of the prophets in the time of Ahab, and
of the Christians of the primitive Church; and, as opportunity
offered, they assembled at one time in a house, at another in some
cave, sometimes also in a vineyard or in a wood. There, he amongst
them who was most versed in the Holy Scriptures exhorted the rest; and
this done, they all prayed together with great courage, supporting
each other by the hope that the Gospel would be revived in France, and
that the tyranny of Antichrist would come to an end."[850] There is no
power that can arrest the progress of truth.

  [849] Actes des Martyrs, p. 183.

  [850] Ibid.


But one victim only was not enough; and if the first against whom the
persecution was let loose was a wool-comber, the second was a
gentleman of the court. It was necessary to frighten the nobles as
well as the people. Their reverences of the Sorbonne of Paris could
not think of being outstripped by the Franciscans of Meaux. Berquin,
"the most learned of the nobles," had derived fresh courage from the
Holy Scriptures, and after having attacked "the hornets of the
Sorbonne" in certain epigrams, had openly accused them of

  [851] Impietatis etiam accusatos, tum voce, tum scriptis. Bezæ Icones.

Beda and Duchesne, who had not ventured to reply in their usual manner
to the witticisms of the king's gentleman, changed their mind, as soon
as they discovered serious convictions latent behind these attacks.
Berquin had become a Christian: his ruin was determined on. Beda and
Duchesne, having seized some of his translations, found in them matter
to burn more heretics than one. "He maintains," said they, "that it is
wrong to invoke the Virgin Mary in place of the Holy Ghost, and to
call her the source of all grace.[852] He inveighs against the
practice of calling her _our hope, our life_, and says that these
titles belong only to the Son of God." There were other matters
besides these. Berquin's study was like a bookseller's shop, whence
works of corruption were circulated through the whole kingdom. The
_Common-places_ of Melancthon, in particular, served, by the elegance
of their style, to shake the faith of the literary men in France. This
pious noble, living only amidst his folios and his _tracts_, had
become, out of christian charity, translator, corrector, printer, and
bookseller......It was essential to check this formidable torrent at
its very source.

  [852] Incongrue beatam Virginem invocari pro Spiritu Sancto. Erasm.
Epp. 1279.


One day, as Berquin was quietly seated at his studies, among his
beloved books, his house was suddenly surrounded by the
sergeants-at-arms, who knocked violently at the door. They were the
Sorbonne and its agents, who, furnished with authority from the
parliament, were making a domiciliary visit. Beda, the formidable
syndic, was at their head, and never did inquisitor perform his duty
better; accompanied by his satellites, he entered Berquin's library,
told him his business, ordered a watchful eye to be kept upon him, and
began his search. Not a book escaped his piercing glance, and an exact
inventory of the whole was drawn up by his orders. Here was a treatise
by Melancthon, there a book by Carlstadt; farther on, a work of
Luther's. Here were heretical books translated from Latin into French
by Berquin himself; there, others of his own composition. All the
works that Beda seized, except two, were filled with Lutheran errors.
He left the house, carrying off his booty, and more elated than ever
was general laden with the spoils of vanquished nations.[853]

  [853] Gaillard Hist. de François I. iv. 241. Crévier, Univ. de Paris,
  v. 171.

Berquin saw that a great storm had burst upon him; but his courage did
not falter. He despised his enemies too much to fear them. Meanwhile
Beda lost no time. On the 13th of May 1523, the parliament issued a
decree that all the books seized in Berquin's house should be laid
before the faculty of theology. The opinion of the Sorbonne was soon
pronounced; on the 25th of June it condemned all the works, with the
exception of the two already mentioned, to be burnt as heretical, and
ordered that Berquin should abjure his errors. The parliament ratified
this decision.

The nobleman appeared before this formidable body. He knew that the
next step might be to the scaffold; but, like Luther at Worms, he
remained firm. Vainly did the parliament order him to retract. Berquin
was not one of those _who fall away after having been made partakers
of the Holy Ghost_. _Whosoever is begotten of God, keepeth himself,
and that wicked one toucheth him not._[854] Every fall proves that the
previous conversion has been only apparent or partial; but Berquin's
conversion was real. He replied with firmness to the court before
which he stood. The parliament, more severe than the Diet of Worms had
been, ordered its officers to seize the accused, and take him to the
prison of the Conciergerie. This was on the 1st of August 1523. On the
5th the parliament handed over the heretic to the Bishop of Paris, in
order that this prelate might take cognizance of the affair, and that,
assisted by the doctors and councillors, he should pronounce sentence
on the culprit. He was transferred to the episcopal prison.[855]

  [854] Hebrews vi. 4; 1 John v. 18.

  [855] Ductus est in carcerem, reus hæreseos periclitatus. Erasmi Epp.
  1279; Crévier; Gaillard; loc. cit.


Thus was Berquin passed from court to court and from one prison to
another. Beda, Duchesne, and their cabal had their victim in their
grasp; but the court still cherished a grudge against the Sorbonne,
and Francis was more powerful than Beda. This transaction excited
great indignation among the nobles. Do these monks and priests forget
what the sword of a gentleman is worth? "Of what is he accused?" said
they to Francis I.; "of blaming the custom of invoking the Virgin in
place of the Holy Ghost? But Erasmus and many others blame it
likewise. Is it for such trifles that they imprison a king's
officer?[856] This attack is aimed at literature, true religion, the
nobility, chivalry, nay the crown itself." The king was glad to have
another opportunity of vexing the whole company. He issued letters
transferring the cause to the royal council, and on the 8th of August
an usher appeared at the bishop's prison with an order from the king
to set Berquin at liberty.

  [856] Ob hujusmodi nœnias. Erasm. Epp. 1279.

The question now was whether the monks would give way. Francis I., who
had anticipated some resistance, said to the agent commissioned to
execute his orders: "If you meet with any resistance, I authorize you
to break open the gates." This language was clear. The monks and the
Sorbonne submitted to the affront, and Berquin being restored to
liberty appeared before the king's council, by which he was

  [857] At judices, ubi viderunt causam esse nullius momenti,
  absolverunt hominem. Ibid.

Thus did Francis I. humiliate the Church. Berquin imagined that
France, under his reign, might emancipate herself from the papacy, and
had thoughts of renewing the war. For this purpose he entered into
communication with Erasmus, who at once recognised him as a man of
worth.[858] But, ever timid and temporizing, the philosopher said to
him: "Beware of treading on a hornet's nest, and pursue your studies
in peace.[859] Above all, do not mix me up with your affair; that
would neither serve you nor me."[860]

  [858] Ex epistola visus est mihi vir bonus. Ibid.

  [859] Sineret crabrones et suis se studiis oblectaret. Ibid.

  [860] Deinde ne me involveret suæ causæ. Ibid.

This rebuff did not discourage Berquin; if the mightiest genius of the
age draws back, he will put his trust in God who never falters. God's
work will be done either with or without the aid of man. "Berquin,"
said Erasmus, "had some resemblance to the palm-tree; he rose up
again, and became proud and towering against those who sought to alarm

  [861] Ille, ut habebat quiddam cum palma commune, adversus deterrentem
  tollebat animos. Ibid. There is probably an allusion to Pliny's
  Natural History, xvi. 42.


Such were not all who had embraced the evangelical doctrine. Martial
Mazurier had been one of the most zealous preachers. He was accused of
teaching very erroneous opinions,[862] and even of having committed
certain acts of violence while at Meaux. "This Martial Mazurier, being
at Meaux," says a manuscript of that city, which we have already
quoted, "going to the church of the reverend Grayfriars, and seeing
the image of St. Francis, with the five wounds, outside the
convent-gate, where that of St. Roch now stands, threw it down and
broke it in pieces." Mazurier was apprehended, and sent to the
Conciergerie,[863] where he suddenly fell into deep reflection and
severe anguish. It was the morality rather than the doctrine of the
Gospel that had attracted him to the ranks of the reformers; and
morality left him without strength. Alarmed at the prospect of the
stake, and decidedly of opinion that in France the victory would
remain on the side of Rome, he easily persuaded himself that he would
enjoy more influence and honour by returning to the papacy.
Accordingly he retracted what he had taught, and caused doctrines the
very opposite of those he had previously held to be preached in his
parish;[864] and subsequently joining the most fanatical doctors, and
particularly the celebrated Ignatius Loyola, he became from that time
the most zealous supporter of the papal cause.[865] From the days of
the Emperor Julian, apostates, after their infidelity, have always
become the most merciless persecutors of the doctrines they had once

  [862] Hist. de l'Université, par Crévier, v. 203.

  [863] Gaillard, Hist. de François I. v. 234.

  [864] "Comme il était homme adroit, il esquiva la condemnation," says
  Crévier, v. 203.

  [865] Cum Ignatio Loyola init amicitiam. Launoi, Navarræ gymnasti
  historia, p. 621.


Mazurier soon found an opportunity of showing his zeal. The youthful
James Pavanne had also been thrown into prison. Martial hoped that, by
making him fall like himself, he might cover his own shame. The youth,
amiability, learning, and uprightness of Pavanne, created a general
interest in his favour, and Mazurier imagined that he would himself be
less culpable, if he could persuade Master James to follow his
example. He visited him in prison, and began his manœuvres by
pretending that he had advanced further than Pavanne in the knowledge
of the truth: "You are mistaken, James," he often repeated to him;
"you have not gone to the depths of the sea; you only know the surface
of the waters."[866] Nothing was spared, neither sophistry, promises,
nor threats. The unhappy youth, seduced, agitated, and shaken, sunk at
last under these perfidious attacks, and publicly retracted his
pretended errors on the morrow of Christmas-day 1524. But from that
hour a spirit of dejection and remorse was sent on Pavanne by the
Almighty. A deep sadness preyed upon him, and he was continually
sighing. "Alas!" repeated he, "there is nothing but bitterness for me
in life." Sad wages of unbelief!

  [866] Actes des Martyrs, p. 99.


Nevertheless, among those who had received the Word of God in France,
were men of more intrepid spirit than Mazurier and Pavanne. About the
end of the year 1523, Leclerc had withdrawn to Metz in Lorraine, and
there, says Theodore Beza, he had followed the example of Saint Paul
at Corinth, who, while working at his trade as a tentmaker, persuaded
the Jews and the Greeks.[867] Leclerc, still pursuing his occupation
as a wool-carder, instructed the people of his own condition; and many
of them had been really converted. Thus did this humble artisan lay
the foundation of a church which afterwards became celebrated.

  [867] Acts of the Apostles, xviii. 3, 4.--Apostoli apud Corinthios
  exemplum secutus. Bezæ Icones.

Leclerc was not the first individual who had endeavoured to shed the
new light of the Gospel over Metz. A scholar, renowned in that age for
his skill in the occult sciences, Master Agrippa of Nettesheim, "a
marvellously learned clerk, of small stature, who had spent much time
in travel, who spoke every language, and had studied every
science,"[868] had fixed his residence at Metz, and had even become
syndic of the city. Agrippa had procured Luther's works, and
communicated them to his friends,[869]and among others to Master John,
priest of Sainte-Croix, himself a great clerk, and with whom Master
Agrippa was very intimate. Many of the clergy, nobility, and citizens,
stirred by the courage Luther had shown at Worms, were gained over to
his cause,[870] and already in March 1522, an evangelical placard
extolling what Luther had done was posted in large letters on a corner
of the episcopal palace, and excited much public attention. But when
Leclerc arrived, the flames, for an instant overpowered, sprung up
with renewed energy. In the council-room, in the hall of the chapter,
and in the homes of the citizens, the conversation turned perpetually
on the Lutheran business. "Many great clerks and learned persons were
daily questioning, discussing, and debating this matter, and for the
most part taking Luther's side, and already preaching and proclaiming
that accursed sect."[871]

  [868] Les chroniques de la ville de Metz. Metz, 1838.

  [869] Apud Metenses mihi nonnulla Lutherana communicare dignatus sis.
  Amicus ad Agrippam, Epp. lib. iii. ep. 10.

  [870] Lambert von Avignon, by Prof. Baum, p. 59.

  [871] Chroniques de Metz, anno 1523.

Erelong the evangelical cause received a powerful reinforcement.
"About this same time (1524)," says the chronicle, "there came to Metz
an Augustine friar named John Chaistellain (Chatelain), a man
declining in years, and of agreeable manners, a great preacher and
very eloquent, a wondrous comforter to the poorer sort. By which means
he gained the good-will of most of the people (not of all), especially
of the majority of the priests and great rabbins, against whom the
said friar John preached daily, setting forth their vices and their
sins, saying that they abused the poor people, by which great
animosity was stirred up."[872]

  [872] Ibid. p. 808.


John Chatelain, an Augustine monk of Tournay, and doctor of divinity,
had been brought to the knowledge of God[873] by his intercourse with
the Augustines of Antwerp. The doctrine of Christ, when preached by
him attired in chasuble and stole, appeared less extraordinary to the
inhabitants of Metz, than when it fell from the lips of a poor
artisan, who laid aside the comb with which he carded his wool, to
explain a French version of the Gospel.

  [873] Vocatus ad cognitionem Dei. Act. Mart. p. 180.

Everything was fermenting in Metz during that famous Lent of 1524,
when a new character appeared on the stage, a priest, a doctor, an
ex-friar, and (what had never yet been seen in France or Lorraine)
having a wife with him.[874] This was Lambert of Avignon.

  [874] Y vient ung, se disant docteur, qui premier avait esté
  religieulx et à présent estait marié. Chroniques de Metz, p. 807.

On Lambert's arrival at Wittemberg, which had been the object of his
journey on leaving the convent, he was well received by Luther, and
the reformer had hastened to recommend to Spalatin and to the elector
this friar, who, "on account of persecution, had chosen poverty and
exile......He pleases me in all respects," added Luther.[875] Lambert
had begun to lecture on the prophet Hosea at the university, before an
auditory who could not conceal their surprise at hearing such things
from the mouth of a Gaul.[876] And then, with eyes ever turned towards
his native land, he had begun to translate into French and Italian
several evangelical pamphlets published by Luther and other doctors.
He was not the only Frenchman at Wittemberg: he there met with counts,
knights, nobles, and others come from France to see the elector and to
converse with Luther, "the overseer of the works that were
accomplishing in the world."[877] These Frenchmen mutually encouraged
each other, and, as is usual with emigrants, exaggerated the state of
affairs, imagining that a speedy revolution would lead to the triumph
in their own country of the cause which they had so much at heart.
"Almost the whole of Gaul is stirring," wrote Lambert to the Elector
of Saxony. "Although in France the truth has no master and no leader,
its friends are very numerous."[878]

  [875] Ob persecutionem exul atque pauper factus; mihi per omnia placet
  vir. L. Epp. ii. 302.

  [876] Aliquid nostri Martini consilio exordiar, vel Oseam Prophetam,
  vel Psalmos, vel Lucam, vel aliquid tale. Schelhorn, Amœnitates
  Litt. iv. 336.

  [877] Veniunt passim Wittembergam Comites, Equites, Nobiles, et alii
  etiam e Gallia nostra ut te inclytum Ducem (the Elector) videant, et
  Præfectum Operum, M. Lutherum. Comment. in Oseam præf.

  [878] Gallia pene omnis commota est, et absque magistro sinceros habet
  veritatis dilectores. Schelhorn, Amœn. iv.


One thing alone checked these Frenchmen at Wittemberg: the printing of
the pamphlets intended for their countrymen. "Would that I could find
some one," exclaimed Lambert, "that could print not only in Latin, but
in French and even in Italian."[879] This was the posture of affairs
when certain strangers appeared: they were from Hamburg. "We come to
ask you for some French treatises," said they to Lambert; "for we have
some one in Hamburg who will print them carefully."[880] It would
appear that there were also a number of French emigrants at Hamburg,
and a printer among the rest. Lambert could not restrain his joy; but
there was still another difficulty: "And how," said he, "can we convey
these books into France from the banks of the Elbe?"--"By sea; by the
vessels that sail to and fro," replied the Hamburgers.[881] "Every
necessary arrangement has been made." Thus the Gospel had hardly been
restored to the Church, before the ocean became an instrument of its
dissemination. _The Lord hath made a way in the sea._[882]

  [879] Si inveniatur qui imprimat non tantum Latine sed Gallice et
  Italice, hæc atque alia tradam. Ibid.

  [880] Quod ad me ex Amburgo nuntii advenerint tractatus Gallicos
  postulantes; aiunt enim quod illic sit qui ea lingua elimatissimos
  posset cudere libros. Ibid. p. 343.

  [881] Quos demum navigio in Galliam mittit. Ibid.

  [882] Isaiah xliii. 16.

Yet this could not suffice; every Frenchman returning into France was
to carry a few books with him, although the scaffold might be the
reward of his enterprise. _Now_ there is more talking, _then_ there
was more action. A young French nobleman, Claude of Taureau, who left
Wittemberg in May 1523, took with him a great number of evangelical
treatises and letters which Lambert had written to many of the most
conspicuous men of France and Savoy.[883]

  [883] Occupatus multis scriptis potissimum quæ pluribus in Gallia
  misi. Junior quippe nobilis Claudius de Tauro abiit. Ibid.


On the 13th of July 1523, Lambert, then at the age of thirty-six,
"determined (in his own words) to flee the paths of impurity as he had
always done," entered into the holy bonds of wedlock, two years before
Luther, and the first of the French monks or priests. When married, he
called to mind that he ought not to think "how he might please his
wife, but how he might please the Lord." Christina, the daughter of a
worthy citizen of Herzberg, was ready to be the companion of his
sufferings. Lambert told his Wittemberg friends that he intended
returning to France.

Luther and Melancthon were terrified at the thought. "It is rather
from France to Germany," said Luther, "than from Germany to France,
that you should go."[884] Lambert, all whose thoughts were in France,
paid no attention to the reformers advice.[885]

  [884] Potius ad nos illinc, quam ad vos hinc, cuiquam migrandum esse.
  L. Epp. ad Gerbellium Strasburg, ii. 438.

  [885] Nec audit meum consilium, sic occupatus suo proprio. Ibid. 437.

[Sidenote: THE LOTS.]

And yet Luther's sentiments could not fail to make some impression on
him. Should he go to Zurich, whither Luther urges him? or to France or
Lorraine, where Farel and, as he believes, Christ himself are calling
him? He was in great perplexity.[886] At Zurich he would find peace
and safety; in France peril and death.[887] His rest was broken, he
could find no repose;[888] he wandered through the streets of
Wittemberg with downcast eyes, and his wife could not restore him to
serenity. At last he fell on his knees, and called upon the Lord to
put an end to his struggle, by making known His will in the casting of
lots.[889] He took two slips of paper; on one he wrote _France_, on
the other _Switzerland_; he closed his eyes and drew; the lot had
fallen on France.[890] Again he fell on his knees: "O God," said he,
"if thou wilt not close these lips that desire to utter thy praise,
deign to make known thy pleasure."[891] Again he tried, and the answer
still was _France_. And some hours after, recollecting (said he) that
Gideon, when called to march against the Midianites, had thrice asked
for a sign from heaven near the oak of Ophrah,[892] he prayed God a
third time, and a third time the lot replied _France_. From that hour
he hesitated no longer, and Luther, who could not put such confidence
in the lot, for the sake of peace, ceased urging his objections, and
Lambert, in the month of February or March 1524, taking his wife with
him, departed for Strasburg, whence he repaired to Metz.

  [886] In gravissima perplexitate. Lambert de Fidelium vocatione, cap.

  [887] In priore vocatione erat pax et serenitas; in alia vero multa et
  eadem gravissima, etiam mortis pericula erant.

  [888] Nulla erat misero requies, ut quidem vixdum somnium caperet.

  [889] Oravit Dominum, ut hanc contradictionem sorte dirimeret. Ibid.

  [890] Et sors cecidit super vocatione secunda. Lambert de Fidelium
  vocatione, cap. 22.

  [891] Ut non clauderetur omnino os Deum laudare volentis. Ibid. I
  agree with Professor Baum in thinking that Lambert's narrative refers
  to this circumstance.

  [892] Judges vi. 20-40.

He soon became intimate with Chatelain, whom he called "his Jonathan,"
and appearing before a meeting commissioned to inquire into his
doctrines: "Suffer me to preach in public," said the man of Avignon,
"and I will forthwith publish one hundred and sixteen theses
explanatory of my doctrine, and which I will defend against all manner
of persons."

The Chamber of XIII., messieurs the clerks, and messeigneurs of
justice, before whom Lambert had been called, were frightened at such
a request, and refused permission; and shortly after, the whole troop
of Antichrist was in commotion, said Lambert; canons, monks,
inquisitors, the bishop's officials, and all their partisans,
endeavoured to seize and throw him into the dungeon of some
cloister.[893] The magistrates protected Lambert, but intimated that
he had better leave the city. Lambert obeyed. "I will flee," said he
to his Master, "but will still confess thy name! Whenever it be thy
good pleasure, I will endure death. I am in thy hands; I flee, and yet
I flee not; it is the flight which becometh all those who are made
perfect."[894] Lambert had not been a fortnight in Metz. He was to
learn that God makes known his will by other means than the drawing of
lots. It was not for France that this monk from the banks of the Rhone
was destined; we shall soon behold him playing an important part in
Germany, as reformer of Hesse. He returned to Strasburg, leaving
Chatelain and Leclerc at Metz.

  [893] Sed mox insanavit tota Antichristi cohors, nempe canonici,
  monachi, inquisitor, officialis, et reliqui qui sunt ex parte eorum et
  me capere voluerunt. Epistola ad Franciscum regem.

  [894] In manu tua sum, sic fugio quasi non fugiam. Hæc est fuga
  omnibus perfectissimis conveniens. De vocatione fidelium, cap. 15.


Owing to the zeal of these two men the light of the Gospel spread more
and more through the whole city. A very devout woman, named Toussaint,
of the middle rank, had a son called Peter, with whom, in the midst of
his sports, she would often converse in a serious strain. Everywhere,
even in the homes of the townspeople, something extraordinary was
expected. One day the child, indulging in the amusements natural to
his age, was riding on a stick in his mother's room, when the latter,
conversing with her friends on the things of God, said to them with an
agitated voice: "Antichrist will soon come with great power, and
destroy those who have been converted at the preaching of Elias."[895]
These words being frequently repeated attracted the child's attention,
and he recollected them long after. Peter Toussaint was no longer a
child when the doctor of theology and the wool-comber were preaching
the Gospel at Metz. His relations and friends, surprised at his
youthful genius, hoped to see him one day filling an eminent station
in the Church. One of his uncles, his father's brother, was dean of
Metz; it was the highest dignity in the chapter.[896] The Cardinal
John of Lorraine, son of Duke René, who maintained a large
establishment, testified much regard for the dean and his nephew. The
latter, notwithstanding his youth, had just obtained a prebend, when
he began to lend an attentive ear to the Gospel. Might not the
preaching of Chatelain and Leclerc be that of Elias? It is true,
Antichrist is already arming against it in every quarter. But it
matters not. "Let us lift up our heads to the Lord," said he, "for he
will come and will not tarry."[897]

  [895] Cum equitabam in arundine longa, memini sæpe audisse me a matre
  venturum Antichristum cum potentia magna, perditurumque eos qui essent
  ad Eliæ prædicationem conversi. Tossanus Farello, 4th September 1525,
  MS. in the conclave of Neufchatel.

  [896] Ibid. 21st July 1525.

  [897] Levemus interim capita nostra ad Dominum qui veniet et non
  tardabit. Tossanus Farello, 4th September 1525.

[Sidenote: D'ESCH--THE IMAGES.]

The evangelical doctrine was making its way into the first families of
Metz. The chevalier D'Esch, a man highly respected, and the dean's
intimate friend, had just been converted.[898] The friends of the
Gospel rejoiced. "The knight, our worthy master,"......repeated Peter,
adding with noble candour; "if, however, we are permitted to have a
master upon earth."[899]

  [898] Clarissimum illum equitem......cui multum familiaritatis et
  amicitiæ, cum primicerio Metensi, patruo meo. Ibid. 2d Aug. 1524.

  [899] Ibid. 21st July 1525. MS. of Neufchatel.

Thus Metz was about to become a focus of light, when the imprudent
zeal of Leclerc suddenly arrested this slow but sure progress, and
aroused a storm that threatened utter ruin to the rising church. The
common people of Metz continued walking in their old superstitions,
and Leclerc's heart was vexed at seeing this great city plunged in
"idolatry." One of their great festivals was approaching. About a
league from the city stood a chapel containing images of the Virgin
and of the most celebrated saints of the country, and whither all the
inhabitants of Metz were in the habit of making a pilgrimage on a
certain day in the year, to worship the images and to obtain the
pardon of their sins.


The eve of the festival had arrived: Leclerc's pious and courageous
soul was violently agitated. Has not God said: _Thou shalt not bow
down to their gods; but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite
break down their images?_[900] Leclerc thought that this command was
addressed to him, and without consulting either Chatelain, Esch, or
any of those whom he might have suspected would have dissuaded him,
quitted the city in the evening, just as night was coming on, and
approached the chapel. There he pondered a while sitting silently
before the statues. He still had it in his power to withdraw;
but......to-morrow, in a few hours, the whole city that should worship
God alone will be kneeling down before these blocks of wood and stone.
A struggle ensued in the wool-comber's bosom, like that which we trace
in so many Christians of the primitive ages of the Church. What
matters it to him that what he sees are the images of saints, and not
of heathen gods and goddesses? Does not the worship which the people
pay to these images belong to God alone? Like Polyeucte before the
idols in the temple, his heart shudders, his courage revives:

    Ne perdons plus de temps, le sacrifice est prêt,
    Allons y du vrai Dieu soutenir l'intérêt;
    Allons fouler aux pieds ce foudre ridicule,
    Dont arme un bois pourri ce peuple trop crédule;
    Allons en éclairer l'aveuglement fatal,
    Allons briser ces dieux de pierre et de métal;
    Abandonnons nos jours à cette ardeur céleste--
    Faisons triompher Dieu;--qu'il dispose du reste.[901]
                                   _Corneille, Polyeucte._

  [900] Exodus xx. 4; xxiii. 24.

  [901] What many admire in verse they condemn in history.

Leclerc arose, approached the images, took them down and broke them in
pieces, indignantly scattering their fragments before the altar. He
doubted not that the Spirit of the Lord had excited him to this
action, and Theodore Beza thinks the same.[902] After this, Leclerc
returned to Metz, which he entered at daybreak, unnoticed save by a
few persons as he was entering the gates.[903]

  [902] Divini spiritus afflatu impulsus. Bezæ Icones.

  [903] Mane apud urbis portas deprehensus.


Meanwhile all were in motion in the ancient city; bells were ringing;
the brotherhoods were assembling; and the whole population of Metz,
headed by the canons, priests, and monks, went forth in solemn
procession; they recited prayers or sung hymns to the saints they were
going to adore; crosses and banners moved on in due order, and
instruments of music or drums responded to the voices of the faithful.
At length, after nearly an hour's march, the procession reached the
place of pilgrimage. But what was the astonishment of the priests,
when advancing, censer in hand, they discovered the images they had
come to worship mutilated and covering the earth with their fragments.
They recoiled with horror, and announced this sacrilegious act to the
crowd. Suddenly the chanting ceased, the instruments were silent, the
banners lowered, and the whole multitude was in a state of
indescribable agitation. The canons, priests, and monks endeavoured to
inflame their minds, and excited the people to search for the
criminal, and demand his death.[904] But one cry burst from every lip:
"Death, death to the sacrilegious wretch!" They returned to Metz in
haste and in disorder.

  [904] Totam civitatem concitarunt ad auctorem ejus facinoris
  quærendum. Act. Mart. Lat. p. 189.

Leclerc was known to all; many times he had called the images idols.
Besides had he not been seen at daybreak returning from the direction
of the chapel. He was seized; he immediately confessed his crime, and
conjured the people to worship God alone. But this language still
further exasperated the fury of the multitude, who would have dragged
him to instant death. When led before his judges, he boldly declared
that Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, should alone be adored.
He was sentenced to be burnt alive, and taken out to the place of


Here a fearful scene awaited him. The cruelty of his persecutors had
been contriving all that could render his punishment more horrible.
Near the scaffold men were heating pincers that were to serve as the
instruments of their rage. Leclerc, firm and calm, heard unmoved the
wild yells of the monks and people. They began by cutting off his
right hand; then taking up the burning pincers, they tore off his
nose; after this, they lacerated his arms, and when they had thus
mangled them in several places, they concluded by burning his
breasts.[905] While his enemies were in this manner wreaking their
vengeance on his body, Leclerc's mind was at rest. He recited solemnly
and with a loud voice[906] these words of David: _Their idols are
silver and_ _gold, the work of men's hands_. _They have mouths, but
they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but
they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not; they have hands,
but they handle not; feet have they, but they walk not; neither speak
they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so
is every one that trusteth in them. O Israel, trust thou in the Lord;
he is their help and their shield._ (Psalm cxv. 4-9). The sight of
such fortitude daunted the enemies, and strengthened the
faithful;[907] the people, who had before shown so much anger, were
astonished and touched with compassion.[908] After these tortures
Leclerc was burnt by a slow fire, in conformity with his sentence.
Such was the death of the first martyr of the Gospel in France.

  [905] Naso candentibus forcipibus abrepto, iisdemque brachio utroque
  ipsisque mammis crudelissime perustis. Bezæ Icones; MS. de Meaux,
  Crespin, &c.

  [906] Altissima voce recitans. Bezæ Icones.

  [907] Adversariis territis, piis magnopere confirmatis. Bezæ Icones.

  [908] Nemo qui non commoveretur, attonitus. Act. Mart. Lat. p. 189.

But the priests of Metz were not satisfied. In vain had they
endeavoured to shake the constancy of Chatelain. "He is deaf as an
adder," said they, "and refuses to hear the truth."[909] He was seized
by the creatures of the Cardinal of Lorraine and carried to the castle
of Nommeny.

  [909] Instar aspidis serpentis aures omni surditate affectas. Ibid. p.

He was then degraded by the bishop's officers, who stripped him of his
priestly vestments, and scraped his fingers with a piece of glass,
saying: "By this scraping, we deprive thee of the power to sacrifice,
consecrate, and bless, which thou receivedst by the anointing of
hands."[910] Then, throwing over him a layman's dress, they
surrendered him to the secular power, which condemned him to be burnt
alive. The pile was soon erected, and the minister of Christ consumed
by the flames. "Lutheranism spread not the less through the whole
district of Metz," say the authors of the history of the Gallican
Church, who in other respects highly approve of this severity.

  [910] Utriusque manus digitos lamina vitrea erasit. Ibid. p. 66.


As soon as this storm began to beat upon the Church at Metz,
tribulation had entered into Toussaint's family. His uncle, the dean,
without taking an active part in the measures directed against Leclerc
and Chatelain, shuddered at the thought that his nephew was one of
their party. His mother's alarm was greater still. There was not a
moment to lose; the liberty and life of all who had lent their ear to
the Gospel were endangered. The blood that the inquisitors had shed
had only increased their thirst: more scaffolds would erelong be
raised. Peter Toussaint, the knight Esch, and many others, hastily
quitted Metz, and sought refuge at Basle.


     Farel and his Brothers--Farel expelled from Gap--He preaches
     in the Fields--The Knight Anemond of Coct--The
     Minorite--Anemond quits France--Luther to the Duke of
     Savoy--Farel quits France.

Thus violently did the gale of persecution blow at Meaux and at Metz.
The north of France rejected the Gospel: the Gospel for a while gave
way. But the Reformation only changed its ground; and the provinces of
the south-east became the scene of action.


Farel, who had taken refuge at the foot of the Alps, was there
labouring with great activity. It was of little moment to him to enjoy
the sweets of domestic life in the bosom of his family. The rumour of
what had taken place at Meaux and at Paris had filled his brothers
with a certain degree of terror; but an unknown power was drawing them
towards the new and admirable things on which William conversed with
them. The latter besought them with all the impetuosity of his zeal to
be converted to the Gospel;[911] and Daniel, Walter, and Claude were
at last won over to that God whom their brother announced. They did
not at first abandon the religious worship of their forefathers; but,
when persecution arose, they courageously sacrificed their friends,
their property, and their country to worship Jesus Christ in
freedom.[912] The brothers of Luther and of Zwingle do not appear to
have been so decidedly converted to the Gospel; the French Reform from
its very commencement had a more tender and domestic character.

  [911] Choupard MS.

  [912] Farel, gentilhomme de condition, doué de bons moyens, lesquels
  il perdit tous pour sa religion, aussi bien que trois autres siens
  frères. Geneva MS.

Farel did not confine his exhortations to his brethren; he proclaimed
the truth to his relations and friends at Gap and in the
neighbourhood. It would even appear, if we may credit a manuscript,
that, profiting by the friendship of certain clergymen, he began to
preach the Gospel in several churches;[913] but other authorities
positively declare that he did not at this time ascend the pulpit.
However this may be, the doctrine he professed caused great agitation.
The multitude and the clergy desired to silence him. "What new and
strange heresy is this?" said they; "must all the practices of piety
be counted vain? He is neither monk nor priest: he has no business to

  [913] Il prêcha l'évangile publiquement avec une grande liberté.
  Choupard MS.

  [914] Ibid.; Hist. des Evêques de Nismes, 1738.

Erelong all the civil and ecclesiastical powers of Gap combined
against Farel. He was evidently an agent of that sect which the whole
country is opposing. "Let us cast this firebrand of discord far from
us," they exclaimed. Farel was summoned to appear, harshly treated,
and violently expelled from the city.[915]

  [915] Il fut chassé, voire fort rudement, tant par l'évêque que par
  ceux de la ville. Choupard MS.

He did not, however, abandon his native country: were there not in the
fields, the villages, the banks of the Durance, of the Guisanne, and
of the Isère many souls that stood in need of the Gospel? and if he
incurred any danger, could he not find an asylum in those forests,
caverns, and steep rocks that he had so often traversed in his youth?
He began, therefore, to go through the country preaching in private
houses and in solitary fields, and seeking an asylum in the woods and
on the brink of torrents.[916] This was a school in which God trained
him for other labours. "The crosses, persecutions, and machinations of
Satan, of which I was forewarned, have not been wanting," said he;
"they are even much severer than I could have borne of myself; but God
is my father; He has provided and always will provide me the strength
which I require."[917] A great number of the inhabitants of these
rural districts received the truth from his lips. Thus the persecution
that had driven Farel from Paris and from Meaux, contributed to the
spread of the Reformation in the provinces of the Saone, of the Rhone,
and of the Alps. Every age has witnessed the fulfilment of the saying
of Scripture: _They that were scattered abroad went everywhere
preaching the Word_.[918]

  [916] Olim errabundus in silvis, in nemoribus, in aquis vagatus sum.
  Fare ad Capit. de Bucer. Basil, 25th Oct. 1526. MS. letter at

  [917] Non defuere cruces, persecutio, et Satanæ machinamenta. Farel

  [918] Acts viii. 4.

[Sidenote: ANEMOND DE COCT.]

Among the Frenchmen who were at that time gained over to the Gospel
was a gentleman of Dauphiny, the chevalier Anemond de Coct, younger
son of the auditor of Coct, lord of Châtelard. He was active, ardent,
and lively, sincerely pious, and a foe to relics, processions, and the
clergy; he received the evangelical doctrine with great alacrity, and
was soon entirely devoted to it. He could not endure forms in
religion, and would gladly have abolished all the ceremonies of the
Church. The religion of the heart, the inward worship, was in his view
the only true one. "Never," said he, "has my spirit found any rest in
externals. The sum of Christianity is comprised in these words: _John
truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy
Ghost; ye must put on the new man_."[919]

  [919] Nunquam in externis quievit spiritus meus. Coctus Farello MS. in
  the conclave of Neufchatel.

Coct, endued with all the vivacity of a Frenchman, spoke and wrote at
one time in Latin, at another in French. He read and quoted Donatus,
Thomas Aquinas, Juvenal, and the Bible! His style was abrupt, passing
suddenly from one idea to another. Ever in motion, he presented
himself wherever a door seemed open to the Gospel, or a celebrated
doctor was to be heard. By his cordiality he won the hearts of all his
acquaintances. "He is distinguished by rank and learning," said
Zwingle at a later period, "but more distinguished still for piety and
affability."[920] Anemond is the type of many of the reformed
Frenchmen. Vivacity, simple-heartedness, zeal sometimes carried even
to imprudence, are the qualities often found in those of his
fellow-countrymen who embraced the Gospel. But at the opposite extreme
of the French character we find the serious features of Calvin, a
weighty counterpoise to the levity of Coct. Calvin and Anemond are the
two poles between which revolves the whole religious world in France.

  [920] Virum est genere, doctrinaque clarum, ita pietate humanitateque
  longe clariorem. Zw. Epp. p. 319.


No sooner had Anemond received the knowledge of Jesus Christ from
Farel,[921] than he sought himself to gain converts to that doctrine
of spirit and of life. His father was dead; his elder brother, of
harsh and haughty temper, disdainfully repelled him. Lawrence, the
youngest of the family, and who loved him sincerely, seemed but half
to understand him. Anemond, finding himself rejected by his own
kindred, turned his activity to another quarter.

  [921] In a letter to Farel he subscribes himself: _Filius tuus
  humilis_. 2d September 1524.

Hitherto the awakening in Dauphiny had been confined solely to the
laity. Farel, Anemond, and their friends, desired to see a priest at
the head of this movement, which seemed as if it would shake the
provinces of the Alps. There dwelt at Grenoble a minorite priest,
Peter Sebville by name, a preacher of great eloquence, of an honest
and good heart, not taking counsel with flesh and blood, and whom God
was gradually attracting to him.[922] Sebville soon became aware that
there is no infallible teacher but the Word of God; and, abandoning
the doctrines that are supported on human testimony alone, he
determined in his own mind to preach the Word "purely, clearly, and
holily."[923] In these three words the whole of the Reformation is
summed up. Coct and Farel were delighted as they heard this new
preacher of grace raising his eloquent voice in their province, and
thought that their own presence would henceforward be less necessary.

  [922] Pater cœlestis animum sic tuum ad se traxit. Zwinglius
  Sebvillæ, Epp. p. 320.

  [923] Nitide, pure, sancteque prædicare in animum inducis. Ibid.


The more the awakening spread, the more violent became the opposition.
Anemond, desirous of becoming acquainted with Luther and Zwingle, and
of visiting those countries where the Reformation had originated, and
indignant at the rejection of the Gospel by his fellow-countrymen,
resolved to bid farewell to his home and his family. He made his will,
disposing of his property, at that time in the hands of his elder
brother, the lord of Châtelard, in favour of his brother
Lawrence;[924] and then quitting Dauphiny and France, he made his way
with all the impetuosity of the south, through countries which it was
no easy matter in that age to traverse, and passing through
Switzerland, hardly stopping at Basle, he arrived at Wittemberg, where
Luther was residing. This was shortly after the second Diet of
Nuremberg. The French gentleman accosted the Saxon doctor with his
usual vivacity; talked with him enthusiastically about the Gospel, and
eagerly laid before him the plans he had formed for the propagation of
the truth. The gravity of the Saxon smiled at the southern imagination
of the chevalier;[925] and Luther, notwithstanding certain prejudices
against the French character, was fascinated and carried away by
Anemond. He was affected by the thought that this gentleman had come
from France to Wittemberg for the sake of the Gospel.[926]
"Assuredly," said the reformer to his friends, "this French knight is
an excellent, learned, and pious man."[927] The young noble produced
the same impression on Zwingle and on Luther.

  [924] Mon frère Annemond Coct, chevalier, au partir du pays me feist
  son heritier. MS. letters in the library at Neufchatel.

  [925] Mire ardens in Evangelium, says Luther to Spalatin. Epp. ii.
  340; Sehr brünstig in der Herrlichkeit des Evangelii, said he to the
  Duke of Savoy. Ibid. 401.

  [926] Evangelii gratia huc profectus e Gallia. L. Epp. ii. 340.

  [927] Hic Gallus eques......optimus vir est, eruditus ac pius. Ibid.


Anemond, seeing what Luther and Zwingle had done, thought that if they
would turn their attention to France and Savoy, nothing could resist
them. Accordingly, as he could not prevail on them to go thither, he
begged them at least to write. In particular, he requested Luther to
address a letter to Duke Charles of Savoy, brother to Louisa and
Philiberta, and uncle to Francis I. and Margaret. "This prince," said
he to the doctor, "feels great attraction towards piety and true
religion,[928] and loves to converse on the Reformation with some of
the persons about his court. He is just the man to understand you; for
his motto is this: _Nihil deest timentibus Deum_,[929] and this device
is yours also. Injured in turns by the empire and by France,
humiliated, vexed, and always in danger, his heart stands in need of
God and of his grace: all that he wants is a powerful impulse. If he
were won to the Gospel, he would have an immense influence on
Switzerland, Savoy, and France. Write to him, I beseech you."

  [928] Ein grosser Liebhaber der wahren Religion und Gottseligkeit. L.
  Epp. ii. 401.

  [929] Nothing is wanting to those who fear God. Hist. Gén. de la
  Maison de Savoie, par Guichenon, ii. 228.

Luther was wholly German in character, and would have found himself
ill at ease out of Germany; yet, animated by a true catholicism, he
stretched out his hands as soon as he saw brethren, and in every place
when there was any word of exhortation to be given, he took care that
it should be heard. He sometimes wrote on the same day to the farthest
parts of Europe, to the Low Countries, to Savoy, and to Livonia.

"Assuredly," replied he to Anemond's request, "a love for the Gospel
is a rare gift, and an inestimable jewel in a prince."[930] And he
addressed a letter to the duke, which Anemond probably carried as far
as Switzerland.

  [930] Eine seltsame Gabe und hohes Kleinod unter den Fürsten. L. Epp.
  ii. 401.


"May your highness pardon me," wrote Luther, "If I, a weak and
despised man, presume to address you; or rather ascribe this boldness
to the glory of the Gospel; for I cannot see that glorious light
rising and shining in any quarter without exulting at the joyful
sight......It is my desire that my Lord Jesus Christ should gain many
souls by the example of your most serene highness. And for this reason
I desire to set our doctrine before you......We believe that the
commencement of salvation and the sum of Christianity is faith in
Christ, who by his blood alone, and not by our works, has made
atonement for sin, and put an end to the dominion of death. We believe
that this faith is a gift of God, and that it is created by the Holy
Ghost in our hearts, and not found by our own labours. For faith is a
living thing,[931] which spiritually begetteth the man, and maketh him
a new creature."

  [931] Der Glaube ist ein lebendig Ding. L. Epp. ii. 402. The Latin is

Luther then proceeded to the consequences of faith, and showed how it
could not be possessed without sweeping away the whole scaffolding of
false doctrines and human works that the Church had so laboriously
raised. "If grace," said he, "is obtained by Christ's blood, it is not
by our own works. This is the reason why all the labours of all the
cloisters are unavailing, and these institutions should be abolished,
as being contrary to the blood of Jesus Christ, and leading men to
trust in their own good works. Ingrafted in Christ, nothing remains
for us but to do good, for having become good trees, we should bear
witness to it by good fruits.

"Gracious prince and lord," said Luther in conclusion, "may your
highness, who has made so happy a beginning, help to propagate this
doctrine; not with the power of the sword, which would injure the
Gospel, but by inviting into your states learned doctors who may
preach the Word. It is by the breath of his mouth that Jesus will
destroy Antichrist, in order that, as Daniel says (chap. viii. ver.
25), he may be broken without hand. For this reason, most serene
prince, may your highness fan the spark that has been kindled in your
heart; may a flame go forth from the house of Savoy, as in former
times from the house of Joseph;[932] may all France be consumed like
stubble before that fire; may it burn, blaze, and purify, so that this
illustrious kingdom may truly be called _most christian_, for which it
is indebted, up to this hour, solely to the rivers of blood shed in
the service of Antichrist."

  [932] Dass ein Feuer von dem Hause Sophoy ausgehe. L. Epp. ii. 406.


Thus did Luther endeavour to diffuse the Gospel in France. We are
ignorant of the effect produced on the prince by this letter; but we
do not see that he ever showed any desire to separate from Rome. In
1522, he requested Adrian VI. to stand godfather to his eldest son;
and, shortly after, the pope promised a cardinal's hat for his second
son. Anemond, after making an effort to see the court and the Elector
of Saxony, and having received a letter from Luther for this
purpose,[933] returned to Basle, more decided than ever to expose his
life for the Gospel. In his ardour, he would have rejoiced to possess
the power of rousing the whole of France. "All that I am," said he,
"all that I shall be, all that I have, all that I shall have, I am
determined to consecrate to the glory of God."[934]

  [933] Vult videre aulam et faciem Principis nostri. L. Epp. ii. 340.

  [934] Quidquid sum, habeo, ero, habebove, ad Dei gloriam insumere mens
  est. Coct. Epp. MS. of Neufchatel.

Anemond found his compatriot Farel at Basle. Anemond's letters had
excited in him a great desire to see the reformers of Switzerland and
Germany. Moreover, Farel required a sphere of activity in which he
could more freely exert his strength. He therefore quitted that France
which already offered nothing but scaffolds and the stake for the
preachers of the unadulterated Gospel. Following byroads and
concealing himself in the woods, he escaped, although with difficulty,
from the hands of his enemies. Often had he lost his way. At last he
reached Switzerland at the beginning of 1524. There he was destined to
spend his life in the service of the Gospel, and it was then that
France began to send into Helvetia those noble-minded evangelists who
were to establish the Reformation in Switzerland _Romande_,[935] and
to give it a new and powerful impulse in other parts of the
confederation and in the whole world.

  [935] The French part of Switzerland, comprising the cantons of
  Geneva, Vaud, Neufchatel, and part of those of Friburg, Berne, and


     Catholicity of the Reformation--Friendship between Farel and
     Œcolampadius--Farel and Erasmus--Altercation--Farel
     demands a Disputation--Theses--Scripture and


The catholicity of the Reformation is a noble feature in its
character. The Germans pass into Switzerland; the French into Germany;
in latter times men from England and Scotland pass over to the
continent, and doctors from the continent into Great Britain. The
reformers in the different countries spring up almost independently of
one another; but no sooner are they born than they hold out the hand
of fellowship. There is among them one sole faith, one spirit, one
Lord. It has been an error, in our opinion, to write, as hitherto, the
history of the Reformation for a single country; the work is one, and
from their very origin the Protestant Churches form "a whole body,
fitly jointed together."[936]

  [936] Ephes. iv. 16.

Many refugees from France and Lorraine at this time formed at Basle a
French Church, whose members had escaped from the scaffold. They had
spoken there of Farel, of Lefevre, and of the occurrences at Meaux;
and when the former arrived in Switzerland, he was already known as
one of the most devoted champions of the Gospel.


He was immediately taken to Œcolampadius, who had returned to Basle
some time before. Rarely does it happen that two men of more opposite
character are brought together. Œcolampadius charmed by his
mildness, Farel carried away his hearers by his impetuosity: but from
the first moment these two men felt themselves united for ever.[937]
It was another meeting of a Luther and Melancthon. Œcolampadius
received Farel into his house, gave him an humble chamber, a frugal
table, and introduced him to his friends; and it was not long before
the learning, piety, and courage of the young Frenchman gained every
heart. Pellican, Imeli, Wolfhard, and other ministers of Basle felt
themselves strengthened in the faith by his energetic language.
Œcolampadius was at that time much depressed in spirit: "Alas!"
said he to Zwingle, "I speak in vain, and see not the least reason to
hope. Perhaps among the Turks I might meet with greater
success![938]......Alas!" added he with a deep sigh, "I lay the blame
on myself alone." But the more he saw of Farel, the more his heart
cheered up, and the courage he received from the Dauphinese became the
ground-work of an undying affection. "O my dear Farel," said he, "I
hope that the Lord will make our friendship immortal, and if we cannot
live together here below, our joy will only be the greater when we
shall be united at Christ's right hand in heaven."[939] Pious and
affecting thoughts!......Farel's arrival was for Switzerland evidently
a succour from on high.

  [937] Amicum semper habui a primo colloquio. Farel to Bulling. 27th
  May 1556.

  [938] Fortasse in mediis Turcis felicius docuissem. Zw. et Ecol. Epp.
  p. 200.

  [939] Mi Farelle, spero Dominum conservaturum amicitiam nostram
  immortalem; et si hic conjungi nequimus, tanto beatius alibi apud
  Christum erit contubernium. Ibid. p. 201.


But while this Frenchman was delighted with Œcolampadius, he shrank
coldly and with noble pride from a man at whose feet all the nations
of Christendom fell prostrate. The prince of the schools, he from whom
every one coveted a word or a look, the master of the age--Erasmus--was
neglected by Farel. The young Dauphinese had refused to go and pay
homage to the old sage of Rotterdam, despising those men who are only
by halves on the side of the truth, and who, though clearly aware of
the consequences of error, are full of forbearance towards those who
propagate it. Thus we witness in Farel that decision which has become
one of the distinctive characters of the Reformation in France and
French Switzerland, and which some have called stiffness,
exclusiveness, and intolerance. A controversy, arising out of the
commentaries of the doctor of Etaples, had begun between the two
great doctors of the age, and at every entertainment the guests would
take part with Erasmus against Lefevre, and Lefevre against
Erasmus.[940] Farel hesitated not to take his master's side. But what
had especially annoyed him was the cowardice of the philosopher of
Rotterdam with regard to the evangelical Christians. Erasmus shut his
door against them. Good! Farel will not go and beg for admission. This
was a trifling sacrifice to him, as he felt that Erasmus possessed not
that piety of heart which is the foundation of all true theology.
"Frobenius's wife knows more of theology than he does," said Farel;
and indignant at the conduct of Erasmus, who had written advising the
pope how to set about extinguishing the Lutheran conflagration, he
boldly affirmed that Erasmus desired to stifle the Gospel.[941]

  [940] Nullum est pene convivium. Er. Epp. p. 179.

  [941] Consilium quo sic extinguatur incendium Lutheranum. Ibid.


This independence in young Farel exasperated the illustrious scholar.
Princes, kings, doctors, bishops, popes, reformers, priests, men of
the world--all were ready to pay him their tribute of admiration; even
Luther had treated him with a certain forbearance; and this
Dauphinese, unknown to fame and an exile, dared brave his power. Such
insolent freedom caused Erasmus more annoyance than the homage of the
whole world could give him pleasure; and accordingly he neglected no
opportunity of venting his ill humour on Farel; besides, by attacking
so notorious a heretic, he was clearing himself in the eyes of the
Romanists from all suspicion of heresy. "I have never met with any
thing more false, more violent, and more seditious than this
man,"[942] said he; "his heart is full of vanity, his tongue
overflowing with malice."[943] But the anger of Erasmus was not
confined to Farel; it was directed against all the French refugees in
Basle, whose frankness and decision offended him. They had little
respect to persons; and if the truth was not openly professed, they
cared not for the man, however exalted might be his genius. They were
possibly wanting in some measure in the suavity of the Gospel; but
their fidelity reminds us of the vigour of the ancient prophets; and
it is gratifying to meet with men who do not bow down before what the
world adores. Erasmus, amazed at this lofty disdain, complained of it
to every one. "What!" wrote he to Melancthon, "shall we reject
pontiffs and bishops, to have more cruel, scurvy, and furious tyrants
in their place;......for such it is that France has sent
us."[944]--"Some Frenchmen," wrote he to the pope's secretary, in a
letter accompanying his book on _Free Will_, "are still more out of
their wits than even the Germans. They have five expressions always in
their mouths: _Gospel_, _Word of God_, _Faith_, _Christ_, _Holy
Ghost_; and yet I doubt whether they be not urged on by the spirit of
Satan."[945] Instead of Farellus he would often write _Fallicus_, thus
designating one of the frankest men of his day with the epithets of
cheat and deceiver.

  [942] Quo nihil vidi mendacius, virulentius, et seditiosius. Ibid.

  [943] Acidæ linguæ et vanissimus. Ibid. 2129.

  [944] Scabiosos......rabiosos......nam nuper nobis misit Gallia. Er.
  Epp. p. 350.

  [945] Non dubitem quin agantur spiritu Satanæ. Ibid.


The vexation and anger of Erasmus were at their height, when it was
reported to him that Farel had called him a _Balaam_. Farel believed
that Erasmus, like this prophet, allowed himself (perhaps
unconsciously) to be swayed by presents to curse the people of God.
The learned Dutchman, unable longer to contain himself, resolved to
chastise the impudent Dauphinese; and one day, as Farel was talking
with several friends on the doctrines of Christianity in the presence
of Erasmus, the latter, rudely interrupting him, said: "Why do you
call me Balaam?"[946] Farel, at first astonished by so abrupt a
question, soon recovered himself and answered, that it was not he who
had given him that title. On being pressed to name the offender, he
said it was Du Blet of Lyons, a refugee at Basle like himself.[947]
"It may be he who made use of the word," replied Erasmus, "but it was
you who taught him." And then, ashamed of having lost his temper, he
quickly turned the conversation to another subject. "Why," said he to
Farel, "do you assert that we ought not to invoke the saints? Is it
because it is not enjoined in Holy Scripture?"--"Yes!" replied the
Frenchman.--"Well then!" resumed Erasmus, "I call upon you to prove by
Scripture that we ought to invoke the Holy Ghost." Farel made this
simple and true reply: "If He is God, we must invoke Him."[948]--"I
dropt the conversation," says Erasmus, "for night was coming on."[949]
From that hour, whenever the name of Farel fell from his pen, he
represented him as a hateful person, who ought by all means to be
shunned. The reformer's letters, on the contrary, are full of
moderation as regards Erasmus. The Gospel is milder than philosophy,
even in the most fiery temper.

  [946] Diremi disputationem. Ibid. p. 804.

  [947] Ut diceret negotiatorem quemdam Dupletum hoc dixisse. Ibid. p.

  [948] Si Deus est, inquit, invocandus est. Er. Epp. p. 804.

  [949] Omissa disputatione, nam imminebat nox. Ibid. p. 804. We have
  only Erasmus's account of this conversation; he himself informs us
  that Farel reported it very differently.

The evangelical doctrine already counted many friends in Basle, both
in the council and among the people; but the doctors of the university
opposed it to the utmost of their power. Œcolampadius, and Stör
pastor of Liestal, had maintained some theses against them. Farel
thought it his duty also to profess in Switzerland the great principle
of the evangelical school of Paris and of Meaux: _The Word of God is
all-sufficient_. He requested permission of the university to maintain
certain theses, "the rather to be reproved," added he, "if I am in
error, than to teach others;"[950] but the university refused.

  [950] Damit er gelehrt werde, ob er irre. Fussli Beytr. iv. 244.


Upon this Farel addressed the council; and the council issued a public
notice that a Christian man, named William Farel, having by the
inspiration of the Holy Ghost drawn up certain articles in conformity
with the Gospel,[951] they had given him leave to maintain them in
Latin. The university forbade all priests and students to be present
at the disputation; but the council sent out a proclamation to the
contrary effect.

  [951] Aus Eingiessung des heiligen Geistes ein christlicher Mensch und
  Bruder. Ibid.

The following are some of the thirteen propositions put forth by

"Christ has given us the most perfect rule of life: no one has the
right to take anything from it, or to add anything thereto.

"To live according to any other precepts than those of Christ, leads
directly to impiety.

"The real ministry of priests is to attend to the ministering of the
Word; and for them there is no higher dignity.

"To deprive the glad-tidings of Christ of their certainty, is to
destroy them.

"He who hopes to be justified by his own power, and by his own merits,
and not by faith, sets himself up as God.

"Jesus Christ, whom all things obey, is our polestar, and the only
star that we ought to follow."[952]

  [952] Gulielmus Farellus Christianis lectoribus, die Martis post
  Reminiscere. Füssli Beytr. iv. 247. Füssli does not give the Latin

Thus did this "Frenchman" stand up in Basle.[953] It was a child of
the mountains of Dauphiny, brought up in Paris at the feet of Lefevre,
who thus boldly set forth in that illustrious university of
Switzerland, and in the presence of Erasmus, the great principles of
the Reformation. Two leading ideas pervaded Farel's theses: one, that
of a return to Holy Scripture; the other, of a return to faith: two
things which the Papacy at the beginning of the 18th century
distinctly condemned as impious and heretical in the famous
constitution _Unigenitus_, and which, closely connected with each
other, do in fact subvert the whole of the papal system. If faith in
Christ is the beginning and end of Christianity, it follows that we
must cleave to the Word of Christ, and not to the voice of the Church.
Nay more: if faith in Christ unites souls, where is the necessity of
an external bond? Is it with croziers, bulls, and tiaras, that their
holy unity is formed? Faith joins in spiritual and true unity all
those in whose hearts it takes up its abode. Thus vanished at a single
blow the triple delusion of meritorious works, human traditions, and
false unity; and this is the sum of Roman-catholicism.

  [953] Schedam conclusionum a Gallo illo. Zw. Epp. p. 333.


The disputation began in Latin.[954] Farel and Œcolampadius set
forth and proved their articles, calling repeatedly on their
adversaries to reply; but not one of them appeared. These sophists, as
Œcolampadius terms them, acted the braggart,--but in dark holes and
corners.[955] The people, therefore, began to despise the cowardice of
the priests, and to detest their tyranny.[956]

  [954] Schedam conclusionum Latine apud nos disputatam. Zw. Epp. p.

  [955] Agunt tamen magnos interim thrasones sed in angulis lucifugæ.

  [956] Incipit tamen plebs paulatim illorum ignaviam et tyrannidem
  verbo Dei agnoscere. Ibid.

Thus Farel took his stand among the defenders of the Reformation. They
were greatly delighted to see a Frenchman combine so much learning and
piety, and already began to anticipate the noblest triumphs. "He is
strong enough," said they, "to destroy the whole Sorbonne
single-handed."[957] His candour, sincerity, and frankness captivated
every heart.[958] But amidst all his activity, he did not forget that
every mission should begin with our own souls. The gentle
Œcolampadius made a compact with the ardent Farel, by which they
mutually engaged to practise humility and meekness in their familiar
conversations. These bold men, even on the field of battle, were
fitting themselves for the duties of peace. It should be observed,
however, that the impetuosity of a Luther and a Farel were necessary
virtues. Some effort is required when the world is to be moved and the
Church renovated. In our days we are too apt to forget this truth,
which the meekest men then acknowledged. "There are certain men,"
wrote Œcolampadius to Luther when introducing Farel to him, "who
would have his zeal against the enemies of the truth more moderate;
but I cannot help seeing in this same zeal an admirable virtue, which,
if seasonably exerted, is no less needed than gentleness itself."[959]
Posterity has ratified the judgment of Œcolampadius.

  [957] Ad totam Sorbonicam affligendam si non et perdendam. Œcol.
  Luthero, Epp. p. 200.

  [958] Farello nihil candidius est. Ibid.

  [959] Verum ego virtutem illam admirabilem et non minus placiditate,
  si tempestive fuerit, necessariam. Ibid.


In the month of May 1524, Farel, with some friends from Lyons,
visited Schaffhausen, Zurich, and Constance. Zwingle and Myconius
gladly welcomed this exile from France, and Farel remembered their
kindness all his life. But on his return to Basle he found Erasmus and
his other enemies at work, and received orders to quit the city. In
vain did his friends loudly give utterance to their displeasure at
such an abuse of authority; he was compelled to quit the territory of
Switzerland, already, at this early period, the asylum and refuge of
the persecuted. "It is thus we exercise hospitality," said the
indignant Œcolampadius, "we true children of Sodom!"[960]

  [960] Adeo hospitum habemus rationem, veri Sodomitæ. Zw. Epp. p. 434.

At Basle, Farel had contracted a close friendship with the Chevalier
Esch, who resolved to bear him company, and they set out with letters
for Luther and Capito from Œcolampadius, to whom the doctor of
Basle commended Farel as "that William who had toiled so much in the
work of God."[961] At Strasburg, Farel formed an intimacy with Capito,
Bucer, and Hedio; but it does not appear that he went so far as

  [961] Gulielmus ille qui tam probe navavit operam. Zw. et Œcol.
  Epp. p. 175.


     New Campaign--Farel's Call to the Ministry--An
     Outpost--Lyons--Sebville at
     Grenoble--Conventicles--Preaching at Lyons--Maigret in
     Prison--Margaret intimidated.


God usually withdraws his servants from the field of battle, only to
bring them back stronger and better armed. Farel and his friends of
Meaux, Metz, Lyons, and Dauphiny, driven from France by persecution,
had been retempered in Switzerland and Germany among the elder
reformers; and now, like an army at first dispersed by the enemy, but
immediately rallied, they were turning round and marching forward in
the name of the Lord. It was not only on the frontiers that these
friends of the Gospel were assembling; in France also they were
regaining courage, and preparing to renew the attack. The bugles were
already sounding the reveillé; the soldiers were girding on their
arms, and gathering together to multiply their attacks; their leaders
were planning the order of battle; the signal, "Jesus, his Word, and
his grace," more potent in the hour of battle than the sound of
warlike music, filled all hearts with the same enthusiasm; and
everything was preparing in France for a second campaign, to be
signalized by new victories, and new and greater reverses.

Montbeliard was then calling for a labourer in the Gospel. The
youthful Duke Ulrich of Wurtemberg, a violent and cruel prince, having
been dispossessed of his states by the Swabian league in 1519, had
taken refuge in this earldom, his only remaining possession. In
Switzerland he became acquainted with the reformers; his misfortunes
had proved salutary to him; and he took delight in the Gospel.[962]
Œcolampadius intimated to Farel that a door was opened at
Montbeliard, and the latter secretly repaired to Basle.

  [962] Le prince qui avoit cognoissance de l'Evangile. Farel, Summaire,
  c'est à dire, briève déclaration de G. Farel, in the concluding part.


Farel had not regularly entered on the ministry of the Word; but we
find in him, at this period of his life, all that is necessary to
constitute a minister of the Lord. He did not lightly and of his own
prompting enter the service of the Church. "Considering my weakness,"
said he, "I should not have dared preach, waiting for the Lord to send
more suitable persons."[963] But God at this time addressed him in a
threefold call. As soon as he had reached Basle, Œcolampadius,
touched with the wants of France, entreated him to devote himself to
it. "Behold," said he, "how little is Jesus Christ known to all those
who speak the French language. Will you not give them some instruction
in their own tongue, that they may better understand the
Scriptures?"[964] At the same time, the people of Montbeliard invited
him among them, and the prince gave his consent to this call.[965]
Was not this a triple call from God?......"I did not think," said he,
"that it was lawful for me to resist. I obeyed in God's name."[966]
Concealed in the house of Œcolampadius, struggling against the
responsibility offered to him, and yet obliged to submit to so clear a
manifestation of the will of God, Farel accepted this charge, and
Œcolampadius set him apart, calling upon the name of the Lord,[967]
and addressing his friend in language full of wisdom. "The more you
are inclined to violence," said he, "the more should you practise
gentleness; temper your lion's courage with the meekness of the
dove."[968] Farel responded to this appeal with all his soul.

  [963] Ibid.

  [964] Ibid.

  [965] Etant requis et demandé du peuple et du consentement du prince.

  [966] Farel, Summaire.

  [967] Avec l'invocation du nom de Dieu. Ibid.

  [968] Leoninam magnanimitatem columbina modestia frangas. Epp. p. 198.

Thus Farel, once the zealous follower of the old Church, was about to
become a servant of God in the new. If Rome imperatively requires in a
valid ordination the imposition of the hands of a bishop who descends
from the apostles in uninterrupted succession, it is because she
places human traditions above the Word of God. In every church where
the authority of the Word is not absolute, some other authority must
needs be sought. And then, what is more natural than to ask of the
most venerated of God's ministers, that which they cannot find in God
himself? If we do not speak in the name of Jesus Christ, is it not
something at least to speak in the name of Saint John or of Saint
Paul? He who speaks in the name of antiquity is stronger than the
rationalist who speaks only in his own name. But the christian
minister has a still higher authority: he preaches, not because he
descends from St. Chrysostom or St. Peter, but because the Word that
he proclaims comes down from God himself. The idea of succession,[969]
venerable as it may appear, is not the less a human system,
substituted for the system of God. In Farel's ordination there was no
human succession. Nay more: we do not see in it that which is
necessary in the Lord's fold, where every thing should be done
_decently and in order_, and whose God _is not a God of confusion_.
He was not regularly ordained by the Church: but extraordinary times
justify extraordinary measures. At this memorable epoch God himself
interposed. He consecrated by marvellous dispensations those whom he
called to the regeneration of the world. In Farel's ordination we see
the infallible Word of God, given to a man of God, that he might bear
it to the world,--the call of God and of the people,--the consecration
of the heart, and a solemn appointment by one of the ministers of the
Church; and all this was the best substitute of which his case
admitted for the full and formal seal of the Church on his ministry.
Farel took his departure for Montbeliard in company with Esch.

  [969] See vol. I. page 2.


Farel thus found himself stationed as it were at an advanced post.
Behind him, Basle and Strasburg supported him with their advice and
their printing-presses; before him lay the provinces of Franche Comté,
Burgundy, Lorraine, the Lyonnais, and the rest of France, where men of
God were beginning to struggle against error in the midst of profound
darkness. He immediately began to preach Jesus Christ, and to exhort
the faithful not to permit themselves to be turned aside from the Holy
Scriptures either by threats or stratagems. Beginning, long before
Calvin, the work that this reformer was to accomplish on a much larger
scale, Farel was at Montbeliard, like a general on a hill whose
piercing eye glances over the field of battle, cheering those who are
actively engaged with the enemy, rallying those ranks which the
impetuosity of the charge has broken, and animating by his courage
those who hang back.[970] Erasmus immediately wrote to his
Roman-catholic friends, that a Frenchman, escaped from France, was
making a great disturbance in these regions.[971]

  [970] This comparison is employed by one of Farel's friends during his
  stay at Montbeliard. Strenuum et oculatum imperatoram, qui iis etiam
  animum facias qui in acie versantur. Tossanus Farello, MS. in the
  conclave of Neufchatel, 2d September 1524.

  [971] Tumultuatur et Burgundia nobis proxima, per Phallicum quemdam
  Gallum qui e Gallia profugus. Er. Epp. p. 809.


Farel's labours were not unfruitful. "On every side," wrote he to a
fellow-countryman, "men are springing up who devote all their powers
and their lives to extend Christ's kingdom as widely as
possible."[972] The friends of the Gospel gave thanks to God that his
blessed Word shone brighter every day in all parts of France.[973] The
adversaries were astounded. "The _faction_," wrote Erasmus to the
Bishop of Rochester, "is spreading daily, and is penetrating Savoy,
Lorraine, and France."[974]

  [972] Suppullulare qui omnes conatus afferant, quo possit Christi
  regnum quam latissime patere. Neufchatel MS., 2d August 1524.

  [973] Quod in Galliis omnibus sacrosanctum Dei verbum in dies magis ac
  magis elucescat. Ibid.

  [974] Factio crescit in dies latius, propagata in Sabaudiam,
  Lothoringiam, Franciam. Erasm. Epp. p. 809.

For some time Lyons appeared to be the centre of evangelical action
within the kingdom, as Basle was without. Francis I., marching towards
the south on an expedition against Charles V., had arrived in this
city with his mother, his sister, and the court. Margaret brought with
her many gentlemen devoted to the Gospel. "All other people she had
removed from about her person," says a letter written at this
time.[975] While Francis I. was hurrying through Lyons an army
composed of 14,000 Swiss, 6000 French, and 1500 lances of the
nobility, to repel the invasion of the imperialists into Provence;
while this great city re-echoed with the noise of arms, the tramp of
horses, and the sound of the trumpet, the friends of the Gospel were
marching to more peaceful conquests. They desired to attempt in Lyons
what they had been unable to do in Paris. Perhaps, at a distance from
the Sorbonne and from the parliament, the Word of God might have freer
course? Perhaps the second city in the kingdom was destined to become
the first for the Gospel. Was it not there that about four centuries
previously the excellent Peter Waldo had begun to proclaim the Divine
Word? Even then he had shaken all France. And now that God had
prepared everything for the emancipation of his Church, might there
not be hopes of more extended and more decisive success? Thus the
people of Lyons, who were not generally, indeed, "poor men," as in the
twelfth century, were beginning more courageously to handle "the sword
of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."

  [975] De Sebville to Coct, 28th December 1524. Neufchatel MS.


Among those who surrounded Margaret was her almoner, Michael d'Arande.
The duchess caused the Gospel to be publicly preached at Lyons; and
Master Michael proclaimed the Word of God with courage and purity
before a great number of hearers, attracted partly by the charm that
attends the glad tidings wherever they are published, and partly also
by the favour in which the preaching and the preacher were held by the
king's beloved sister.[976]

  [976] Elle a ung docteur de Paris appelé maître Michel,
  Eleymosinarius, lequel ne prêche devant elle que purement l'évangile.
  Neufchatel MS.

Anthony Papillon, a man of highly cultivated mind, an elegant Latin
scholar, a friend of Erasmus, "the first in France for knowledge of
the Gospel,"[977] accompanied the princess also. At Margaret's request
he had translated Luther's work on monastic vows, "in consequence of
which he had much ado with those Parisian vermin," says Sebville;[978]
but Margaret had protected him against the attacks of the Sorbonne,
and procured him the appointment of headmaster of requests to the
dauphin, with a seat in the Great Council.[979] He was not less useful
to the Gospel by his devotedness than by his prudence. A merchant,
named Vaugris, and especially a gentleman named Anthony du Blet, a
friend of Farel's, took the lead in the Reformation at Lyons. The
latter person, a man of great activity, served as a bond of union
between the Christians scattered throughout those countries, and
placed them in communication with Basle. While the armed hosts of
Francis I. had merely passed through Lyons, the spiritual soldiers of
Jesus Christ halted there with Margaret; and leaving the former to
carry the war into Provence and the plains of Italy, they began the
fight of the Gospel in Lyons itself.

  [977] Ibid.

  [978] Ibid.

  [979] Ibid.


But they did not confine their efforts to the city. They looked all
around them; the campaign was opened on several points at the same
time; and the Christians of Lyons encouraged by their exertions and
their labours all those who confessed Christ in the surrounding
provinces. They did more: they went and proclaimed it in places where
it was as yet unknown. The new doctrine ascended the Saone, and an
evangelist passed through the narrow and irregular streets of Macon.
Michael d'Arande himself visited that place in 1524, and, aided by
Margaret's name, obtained permission to preach in this city,[980]
which was destined at a later period to be filled with blood, and
become for ever memorable for its _sauteries_.[981]

  [980] Arandius prêche à Mascon. Coct to Farel, December 1524,
  Neufchatel MS.

  [981] After the taking of Macon in 1562, the governor, St. Pont,
  amused the dissolute women who were invited to his table, by taking
  several Huguenots from prison and compelling them to _leap_ (sauter)
  from the bridge over the Saone into the river. It is added that he did
  not confine his savage cruelty to the Huguenots, but would seize other
  persons, untainted with heresy, and put them to the same inhuman

After exploring the districts of the Saone, the Christians of Lyons,
ever on the watch, extended their incursions in the direction of the
Alps. There was at Lyons a Dominican named Maigret, who had been
compelled to quit Dauphiny, where he had boldly preached the new
doctrine, and who earnestly requested that some one would go and
encourage his brethren of Grenoble and Gap. Papillon and Du Blet
repaired thither.[982] A violent storm had just broken out there
against Sebville and his preachings. The Dominicans had moved heaven
and earth; and maddened at seeing so many evangelists escape them (as
Farel, Anemond, and Maigret), they would fain have crushed those who
remained within their reach.[983] They therefore called for Sebville's

  [982] Il y a eu deux grands personages à Grenoble. Neufchatel MS. The
  title of _Messire_, given to Du Blet in Coct's letter, indicates a
  person of rank. I am inclined to think that the epithet _negotiator_,
  elsewhere applied to him, refers to his activity; it is possible,
  however, that he may have been a great merchant of Lyons.

  [983] Conjicere potes ut post Macretum et me in Sebvillam exarserint.
  Anemond to Farel, 7th September 1524. Neufchatel MS.

  [984] Les Thomistes ont voulu procéder contre moi par inquisition et
  caption de personne. Letter from Sebville. Ibid.


The friends of the Gospel in Grenoble were alarmed; must Sebville also
be taken from them!......Margaret interceded with her brother; many of
the most distinguished personages at Grenoble, the king's advocate
among others, open or secret friends to the Gospel, exerted
themselves in behalf of the evangelical grayfriar, and at length their
united efforts rescued him from the fury of his adversaries.[985]

  [985] Si ce no fut certains amis secrets, je estois mis entre les
  mains des Pharisiens. Letter from Sebville, Neufchatel MS.

But if Sebville's life was saved, his mouth was stopped. "Remain
silent," said they, "or you will be led to the scaffold."--"Silence
has been imposed on me," he wrote to Anemond de Coct, "under pain of
death."[986] These threats alarmed even those of whom the most
favourable hopes had been entertained. The king's advocate and other
friends of the Gospel now showed nothing but coldness.[987] Many
returned to the Romish worship, pretending to adore God secretly in
their hearts, and to give a spiritual signification to the outward
observances of Romanism. A melancholy delusion, leading from
infidelity to infidelity. There is no hypocrisy that cannot be
justified in the same manner. The unbeliever, by means of his systems
of myths and allegories, will preach Christ from the christian pulpit;
and a philosopher will be able, by a little ingenuity, to find in an
abominable superstition among the pagans, the type of a pure and
elevated idea. In religion the first thing is truth. Some of the
Grenoble Christians, among whom were Amadeus Galbert, and a cousin of
Anemond's, still clung fast to their faith.[988] These pious men would
meet secretly with Sebville at each other's houses, and _talk_
together about the Gospel. They repaired to some secluded spot; they
visited some brother by night; or met in secret to pray to Christ, as
thieves lurking for a guilty purpose. Often would a false alarm
disturb the humble assembly. The adversaries consented to wink at
these secret conventicles; but they had sworn that the stake should be
the lot of any one who ventured to speak of the Word of God in

  [986] Ibid.

  [987] Non solum tepidi sed frigidi. Neufchatel MS.

  [988] Tuo cognato, Amedeo Galberto exceptis. Ibid.

  [989] Mais de en parler publiquement, il n'y pend que le feu. Ibid.


Such was the state of affairs when Du Blet and Papillon arrived at
Grenoble. Finding that Sebville had been silenced, they exhorted him
to go and preach the Gospel at Lyons. The Lent of the following year
would present a favourable opportunity for proclaiming the Gospel to a
numerous crowd. Michael d'Arande, Maigret, and Sebville, proposed to
fight at the head of the Gospel army. Everything was thus preparing
for a striking manifestation of evangelical truth in the second city
of France. The rumour of this evangelical Lent extended as far as
Switzerland. "Sebville is free, and will preach the Lent sermons at
Saint Paul's in Lyons," wrote Anemond to Farel.[990] But a great
disaster, which threw all France into confusion, intervened and
prevented this spiritual combat. It is during peace that the conquests
of the Gospel are achieved. The defeat of Pavia, which took place in
the month of February, disconcerted the daring project of the

  [990] Le samedi des Quatre-Temps. Dec. 1524. Neufchatel MS.

Meantime, without waiting for Sebville, Maigret had begun early in the
winter to preach salvation by Jesus Christ alone, in despite of the
strenuous opposition of the priests and monks of Lyons.[991] In these
sermons there was not a word of the worship of the creature, of
saints, of the virgin, of the power of the priesthood. The great
mystery of godliness, "God manifest in the flesh," was alone
proclaimed. The old heresies of the poor men of Lyons are reappearing,
it was said, and in a more dangerous form than ever! But
notwithstanding this opposition, Maigret continued his ministry; the
faith that animated his soul found utterance in words of power: it is
in the nature of truth to embolden the hearts of those who have
received it. Yet Rome was destined to prevail at Lyons as at Grenoble.
Maigret was arrested, notwithstanding Margaret's protection, dragged
through the streets, and cast into prison. The merchant Vaugris, who
then quitted the city on his road to Switzerland, spread the news
everywhere on his passage. All were astonished and depressed. One
thought, however, gave confidence to the friends of the Reformation:
"Maigret is taken," said they, "but _Madame d'Alençon is there;
praised be God_!"[992]

  [991] Pour vray Maigret a prêché à Lion, maulgré les prêtres et
  moines. Ibid.

  [992] Neufchatel MS.


It was not long before they were compelled to renounce even this hope.
The Sorbonne had condemned several of this faithful minister's
propositions.[993] Margaret, whose position became daily more
difficult, found the boldness of the partisans of the Reformation and
the hatred of the powerful increasing side by side. Francis I. began
to grow impatient at the zeal of these evangelists: he looked upon
them as mere fanatics whom it was good policy to repress. Margaret,
thus fluctuating between desire to serve her brethren and her
inability to protect them, sent them word to avoid running into fresh
dangers, as she could no longer intercede with the king in their
favour. The friends of the Gospel believed that this determination was
not irrevocable. "God has given her grace," said they, "to say and
write only what is necessary to poor souls."[994] But if this human
support is taken away, Christ still remains. It is well that the soul
should be stripped of all other protection, that it may rely upon God

  [993] Histoire de François I. par Gaillard, iv. 233.

  [994] Peter Toussaint to Farel, Basle, 17th December 1524. Neufchatel


     The French at Basle--Encouragement of the Swiss--Fears of
     Discord--Translating and Printing at Basle--Bibles and
     Tracts disseminated in France.


The exertions of the friends of the Gospel in France were paralyzed.
The men in power were beginning to show their hostility to
Christianity; Margaret was growing alarmed; terrible news would soon
be coming across the Alps and plunging the nation into mourning,
filling it with one thought only--of saving the king, of saving
France. But if the Christians of Lyons were checked in their labours,
were there not soldiers at Basle who had escaped from the battle and
who were ready to begin the fight again. The exiles from France have
never forgotten her. Driven from their country for nearly three
centuries by the fanaticism of Rome, their latest descendants have
been seen carrying to the cities and fields of their ancestors those
treasures of which the pope still deprives them.[995] At the very
moment when the soldiers of Christ in France were mournfully laying
down their arms, the refugees at Basle were preparing for the combat.
As they saw the monarchy of Saint Louis and of Charlemagne falling
from the hands of Francis I., shall they not feel urged to lay hold of
_a kingdom which cannot be moved_.[996]

  [995] The General Committee of the Evangelical Society of Geneva,
  which sends a hundred missionaries and _colporteurs_ into France, is
  composed almost entirely of the descendants of French refugees.

  [996] Hebrews xii. 28.

Farel, Anemond, Esch, Toussaint, and their friends formed an
evangelical society in Switzerland with the view of rescuing their
country from its spiritual darkness. Intelligence reached them from
every quarter, that there was an increasing thirst for God's Word in
France;[997] it was desirable to take advantage of this, and to water
and sow while it was yet seedtime. Œcolampadius, Zwingle, and
Oswald Myconius, were continually exhorting them to do this, giving
the right hand of fellowship, and communicating to them a portion of
their own faith. In January 1525, the Swiss schoolmaster wrote to the
French chevalier: "Banished as you are from your country by the
tyranny of Antichrist, even your presence among us proves that you
have acted boldly in the cause of the Gospel. The tyranny of christian
bishops will at length induce the people to look upon them as
deceivers. Stand firm; the time is not far distant when we shall enter
the haven of repose, whether we be struck down by our tyrants, or they
themselves be struck down;[998] all then will be well for us, provided
we have been faithful to Christ Jesus."

  [997] Gallis verborum Dei sitientibus. Coct to Farel, 2d Sept. 1524,
  Neufchatel MS.

  [998] Non longe abest enim, quo in portum tranquillum perveniamus, &c.
  Osw. Myc. to Coct. Ibid.


These encouragements were of great value to the French refugees; but a
blow inflicted by these very Christians of Switzerland and Germany,
who sought to cheer them, cruelly wrung their hearts. Recently escaped
from the scaffold or the burning pile, they saw with dismay the
evangelical Christians on the other side of the Rhine disturbing the
repose they enjoyed by their lamentable differences. The discussions
on the Lord's Supper had begun. Deeply moved and agitated, feeling
strongly the necessity of brotherly unity, the French would have made
every sacrifice to conciliate these divided sentiments. This became
their leading idea. At the epoch of the Reformation, none had greater
need than they of christian unity; of this Calvin was afterwards a
proof. "Would to God that I might purchase peace, concord, and union
in Jesus Christ at the cost of my life, which in truth is of little
worth," said Peter Toussaint.[999] The French, whose discernment was
correct and prompt, saw immediately that these rising dissensions
would check the work of the Reformation. "All things would go on more
prosperously than many persons imagine, if we were but agreed among
ourselves. Numbers would gladly come to the light; but when they see
these divisions among the learned, they stand hesitating and

  [999] Neufchatel MS. 21st Dec. 1525.

  [1000] Ibid.

The French were the first to suggest conciliatory advances. "Why,"
wrote they from Strasburg, "is not Bucer or some other learned man
sent to Luther? The longer we wait the greater will these dissensions
become." Their fears grew stronger every day.[1001] At length, finding
all their exertions of no avail, these Christians mournfully turned
their eyes away from Germany, and fixed them solely upon France.

  [1001] Multis jam christianis Gallis dolet, quod a Zwinglii aliorumque
  de Eucharistia sententia dissentiat Lutherus. Toussaint to Farel, 14th
  July 1525.

France--the conversion of France, thenceforth exclusively occupied the
hearts of these generous men whom history, that has inscribed on her
pages the names of so many individuals vainly puffed up with their own
glory, has for three centuries passed over in silence. Thrown on a
foreign land, they fell on their knees, and daily, in silence and
obscurity, invoked God in behalf of the country of their
forefathers.[1002] Prayer was the power by which the Gospel spread
through the kingdom, and the great instrument by which the conquests
of the Reformation were gained.

  [1002] Quam sollicite quotidianis precibus commendem. Toussaint to
  Farel, 2d Sept. 1524, Neufchatel MS.


But these Frenchmen were not merely men of prayer: never has the
evangelical army contained combatants more ready to sacrifice their
lives in the day of battle. They felt the importance of scattering the
Holy Scriptures and pious books in their country, still overshadowed
with the gloom of superstition. A spirit of inquiry was breathing over
the whole kingdom: it seemed necessary on all sides to spread the
sails to the wind. Anemond, ever prompt in action, and Michael Bentin,
a refugee like himself, resolved to unite their zeal, their talents,
their resources, and their labours. Bentin wished to establish a
printing press at Basle, and the chevalier, to profit by the little
German he knew, to translate the best works of the Reformers into
French. "Oh," said they, rejoicing in their plans, "would to God that
France were filled with evangelical volumes, so that everywhere, in
the cottages of the poor, in the palaces of the nobles, in cloisters
and presbyteries, nay, in the inmost sanctuary of the heart, a
powerful testimony might be borne to the grace of Jesus Christ!"[1003]

  [1003] Opto enim Galliam Evangelicis voluminibus abundare. Coct to
  Farel, Neufchatel MS.


Funds were necessary for such an undertaking, and the refugees had
nothing. Vaugris was then at Basle; on his departure Anemond gave him
a letter for the brethren of Lyons, many of whom abounded in the
riches of this world, and who, although oppressed, were faithful to
the Gospel; he requested them to send him some assistance;[1004] but
that did not suffice; the French wished to establish several presses
at Basle, that should be worked night and day, so as to inundate
France with the Word of God.[1005] At Meaux, at Metz, and in other
places, were men rich and powerful enough to support this enterprise.
No one could address Frenchmen with so much authority as Farel
himself, and it was to him that Anemond applied.[1006]

  [1004] Ut pecuniæ aliquid ad me mittant. Ibid.

  [1005] Ut præla multa erigere possimus. Ibid.

  [1006] An censes inveniri posse Lugdunæ, Meldæ, aut alibi in Galliis
  qui nos ad hæc juvare velint. Coct to Farel, Neufchatel MS.

It does not appear that the chevalier's project was realized, but the
work was done by others. The presses of Basle were constantly occupied
in printing French works; they were forwarded to Farel, and by him
introduced into France with unceasing activity. One of the first
writings sent by this Religious Tract Society was Luther's
_Explanation of the Lord's Prayer_. "We are retailing the Pater at
four deniers of Basle each," wrote Vaugris to Farel, "but we sell them
wholesale at the rate of two florins the two hundred, which comes to
something less."[1007]

  [1007] Vaugris to Farel, Basle, 29th August 1524. Neufchatel MS.--The
  value of the florin is about 1s. 9d. sterling.

Anemond sent to Farel from Basle all the useful books that appeared or
that arrived from Germany; at one time a work on the appointment of
Gospel ministers, at another a treatise on the education of
children.[1008] Farel examined these works; he composed, translated or
got others to translate them into French, and seemed at one and the
same time entirely devoted to active exertions and to the labours of
the study. Anemond urged on and superintended the printing; and these
epistles, prayers, books, and broadsheets, were the means of the
regeneration of the age. While profligacy descended from the throne,
and darkness from the steps of the altar, these unnoticed writings
alone diffused throughout the nation beams of light and seeds of

  [1008] Mitto tibi librum de instituendis ministris ecclesiæ cum libro
  de instituendis pueris. Coct to Farel, 2d September 1524. Ibid.


But it was especially God's Word that the evangelical merchant of
Lyons was calling for in the name of his fellow-countrymen. These
people of the sixteenth century, so hungering for intellectual food,
were to receive in their own tongue those ancient monuments of the
first ages of the world, in which the new breath of primitive humanity
respires, and those holy oracles of the Gospel times in which shines
forth the fulness of the revelation of Christ. Vaugris wrote to
Farel: "I beseech you, if possible, to have the New Testament
translated by some person who can do it efficiently: it would be a
great blessing for France, Burgundy, and Savoy. And if you want proper
type, I will have some brought from Paris or Lyons; but if there be
any good types at Basle, it will be all the better."

Lefevre had already published at Meaux, but in detached portions, the
books of the New Testament in French. Vaugris wished for some one to
revise it thoroughly, and to superintend a complete edition. Lefevre
undertook to do so, and he published it, as we have already seen, on
the 12th of October 1524. An uncle of Vaugris, named Conrard, also a
refugee at Basle, immediately procured a copy. The Chevalier Coct
happening to be at a friend's house on the 18th of November, there saw
the book, and was filled with joy. "Lose no time in reprinting it,"
said he, "for I doubt not a great number will be called for."[1009]

  [1009] Neufchatel MS.

Thus was the Word of God offered to France in opposition to the
traditions of the Church, which Rome still continues to present to
her. "How can we distinguish what is of man in your traditions, and
what is of God," said the reformers, "except by the Scriptures of God?
The maxims of the Fathers, the decretals of the pontiffs, cannot be
the rule of our faith. They show us what was the opinion of these old
doctors; but the Word alone teaches us what is the judgment of God. We
must submit everything to the rule of Scripture."

Such were the principal means by which these writings were circulated.
Farel and his friends consigned the books to certain pedlars or
_colporteurs_, simple and pious men, who, laden with their precious
burden, passed from town to town, from village to village, and from
house to house, in Franche Comté, Lorraine, Burgundy, and the
adjoining provinces, knocking at every door. They procured the books
at a low rate, "that they might be the more eager to sell them."[1010]
Thus as early as 1524 there existed in Basle a Bible society, a tract
society, and an association of colporteurs, for the benefit of France.
It is a mistake to conceive that these efforts date only from our own
age; they go back in essentials not only to the times of the
Reformation, but still farther to the primitive ages of the Church.

  [1010] Vaugris to Farel, Neufchatel MS.


     Progress at Montbeliard--Resistance and Commotion--Toussaint
     leaves Œcolampadius--The Image of Saint Anthony--Death of
     Anemond--Strasburg--Lambert's Letter to Francis
     I.--Successive Defeats.


The attention which Farel bestowed on France did not divert his
attention from the place where he was residing. Arriving at
Montbeliard about the end of July 1524, he had hardly sown the seed,
before the first fruits of the harvest (to use the words of
Œcolampadius) began to appear. Farel wrote to his friend with great
exultation. "It is an easy thing," replied the doctor of Basle, "to
instil a few dogmas into the ears of our auditors; but to change their
hearts is in the power of God alone."[1011]

  [1011] Animum autem immutare, divinum opus est. Œcol. Epp. p. 200.

The Chevalier de Coct, delighted with this intelligence, ran with his
usual vivacity to Peter Toussaint. "I shall set off to-morrow to visit
Farel," said he hastily. Toussaint, more calm, was writing to the
evangelist of Montbeliard: "Be careful," said he to Farel; "you are
engaged in an important cause; it must not be polluted by the counsels
of men. The mighty ones promise you their favour, their support, and
heaps of gold......But to put your trust in these things, is deserting
Christ and walking in darkness."[1012] Toussaint was finishing this
letter when the chevalier entered; the latter took it, and departed
for Montbeliard.

  [1012] A quibus si pendemus, jam a Christo defecimus. Neufchatel MS.


He found the city in great commotion. Many of the nobles were alarmed,
and said as they looked contemptuously at Farel: "What does this sorry
fellow want with us? Would to God he had never come! He cannot stay
here, for he will ruin us all, as well as himself." The lords who had
taken refuge with the duke at Montbeliard, feared that the
disturbance, which everywhere accompanied the Reformation, would
attract the attention of Ferdinand and Charles V., and that they would
be expelled from their last asylum. But it was the clergy in
particular who resisted Farel. The superior of the Franciscans of
Besançon had hastened to Montbeliard, and formed a plan of defence in
conjunction with the clergy of the place. On the following Sunday,
Farel had hardly begun to preach, before they interrupted him, calling
him liar and heretic. In an instant the whole assembly was in an
uproar. The audience rose up, and called for silence. The duke hurried
to the spot, seized both Farel and the superior, and ordered the
latter either to prove or to retract his charges. The Franciscan
adopted the last alternative, and an official account of the whole
affair was published.[1013]

  [1013] Der Christliche Handel zu Mümpelgard, verloffen mit gründlichen

This attack excited Farel all the more; he thought it was now his duty
to unmask without scruple those interested priests; and drawing the
sword of the Word, he plied it vigorously. He was more inclined to
imitate Jesus when he expelled the money-changers from the temple and
overthrew their tables, than when the spirit of prophecy declared of
him: _He shall neither strive nor cry, neither shall any man hear his
voice in the streets_. Œcolampadius was affrighted. These two men
were perfect types of two characters diametrically opposed to each
other, and yet both worthy of admiration. "You were sent," wrote
Œcolampadius to Farel, "to draw men gently to the truth, and not to
drag them with violence; to spread the Gospel, and not to curse them.
Physicians resort to amputation only when other means have failed. Act
the part of a physician, and not of an executioner. It is not enough,
in my opinion, to be gentle towards the friends of the Gospel; you
must likewise gain over the adversaries. If the wolves are driven from
the sheepfold, let the sheep at least hear the voice of the shepherd.
Pour oil and wine into the wounds, and conduct yourself as an
evangelist, not as a judge or a tyrant."[1014]

  [1014] Quod Evangelistam, non tyrannicum legislatorem præstes.
  Œcol. Epp. p. 206.


The report of these labours spread into France and Lorraine, and the
Sorbonne and the Cardinal Guise were beginning to be alarmed at this
meeting of refugees at Basle and Montbeliard. They would willingly
have broken up a troublesome alliance; for error knows no greater
triumph than when attracting some deserter to its standard. Already
had Martial Mazurier and others given the papal party in France an
opportunity of rejoicing over shameful defections; but if they could
succeed in seducing one of these confessors of Christ, who had taken
refuge on the banks of the Rhine, and who had suffered so much for the
name of the Lord, how great would be the victory for the Roman
hierarchy! They therefore planted their batteries, and the youngest of
these refugees was the object of their attack.

The dean, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and all those who joined the
crowded meetings held in this prelate's mansion, deplored the sad fate
of Peter Toussaint, who had once promised so fair. He is at Basle,
said they, in the house of Œcolampadius, living with one of the
leaders of this heresy! They wrote to him with fervour, and as if they
would rescue him from eternal condemnation. These letters were the
more painful to the young man, because he could not help recognising
in them the marks of sincere affection.[1015] One of his relations,
probably the dean himself, urged him to remove to Paris, to Metz, or
to any other place in the world, provided it were far away from these
Lutherans. This relation, bearing in mind all that Toussaint owed to
him, doubted not that he would immediately comply; but when he found
his efforts useless, his affection changed into violent hatred. At the
same time this resistance exasperated the whole family and all his
friends against the young refugee. They went to his mother, who was
"under the power of the monks;"[1016] the priests crowded round her,
frightening and persuading her that her son had committed crimes that
they could not mention without shuddering. Upon this the afflicted
mother wrote a touching letter to her son, "full of weeping" (said
he), and in which she described her misery in heart-rending language.
"Oh! wretched mother!" said she, "Oh! unnatural son! cursed be the
breasts that suckled thee, and the knees that bare thee!"[1017]

  [1015] Me in dies divexari legendis amicorum literis qui me......ab
  instituto remorari nituntur. Toussaint to Farel, 2d Sept. 1524,
  Neufchatel MS.

  [1016] Jam capulo proxima. Neufchatel MS.

  [1017] Literas ad me dedit plenas lacrymis quibus maledicit et
  uberibus quæ me lactarunt, &c. Neufchatel MS.


The unhappy Toussaint was distracted: What should he do? He could not
return into France. By leaving Basle and going to Zurich or
Wittemberg, beyond the reach of his family, he would only add to their
sorrow. Œcolampadius advised a middle course: "Leave my house,"
said he.[1018] With a heart full of sadness, he adopted the
suggestion, and went to live with an ignorant and obscure
priest,[1019] one well adapted to reassure his relations. What a
change for Toussaint! He never met his host save at meals, at which
times they were continually discussing matters of faith; and as soon
as the repast was over, Toussaint retired to his chamber, where alone,
far from noise and controversy, he carefully studied the Word of God.
"The Lord is my witness," said he, "that in this valley of tears I
have but one desire, that of seeing Christ's kingdom extended, so that
all with one mouth may glorify God."[1020]

  [1018] Visum est Œcolampadio consultum......ut a se secederem.

  [1019] Utor domo cujusdam sacrificuli. Ibid.

  [1020] Ut Christi regnum quam latissime pateat. Ibid.

One circumstance occurred which consoled Toussaint. The enemies of the
Gospel were daily growing stronger in Metz. At his entreaty, the
Chevalier d'Esch departed in the month of January 1525, to encourage
the evangelical Christians in this city. He traversed the forests of
the Vosges, and reached the place where Leclerc had laid down his
life, carrying with him several books with which Farel had provided

  [1021] Qu'il s'en retourne à Metz, là ou les ennemis de Dieu s'élèvent
  journellement contre l'Evangile. Toussaint to Farel, 17th Dec. 1524.


It was not only to Lorraine that these Frenchmen turned their eyes.
The Chevalier de Coct received letters from one of Farel's brothers,
depicting the state of Dauphiny in the gloomiest colours. He carefully
avoided showing them lest he should alarm the weak-hearted, and was
content with ardently seeking from God the support of his almighty
hands.[1022] In December 1524, Peter Verrier, a Dauphinese messenger,
arrived on horseback at Montbeliard with commissions for Anemond and
Farel. The chevalier, with his usual vivacity, immediately resolved on
returning to France. "If Peter has brought any money," wrote he to
Farel, "keep it; if he has brought any letters, open and copy them,
and then forward them to me. Do not, however, sell the horse, but take
care of it, for perchance I may need it. I am inclined to enter France
secretly, and go to Jacobus Faber (Lefevre) and Arandius. Write and
tell me what you think of it."[1023]

  [1022] Accepi ante horam a fratre tuo epistolam quam hic nulli
  manifestavi, terrerentur enim infirmi. Coct to Farel, 2d Sept. 1524.

  [1023] Coct to Farel, Dec. 1525, Neufchatel MS.

Such was the confidence and open-heartedness that existed between
these refugees. The one opened the other's letters, and received his
money. It is true that de Coct was already indebted thirty-six crowns
to Farel, whose purse was always open to his friends. There was more
zeal than discretion in the chevalier's desire to re-enter France. He
was of too imprudent a character not to expose himself to certain
death. This Farel no doubt explained to him. He left Basle, and
withdrew to a small town, where he had "great hopes of acquiring the
German language, God willing."[1024]

  [1024] Ibid. Jan. 1525.

Farel continued preaching the Gospel in Montbeliard. His soul was
vexed as he beheld the majority of the people in this city entirely
given up to the worship of images. It was, in his opinion, a revival
of the old pagan idolatry.


Yet the exhortations of Œcolampadius, and the fear of compromising
the truth, would perhaps have long restrained him, but for an
unforeseen circumstance. One day about the end of February (it was the
feast of Saint Anthony) Farel was walking on the banks of a little
river that runs through the city, beneath a lofty rock on which the
citadel is built, when, on reaching the bridge, he met a procession,
which was crossing it, reciting prayers to St. Anthony, and headed by
two priests bearing the image of this saint. Farel suddenly found
himself face to face with these superstitions, without, however,
having sought for them. A violent struggle took place in his soul.
Shall he give way? shall he hide himself? Would not this be a cowardly
act of unbelief? These lifeless images, borne on the shoulders of
ignorant priests, made his blood boil. Farel boldly advanced, snatched
the shrine of the holy hermit from the priest's arms, and threw it
over the bridge into the river. And then, turning to the awe-stricken
crowd, he exclaimed: "Poor idolaters, will ye never forsake your

  [1025] Revue du Dauphiné, ii. p. 38; Choupard MS.

The priests and people stood motionless with astonishment. A religious
fear seemed to rivet them to the spot. But they soon recovered from
their stupor. "The image is drowning," exclaimed one of the crowd; and
transports and shouts of rage succeeded their death-like silence. The
multitude would have rushed on the sacrilegious wretch who had just
thrown the object of their adoration into the water. But Farel, we
know not how, escaped their violence.[1026]

  [1026] M. Kirchhofer, in his Life of Farel, gives this circumstance as
  an uncertain tradition; but it is related by Protestant writers, and
  it appears to me quite in harmony with Farel's character and the fears
  of Œcolampadius. We must not be blind to the weaknesses of the

There is reason, we are aware, to regret that the reformer should have
been hurried into the commission of an act that tended rather to check
the progress of the truth. No one should think himself authorized to
attack with violence any institution sanctioned by the public
authority. There is, however, in the zeal of the reformer something
more noble than that cold prudence so common among men, which shrinks
before the least danger, and fears to make the least sacrifice for the
advancement of God's kingdom. Farel was not ignorant that by this
proceeding he was exposing himself to the fate of Leclerc. But his own
conscience bore witness that he desired only to promote the glory of
God, and this made him superior to all fear.


After this affair of the bridge, which is a characteristic feature in
Farel's history, the reformer was obliged to hide himself, and he
quitted the town soon after. He took refuge at Basle with
Œcolampadius; but ever preserved that attachment for Montbeliard
which a servant of God never ceases to entertain for the first fruits
of his ministry.[1027]

  [1027] Ingens affectus, qui me cogit Mumpelgardum amare. Farelli Epp.

Sad tidings awaited Farel at Basle. If he was a fugitive, his friend
Anemond de Coct was seriously ill. Farel immediately sent him four
gold crowns; but a letter written by Oswald Myconius on the 25th of
March, announced the death of the chevalier. "Let us so live," said
Oswald, "that we may enter into that rest into which we hope the soul
of Anemond has already entered."[1028]

  [1028] Quo Anemundi spiritum jam pervenisse speramus. Myconius to
  Farel, Neufchatel MS.

Thus did Anemond descend to a premature grave; still young, full of
activity and strength, willing to undertake every labour to evangelize
France, and who was in himself a host. _God's ways are not our ways._
Not long before, and in the neighbourhood of Zurich, another
chevalier, Ulrich Hütten, had breathed his last. There is some
similarity in the characters of the German and French knights, but the
piety and christian virtues of the Dauphinese place him far above the
witty and intrepid enemy of the pope and of the monks.

Shortly after Anemond's death, Farel, unable to remain in Basle,
whence he had been once banished, joined his friends Capito and Bucer
at Strasburg.


Strasburg, an imperial city, at whose head was Sturm, one of the most
distinguished men in Germany, and which contained many celebrated
doctors within its walls, was as it were an advanced post of the
Reformation, thrown beyond the Rhine, and in which the persecuted
Christians of France and Lorraine took refuge, and from whence they
hoped to win these countries to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lambert's
pious ambition was to become for France what Luther was for Germany,
and accordingly he had no sooner reached Strasburg after quitting
Metz, than he made his preparations, waiting for the moment when he
should be enabled to carry the sword of the Gospel into the very heart
of that country which he loved so tenderly.[1029]

  [1029] Hic operior donec ad ipsos Metenses aut in aliquam urbem Galliæ
  revoces. Ad Franc. Reg. Comment. in Cantic.

He first appealed to Francis I. "The pope," said he, "if he had his
way, would change every king into a beggar. Lend your ear to the
truth, most excellent prince, and God will make you great among the
princes of the earth. Woe be to all the nations whose master is the
pope. Oh, Avignon, city of my birth, art thou not the wretched
daughter of Babylon? Given over to a legate, not of holiness, but of
impiety and heresy;[1030] thou seest lewd sports, immodest dances, and
adultery multiply within thy walls, and all around thy fields are laid
waste by daily hunting parties, and thy poor labourers oppressed.

  [1030] Ab hæresis et impietatis latere legatum. Epistola ad Franciscum
  G. R. præf. Comm. de Sacra conjugis.

"O most christian king, thy people thirst for the Word of God." At the
same time addressing the pope, he said, "Erelong that powerful France
which thou are wont to call thy arm will separate from thee."[1031]
Such were Lambert's illusions!

  [1031] Est autem in proximo ut aliena fiat a te potens Gallia quam
  brachium tuum appellare solebas. De Causis Excusationis, p. 76.

Finding that his epistle had produced no effect, he wrote a second in
a still more earnest tone. "What!" said he, "the Arabians, Chaldeans,
Greeks, and Jews possess the Word of God in their own language, and
the French, Germans, Italians, and Spaniards cannot have it in theirs!
Let God but speak to the nations in the language of the people, and
the empire of pride will crumble into dust."[1032]

  [1032] Epist. ad Franc. R. Præf. Comment. in Cantic. Cantic.


These anticipations were not realised. At Montbeliard and Basle, as at
Lyons, the ranks of the reformers had suffered. Some of the most
devoted combatants had been taken off by death, others by persecution
and exile. In vain did the warriors of the Gospel mount everywhere to
the assault; everywhere they were beaten back. But if the forces they
had concentrated, first at Meaux, then at Lyons, and afterwards at
Basle, were dispersed in succession, there still remained combatants
here and there, who in Lorraine, at Meaux, and even in Paris,
struggled more or less openly to uphold the Word of God in France.
Though the Reformation saw its columns broken, it still had its
isolated champions. Against these the Sorbonne and the parliament were
about to turn their anger. They would not have remaining on the soil
of France, a single one of these noble minded men who had undertaken
to plant in it the standard of Jesus Christ; and unheard of
misfortunes seemed now to be conspiring with the enemies of the
Reformation, and to aid them in the accomplishment of their task.


     Francis made Prisoner at Pavia--Reaction against the
     Reformation--Margaret's Anxiety for her Brother--Louisa
     consults the Sorbonne--Commission against the
     Heretics--Briçonnet brought to Trial--Appeal to the
     Parliament--Fall--Recantation--Lefevre accused--Condemnation
     and Flight--Lefevre at Strasburg--Louis Berquin
     imprisoned--Erasmus attacked--Schuch at Nancy--His
     Martyrdom--Struggle with Caroli--Sorrow of Pavanne--His
     Martyrdom--A Christian Hermit--Concourse at Notre Dame.


During the latter period of Farel's sojourn at Montbeliard, great
events were passing on the theatre of the world. Lannoy and Pescara,
Charles's generals, having quitted France on the approach of Francis
I., this prince had crossed the Alps, and blockaded Pavia. On the 24th
of February 1525, he was attacked by Pescara. Bonnivet, La Trémouille,
Palisse, and Lescure died fighting round their sovereign. The Duke of
Alençon, Margaret's husband, the first prince of the blood, had fled
with the rear-guard, and gone to die of shame and grief at Lyons; and
Francis, thrown from his horse, had surrendered his sword to Charles
Lannoy, viceroy of Naples, who received it kneeling. The King of
France was prisoner to the emperor. His captivity seemed the greatest
of misfortunes. "Nothing is left me but honour and life," wrote the
king to his mother. But no one felt a keener sorrow than Margaret. The
glory of her country tarnished, France without a monarch and exposed
to the greatest dangers, her beloved brother the captive of his
haughty enemy, her husband dishonoured and dead......What bitter
thoughts were these!......But she had a comforter; and while her
brother to console himself repeated: "_Tout est perdu, fors
l'honneur_, all is lost save honour!" she was able to say:--

    Fors Jésus seul, mon frère, fils de Dieu![1033]
    Save Christ alone, dear brother, Son of God!

  [1033] Les Marguerites de la Marguerite, i. 29.

Margaret thought that in the hour of trial Francis might receive the
Word of God. A few months before, the king had already betrayed
religious sentiments on the death of his daughter the Princess
Charlotte. The Duchess of Alençon, having concealed the child's
sickness from him, Francis, who no doubt suspected something, dreamed
three several times that his daughter said to him: "Farewell, my king,
I am going to paradise." He guessed that she was dead, and gave way to
"extreme grief," but wrote to his sister that "he would rather die
than desire to have her in this world contrary to the will of God,
whose name be blessed."[1034]

  [1034] Lettres inédites de la reine de Navarre, p. 170.

Margaret thought that the terrible disaster of Pavia would complete
what the first trial had begun; and most earnestly desiring that the
Word of God might be with Francis in his prison, she wrote a very
touching letter, which deserves to be preserved, to Marshal
Montmorency, who had been taken prisoner along with the king. It is
very probable that she speaks of herself and Bishop Briçonnet in the
graceful allegory which serves as an introduction to her request:--

    "Dear cousin, there is a certain very devout hermit who for
    these three years past has been constantly urging a man whom
    I know to pray to God for the king, which he has done; and he
    is assured that if it pleases the king by way of devotion,
    daily, when in his closet, to read the epistles of St. Paul,
    he will be delivered to the glory of God; for He promises in
    His Gospel, that whosoever loveth the truth, _the truth shall
    make him free_. And forasmuch as I think he has them not, I
    send you mine, begging you to entreat him on my part that he
    will read them, and I firmly believe that the Holy Ghost,
    which abideth in the letter, will do by him as great things
    as he has done by those who wrote them; for God is not less
    powerful or good than He has been, and his promises never
    deceive. He has humbled you by captivity, but he has not
    forsaken you, giving you patience and hope in his goodness,
    which is always accompanied by consolation and a more perfect
    knowledge of Him, which I am sure is better than the king
    ever knows, having his mind less at liberty, on account of
    the imprisonment of the body.

    "Your good Cousin, MARGARET."


In such language did Margaret of Valois, full of anxiety for the
salvation of her brother's soul, address the king after the battle of
Pavia. It is unfortunate that her letter and the Epistles of St. Paul
were not sent direct to Francis; she could not have selected a worse
medium than Montmorency.

The letters which the king wrote from the Castle of Pizzighitone,
where he was confined, afforded his sister some little consolation. At
the beginning of April she wrote to him: "After the sorrow of the
Passion this has been a Holy Ghost (_i. e._ a Pentecost), seeing the
grace that our Lord has shown you."[1035] But unhappily the prisoner
did not find in the Word of God that _truth which maketh free_, and
which Margaret so earnestly desired he might possess.

  [1035] Lettres de la reine de Navarre à François, i. p. 27.

All France, princes, parliament, and people, was overwhelmed with
consternation. Erelong, as in the first three ages of the Church, the
calamity that had befallen the country was imputed to the Christians;
and fanatical cries were heard on every side calling for blood, as a
means of averting still greater disasters. The moment, therefore, was
favourable; it was not enough to have dislodged the evangelical
Christians from the three strong positions they had taken; it was
necessary to take advantage of the general panic, to strike while the
iron was hot, and sweep the whole kingdom clear of that opposition
which had become so formidable to the papacy.


At the head of this conspiracy and of these clamours were Beda,
Duchesne, and Lecouturier. These irreconcilable enemies of the Gospel
flattered themselves they might easily obtain from public terror the
victims that had been hitherto refused them. They instantly employed
every device; conversations, fanatical harangues, lamentations,
threats, defamatory writings, to excite the anger of the nation, and
particularly of their governors. They vomited fire and flame against
their adversaries, and covered them with the most scurrilous
abuse.[1036] All means were good in their eyes; they picked out a few
words here and there, neglecting the context that might explain the
passage quoted; substituted expressions of their own for those of the
doctors they criminated, and omitted or added, according as it was
necessary to blacken their adversaries' characters.[1037] We have this
on the testimony of Erasmus himself.

  [1036] Plus quam scurrilibus conviciis debacchantes. Er. Francisco
  Reig, p. 1108.

  [1037] Pro meis verbis supponit sua, prætermittit, addit. Ibid. 887.

Nothing excited their wrath so much as the fundamental doctrine of
Christianity and of the Reformation,--salvation by grace. "When I see
these three men," said Beda, "Lefevre, Erasmus, and Luther, in other
respects endowed with so penetrating a genius, uniting and conspiring
against meritorious works, and resting all the weight of salvation on
faith alone,[1038] I am no longer astonished that thousands of men,
seduced by these doctrines, have learned to say: 'Why should I fast
and mortify my body?' Let us banish from France this hateful doctrine
of grace. This neglect of good works is a fatal delusion from the

  [1038] Cum itaque cerneram tres istos......uno animo in opera
  meritoria conspirasse. Natalis Bedæ Apologia adversus clandestinos
  Lutheranos, fol. 41.


In such language did the Syndic of the Sorbonne endeavour to fight
against the faith. He was destined to find supporters in a debauched
court, and in another part of the nation more respectable, but not
less opposed to the Gospel; I mean those grave men, those rigid
moralists, who, devoted to the study of laws and forms of
jurisprudence, regard Christianity as no more than a system of
legislation; the Church, as a moral police; and who, unable to adapt
to those principles of jurisprudence which absorb their whole thoughts
the doctrines of the spiritual inability of man, of the new birth, and
of justification by faith, look upon them as fanciful dreams,
dangerous to public morals and the prosperity of the state. This
hostile tendency to the doctrine of grace was manifested in the
sixteenth century by two very different excesses; in Italy and Poland
by the doctrine of Socinus, the descendant of an illustrious family of
lawyers at Sienna; and in France by the persecuting decrees and
burning piles of the parliament.

The parliament, in fact, despising the great truths of the Gospel
which the reformers announced, and thinking themselves called upon to
do something in so overwhelming a catastrophe, presented an address to
Louisa of Savoy, full of strong remonstrances on the conduct of the
government with regard to the new doctrine. "Heresy," said they, "has
raised its head among us, and the king, by neglecting to bring the
heretics to the scaffold, has drawn down the wrath of heaven upon the

At the same time the pulpits resounded with lamentations, threats, and
maledictions; prompt and exemplary punishments were loudly called for.
Martial Mazurier was particularly distinguished among the preachers of
Paris; and endeavouring by his violence to efface the recollection of
his former connexion with the partisans of the Reformation, he
declaimed against the "secret disciples of Luther." "Do you know the
rapid operation of this poison?" exclaimed he. "Do you know its
potency? Well may we tremble for France; as it works with
inconceivable activity, and in a short time may destroy thousands of

  [1039] Mazurius contra occultos Lutheri discipulos declamat, ac
  recentis veneni celeritatem vimque denunciat. Lannoi, regii Navarræ
  gymnasii historia, p. 621.


It was not difficult to excite the regent against the partisans of the
Reformation. Her daughter Margaret, the first personage of the court,
Louisa of Savoy herself, who had always been so devoted to the Roman
pontiff, were pointed at by certain fanatics as countenancing Lefevre,
Berquin, and the other innovators. Had she not read their tracts and
their translations of the Bible? The queen-mother desired to clear
herself of such outrageous suspicions. Already she had despatched her
confessor to the Sorbonne to consult that body on the means of
extirpating this heresy. "The damnable doctrine of Luther," said she
to the faculty, "is every day gaining new adherents." The faculty
smiled on the receipt of this message. Till then, its representations
had not been listened to, and now their advice was humbly solicited in
the matter. At length they held within their grasp that heresy they
had so long desired to stifle. They commissioned Noel Beda to return
an immediate answer to the regent. "Seeing that the sermons, the
discussions, the books with which we have so often opposed heresy,
have failed in destroying it," said the fanatical syndic, "all the
writings of the heretics should be prohibited by a royal proclamation;
and if this means does not suffice, we must employ force and
constraint against the _persons_ of these false doctors; for those who
resist the light must be subdued by _torture_ and by _terror_."[1040]

  [1040] Histoire de l'Université, par Crévier, v. 196.


But Louisa had not waited for this reply. Francis had scarcely fallen
into the hands of the emperor before she wrote to the pope to know his
pleasure concerning the heretics. It was of great importance to
Louisa's policy to secure the favour of a pontiff who could raise all
Italy against the victor of Pavia, and she was ready to conciliate him
at the cost of a little French blood. The pope, delighted that he
could wreak his vengeance in the "most Christian kingdom" against a
heresy that he could not destroy either in Switzerland or Germany,
gave immediate orders for the introduction of the Inquisition into
France, and addressed a brief to the parliament. At the same time
Duprat, whom the pontiff had created cardinal, and on whom he had
conferred the archbishopric of Sens, and a rich abbey, laboured to
respond to the favours of the court of Rome by the display of
indefatigable animosity against the heretics. Thus the pope, the
regent, the doctors of the Sorbonne, the parliament, and the
chancellor, with the most ignorant and fanatical part of the nation,
were conspiring together to ruin the Gospel and put its confessors to

The parliament took the lead. Nothing less than the first body in the
kingdom was required to begin the campaign against this doctrine, and
moreover, was it not their peculiar business, since the public safety
was at stake? Accordingly the parliament, "influenced by a holy zeal
and fervour against these novelties,[1041] issued a decree to the
effect that the Bishop of Paris and the other prelates should be bound
to commission Messieurs Philip Pot, president of requests, and Andrew
Verjus, councillor, and Messieurs William Duchesne and Nicholas
Leclerc, doctors of divinity, to institute and conduct the trial of
those who should be tainted with the Lutheran doctrine.

  [1041] De la religion catholique en France, par de Lezeau. MS. in the
  library of St. Geneviève, Paris.

"And that it might appear that these commissioners were acting rather
under the authority of the Church than of the parliament, it has
pleased his holiness to send his brief of the 20th of May 1525,
approving of the appointment of the said commissioners.

"In consequence of which, all those who were declared Lutherans by the
bishop or ecclesiastical judges to these deputies, were delivered over
to the secular arm, that is to say, to the aforesaid parliament, which
thereupon condemned them to be burnt alive."[1042]

  [1042] The manuscript in the library of Ste.