HISTORY of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH*
THE GERMAN REFORMATION FROM THE DIET OF WORMS
TO THE PEASANTS’ WAR, a.d. 1521–1525.
§ 60. A New Phase in the History of the Reformation.
At Worms, Luther stood on the height of his protest against Rome. The negative part of his work was completed: the tyranny of popery over Western Christendom was broken, the conscience was set free, and the way opened for a reconstruction of the Church on the basis of the New Testament. What he wrote afterwards against Rome was merely a repetition and re-affirmation.
On his return to Wittenberg, he had a more difficult task before him: to effect a positive reformation of faith and discipline, worship and ceremonies. A revolution is merely destructive and emancipative: a reformation is constructive and affirmative; it removes abuses and corruptions, but saves the foundation, and builds on it a new structure.
In this home-work Luther was as conservative and churchly as he had been radical and unchurchly in his war against the foreign foe. The connecting link between the two periods was his faith in Christ and the ever-living word of God, with which he began and ended his public labors.
He now raised his protest against the abuse of liberty in his own camp. A sifting process was necessary. Division and confusion broke out among his friends and followers. Many of them exceeded all bounds of wisdom and moderation; while others, frightened by the excesses, returned to the fold of the mother Church. The German nation itself was split on the question of the old or new religion, and remains, ecclesiastically, divided to this day; but the political unification and reconstruction of the German Empire with a Protestant head, instead of the former Roman-Catholic emperor, may be regarded as a remote result of the Reformation, without which it could never have taken place. And it is a remarkable providence, that this great event of 1870 was preceded by the Vatican Council and the decree of papal infallibility, and followed by the overthrow of the temporal power of the Pope and the political unification of Italy with Rome as the capital.
Before Luther entered upon the new phase in his career, he had a short rest on what he called his "Patmos" (Rev. 1:9), and his "wilderness." It is the most romantic, as his stand at Worms is the most heroic, chapter in his eventful life.
§ 61. Luther at the Wartburg. 1521–1522.
I. Luther’s Letters, from April 28, 1521, to March 7, 1522, in De Wette, vol. I. 5; II. 1–141. Very full and very characteristic. Walch, XV. 2324–2402.
II. C. Köhler: Luther auf der Wartburg. Eisenach, 1798. A. Witzschell: Luthers Aufenthalt auf der Wartburg. Wien, 1876. J. G. Morris: Luther at Wartburg and Coburg. Philadelphia, 1882.
III. Marheineke, Chap. X. (I. 276 sqq.). Merle D’Aubigné, bk. IX., chs. I. and II. Hagenbach, III. 105 sqq. Fisher, p. 112. Köstlin, I. 468–535.
Luther left Worms after a stay of ten days, April 26, 1521, at ten o’clock in the morning, quietly, in the same company with which he had made his entrance under the greatest popular commotion and expectation. His friend Schurf went along. The imperial herald joined him at Oppenheim so as not to attract notice.
In a letter to his friend Cranach, dated Frankfurt, April 28, he thus summarizes the proceedings of the Diet: "Have you written these books? Yes. Will you recant? No. Then get thee hence! O we blind Germans, how childish we are to allow ourselves to be so miserably fooled by the Romanists!"412 In the same letter he takes leave of his Wittenberg friends, and intimates that he would be hidden for a while, though he did not know where. He says that he would rather have suffered death from the tyrants, especially "the furious Duke George," but he could not despise the counsel of good people. "A little while, and ye behold me no more; and again a little while, and ye shall see me (John 16:16). I hope it will be so with me. But God’s will, the best of all, be done in heaven and on earth."
At Friedberg he dismissed the herald, and gave him a Latin letter to the Emperor, and a German letter of the same import to the Estates. He thanked the former for the safe-conduct, and defended his course at Worms. He could not trust in the decision of one man or many men when God’s word and eternal interests were at stake, but was still willing to recant if refuted from the Scriptures.413
At Hersfeld he was hospitably entertained in the Benedictine convent by the Abbot Crato, and urged to preach. He did so in spite of the Emperor’s prohibition, obeying God rather than men. "I never consented," he says, "to tie up God’s word. This is a condition beyond my power."414 He preached also at Eisenach, but under protest of the priest in charge of the parish. Several of his companions parted from him there, and proceeded in the direction of Gotha and Wittenberg.
From Eisenach he started with Amsdorf and Petzensteiner for Möhra to see his relations. He spent a night with his uncle Heinz, and preached on the next Sunday morning. He resumed his journey towards Altenstein and Waltershausen, accompanied by some of his relatives. On the 4th of May, a company of armed horsemen suddenly appeared from the woods, stopped his carriage, amidst cursing and swearing, pulled him out, put him on horseback, hurried away with him in full speed, and brought him about midnight to the Wartburg, where he was to be detained as a noble prisoner of state in charge of Captain von Berlepsch, the governor of the castle.
The scheme had been wisely arranged in Worms by the Elector Frederick, whom Aleander calls "the fox of Saxony." He wavered between attachment to the old faith and inclination to the new. He could not be sure of Luther’s safety beyond the term of three weeks when the Emperor’s safe-conduct expired; he did not wish to disobey the Emperor, nor, on the other hand, to sacrifice the reformer, his own subject, and the pride of his university. He therefore deemed it best to withdraw him for a season from the public eye. Melanchthon characterizes him truly when he says of Frederick: "He was not one of those who would stifle changes in their very birth. He was subject to the will of God. He read the writings which were put forth, and would not permit any power to crush what he believed to be true."
The secret was strictly kept. For several months even John, the Elector’s brother, did not know Luther’s abode, and thought that he was in one of Sickingen’s castles. Conflicting rumors went abroad, and found credence among the crowds who gathered in public places to hear the latest news. Some said, He is dead; others, He is imprisoned, and cruelly treated. Albrecht Dürer, the famous painter, who was at that time at Antwerp, and esteemed Luther as "a man enlightened by the Holy Spirit and a confessor of the true Christian faith," entered in his diary on Pentecost, 1521, the prayer that God may raise up another man in his place, and fill him with the Holy Spirit to heal the wounds of the Church.
The Wartburg is a stately castle on a hill above Eisenach, in the finest part of the Thuringian forest. It combines reminiscences of mediaeval poetry and piety with those of the Reformation. It was the residence of the Landgraves of Thuringia from 1073 to 1440. There the most famous Minnesängers, Walther von der Vogelweide, and Wolfram von Eschenbach, graced the court of Hermann I. (1190–1217); there St. Elizabeth (1207–1231), wife of Landgrave Ludwig, developed her extraordinary virtues of humility and charity, and began those ascetic self-mortifications which her heartless and barbarous confessor, Conrad of Marburg, imposed upon her. But the most interesting relics of the past are the Lutherstube and the adjoining Reformationszimmer. The plain furniture of the small room which the Reformer occupied, is still preserved: a table, a chair, a bedstead, a small bookcase, a drinking-tankard, and the knightly armor of Junker Georg, his assumed name. The famous ink-spot is seen no more, and the story is not authentic.415 In the Wartburg the German students celebrated, in October, 1817, the third jubilee of the Reformation; in the Wartburg Dr. Merle D’Aubigné of Geneva received the inspiration for his eloquent history of the Reformation, which had a wider circulation, at least in the English translation, than any other book on church history; in the Wartburg the Eisenach Conference of the various Lutheran church-governments of Germany inaugurates its periodical sessions for the consultative discussion of matters of common interest, as the revision of the Luther-Bible. The castle was handsomely restored and decorated in mediaeval style, in 1847.
Luther’s sojourn in this romantic solitude extended through nearly eleven months, and alternated between recreation and work, health and sickness, high courage and deep despondency. Considering that he there translated the New Testament, it was the most useful year of his life. He gives a full description of it in letters to his Wittenberg friends, especially to Spalatin and Melanchthon, which were transmitted by secret messengers, and dated from "Patmos," or "the wilderness," from "the region of the air," or "the region of the birds."
He was known and treated during this episode as Knight George. He exchanged the monastic gown for the dress of a gentleman, let his hair and beard grow, wore a coat of mail, a sword, and a golden chain, and had to imitate courtly manners. He was served by two pages, who brought the meals to his room twice a day. His food was much better than be had been accustomed to as a monk, and brought on dyspepsia and insomnia. He enjoyed the singing of the birds, "sweetly lauding God day and night with all their strength." He made excursions with an attendant. Sometimes he took a book along, but was reminded that a Knight and a scholar were different beings. He engaged in conversation on the way, with priests and monks, about ecclesiastical affairs, and the uncertain whereabouts of Luther, till he was requested to go on. He took part in the chase, but indulged in theological thoughts among the huntsmen and animals. "We caught a few hares and partridges," he said, "a worthy occupation for idle people." The nets and dogs reminded him of the arts of the Devil entangling and pursuing poor human souls. He sheltered a hunted hare, but the dogs tore it to pieces; this suggested to him the rage of the Devil and the Pope to destroy those whom he wished to preserve. It would be better, he thought, to hunt bears and wolves.
He had many a personal encounter with the Devil, whose existence was as certain to him as his own. More than once he threw the inkstand at him—not literally, but spiritually. His severest blow at the archfiend was the translation of the New Testament. His own doubts, carnal temptations, evil thoughts, as well as the dangers threatening him and his work from his enemies, projected themselves into apparitions of the prince of darkness. He heard his noises at night, in a chest, in a bag of nuts, and on the staircase "as if a hundred barrels were rolled from top to bottom." Once he saw him in the shape of a big black dog lying in his bed; he threw the creature out of the window; but it did not bark, and disappeared.416 Sometimes he resorted to jokes. The Devil, he said, will bear any thing better than to be despised and laughed at.417
Luther was brought up in all the mediaeval superstitious concerning demons, ghosts, witches, and sorcerers. His imagination clothed ideas in concrete, massive forms. The Devil was to him the personal embodiment of all evil and mischief in the world. Hence he figures very largely in his theology and religious experience.418 He is the direct antipode of God, and the archfiend of Christ and of men. As God is pure love, so the Devil is pure selfishness, hatred, and envy. He is endowed with high intellectual gifts, as bad men often surpass good men in prudence and understanding. He was originally an archangel, but moved by pride and envy against the Son of God, whose incarnation and saving work he foresaw, he rose in rebellion against it. He commands an organized army of fallen angels and bad men in constant conflict with God and the good angels. He is the god of this world, and knows how to rule it. He has power over nature, and can make thunder and lightning, hail and earthquake, fleas and bed-bugs. He is the ape of God. He can imitate Christ, and is most dangerous in the garb of an angel of light. He is most busy where the Word of God is preached. He is proud and haughty, although he can appear most humble. He is a liar and a murderer from the beginning. He understands a thousand arts. He hates men because they are creatures of God. He is everywhere around them, and tries to hurt and seduce them. He kindles strife and enmity. He is the author of all heresies and persecutions. He invented popery, as a counterpart of the true kingdom of God. He inflicts trials, sickness, and death upon individuals. He tempts them to break the Ten Commandments, to doubt God’s word, and to blaspheme. He leads into infidelity and despair. He hates matrimony, mirth, and music. He can not bear singing, least of all "spiritual songs."419 He holds the human will captive, and rides it as his donkey. He can quote Scripture, but only as much of it as suits his purpose. A Christian should know that the Devil is nearer him than his coat or shirt, yea, than his own skin. Luther reports that he often disputed with the Devil in the night, about the state of his soul, so earnestly that he himself perspired profusely, and trembled. Once the Devil told him that he was a great sinner. "I knew that long ago," replied Luther, "tell me something new. Christ has taken my sins upon himself, and forgiven them long ago. Now grind your teeth." At other times he returned the charge and tauntingly asked him, "Holy Satan, pray for me," or "Physician, cure thyself." The Devil assumes visible forms, and appears as a dog or a hog or a goat, or as a flame or star, or as a man with horns. He is noisy and boisterous.420 He is at the bottom of all witchcraft and ghost-trickery. He steals little children and substitutes others in their place, who are mere lumps of flesh and torment the parents, but die young.421 Luther was disposed to trace many mediaeval miracles of the Roman Catholic Church to the agency of Satan. He believed in daemones incubos et succubos.
But, after all, the Devil has no real power over believers. He hates prayer, and flees from the cross and from the Word of God as from a flaming fire. If you cannot expel him by texts of Holy Scripture, the best way is to jeer and flout him. A pious nun once scared him away by simply saying: "Christiana sum." Christ has slain him, and will cast him out at last into the fire of hell. Hence Luther sings in his battle hymn, —
"And let the Prince of ill
Look grim as e’er he will,
He harms us not a whit:
For why? His doom is writ,
One little word shall slay him."
Luther was at times deeply dejected in spirit. He wrote to Melanchthon, July 13, under the influence of dyspepsia which paints every thing in the darkest colors: "You elevate me too high, and fall into the serious error of giving me too much credit, as if I were absorbed in God’s cause. This high opinion of yours confounds and racks me, when I see myself insensible, hardened, sunk in idleness, alas! seldom in prayer, and not venting one groan over God’s Church. My unsubdued flesh burns me with devouring fire. In short, I who ought to be eaten up with the spirit, am devoured by the flesh, by luxury, indolence, idleness, somnolence. Is it that God has turned away from me, because you no longer pray for me? You must take my place; you, richer in God’s gifts, and more acceptable in his sight. Here, a week has passed away since I put pen to paper, since I have prayed or studied, either vexed by fleshly cares, or by other temptations. If things do not improve, I will go to Erfurt without concealment; there you will see me, or I you, for I must consult physicians or surgeons. Perhaps the Lord troubles me so much in order to draw me from this wilderness before the public."422
Notwithstanding his complaints of illness and depression, and assaults from the evil spirit, he took the liveliest interest in the events of the day, and was anxious to descend to the arena of conflict. He kept writing letters, books, and pamphlets, and sent them into the world. His literary activity during those few months is truly astounding, and contrasts strangely with his repeated lament that he had to sit idle at Patmos, and would rather be burned in the service of God than stagnate there.
He had few books in the Wartburg. He studied the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures very diligently;423 he depended for news on the letters of his friends at Wittenberg; and for his writings, on the resources of his genius.
He continued his great Latin commentary on the Psalms, dwelling most carefully on Psalm 22 with reference to the crucifixion, and wrote special expositions of Psalms 68 and 37. He completed his book on the Magnificat of the Holy Virgin, in which he still expresses his full belief in her sinlessness, even her immaculate conception. He attacked auricular confession, which was now used as a potent power against the reading of Protestant books, and dedicated the tract to Sickingen (June 1). He resumed his sermons on the Gospels and Epistles of the church year (Kirchenpostille), which were afterwards finished by friends, and became one of the most popular books of devotion in Germany. He declared it once the best book he ever wrote, one which even the Papists liked.424 He replied in Latin to Latomus, a Louvain theologian. He attacked in Latin and German the doctrine of the mass, which is the very heart of Roman Catholic worship, and monastic vows, the foundation of the monastic system. He dedicated the book against vows to his father who had objected to his becoming a monk.
He also dealt an effectual blow at Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz, who had exposed in Halle a collection of nearly nine thousand wondrous relies (including the manna in the wilderness, the burning bush of Moses, and jars from the wedding at Cana) to the view of pilgrims, with the promise of a "surpassing" indulgence for attendance and a charitable contribution to the Collegiate Church. Luther disregarded the fact that his own pious Elector had arranged a similar exhibition in Wittenberg only a few years before, and prepared a fierce protest against the "Idol of Indulgences" (October, 1521). Spalatin and the Elector protested against the publication, but he wrote to Spalatin: "I will not put up with it. I will rather lose you and the prince himself, and every living being. If I have stood up against the Pope, why should I yield to his creature?" At the same time he addressed a sharp letter to the archbishop (Dec. 1), and reminded him that by this time he ought to know that indulgences were mere knavery and trickery; that Luther was still alive; that bishops, before punishing priests for marrying, better first expel their own mistresses. He threatened him with the issue of the book against the Idol of Halle. The archbishop submitted, and made a humble apology in a letter of Dec. 21, which shows what a power Luther had acquired over him.425
§ 62. Luther’s Translation of the Bible.
I. Dr. Martin Luther’s Bibelübersetzung nach der letzten Original-Ausgabe, kritisch bearbeitet von H. E. Bindseil und H. A. Niemeyer. Halle, 1845–55, in 7 vols. 8°. The N. T. in vols. 6 and 7. A critical reprint of the last edition of Luther (1545). Niemeyer died after the publication of the first volume. Comp. the Probebibel (the revised Luther-Version), Halle, 1883. Luther’s Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen und Fürbitte der Heiligen (with a letter to Wenceslaus Link, Sept. 12, 1530), in Walch, XXI. 310 sqq., and the Erl. Frkf. ed., vol. LXV. 102–123. (Not in De Wette’s collection, because of its polemical character.) A defense of his version against the attacks of the Romanists. Mathesius, in his thirteenth sermon on the Life of Luther.
II. On the merits and history of Luther’s version. The best works are by Palm (1772). Panzer (Vollständ. Gesch. der deutschen Bibelübers. Luthers, Nürnb. 1783, 2d ed. 1791), Weidemann (1834), H. Schott (1835), Bindseil (1847), Hopf (1847), Mönckeberg (1855 and 1861), Karl Frommann (1862), Dorner (1868), W. Grimm (1874 and l884), Düsterdieck (1882), Kleinert (1883), TH. Schott (1883), and the introduction to the Probebibel (1883). See Lit. in § 17, p. 103.
III. On the pre-Lutheran German Bible, and Luther’s relation to it. Ed. Reuss: Die deutsche Historienbibel vor der Erfindung des Bücherdrucks. Jena, 1855. Jos. Kehrein (Rom. Cath.): Zur Geschichte der deutschen Bibelübersetzung vor Luther. Stuttgart, 1851. O. F. Fritzsche in Herzog, 2d ed., Bd. III. (1876), pp. 543 sqq. Dr. W. Krafft: Die deutsche Bibel vor Luther, sein Verhältniss zu derselben und seine Verdienste um die deutsche Bibelübersetzung. Bonn, 1883 (25 pages. 4°.) Also the recent discussions (1885–1887) of Keller, Haupt, Jostes, Rachel, Kawerau, Kolde, K. Müller, on the alleged Waldensian origin of the pre-Lutheran German version.
The richest fruit of Luther’s leisure in the Wartburg, and the most important and useful work of his whole life, is the translation of the New Testament, by which he brought the teaching and example of Christ and the Apostles to the mind and heart of the Germans in life-like reproduction. It was a republication of the gospel. He made the Bible the people’s book in church, school, and house. If he had done nothing else, he would be one of the greatest benefactors of the German-speaking race.426
His version was followed by Protestant versions in other languages, especially the French, Dutch, and English. The Bible ceased to be a foreign book in a foreign tongue, and became naturalized, and hence far more clear and dear to the common people. Hereafter the Reformation depended no longer on the works of the Reformers, but on the book of God, which everybody could read for himself as his daily guide in spiritual life. This inestimable blessing of an open Bible for all, without the permission or intervention of pope and priest, marks an immense advance in church history, and can never be lost.
Luther was not the first, but by far the greatest translator of the German Bible, and is as inseparably connected with it as Jerome is with the Latin Vulgate. He threw the older translation into the shade and out of use, and has not been surpassed or even equaled by a successor. There are more accurate versions for scholars (as those of De Wette and Weizsäcker), but none that can rival Luther’s for popular authority and use.
The civilization of the barbarians in the dark ages began with the introduction of Christianity, and the translation of such portions of the Scriptures as were needed in public worship.
The Gothic Bishop Wulfila or Wölflein (i.e., Little Wolf) in the fourth century translated nearly the whole Bible from the Greek into the Gothic dialect. It is the earliest monument of Teutonic literature, and the basis of comparative Teutonic philology.427
During the fourteenth century some unknown scholars prepared a new translation of the whole Bible into the Middle High German dialect. It slavishly follows the Latin Vulgate. It may be compared to Wiclif’s English Version (1380), which was likewise made from the Vulgate, the original languages being then almost unknown in Europe. A copy of the New Testament of this version has been recently published, from a manuscript in the Premonstratensian convent of Tepl in Bohemia.428 Another copy is preserved in the college library at Freiberg in Saxony.429 Both are from the fourteenth century, and agree almost word for word with the first printed German Bible, but contain, besides the New Testament, the apocryphal letter of St. Paul to the Laodiceans, which is a worthless compilation of a few sentences from the genuine writings of the apostle.430
After the invention of the printing-press, and before the Reformation, this mediaeval German Bible was more frequently printed than any other except the Latin Vulgate.431 No less than seventeen or eighteen editions appeared between 1462 and 1522, at Strassburg, Augsburg, Nürnberg, Cöln, Lübeck, and Halberstadt (fourteen in the High, three or four in the Low German dialect). Most of them are in large folio, in two volumes, and illustrated by wood-cuts. The editions present one and the same version (or rather two versions,—one High German, the other Low German) with dialectical alterations and accommodations to the textual variations of the MSS. of the Vulgate, which was in a very unsettled condition before the Clementine recension (1592). The revisers are as unknown as the translators.
The spread of this version, imperfect as it was, proves the hunger and thirst of the German people for the pure word of God, and prepared the way for the Reformation. It alarmed the hierarchy. Archbishop Berthold of Mainz, otherwise a learned and enlightened prelate, issued, Jan. 4, 1486, a prohibition of all unauthorized printing of sacred and learned books, especially the German Bible, within his diocese, giving as a reason that the German language was incapable of correctly rendering the profound sense of Greek and Latin works, and that laymen and women could not understand the Bible. Even Geiler of Kaisersberg, who sharply criticised the follies of the world and abuses of the Church, thought it "an evil thing to print the Bible in German."
Besides the whole Bible, there were numerous German editions of the Gospels and Epistles (Plenaria), and the Psalter, all made from the Vulgate.432
Luther could not be ignorant of this mediaeval version. He made judicious use of it, as he did also of old German and Latin hymns. Without such aid he could hardly have finished his New Testament in the short space of three months.433 But this fact does not diminish his merit in the least; for his version was made from the original Hebrew and Greek, and was so far superior in every respect that the older version entirely disappeared. It is to all intents a new work.
Luther had a rare combination of gifts for a Bible translator: familiarity with the original languages, perfect mastery over the vernacular, faith in the revealed word of God, enthusiasm for the gospel, unction of the Holy Spirit. A good translation must be both true and free, faithful and idiomatic, so as to read like an original work. This is the case with Luther’s version. Besides, he had already acquired such fame and authority that his version at once commanded universal attention.
His knowledge of Greek and Hebrew was only moderate, but sufficient to enable him to form an independent judgment.434 What he lacked in scholarship was supplied by his intuitive genius and the help of Melanchthon. In the German tongue he had no rival. He created, as it were, or gave shape and form to the modern High German. He combined the official language of the government with that of the common people. He listened, as he says, to the speech of the mother at home, the children in the street, the men and women in the market, the butcher and various tradesmen in their shops, and, "looked them on the mouth," in pursuit of the most intelligible terms. His genius for poetry and music enabled him to reproduce the rhythm and melody, the parallelism and symmetry, of Hebrew poetry and prose. His crowning qualification was his intuitive insight and spiritual sympathy with the contents of the Bible.
A good translation, he says, requires "a truly devout, faithful, diligent, Christian, learned, experienced, and practiced heart."
Progress of his Version.
Luther was gradually prepared for this work. He found for the first time a complete copy of the Latin Bible in the University Library at Erfurt, to his great delight, and made it his chief study. He derived from it his theology and spiritual nourishment; he lectured and preached on it as professor at Wittenberg day after day. He acquired the knowledge of the original languages for the purpose of its better understanding. He liked to call himself a "Doctor of the Sacred Scriptures."
He made his first attempt as translator with the seven Penitential Psalms, which he published in March, 1517, six months before the outbreak of the Reformation. Then followed several other sections of the Old and New Testaments,—the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Prayer of King Manasseh, the Magnificat of the Virgin Mary, etc., with popular comments. He was urged by his friends, especially by Melanchthon, as well as by his own sense of duty, to translate the whole Bible.
He began with the New Testament in November or December, 1521, and completed it in the following March, before he left the Wartburg. He thoroughly revised it on his return to Wittenberg, with the effectual help of Melanchthon, who was a much better Greek scholar. Sturz at Erfurt was consulted about coins and measures; Spalatin furnished from the Electoral treasury names for the precious stones of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21). The translation was then hurried through three presses, and appeared already Sept. 21, 1522, but without his name.435
In December a second edition was required, which contained many corrections and improvements.436
He at once proceeded to the more difficult task of translating the Old Testament, and published it in parts as they were ready. The Pentateuch appeared in 1523; the Psalter, 1524.
In the progress of the work he founded a Collegium Biblieum, or Bible club, consisting of his colleagues Melanchthon, Bugenhagen (Pommer), Cruciger, Justus Jonas, and Aurogallus. They met once a week in his house, several hours before supper. Deacon Georg Rörer (Rorarius), the first clergyman ordained by Luther, and his proof-reader, was also present; occasionally foreign scholars were admitted; and Jewish rabbis were freely consulted. Each member of the company contributed to the work from his special knowledge and preparation. Melanchthon brought with him the Greek Bible, Cruciger the Hebrew and Chaldee, Bugenhagen the Vulgate, others the old commentators; Luther had always with him the Latin and the German versions besides the Hebrew. Sometimes they scarcely mastered three lines of the Book of Job in four days, and hunted two, three, and four weeks for a single word. No record exists of the discussions of this remarkable company, but Mathesius says that "wonderfully beautiful and instructive speeches were made."
At last the whole Bible, including the Apocrypha as "books not equal to the Holy Scriptures, yet useful and good to read," was completed in 1534, and printed with numerous woodcuts.
In the mean time the New Testament had appeared in sixteen or seventeen editions, and in over fifty reprints.437
Luther complained of the many errors in these irresponsible editions.
He never ceased to amend his translation. Besides correcting errors, he improved the uncouth and confused orthography, fixed the inflections, purged the vocabulary of obscure and ignoble words, and made the whole more symmetrical and melodious.
The edition of 1546 was prepared by his friend Rörer, and contains a large number of alterations, which he traced to Luther himself. Some of them are real improvements, e.g., "Die Liebe höret nimmer auf," for, "Die Liebe wird nicht müde" (1 Cor. 13:8). The charge that he made the changes in the interest of Philippism (Melanchthonianism), seems to be unfounded.
Editions and Revisions.
The printed Bible text of Luther had the same fate as the written text of the old Itala and Jerome’s Vulgate. It passed through innumerable improvements and mis-improvements. The orthography and inflections were modernized, obsolete words removed, the versicular division introduced (first in a Heidelberg reprint, 1568), the spurious clause of the three witnesses inserted in 1 John 5:7 (first by a Frankfurt publisher, 1574), the third and fourth books of Ezra and the third book of the Maccabees added to the Apocrypha, and various other changes effected, necessary and unnecessary, good and bad. Elector August of Saxony tried to control the text in the interest of strict Lutheran orthodoxy, and ordered the preparation of a standard edition (1581). But it was disregarded outside of Saxony.
Gradually no less than eleven or twelve recensions came into use, some based on the edition of 1545, others on that of 1546. The most careful recension was that of the Canstein Bible Institute, founded by a pious nobleman, Carl Hildebrand von Canstein (1667–1719) in connection with Francke’s Orphan House at Halle. It acquired the largest circulation and became the textus receptus of the German Bible.
With the immense progress of biblical learning in the present century, the desire for a timely revision of Luther’s version was more and more felt. Revised versions with many improvements were prepared by Joh.- Friedrich von Meyer, a Frankfurt patrician (1772–1849), and Dr. Rudolf Stier (18001862), but did not obtain public authority.
At last a conservative official revision of the Luther Bible was inaugurated by the combined German church governments in 1863, with a view and fair prospect of superseding all former editions in public use.440
The German Bible of Luther was saluted with the greatest enthusiasm, and became the most powerful help to the Reformation. Duke George of Saxony, Duke William of Bavaria, and Archduke Ferdinand of Austria strictly prohibited the sale in their dominions, but could not stay the current. Hans Lufft at Wittenberg printed and sold in forty years (between 1534 and 1574) about a hundred thousand copies,—an enormous number for that age,—and these were read by millions. The number of copies from reprints is beyond estimate.
Cochlaeus, the champion of Romanism, paid the translation the greatest compliment when he complained that "Luther’s New Testament was so much multiplied and spread by printers that even tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons who had accepted this new Lutheran gospel, and could read a little German, studied it with the greatest avidity as the fountain of all truth. Some committed it to memory, and carried it about in their bosom. In a few months such people deemed themselves so learned that they were not ashamed to dispute about faith and the gospel not only with Catholic laymen, but even with priests and monks and doctors of divinity."441
The Romanists were forced in self-defense to issue rival translations. Such were made by Emser (1527), Dietenberger (1534), and Eck (1537), and accompanied with annotations. They are more correct in a number of passages, but slavishly conformed to the Vulgate, stiff and heavy, and they frequently copy the very language of Luther, so that he could say with truth, "The Papists steal my German of which they knew little before, and they do not thank me for it, but rather use it against me." These versions have long since gone out of use even in the Roman Church, while Luther’s still lives.442
the pre-lutheran german bible.
According to the latest investigations, fourteen printed editions of the whole Bible in the Middle High German dialect, and three in the Low German, have been identified. Panzer already knew fourteen; see his Gesch. der nürnbergischen Ausgaben der Bibel, Nürnberg, 1778, p. 74.
The first four, in large folio, appeared without date and place of publication, but were probably printed: 1, at Strassburg, by Heinrich Eggestein, about or before 1466 (the falsely so-called Mainzer Bibel of 1462); 2, at Strassburg, by Johann Mentelin, 1466 (?); 3, at Augsburg, by Jodocus Pflanzmann, or Tyner, 1470 (?); 4, at Nürnberg, by Sensenschmidt and Frissner, in 2 vols., 408 and 104 leaves, 1470–73 (?). The others are located, and from the seventh on also dated, viz.: 5, Augsburg, by Günther Zainer, 2 vols., probably between 1473–1475. 6, Augsburg, by the same, dated 1477 (Stevens says, 1475?). 7, The third Augsburg edition, by Günther Zainer, or Anton Sorg, 1477, 2 vols., 321 and 332 leaves, fol., printed in double columns; the first German Bible with a date. 8, The fourth Augsburg edition, by A. Sorg, 1480, folio. 9, Nürnberg, by Anton Koburger (also spelled Koberger), 1483. 10, Strassburg, by Johann Gruninger, 1485. 11 and 12, The fifth and sixth Augsburg editions, in small fol., by Hans Schönsperger, 1487 and 1490. 13, The seventh Augsburg edition, by Hans Otmar, 1507, small folio. 14, The eighth Augsburg edition, by Silvan Otmar, 1518, small folio.
The Low Dutch Bibles were printed: 1, at Cologne, in large folio, double columns, probably 1480. The unknown editor speaks of previous editions and his own improvements. Stevens (Nos. 653 and 654) mentions two copies of the O. T. in Dutch, printed at Delf, 1477, 2 vols. fol. 2, At Lübeck, 1491 (not 1494), 2 vols. fol. with large woodcuts. 3, At Halberstadt, 1522.
Comp. Kehrein (I.c.), Krafft (l.c., pp. 4, 5), and Henry Stevens, The Bibles in the Caxton Exhibition, London, 1878. Stevens gives the full titles with descriptions, pp. 45 sqq., nos. 620 sqq.
Several of these Bibles, including the Koburger and those of Cologne and Halberstadt, are in the possession of the Union Theol. Seminary, New York. I examined them. They are ornamented by woodcuts, beginning with a picture of God creating the world, and forming Eve from the rib of Adam in Paradise. Several of them have Jerome’s preface (De omnibus divinae historiae libris, Ep. ad Paulinum), the oldest with the remark: "Da hebet an die epistel des heiligen priesters sant Jeronimi zu Paulinum von allen gottlichen büchern der hystory. Das erst capitel."
Dr. Krafft illustrates the dependence of Luther on the earlier version by several examples (pp. 13–18). The following is from the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5:21–27:—
the ninth bible, 1483.
Habt ir gehört, das gesaget ist den alten. Du solt nit tödten, wellicher aber tödtet. der wird schuldig des gerichts. Aber ich sag euch, daz ein yeglicher der do zürnet seinem bruder. der wirt schuldig des gerichts. Der aber spricht zu seinem bruder. racha. der wirt schuldig des rats. Und der do spricht. tor. der wirt schuldig des hellischen fewrs. Darum ob du opfferst dein gab zu dem attar. und do wirst gedenckend. daz dein bruder ettwas hat wider dich, lasz do dein gab vor dem altar und gee zum ersten und versüne dich mit deim bruder und denn kum und opffer dein gab. Bis gehellig deim widerwertigen schyer. die weyl du mit im bist him weg. das dich villeycht der widersacher nit antwurt den Richter. und der Richter dich antwurt dem diener und werdest gelegt in den kercker. Fürwar ich sag dir. du geest nit aus von dannen. und das du vergeltest den letzten quadranten.
luther’s new testament, 1522.
Ihr habt gehortt, das zu den alten gesagt ist, du sollt nit todten, wer aber todtet, der soll des gerichts schuldig seyn. Ich aber sage euch, wer mit seynem bruder zurnit, der ist des gerichts schuldig, wer aber zu seynem bruder sagt, Racha, der ist des rads schuldig, wer aber sagt, du narr, der ist des hellischen fewers schuldig.
DarumbwenÐ du deyn gabe auff den altar opfferst, un wirst alda eyngedenken, das deyn bruder ettwas widder dich hab, so las alda fur dem altar deyn gabe, unnd gehe zuvor hyn, unnd versune dich mitt deynem bruder, unnd als denn kom unnd opffer deyn gabe.
Sey willfertig deynem widersacher, bald, dieweyl du noch mit yhm auff dem wege bist, auff das dich der widdersacher nit der mal eyns ubirantwortte dem richter, unÐ d. richter ubirantworte dich dem diener, unÐ werdist ynÐ den kerccker geworffen, warlich ich sage dyr, du wirst nit von dannen erauze komen, bis du auch den letzten heller bezealest.
To this I add two specimens in which the superiority of Luther’s version is more apparent.
the koburger bible of nürnberg, 1483
In dem anfang hat got beschaffen hymel und erden. aber dye erde was eytel und leere. und die vinsternus warn auff dem antlitz des abgrunds. vnd der geist gots swebet oder ward getragen auff den wassern. UnÐ got der sprach. Es werde dz liecht. Un das liecht ist worden.
luther’s bible, ed. 1535.
Im anfang schuff Gott himel und erden. Und die erde war wüst und leer, und es war finster auff der tieffe, und der Geist Gottes schwebet auff dem wasser.
Un Gott sprach. Es werde liecht. Und es ward liecht.
1 Cor. 13:1, 2.
The Strassburg Bible Of 1485.
Ob ich rede inn der zungen der engel vnd der menschen; aber habe ich der lieb nit, ich bin gemacht alls ein glockenspeyss lautend oder alls ein schell klingend. Vnd ob ich hab die weissagung und erkenn all heimlichkeit vnd alle kunst, und ob ich hab alten glauben, also das ich übertrag die berg, habe ich aber der lieb nit, ich bin nichts.
Luther’s New Testament, 1522.
Wenn ich mit menschen und mit engelzungen redet und hette die443 liebe nit,444 so wäre ich ein tönend ertz oder ein klingende schell.445 Und wenn ich weissagen kündt, vnnd wüste alle geheymnuss vnd alle erkantnüss, vnd hette alten glauben, also das ich berg versetzete, und hett der liebe nicht, so were ich nichts.
The precise origin of the mediaeval German Bible is still unknown. Dr. Ludwig Keller of Münster first suggested in his Die Reformation und die älteren Reformparteien, Leipzig, 1885, pp. 257–260, the hypothesis that it was made by Waldenses (who had also a Romanic version); and he tried to prove it in his Die Waldenser und die deutschen Bibelübersetzungen, Leipzig, 1886 (189 pages). Dr. Hermann Haupt, of Würzburg, took the same ground in his Die deutsche Bibelübersetzung der mittelalterlichen Waldenser in dem Codex Teplensis und der ersten gedruckten Bibel nachgewiesen, Würzburg, 1885 (64 pages); and again, in self-defense against Jostes, in Der waldensische Ursprung des Codex Teplensis und der vor-lutherischen deutschen Bibeldrucke, Würzburg, 1886. On the other hand, Dr. Franz Jostes, a Roman Catholic scholar, denied the Waldensian and defended the Catholic origin of that translation, in two pamphlets: Die Waldenser und die vorlutherische Bibelübersetzung, Münster, 1885 (44 pages), and Die Tepler Bibelübersetzung. Eine zweite Kritik, Münster, 1886 (43 pages). The same author promises a complete history of German Catholic Bible versions. The question has been discussed in periodicals and reviews, e.g., by Kawerau in Luthardt’s "Theol. Literaturblatt," Leipzig, 1885 and 1886 (Nos. 32–34), by Schaff in the New York "Independent" for Oct. 8, 1885, and in the "Presbyterian Review" for April, 1887, pp. 355 sqq.; by Kolde, in the "Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeigen," 1887, No. I.; by Müller in the "Studien und Kritiken," 1887, No. III.; and Bornemann, in the "Jahrb. f. Prot. Theol.," 1888, 67–101.
The arguments for the Waldensian origin are derived from certain additions to the Codex Teplensis, and alleged departures from the text of the Vulgate. But the additions are not anti-Catholic, and are not found in the cognate Freiberger MS.; and the textual variations can not be traced to sectarian bias. The text of the Vulgate was in greater confusion in the middle ages than the text of the Itala at the time of Jerome, nor was there any authorized text of it before the Clementine recension of 1592. The only plausible argument which Dr. Keller brings out in his second publication (pp. 80 sqq.) is the fact that Emser, in his Annotations to the New Test. (1523), charges Luther with having translated the N. T. from a "Wickleffisch oder hussisch exemplar." But this refers to copies of the Latin Vulgate; and in the examples quoted by Keller, Luther does not agree with the Codex Teplensis.
The hostility of several Popes and Councils to the circulation of vernacular translations of the Bible implies the existence of such translations, and could not prevent their publication, as the numerous German editions prove. Dutch, French, and Italian versions also appeared among the earliest prints. See Stevens, Nos. 687 and 688 (p. 59 sq.). The Italian edition exhibited in 1877 at London is entitled: La Biblia en lingua Volgare (per Nicolo di Mallermi). Venetia: per Joan. Rosso Vercellese, 1487, fol. A Spanish Bible by Bonif. Ferrer was printed at Valencia, 1478 (see Reuss, Gesch. der heil. Schr. N. T., II. 207, 5th Ed.).
The Bible is the common property and most sacred treasure of all Christian churches. The art of printing was invented in Catholic times, and its history goes hand in hand with the history of the Bible. Henry Stevens says (The Bibles in the Caxton Exhibition, p. 25): "The secular history of the Holy Scriptures is the sacred history of Printing. The Bible was the first book printed, and the Bible is the last book printed. Between 1450 and 1877, an interval of four centuries and a quarter, the Bible shows the progress and comparative development of the art of printing in a manner that no other single book can; and Biblical bibliography proves that during the first forty years, at least, the Bible exceeded in amount of printing all other books put together; nor were its quality, style, and variety a whit behind its quantity."
§ 63. A Critical Estimate of Luther’s Version.
Luther’s version of the Bible is a wonderful monument of genius, learning, and piety, and may be regarded in a secondary sense as inspired. It was, from beginning to end, a labor of love and enthusiasm. While publishers and printers made fortunes, Luther never received or asked a copper for this greatest work of his life.446
We must judge it from the times. A German translation from the original languages was a work of colossal magnitude if we consider the absence of good grammars, dictionaries, and concordances, the crude state of Greek and Hebrew scholarship, and of the German language, in the sixteenth century. Luther wrote to Amsdorf, Jan. 13, 1522, that he had undertaken a task beyond his power, that he now understood why no one had attempted it before in his own name, and that he would not venture on the Old Testament without the aid of his friends.447 He felt especially how difficult it was to make Job and the Hebrew prophets speak in barbarous German.448 He jocosely remarked that Job would have become more impatient at the blunders of his translators than at the long speeches of his "miserable comforters."
As regards the text, it was in an unsettled condition. The science of textual criticism was not yet born, and the materials for it were not yet collected from the manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic quotations. Luther had to use the first printed editions. He had no access to manuscripts, the most important of which were not even discovered or made available before the middle of the nineteenth century. Biblical geography and archaeology were in their infancy, and many names and phrases could not be understood at the time.
In view of these difficulties we need not be surprised at the large number of mistakes, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies in Luther’s version. They are most numerous in Job and the Prophets, who present, even to the advanced Hebrew scholars of our day, many unsolved problems of text and rendering. The English Version of 1611 had the great advantage of the labors of three generations of translators and revisers, and is therefore more accurate, and yet equally idiomatic.
The Original Text.
The basis for Luther’s version of the Old Testament was the Massoretic text as published by Gerson Ben Mosheh at Brescia in 1494.449 He used also the Septuagint, the Vulgate of Jerome450 (although he disliked him exceedingly on account of his monkery), the Latin translations of the Dominican Sanctes Pagnini of Lucca (1527), and of the Franciscan Sebastian Münster (1534), the "Glossa ordinaria" (a favorite exegetical vade-mecum of Walafried Strabo from the ninth century), and Nicolaus Lyra (d. 1340), the chief of mediaeval commentators, who, besides the Fathers, consulted also the Jewish rabbis.451
The basis for the New Testament was the second edition of Erasmus, published at Basel in Switzerland in 1519.452 His first edition of the Greek Testament had appeared in 1516, just one year before the Reformation. He derived the text from a few mediaeval MSS.453 The second edition, though much more correct than the first ("multo diligentius recognitum, emendatum," etc.), is disfigured by a large -number of typographical errors.454 He laid the foundation of the Textus Receptus, which was brought into its mature shape by R. Stephen, in his "royal edition" of 1550 (the basis of the English Textus Receptus), and by the Elzevirs in their editions of 1624 and 1633 (the basis of the Continental Textus Receptus), and which maintained the supremacy till Lachmann inaugurated the adoption of an older textual basis (1831).
Luther did not slavishly follow the Greek of Erasmus, and in many places conformed to the Latin Vulgate, which is based on an older text. He also omitted, even in his last edition, the famous interpolation of the heavenly witnesses in 1 John 5:7, which Erasmus inserted in his third edition (1522) against his better judgment.455
The German Rendering.
The German language was divided into as many dialects as tribes and states, and none served as a bond of literary union. Saxons and Bavarians, Hanoverians and Swabians, could scarcely understand each other. Each author wrote in the dialect of his district, Zwingli in his Schwyzerdütsch. "I have so far read no book or letter," says Luther in the preface to his version of the Pentateuch (1523), in which the German language is properly handled. Nobody seems to care sufficiently for it; and every preacher thinks he has a right to change it at pleasure, and to invent new terms." Scholars preferred to write in Latin, and when they attempted to use the mother tongue, as Reuchlin and Melanchthon did occasionally, they fell far below in ease and beauty of expression.
Luther brought harmony out of this confusion, and made the modern High German the common book language. He chose as the basis the Saxon dialect, which was used at the Saxon court and in diplomatic intercourse between the emperor and the estates, but was bureaucratic, stiff, heavy, involved, dragging, and unwieldy.456 He popularized and adapted it to theology and religion. He enriched it with the vocabulary of the German mystics, chroniclers, and poets. He gave it wings, and made it intelligible to the common people of all parts of Germany.
He adapted the words to the capacity of the Germans, often at the expense of accuracy. He cared more for the substance than the form. He turned the Hebrew shekel into a Silberling,457 the Greek drachma and Roman denarius into a German Groschen, the quadrans into a Heller, the Hebrew measures into Scheffel, Malter, Tonne, Centner, and the Roman centurion into a Hauptmann. He substituted even undeutsch (!) for barbarian in 1 Cor. 14:11. Still greater liberties he allowed himself in the Apocrypha, to make them more easy and pleasant reading.458 He used popular alliterative phrases as Geld und Gut, Land und Leute, Rath und That, Stecken und Stab, Dornen und Disteln, matt und müde, gäng und gäbe. He avoided foreign terms which rushed in like a flood with the revival of learning, especially in proper names (as Melanchthon for Schwarzerd, Aurifaber for Goldschmid, Oecolampadius for Hausschein, Camerarius for Kammermeister). He enriched the vocabulary with such beautiful words as holdselig, Gottseligkeit.
Erasmus Alber, a contemporary of Luther, called him the German Cicero, who not only reformed religion, but also the German language.
Luther’s version is an idiomatic reproduction of the Bible in the very spirit of the Bible. It brings out the whole wealth, force, and beauty of the German language. It is the first German classic, as King James’s version is the first English classic. It anticipated the golden age of German literature as represented by Klopstock, Lessing, Herder, Goethe, Schiller,—all of them Protestants, and more or less indebted to the Luther-Bible for their style. The best authority in Teutonic philology pronounces his language to be the foundation of the new High German dialect on account of its purity and influence, and the Protestant dialect on account of its freedom which conquered even Roman Catholic authors.459
The Protestant Spirit of Luther’s Version.
Dr. Emser, one of the most learned opponents of the Reformation, singled out in Luther’s New Testament several hundred linguistic blunders and heretical falsifications.460 Many of them were silently corrected in later editions. He published, by order of Duke George of Saxony, a new translation (1527) for the purpose of correcting the errors of "Luther and other heretics."461
The charge that Luther adapted the translation to his theological opinions has become traditional in the Roman Church, and is repeated again and again by her controversialists and historians.462
The same objection has been raised against the Authorized English Version.463
In both cases, the charge has some foundation, but no more than the counter-charge which may be brought against Roman Catholic Versions.
The most important example of dogmatic influence in Luther’s version is the famous interpolation of the word alone in Rom. 3:28 (allein durch den Glauben), by which he intended to emphasize his solifidian doctrine of justification, on the plea that the German idiom required the insertion for the sake of clearness.464 But he thereby brought Paul into direct verbal conflict with James, who says (James 2:24), "by works a man is justified, and not only by faith" ("nicht durch den Glauben allein"). It is well known that Luther deemed it impossible to harmonize the two apostles in this article, and characterized the Epistle of James as an "epistle of straw," because it had no evangelical character ("keine evangelische Art").
He therefore insisted on this insertion in spite of all outcry against it. His defense is very characteristic. "If your papist," he says,465 "makes much useless fuss about the word sola, allein, tell him at once: Doctor Martin Luther will have it so, and says: Papist and donkey are one thing; sic volo, sic jubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. For we do not want to be pupils and followers of the Papists, but their masters and judges." Then he goes on in the style of foolish boasting against the Papists, imitating the language of St. Paul in dealing with his Judaizing opponents (2 Cor. 11:22 sqq.): "Are they doctors? so am I. Are they learned? so am I. Are they preachers? so am I. Are they theologians? so am I. Are they disputators? so am I. Are they philosophers? so am I. Are they the writers of books? so am I. And I shall further boast: I can expound Psalms and Prophets; which they can not. I can translate; which they can not .... Therefore the word allein shall remain in my New Testament, and though all pope-donkeys (Papstesel) should get furious and foolish, they shall not turn it out."466
The Protestant and anti-Romish character of Luther’s New Testament is undeniable in his prefaces, his discrimination between chief books and less important books, his change of the traditional order, and his unfavorable judgments on James, Hebrews, and Revelation.467 It is still more apparent in his marginal notes, especially on the Pauline Epistles, where he emphasizes throughout the difference between the law and the gospel, and the doctrine of justification by faith alone; and on the Apocalypse, where he finds the papacy in the beast from the abyss (Rev. 13), and in the Babylonian harlot (Rev. 17).468 The anti-papal explanation of the Apocalypse became for a long time almost traditional in Protestant commentaries.
On the other hand, the Roman Catholic translators used the same liberty of marginal annotations and pictorial illustrations in favor of the doctrines and usages of their own church. Emser’s New Testament is full of anti-Lutheran glosses. In Rom. 3:28, he protests on the margin against Luther’s allein, and says, "Paul by the words ’without works of the law’ does not mean that man is saved by faith alone, without good works, but only without works of the law, that is, external circumcision and other Jewish ceremonies." He therefore confines the "law" here to the ritual law, and "works" to Jewish works; while, according to the best modern commentators, Paul means the whole law, moral as well as ceremonial, and all works commanded by the law. And yet even in the same chapter and throughout the whole Epistle to the Romans, Emser copies verbatim Luther’s version for whole verses and sections; and where he departs from his language, it is generally for the worse.
The same may be said of the other two German Catholic Bibles of the age of the Reformation. They follow Luther’s language very closely within the limits of the Vulgate, and yet abuse him in the notes. Dr. Dietenberger adds his comments in smaller type after the chapters, and agrees with Emser’s interpretation of Rom. 3:28.469 Dr. Eck’s German Bible has few notes, but a strongly anti-Protestant preface.470
To be just, we must recognize the sectarian imperfections of Bible versions, arising partly from defective knowledge, partly from ingrained prejudices. A translation is an interpretation. Absolute reproduction is impossible in any work.471 A Jew will give a version of the Old Testament differing from that of a Christian, because they look upon it in a different light,—the one with his face turned backward, the other with his face turned forward. A Jew cannot understand the Old Testament till he becomes a Christian, and sees in it a prophecy and type of Christianity. No synagogue would use a Christian version, nor any church a Jewish version. So also the New Testament is rendered differently by scholars of the Greek, Latin, and Protestant churches. And even where they agree in words, there is a difference in the pervading spirit. They move, as it were, in a different atmosphere. A Roman Catholic version must be closely conformed to the Latin Vulgate, which the Council of Trent puts on an equal footing with the original text.472 A Protestant version is bound only by the original text, and breathes an air of freedom from traditional restraint. The Roman Church will never use Luther’s Version or King James’s Version, and could not do so without endangering her creed; nor will German Protestants use Emser’s and Eck’s Versions, or English Protestants the Douay Version. The Romanist must become evangelical before he can fully apprehend the free spirit of the gospel as revealed in the New Testament.
There is, however, a gradual progress in translation, which goes hand in hand with the progress of the understanding of the Bible. Jerome’s Vulgate is an advance upon the Itala, both in accuracy and Latinity; the Protestant Versions of the sixteenth century are an advance upon the Vulgate, in spirit and in idiomatic reproduction; the revisions of the nineteenth century are an advance upon the versions of the sixteenth, in philological and historical accuracy and consistency. A future generation will make a still nearer approach to the original text in its purity and integrity. If the Holy Spirit of God shall raise the Church to a higher plane of faith and love, and melt the antagonisms of human creeds into the one creed of Christ, then, and not before then, may we expect perfect versions of the oracles of God.
the official revision of the luther-bible, and the anglo-
american revision of the authorized english bible.
An official revision of Luther’s version was inaugurated, after long previous agitation and discussion, by the "Eisenach German Evangelical Church Conference," in 1863, and published under the title: Die Bibel oder die ganze Heilige Schrift des Alten und Neuen Testaments nach der deutschen Uebersetzung D. Martin Luthers. Halle (Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses), 1883. It is called the Probebibel. The revised New Testament had been published several years before, and is printed by Dr. O. von Gebhardt together with the Greek text, in his Novum Testamentum Graece et Germanice, Leipzig, 1881.
The revision was prepared with extraordinary care, but in an ultra-conservative spirit, by a number of distinguished biblical scholars appointed by the ecclesiastical authorities of the German governments, eleven for the New Testament (Nitzsch, Twesten, Beyschlag, Riehm, Ahlfeld, Brückner, Meyer, Niemann, Fronmüller, Schröder, Köstlin), and over twenty for the Old Testament, including some who had also served in the New Testament company (Tholuck, Schlottmann, Riehm, Dillmann, Kleinert, Delitzsch, Bertheau, Düsterdieck, Kamphausen, Baur of Leipzig, Ahlfeld, Thenius, Kübel, Kapff, Schröder, Diestel, Grimm, Kühn, Hoffmann, Clausen, Grill). Dorner, Mönckeberg, and Karl Frommann took a very active part as counsellors and promoters, the last (an eminent Germanist and Luther-scholar, but with strong archaic tastes) in the linguistic portion.
The work was very severely criticised by opposite schools for changing too much or too little, and was recommitted by the Eisenach Conference of 1886 for final action. The history of this revision is told in the preface and Introduction to the Probebibel, and in Grimm’s Geschichte der luth. Bibelübersetzung, Jena, 1884, pp. 48–76.
The Anglo-American revision of the Authorized English Version of 1611 was set in motion by the Convocation of Canterbury, and carried out in fifteen years, between 1870 and 1885, by two committees,—one in England and one in the United States (each divided into two companies, -one for the Old Testament, one for the New, and each consisting of scholars of various Protestant denominations). Dr. Dorner, on his visit to America in 1873, desired to bring about a regular co-operation of the two revision movements, but it was found impracticable, and confined to private correspondence.
The two revisions are similar in spirit and aim; and as far as they run parallel, they agree in most of the improvements. Both aim to replace the old version in public and private use; but both depend for ultimate success on the verdict of the churches for which they were prepared. They passed through the same purgatory of hostile criticism both from conservative and progressive quarters. They mark a great progress of biblical scholarship, and the immense labor bestowed upon them can never be lost. The difference of the two arises from the difference of the two originals on which they are based, and its relation to the community.
The authorized German and English versions are equally idiomatic, classical, and popular; but the German is personal, and inseparable from the overawing influence of Luther, which forbids radical changes. The English is impersonal, and embodies the labors of three generations of biblical scholars from Tyndale to the forty-seven revisers of King James,—a circumstance which is favorable to new improvements in the same line. In Germany, where theology is cultivated as a science for a class, the interest in revision is confined to scholars; and German scholars, however independent and bold in theory, are very conservative and timid in practical questions. In England and America, where theology moves in close contact with the life of the churches, revision challenges the attention of the laity which claims the fruits of theological progress.
Hence the Anglo-American revision is much more thorough and complete. It embodies the results of the latest critical and exegetical learning. It involves a reconstruction of the original text, which the German Revision leaves almost untouched, as if all the pains-taking labors of critics since the days of Bengel and Griesbach down to Lachmann and Tischendorf (not to speak of the equally important labors of English scholars from Mill and Bentley to Westcott and Hort) had been in vain.
As to translation, the English Revision removes not only misleading errors, but corrects the far more numerous inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the minor details of grammar and vocabulary; while the German Revision is confined to the correction of acknowledged mistranslations. The German Revision of the New Testament numbers only about two hundred changes, the Anglo-American thirty-six thousand. The revised German New Testament is widely circulated; but of the provisional Probebibel, which embraces both Testaments, only five thousand copies were printed and sold by the Canstein Bibelanstalt at Halle (as I learned there from Dr. Kramer, July, 1886). Of the revised English New Testament, a million copies were ordered from the Oxford University Press before publication, and three million copies were sold in less than a year (1881). The text was telegraphed from New York to Chicago in advance of the arrival of the book. Over thirty reprints appeared in the United States. The Revised Old Testament excited less interest, but tens of thousands of copies were sold on the day of publication (1885), and several American editions were issued. The Bible, after all, is the most popular book In the world, and constantly increasing in power and influence, especially with the English-speaking race. (For particulars on the English Revision, see Schaff’s Companion to the Greek Testament and the English Version, New York, 3d ed., 1888, pp. 404 sqq., and the extensive Revision literature, pp. 371 sqq.)
§ 64. Melanchthon’s Theology.
See Literature in § 38, pp. 182 sq. The 21st vol. of the "Corpus Reformatorum" (1106 fol. pages) is devoted to the various editions of Melanchthon’s Loci Theologici, and gives bibliographical lists (fol. 59 sqq.; 561 sqq.), and also an earlier outline from an unpublished MS. Comp. Carl Schmidt, Phil. Mel., pp. 64–75; and on Melanchthon’s doctrinal changes, Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, vol. 1. 261 sqq.
While Luther translated the New Testament on the Wartburg, Melanchthon prepared the first system of Protestant theology at Wittenberg. Both drew from the same fountain, and labored for the same end, but in different ways. Luther built up the Reformation among the people in the German tongue; Melanchthon gave it methodical shape for scholars by his Latin writings. The former worked in the quarries, and cut the rough blocks of granite; the latter constructed the blocks into a habitable building. Luther expressed a modest self-estimate, and a high estimate of his friend, when he said that his superiority was more "in the rhetorical way," while Melanchthon was "a better logician and reasoner."
Melanchthon finished his "Theological Common-Places or Ground-Thoughts (Loci Communes or Loci Theologici), in April, 1521, and sent the proof-sheets to Luther on the Wartburg. They appeared for the first time before the Close of that year.473
This book marks an epoch in the history of theology. It grew out of exegetical lectures on the Epistle to the Romans, the Magna Charta of the evangelical system. It is an exposition of the leading doctrines of sin and grace, repentance and salvation. It is clear, fresh, thoroughly biblical, and practical. Its main object is to show that man cannot be saved by works of the law or by his own merits, but only by the free grace of God in Christ as revealed in the gospel. It presents the living soul of divinity, in striking contrast to the dry bones of degenerate scholasticism with its endless theses, antitheses, definitions, divisions, and subdivisions.
The first edition was written in the interest of practical Christianity rather than scientific theology. It is meagre in the range of topics, and defective in execution. It is confined to anthropology and soteriology, and barely mentions the metaphysical doctrines of the Trinity and the incarnation, as transcendent mysteries to be adored rather than curiously discussed. It has a polemical hearing against the Romanists, in view of the recent condemnation of Luther by the Sorbonne. It also contains some crude and extreme opinions which the author afterwards abandoned. Altogether in its first shape it was an unripe production, though most remarkable if we consider the youth of the author, who was then only twenty-four years of age.
Melanchthon shared at first Luther’s antipathy to scholastic theology; but he learned to distinguish between pure and legitimate scholasticism and a barren formalism, as also between the Aristotelian philosophy itself and the skeleton of it which was worshiped as an idol in the universities at that time. He knew especially the value of Aristotle’s ethics, wrote a commentary on the same (1529), and made important original contributions to the science of Christian ethics in his Philosophiae Moralis Epitome (1535).474
Under his improving hand, the Loci assumed in subsequent editions the proportions of a full, mature, and well-proportioned system, stated in calm, clear, dignified language, freed from polemics against the Sorbonne and contemptuous flings at the schoolmen and Fathers. He embraced in twenty-four chapters all the usual topics from God and the creation to the resurrection of the body, with a concluding chapter on Christian liberty. He approached the scholastic method, and even ventured, in opposition to the Anti-Trinitarians, on a new speculative proof of the Holy Trinity from psychological analogies. He never forsakes the scriptural basis, but occasionally quotes also the Fathers to show their supposed or real agreement with evangelical doctrines.
Melanchthon’s theology, like that of Luther, grew from step to step in the heat of controversy. Calvin’s Institutes came finished from his brain, like Minerva out of the head of Jupiter.
The Loci prepared the way for the Augsburg Confession (1530), in which Melanchthon gave to the leading doctrines official shape and symbolical authority for the Lutheran Church. But he did not stop there, and passed through several changes, which we must anticipate in order to form a proper estimate of that work.
The editions of his theological manual are divided into three classes: 1, those from 1521 to 1535; 2, those from 1535 to 1544; 3, those from 1544 to 1559. The edition of 1535 (dedicated to King Henry VIII. of England, and translated into German by Justus Jonas) was a thorough revision. This and the editions which followed embody, besides additions in matter and improvements in style, important modifications of his views on predestination and free will, on the real presence, and on justification by faith. He gave up necessitarianism for synergism, the corporeal presence in the eucharist for a spiritual real presence, and solifidianism for the necessity of good works. In the first and third article he made an approach to the Roman-Catholic system, in the second to Calvinism.
The changes were the result of his continued study of the Bible and the Fathers, and his personal conferences with Roman and Reformed divines at Augsburg and in the colloquies of Frankfort, Hagenau, Worms, and Ratisbon. He calls them elucidations of obscurities, moderations of extreme views, and sober second thoughts.475
1. He denied at first, with Luther and Augustin, all freedom of the human will in spiritual things.476 He even held the Stoic doctrine of the necessary occurrence of all actions, bad as well as good, including the adultery of David and the treason of Judas as well as the conversion of Paul.477
But on closer examination, and partly under the influence of Erasmus, he abandoned this stoic fatalism as a dangerous error, inconsistent with Christianity and morality. He taught instead a co-operation of the divine and human will in the work of conversion; thus anticipating Arminianism, and approaching the older semi-Pelagianism, but giving the initiative to divine grace. "God," he said in 1535, "is not the cause of sin, and does not will sin; but the will of the Devil and the will of man are the causes of sin." Human nature is radically, but not absolutely and hopelessly, corrupt; it can not without the aid of the Holy Spirit produce spiritual affections such as the fear and love of God, and true obedience; but it can accept or reject divine grace. God precedes, calls, moves, supports us; but we must follow, and not resist. Three causes concur in the conversion,—the word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the will of man. Melanchthon quotes from the Greek Fathers who lay great stress on human freedom, and he accepts Chrysostom’s sentence: "God draws the willing."
He intimated this synergistic view in the eighteenth article of the altered Augsburg Confession, and in the German edition of the Apology of the Confession. But he continued to deny the meritoriousness of good works; and in the colloquy of Worms, 1557, he declined to condemn the doctrine of the slavery of the human will, because Luther had adhered to it to the end. He was willing to tolerate it as a theological opinion, although he himself had rejected it.
2. As to the Lord’s Supper, he first accepted Luther’s view under the impression that it was supported by the ancient Church. But in this he was shaken by Oecolampadius, who proved (1530) that the Fathers held different opinions, and that Augustin did not teach an oral manducation. After 1534 he virtually gave up for himself, though he would not condemn and exclude, the conception of a corporeal presence and oral manducation of the body and blood of Christ; and laid the main stress on the spiritual, yet real presence and communion with Christ.
He changed the tenth article of the Augsburg Confession in 1540, and made it acceptable to Reformed divines by omitting the anti-Zwinglian clause. But he never accepted the Zwinglian theory of a mere commemoration. His later eucharistic theory closely approached that of Calvin; while on the subject of predestination and free will he differed from him. Calvin, who had written a preface to the French translation of the Loci Theologici, expressed, in private letters, his surprise that so great a theologian could reject the Scripture doctrine of eternal predestination; yet they maintained an intimate friendship to the end, and proved that theological differences need not prevent religious harmony and fraternal fellowship.
3. Melanchthon never surrendered the doctrine of justification by faith; but he laid in his later years, in opposition to antinomian excesses, greater stress on the necessity of good works of faith, not indeed as a condition of salvation and in a sense of acquiring merit, but as an indispensable proof of the duty of obedience to the divine will.
These doctrinal changes gave rise to bitter controversies after Luther’s death, and were ultimately rejected in the Formula of Concord (1577), but revived again at a later period. Luther himself never adopted and never openly opposed them.
The Loci of Melanchthon met from the start with extraordinary favor. Edition after edition appeared in Wittenberg during the author’s lifetime, the last from his own hand in the year 1559, besides a number of contemporaneous reprints at Basel, Hagenau, Strassburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Halle, and many editions after his death.
Luther had an extravagant opinion of them, and even declared them worthy of a place in the Canon.478 He thought that his translation of the Bible, and Melanchthon’s Loci, were the best outfit of a theologian, and almost superseded all other books.479
The Loci became the text-book of Lutheran theology in the universities, and took the place of Peter Lombard’s Sentences. Strigel and Chemnitz wrote commentaries on them. Leonhard Hutter likewise followed them, till he published a more orthodox compend (1610) which threw them into the shade and even out of use during the seventeenth century.
The theological manual of Melanchthon proved a great help to the Reformation. The Romanists felt its power. Emser called it a new Koran and a pest. In opposition to them, he and Eck wrote Loci Catholici.480
Melanchthon’s Loci are the ablest theological work of the Lutheran Church in the sixteenth century. Calvin’s Institutes (1536) equal them in freshness and fervor, and surpass them in completeness, logical order, philosophical grasp, and classical finish.
It is remarkable that the first and greatest dogmatic systems of the Reformation proceeded from these two lay-theologians who were never ordained by human hands, but received the unction from on high.481 So the twelve apostles were not baptized by Christ with water, but with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
§ 65. Protestant Radicalism. Disturbances at Erfurt.
I. Letters of Luther from May, 1521, to March, 1522, to Melanchthon, Link, Lange, Spalatin, etc., in De Wette, vol. II.
II. F. W. Kampschulte: Die Universität Erfurt in ihrem Verh. zu dem Humanismus und der Reformation. Trier, 1858. Second part, chs. III. and IV. pp. 106 sqq.
III. Biographies of Andreas Bodenstein von Carlstadt, by Füsslin (1776), Jäger (Stuttgart, 1856), Erbkam (in Herzogii, VII. 523 sqq.).
IV. Gieseler, IV. 61–65 (Am. ed.). Marheineke, chs. X. and XI. (I. 303 sqq.). Merle D’AuB., bk. IX. chs. 6–8. Köstlin, bk. IV. chs. 3 and 4 (I. 494 sqq.). Ranke, II. 7–26. Janssen, II. 204–227.
While Luther and Melanchthon laid a solid foundation for an evangelical church and evangelical theology, their work was endangered by the destructive zeal of friends who turned the reformation into a revolution. The best thing may be undone by being overdone. Freedom is a two-edged sword, and liable to the worst abuse as well as to the best use. Tares will grow up in every wheat-field, and they sometimes choke the wheat. But the work of destruction was overruled for the consolidation of the Reformation. Old rotten buildings had to be broken down before a new one could be constructed.
The Reformation during its first five years was a battle of words, not of deeds. It scattered the seeds of new institutions all over Germany, but the old forms and usages still remained. The new wine had not yet burst the old skin bottles. The Protestant soul dwelt in the Catholic body. The apostles after the day of Pentecost continued to visit the temple and the synagogue, and to observe circumcision, the sabbath, and other customs of the fathers, hoping for the conversion of all Israel, until they were cast out by the Jewish hierarchy. So the Protestants remained in external communion with the mother Church, attending Latin mass, bowing before the transubstantiated elements on the altar, praying the Ave Maria, worshiping saints, pictures, and crucifixes, making pilgrimages to holy shrines, observing the festivals of the Roman calendar, and conforming to the seven sacraments which accompanied them at every step of life from the cradle to the grave. The bishops were still in charge of their dioceses, and unmarried priests and deacons performed all the ecclesiastical functions. The convents were still occupied by monks and nuns, who went through their daily devotions and ascetic exercises. The outside looked just as before, while the inside had undergone a radical change.
This was the case even in Saxony and at Wittenberg, the nursery of the new state of things. Luther himself did not at first contemplate any outward change. He labored and hoped for a reformation of faith and doctrine within the Catholic Church, under the lead of the bishops, without a division, but he was now cast out by the highest authorities, and came gradually to see that he must build a new structure on the new foundation which he h ad laid by his writings and by the translation of the New Testament.
The negative part of these changes, especially the abolition of the mass and of monasticism, was made by advanced radicals among his disciples, who had more zeal than discretion, and mistook liberty for license.
While Luther was confined on the Wartburg, his followers were like children out of school, like soldiers without a captain. Some of them thought that he had stopped half way, and that they must complete what he had begun. They took the work of destruction and reconstruction into their own inexperienced and unskillful hands. Order gave way to confusion, and the Reformation was threatened with disastrous failure.
The first disturbances broke out at Erfurt in June, 1521, shortly after Luther’s triumphant passage through the town on his way to Worms. Two young priests were excommunicated for taking part in the enthusiastic demonstrations. This created the greatest indignation. Twelve hundred students, workmen, and ruffians attacked and demolished in a few days sixty houses of the priests, who escaped violence only by flight.482
The magistrate looked quietly on, as if in league with the insurrection. Similar scenes of violence were repeated during the summer. The monks under the lead of the Augustinians, forgetting their vows, left the convents, laid aside the monastic dress, and took up their abode among the people to work for a living, or to become a burden to others, or to preach the new faith.
Luther saw in these proceedings the work of Satan, who was bringing shame and reproach on the gospel.483 He feared that many left the cloister for the same reason for which they had entered, namely, from love of the belly and carnal freedom.484
During these troubles Crotus, the enthusiastic admirer of Luther, resigned the rectorship of the university, left Erfurt, and afterwards returned to the mother Church. The Peasants’ War of 1525 was another blow. Eobanus, the Latin poet who had greeted Luther on his entry, accepted a call to Nürnberg. The greatest celebrities left the city, or were disheartened, and died in poverty.
From this time dates the decay of the university, once the flourishing seat of humanism and patriotic aspirations. It never recovered its former prosperity.
§ 66. The Revolution at Wittenberg. Carlstadt and the New Prophets.
See Lit. in § 65.
In Wittenberg the same spirit of violence broke out under the lead of Luther’s older colleague, Andreas Carlstadt, known to us from his ill success at the Leipzig disputation. He was a man of considerable originality, learning, eloquence, zeal, and courage, but eccentric, radical, injudicious, ill-balanced, restless, and ambitious for leadership.
He taught at first the theology of mediaeval scholasticism, but became under Luther’s influence a strict Augustinian, and utterly denied the liberty of the human will.
He wrote the first critical work on the Canon of the Scriptures, and anticipated the biblical criticism of modern times. He weighed the historic evidence, discriminated between three orders of books as of first, second, and third dignity, putting the Hagiographa of the Old Testament and the seven Antilegomena of the New in the third order, and expressed doubts on the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. He based his objections to the Antilegomena, not on dogmatic grounds, as Luther, but on the want of historical testimony; his opposition to the traditional Canon was itself traditional; he put ante-Nicene against post-Nicene tradition. This book on the Canon, however, was crude and premature, and passed out of sight.485
He invented some curious and untenable interpretations of Scripture, e.g., of the words of institution of the Lord’s Supper. He referred the word "this," not to the bread, but to the body of Christ, so as to mean: "I am now ready to offer this (body) as a sacrifice in death." He did not, however, publish this view till 1524, and afterwards made common cause with Zwingli.
Carlstadt preached and wrote, during Luther’s absence, against celibacy, monastic vows, and the mass. At Christmas, 1521, he omitted in the service the most objectionable parts of the Canon of the mass, and the elevation of the host, and distributed both wine and bread to a large congregation. He announced at the same time that he would lay aside the priestly dress and other ceremonies. Two days afterwards he was engaged to the daughter of a poor nobleman in the presence of distinguished professors of the university, and on Jan. 20, 1522, he was married. He gave improper notoriety to this act by inviting the whole university and the magistrate, and by publishing a book in justification of it.
He was not, however, the first priest who openly burst the chains of celibacy. Bartholomäus Bernhardi of Feldkirchen, a Wittenberg licentiate and newly elected Probst at Kemberg, and two other priests of less reputable character, had preceded him in 1521. Justus Jonas followed the example, and took a wife Feb. 10, 1522, to get rid of temptations to impurity (1 Cor. 7:12). Luther approved of these marriages, but did not intend at that time to follow the example.
Carlstadt went further, and maintained that no priest without wife and children should receive an appointment (so he explained "must" in 1 Tim. 3:2); that it was sin to commune without the cup; and that the monastic vow of celibacy was not binding, at least not before the sixtieth year of age, chastity being a free gift of God, and not at man’s disposal. He introduced a new legalism instead of the old, in violation of the principle of evangelical liberty and charity.
He also denounced pictures and images as dumb idols, which were plainly forbidden in the second commandment, and should be burnt rather than tolerated in the house of God. He induced the town council to remove them from the parish church; but the populace anticipated the orderly removal, tore them down, hewed them to pieces, and burnt them. He assailed the fasts, and enjoined the people to eat meat and eggs on fast-days. He repudiated all titles and dignities, since Christ alone was our Master (Matt. 23:8). He expressed contempt for theology and all human learning, because God had revealed the truth unto babes (Matt. 11:25), and advised the students to take to agriculture, and earn their bread in the sweat of their face (Gen. 3:19). He cast away his priestly and academic robes, put on a plain citizen’s dress, afterwards a peasant’s coat, and had himself called brother Andrew. He ran close to the border of communism. He also opposed the baptism of infants. He lost himself in the clouds of a confused mysticism and spiritualism, and appealed, like the Zwickau Prophets, to immediate inspirations.
In the beginning of November, 1521, thirty of the forty monks left the Augustinian convent of Wittenberg in a rather disorderly manner. One wished to engage in cabinet making, and to marry. The Augustinian monks held a congress at Wittenberg in January, 1522, and unanimously resolved, in accordance with Luther’s advice, to give liberty of leaving or remaining in the convent, but required in either case a life of active usefulness by mental or physical labor.
The most noted of these ex-monks was Gabriel Zwilling or Didymus, who preached in the parish church during Luther’s absence, and was esteemed by some as a second Luther. He fiercely attacked the mass, the adoration of the sacrament, and the whole system of monasticism as dangerous to salvation.
About Christmas, 1521, the revolutionary movement was reinforced by two fanatics from Zwickau, Nicolaus Storch, a weaver, and Marcus Thomä Stübner.486 The latter had previously studied with Melanchthon, and was hospitably entertained by him. A few weeks afterwards Thomas Münzer, a millennarian enthusiast and eloquent demagogue, who figures prominently in the Peasants’ War, appeared in Wittenberg for a short time. He had stirred up a religious excitement among the weavers of Zwickau in Saxony on the Bohemian frontier, perhaps in some connection with the Hussites or Bohemian Brethren, and organized the forces of a new dispensation by electing twelve apostles and seventy-two disciples. But the magistrate interfered, and the leaders had to leave.
These Zwickau Prophets, as they were called, agreed with Carlstadt in combining an inward mysticism with practical radicalism. They boasted of visions, dreams, and direct communications with God and the Angel Gabriel, disparaged the written word and regular ministry, rejected infant baptism, and predicted the overthrow of the existing order of things, and the near approach of a democratic millennium.
We may compare Carlstadt and the Zwickau Prophets with the Fifth Monarchy Men in the period of the English Commonwealth, who were likewise millennarian enthusiasts, and attempted, in opposition to Cromwell, to set up the "Kingdom of Jesus" or the fifth monarchy of Daniel.
Wittenberg was in a very critical condition. The magistrate was discordant and helpless. Amsdorf kept aloof. Melanchthon was embarrassed, and too modest and timid for leadership. He had no confidence in visions and dreams, but could not satisfactorily answer the objections to infant baptism, which the prophets declared useless because a foreign faith of parents or sponsors could not save the child. Luther got over this difficulty by assuming that the Holy Spirit wrought faith in the child.
The Elector was requested to interfere; but he dared not, as a layman, decide theological and ecclesiastical questions. He preferred to let things take their natural course, and trusted in the overruling providence of God. He believed in Gamaliel’s counsel, which is good enough in the preparatory and experimental stages of a new movement. His strength lay in a wise, cautious, peaceful diplomacy. But at this time valor was the better part of discretion.
The only man who could check the wild spirit of revolution, and save the ship of the Reformation, was Luther.
§ 67. Luther returns to Wittenberg.
Walch, XV. 2374–2403. De Wette, II. 137 sqq.
Luther was informed of all these disturbances. He saw the necessity of some changes, but regretted the violence with which they had been made before public opinion was prepared, and he feared a re-action which radicalism is always likely to produce. The Latin mass as a sacrifice, with the adoration of the host, the monastic institution, the worship of saints, images and relics, processions and pilgrimages, and a large number of superstitious ceremonies, were incompatible with Protestant doctrines. Worship had sooner or later to be conducted in the vernacular tongue; the sacrifice of the mass must give way to a commemorative communion; the cup must be restored to the laity, and the right of marriage to the clergy. He acquiesced in these changes. But about clerical vestments, crucifixes, and external ceremonies, he was indifferent; nor did he object to the use of pictures, provided they were not made objects of worship. In such matters he asserted the right of Christian freedom, against coercion for or against them. As to the pretended revelations of the new prophets, he despised them, and maintained that an inspired prophet must either be ordinarily called by church authority, or prove his divine commission by miracles.
He first went to Wittenberg in disguise, and spent three days there in December, 1621. He stayed under the roof of Amsdorf, and dared not show himself in the convent or on the street.
When the disturbances increased, he felt it his duty to reappear openly on the arena of conflict. He saw from the Wartburg his own house burning, and hastened to extinguish the flames. The Elector feared for his safety, as the Edict of Worms was still in force, and the Diet of Nürnberg was approaching. He ordered him to remain in his concealment. Luther was all his life an advocate of strict submission to the civil magistrates in their own proper sphere; but on this occasion be set aside the considerations of prudence, and obeyed the higher law of God and his conscience. His reply to the Elector (whom be never met personally) bears noble testimony to his sublime faith in God’s all-ruling providence. It is dated Ash Wednesday (March 5, 1522), from Borne, south of Leipzig. He wrote in substance as follows:487 —
"Grace and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, and my most humble service.
"Most illustrious, high-born Elector, most gracious Lord! I received the letter and warning of your Electoral Grace on Friday evening [Feb. 26], before my departure [March 1]. That your Electoral Grace is moved by the best intention, needs no assurance from me. I also mean well, but this is of no account .... If I were not certain that we have the pure gospel on our side, I would despair .... Your Grace knows, if not, I make known to you, that I have the gospel, not from men, but from heaven through our Lord Jesus Christ .... I write this to apprise you that I am on my way to Wittenberg under a far higher protection than that of the Elector; and I have no intention of asking your Grace’s support. Nay, I believe that I can offer your Highness better protection than your Highness can offer me. Did I think that I had to trust in the Elector, I should not come at all. The sword is powerless here. God alone must act without man’s interference. He who has most faith will be the most powerful protector. As I feel your Grace’s faith to be still weak, I can by no means recognize in you the man who is to protect and save me. Your Electoral Grace asks me, what you are to do under these circumstances? I answer, with all submission, Do nothing at all, but trust in God alone .... If your Grace had faith, you would behold the glory of God; but as you do not yet believe, you have not seen it. Let us love and glorify God forever. Amen."
Being asked by the Elector to give his reasons for a return, he assigned, in a letter of March 7, from Wittenberg,488 three reasons: the urgent written request of the church at Wittenberg; the confusion in his flock; and his desire to prevent an imminent outbreak. "My second reason," he wrote, "is that during my absence Satan has entered my sheepfold, and committed ravages which I can not repair by writing, but only by my personal presence and living word. My conscience would not allow me to delay longer; I was bound to disregard, not only your Highness’s disfavor, but the whole world’s wrath. It is my flock, the flock intrusted to me by God; they are my children in Christ. I could not hesitate a moment. I am bound to suffer death for them, and will cheerfully with God’s grace lay down my life for them, as Christ commands (John 10:12)."
Luther rode without fear through the territory of his violent enemy, Duke George of Saxony, who was then urging the Elector to severe measures against him and the Wittenbergers. He informed the Elector that he would pass through Leipzig, as he once went to Worms, though it should rain Duke Georges for nine days in succession, each fiercer than the original in Dresden.
He safely arrived in Wittenberg on Thursday evening, the 6th of March, full of faith and hope, and ready for a fight against his false friends.
On this journey he had on the 3d or 4th of March an interesting interview with two Swiss students, Kessler and Spengler, in the tavern of the Black Bear at Jena. We have an account of it from one of them, John Kessler of St. Gallen, who afterwards became a reformer of that city.489 It contrasts very favorably with his subsequent dealings with the Swiss, especially with Zwingli, which were clouded by prejudice, and embittered by intolerance. The episode was purely private, and had no influence upon the course of events; but it reveals a characteristic trait in this mighty man, who even in critical moments of intense earnestness did not lose his playful humor. We find the same combination of apparently opposite qualities when at Coburg he was watching the affairs of the Diet at Augsburg, and wrote a childlike letter to his little Hans. Such harmless humor is like the light of the sun breaking through dark clouds.
The two Swiss, who had studied at Basel, were attracted by the fame of Luther and Melanchthon, and traveled on foot to Wittenberg to hear them. They arrived at Jena after a terrible thunderstorm, fatigued and soaked through, and humbly sat down on a bench near the door of the guest-chamber, when they saw a Knight seated at a table, sword in hand, and the Hebrew Psalter before him. Luther recognized the Swiss by their dialect, kindly invited them to sit down at his side, and offered them a drink. He inquired whether Erasmus was still living in Basel, what he was doing, and what the people in Switzerland thought of Martin Luther. The students replied that some lauded him to the skies as a great reformer; others, especially the priests, denounced him as an intolerable heretic. During the conversation two traders came in; one took from his pocket Luther’s sermons on the Gospels and Epistles, and remarked that the writer must be either an angel from heaven or a devil from hell. At dinner Luther gave them a rare feast of reason and flow of soul. The astonished students suspected that the mysterious Knight was Ulrich von Hutten, when Luther, turning to the host, smilingly remarked, "Behold, I have become a nobleman over the night: these Swiss think that I am Hutten; you take me for Luther. The next thing will be that I am Marcolfus." He gave his young friends good advice to study the biblical languages with Melanchthon, paid their bill, offered them first a glass of beer, but substituted for it a glass of wine, since the Swiss were not used to beer, and with a shake of the hand he begged them to remember him to Doctor Jerome Schurf, their countryman, at Wittenberg. When they wished to know the name of the sender of the salutation, he replied, "Simply tell him that he who is coming sends greeting, and he will understand it."
When the students a few days afterwards arrived at Wittenberg, and called on Dr. Schurf to deliver the message from "him who is coming," they were agreeably surprised to find Luther there with Melanchthon, Jonas, and Amsdorf. Luther greeted them heartily, and introduced them to Melanchthon, of whom he had spoken at Jena.
The same student has left us a description of Luther’s appearance at that time. He was no more the meager, emaciated monk as at the Leipzig disputation three years previously,490 but, as Kessler says, "somewhat stout, yet upright, bending backwards rather than stooping, with a face upturned to heaven, with deep dark eyes and eyebrows, twinkling and sparkling like stars, so that one could hardly look steadily at them."491 These deep, dark eyes, full of strange fire, had struck Cardinal Cajetan at Augsburg, and Cardinal Aleander at Worms, as the eyes of a demon. They made the same impression on John Dantiscus, afterwards bishop of Culm and Ermeland, who on his return from Spain to Poland in 1523 saw Luther in Wittenberg; he reported that his "eyes were sharp, and had a certain terrible coruscation of lightning such as was seen now and then in demoniacs," and adds that, "his features were like his books," and "his speech violent and full of scorn." But friends judged differently. Another student, Albert Burrer, who saw him after his return from the Wartburg, praises his mild, kindly countenance, his pleasant sonorous voice, his charming address, the piety of his words and acts, the power of his eloquence which moved every hearer not made of stone, and created a desire to hear him again and again.492
§ 68. Luther restores Order in Wittenberg.—The End of Carlstadt.
I. Eight Sermons of Luther preached from Sunday, March 7 (Invocavit) to the next Sunday (Reminiscere), after his return to Wittenberg. The oldest editions, slightly varying in length, appeared 1523. Altenb. ed., II. 99 sqq.; Walch, XV. 2423 sqq.: XX. 1–101; Erl. ed., XXVIII. 202–285 (both recensions). Luther’s Letters to Spalatin, the Elector, and others from March, 1522, in De Wette, II. 144 sqq.
II. Of modern historians, Marheineke, Merle D’Aubigné, Ranke, Hagenbach, and Köstlin (I. 537–549) may be compared.
On the Sunday after his arrival, Luther ascended his old pulpit, and re-appeared before his congregation of citizens and students. Wittenberg was a small place; but what he said and did there, and what Calvin did afterwards in Geneva, had the significance of a world-historical fact, more influential at that time than an encyclical from Rome.
Protestantism had reached a very critical juncture. Luther or Carlstadt, reformation or revolution, the written Word or illusive inspirations, order or confusion: that was the question. Luther was in the highest and best mood, full of faith in his cause, and also full of charity for his opponents, strong in matter, sweet in manner, and completely successful. He never showed such moderation and forbearance before or after.
He preached eight sermons for eight days in succession, and carried the audience with him. They are models of effective popular eloquence, and among the best he ever preached. He handled the subject from the stand-point of a pastor, with fine tact and practical wisdom. He kept aloof from coarse personalities which disfigure so many of his polemical writings. Not one unkind word, not one unpleasant allusion, escaped his lips. In plain, clear, strong, scriptural language, he refuted the errors without naming the errorists. The positive statement of the truth in love is the best refutation of error.493
The ruling ideas of these eight discourses are: Christian freedom and Christian charity; freedom from the tyranny of radicalism which would force the conscience against forms, as the tyranny of popery forces the conscience in the opposite direction; charity towards the weak, who must be trained like children, and tenderly dealt with, lest they stumble and fall. Faith is worthless without charity. No man has a right to compel his brother in matters that are left free; and among these are marriage, living in convents, private confession, fasting and eating, images in churches. Abuses which contradict the word of God, as private masses, should be abolished, but in an orderly manner and by proper authority. The Word of God and moral suasion must be allowed to do the work. Paul preached against the idols in Athens, without touching one of them; and yet they fell in consequence of his preaching.
"Summa summarum," said Luther, "I will preach, speak, write, but I will force no one; for faith must be voluntary. Take me as an example. I stood up against the Pope, indulgences, and all papists, but without violence or uproar. I only urged, preached, and declared God’s Word, nothing else. And yet while I was asleep, or drinking Wittenberg beer with my Philip Melanchthon and Amsdorf, the Word inflicted greater injury on popery than prince or emperor ever did. I did nothing, the Word did every thing. Had I appealed to force, all Germany might have been deluged with blood; yea, I might have kindled a conflict at Worms, so that the Emperor would not have been safe. But what would have been the result? Ruin and desolation of body and soul. I therefore kept quiet, and gave the Word free course through the world. Do you know what the Devil thinks when he sees men use violence to propagate the gospel? He sits with folded arms behind the fire of hell, and says with malignant looks and frightful grin: ’Ah, how wise these madmen are to play my game! Let them go on; I shall reap the benefit. I delight in it.’ But when he sees the Word running and contending alone on the battle-field, then he shudders and shakes for fear. The Word is almighty, and takes captive the hearts."494
Eloquence rarely achieved a more complete and honorable triumph. It was not the eloquence of passion and violence, but the eloquence of wisdom and love. It is easier to rouse the wild beast in man, than to tame it into submission. Melanchthon and the professors, the magistrate and peaceful citizens, were delighted. Dr. Schurf wrote to the Elector, after the sixth discourse: "Oh, what joy has Dr. Martin’s return spread among us! His words, through divine mercy, are bringing back every day misguided people into the way of the truth. It is as clear as the sun, that the Spirit of God is in him, and that he returned to Wittenberg by His special providence."
Most of the old forms were restored again, at least for a season, till the people were ripe for the changes. Luther himself returned to the convent, observed the fasts, and resumed the cowl, but laid it aside two years afterwards when the Elector sent him a new suit. The passage in the mass, however, which referred to the unbloody repetition of the sacrifice and the miraculous transformation of the elements, was not restored, and the communion in both kinds prevailed, and soon became the universal custom. The Elector himself, shortly before his death (May 5, 1525), communed with the cup.
Didymus openly acknowledged his error, and declared that Luther preached like an angel.495 But the Zwickau Prophets left Wittenberg for ever, and abused the Reformer as a new pope and enemy of spiritual religion. Münzer stirred up the Peasants’ War, and met a tragic fate.496
Carlstadt submitted silently, but sullenly. He was a disappointed and unhappy man, and harbored feelings of revenge against Luther. Ranke characterizes him as "one of those men, not rare among Germans, who with an inborn tendency to profundity unite the courage of rejecting all that is established, and defending all that others reject, without ever rising to a clear view and solid conviction." He resumed his lectures in the university for a time; but in 1523 he retired to a farm in the neighborhood, to live as "neighbor Andrew" with lowly peasants, without, however, resigning the emoluments of his professorship. He devoted himself more fully than ever to his mystical speculations and imaginary inspirations. He entered into secret correspondence with Münzer, though he never fully approved his political movements. He published at Jena, where he established a printing-press, a number of devotional books under the name of "a new layman," instead of Doctor of Theology. He induced the congregation of Orlamünde to elect him their pastor without authority from the academic Senate of Wittenberg which had the right of appointment, and introduced there his innovations in worship, storming the altars and images. In 1524 be openly came out with his novel theory of the Lord’s Supper in opposition to Luther, and thus kindled the unfortunate eucharistic controversy which so seriously interfered with the peace and harmony of the Reformers. He also sympathized with the Anabaptists.497 Luther after long forbearance gave him up as incorrigible.498 With his consent, Carlstadt was exiled from Saxony (1524), but allowed to return on a sort of revocation, and on condition of keeping silence (1525). He evaded another expulsion by flight (1528). He wandered about in Germany in great poverty, made common cause with the Zwinglians, gave up some of his extravagant notions, sobered down, and found a resting-place first as pastor in Zürich, and then as professor of theology in Basel (1534–1541), where during the raging of a pestilence he finished his erratic career.
§ 69. The Diets of Nürnberg, a.d. 1522–1524. Adrian VI.
I. Walch, XV. 2504 sqq. Ranke, vol. II. pp. 27–46, 70–100, 244–262. J. Janssen, Vol. II. 256 sqq., 315 sqq. Köstlin, I. 622 sqq.
II. On Adrian VI. Gachard: Correspondance de Charles Quint et d’Adrian VI. Brux., 1859. Moring: Vita Adriani VI., 1536. Burmann: Hadrianus VI., sive Analecta Historica de Hadr. VI. Trajecti 1727 (includes Moring). Ranke: Die röm. Päpste in den letzten vier Jarhh., I., 59–64 (8th ed. 1885). C. Höfler (Rom. Cath.): Wahl und Thronbesteigung des letzten deutschen Papstes, Adrian VI. Wien, 1872; and Der deutsche Kaiser und der letzte deutsche Papst, Carl V. und Adrian VI. Wien, 1876. Fr. Nippold: Die Reformbestrebungen Papst Hadrian VI., und die Ursachen ihres Scheiterns. Leipzig, 1875. H. Bauer: Hadrian VI. Heidelb., 1876. Maurenbrecher: Gesch. der kathol. Reformation, I. 202–225. Nördlingen, 1880. See also the Lit. on Charles V., § 50 (p. 262 sqq.).
We must now turn our attention to the political situation, and the attitude of the German Diet to the church question.
The growing sympathies of the German nation with the Reformation and the political troubles made the execution of the papal bull and the Edict of Worms against Luther more and more impossible. The Emperor was absent in Spain, and fully occupied with the suppression of an insurrection, the conquest of Mexico by Cortez, and the war with France. Germany was threatened by the approach of the Turks, who had conquered Belgrad and the greater part of Hungary. The dangers of the nation were overruled for the progress of Protestantism.
An important change took place in the papacy. Leo X. died Dec. 1, 1521; and Adrian VI. (1459–1523) was unexpectedly elected in his absence, perhaps by the indirect influence of the Emperor, his former pupil. The cardinals hardly knew what they did, and hoped he might decline.
Adrian formed, by his moral earnestness and monastic piety, a striking contrast to the frivolity and worldliness of his predecessors. He was a Dutchman, born at Utrecht, a learned professor of theology in Louvain, then administrator and inquisitor of Spain, and a man of unblemished character.499 He had openly denied the papal infallibility; but otherwise he was an orthodox Dominican, and opposed to a doctrinal reformation. He had combined with the Louvain professors in the condemnation of Luther, and advised Charles to take rigorous measures against him at Worms. Barefooted and without any ostentation, he entered Rome. He read daily mass at early dawn, took a simple meal, slept on a couch, and lived like a monk. He introduced strict economy in the papal household, and vigorously attacked the grossest abuses. He tried to gain the influence of Erasmus and Zwingli. . But he encountered opposition everywhere.
Under these circumstances the Diet met at Nürnberg, March 23, 1522, and again Nov. 17, under the presidency of Ferdinand, the brother of the Emperor. To avert the danger of the Turks, processions and public prayers were ordered, and a tax imposed; but no army was raised.
Adrian demanded the execution of the Edict of Worms, and compared Luther to Mohammed; but he broke the force of his request by confessing with surprising frankness the corruptions of the Roman court, which loudly called for a radical moral reform of the head and members. Never before had the Curia made such a confession.
"We know," wrote the Pope in the instruction to his legate, Francesco Chieregati, "that for some time many abominations, abuses in ecclesiastical affairs, and violations of rights have taken place in the holy see; and that all things have been perverted into bad. From the head the corruption has passed to the limbs, from the Pope to the prelates: we have all departed; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." He regarded Protestantism as a just punishment for the sins of the prelates. He promised to do all in his power to remedy the evil, and to begin with the Curia whence it arose.500
The Emperor was likewise in favor of a reform of discipline, though displeased with Adrian for not supporting him in his war with France and his church-spoliation schemes.
The attempt to reform the church morally without touching the dogma had been made by the great Councils of the fifteenth century, and failed. Adrian found no sympathy in Rome, and reigned too short a time (Jan. 9, 1522 to Sept. 14, 1523) to accomplish his desire. It was rumored that he died of poison; but the proof is wanting. Rome rejoiced. His successor, Clement VII. (1523–1534), adopted at once the policy of his cousin, Leo X.
Complaint was made in the Diet against the Elector Frederick, that he tolerated Luther at Wittenberg, and allowed the double communion, the marriage of priests, and the forsaking of convents, but his controlling influence prevented any unfavorable action. The report of the suppression of the radical movements in Wittenberg made a good impression. Lutheran books were freely printed and sold in Nürnberg. Osiander preached openly against the Roman Antichrist.
The Diet, in the answer to the Pope (framed Feb. 8 and published as an edict March 6, 1523), refused to execute the Edict of Worms, and demanded the calling of a free general council in Germany within a year. In the mean time, Luther should keep silence; and the preachers should content themselves with preaching the holy gospel according to the approved writings of the Christian church. At the same time the hundred gravamina of the German nation were repeated.
This edict was a compromise, and did not decide the church question; but it averted the immediate danger to the Reformation, and so far marks a favorable change, as compared with the Edict of Worms. It was the beginning of the political emancipation of Germany from the control of the papacy. Luther was rather pleased with it, except the prohibition of preaching and writing, which he did not obey.
The influence of the edict, however, was weakened by several events which occurred soon afterwards.
At a new Diet at Nürnberg in January, 1524, where the shrewd Pope Clement VII. was represented by Cardinal Campeggio, the resolution was passed to execute the Edict of Worms, though with the elastic clause, "as far as possible."
At the earnest solicitation of the papal nuncio, the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, and the Dukes William and Louis of Bavaria, together with twelve bishops of South Germany, concluded at Ratisbon, July 6, 1524, a league for the protection of the Roman faith against the Reformation, with the exception of the abolition of some glaring abuses which did not touch doctrines.501 The Emperor lent it his influence by issuing a stringent edict (July 27, 1524). This was an ominous event. The Romish league called forth a Protestant counter-league of Philip of Hesse and John of Saxony, at Torgau in June, 1526, although against the advice of the Wittenberg Reformers, who feared more evil than good from a union of politics with religion and trusted to the power of the Word of God without any carnal weapons.
Thus the German nation was divided into two hostile camps. From this unhappy division arose the political weakness of the empire, and the terrible calamities of the Smalkaldian and the Thirty Years’ Wars. In 1525 the Peasants’ War broke out, and gave new strength to the reaction, but only for a short time.
§ 70. Luther and Henry VIII
Henricus VIII.: Adsertio VII. Sacram. adv. Luth. Lond. 1521. A German translation by Frick, 1522, in Walch, XIX., 158 sqq. Lutherus: Contra Henricum Regem. 1522. Also freely reproduced in German by Luther. His letter to Henry, Sept. 1, 1525. Auf des Königs in England Lästerschrift M. Luther’s Antwort. 1527. Afterwards also in Latin. See the documents in Walch, XIX. 153–521; Erl. ed., XXVIII. 343 sqq.; XXX. 1–14. Comp. also Luther’s letters of Feb. 4 and March 11, 1527, in De Wette III. 161 and 163.
With all his opposition to Ultra-Protestantism in church and state, Luther did not mean to yield an inch to the Romanists. This appears from two very personal controversies which took place during these disturbances,—the one with Henry VIII. concerning the sacraments; the other with Erasmus about predestination and free-will. In both he forgot the admirable lessons of moderation which he had enjoined from the pulpit in Wittenberg. He used again the club of Hercules.
Henry VIII. of England urged Charles V. to exterminate the Lutheran heresy by force, and wrote in 1521 (probably with the assistance of his chaplain, Edward Lee), a scholastic defence of the seven sacraments, against Luther’s "Babylonish Captivity." He dedicated the book to Pope Leo X. He treated the Reformer with the utmost contempt, as a blasphemer and servant of Satan. He used the old weapons of church authority against freedom. He adhered to the dogma of transubstantiation, even after his breach with Rome. Pope Clement VII. judged that this book was written with the aid of the Holy Spirit, and promised indulgence to all who read it. At the same time he gratified the ambition of the vain king by confirming the title "Defender of the Faith," which Leo had already conferred upon him.502
The Protestant successors of Henry have retained the title to this day, though with a very different view of its meaning. The British sovereigns are defenders of the Episcopal Church in England, and of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, and in both characters enemies of the Church of Rome.
Luther read the King a lecture (in Latin and German) such as was rarely read to any crowned head. He called him "King Henry, of God’s disgrace (or wrath), King of England," and heaped upon him the most abusive epithets.503 He incidentally hit other princes, saying that "King Henry helps to prove the proverb that there are no greater fools than kings and princes." Such a style of polemics can not be justified by the coarseness of the age, or the nature of the provocation, and did more harm to Luther than to Henry. His best friends regretted it; yet long afterwards he even surpassed the violence, if possible, in his savage and scurrilous attack upon Duke Henry of Brunswick.504
When there was a prospect of gaining Henry VIII. for the cause of the Reformation, Luther made the matter worse by a strange inconsistency. In a most humble letter of Sept. 1, 1525, be retracted (not his doctrine, but) all the personal abuse, asked his pardon, and offered to honor his name publicly. Henry in his reply refused the offer with royal pride and scorn, and said that he now despised him as heartily for his cowardice as he had formerly hated him for his heresy. He also charged him with violating a nun consecrated to God, and leading other monks into a breach of their vows and into eternal perdition. Emser published a German translation of Luther’s letter and the King’s answer (which was transmitted through Duke George of Saxony), and accompanied it with new vituperations and slanders (1527). All the Romanists regarded this controversy, and the similar correspondence with Duke George, as a great blow to the Reformation.
Luther now resumed his former sarcastic tone; but it was a painful effort, and did not improve the case. He suspected that the answer was written by Erasmus, who had "more skill and sense in his finger than the King with all his wiseacres." He emphatically denied that he had offered to retract any of his doctrines. "I say, No, no, no, as long as I breathe, no matter how it offend king, emperor, prince, or devil .... In short, my doctrine is the main thing of which I boast, not only against princes and kings, but also against all devils. The other thing, my life and person, I know well enough to be sinful, and nothing to boast of; I am a poor sinner, and let all my enemies be saints or angels. I am both proud and humble as St. Paul (Phil. 2:3)."
In December of the same year in which he wrote his first book against King Henry, Luther began his important treatise "On the Secular Power, and how far obedience is due to it." He defends here the divine right and authority of the secular magistrate, and the duty of passive obedience, on the ground of Matt. 5:39 and Rom. 13:1, but only in temporal affairs. While he forbade the use of carnal force, he never shrank from telling even his own prince the truth in the plainest manner. He exercised the freedom of speech and of the press to the fullest extent, both in favor of the Reformation and against political revolution. The Reformation elevated the state at the expense of the freedom of the church; while Romanism lowered the dignity of the state to the position of an obedient servant of the hierarchy.
One wrong does not justify another. Yet those Roman-Catholic historians who make capital of this humiliating conduct of the Reformer, against his cause, should remember that Cardinal Pole, whom they magnify as one of the greatest and purest men of that age, in his book on the Unity of the Church, abused King Henry as violently and more keenly, although he was his king and benefactor, and had not given him any personal provocation; while Luther wrote in self-defense only, and was with all his passionate temper a man of kind and generous feelings.
Melanchthon regretted the fierce attack on King Henry; and when the king began to favor the Reformation, he dedicated to him the revised edition of his theological Loci (1535). He was twice called to England, but declined.505
§ 71. Erasmus.
I. Erasmus: Opera omnia, ed. by Beatus Rhenanus, Basil. 1540–41; 8 vols. fol.; best ed. by Clericus (Le Clerk), Lugd. Bat. 1703–06; 10 tom. in 11 vols. fol. There are several English translations of his Enchiridion, Encomium, Adagia, Colloquia, and smaller tracts. His most important theological works are his editions of the Greek Test. (1516, ’19,’ 22,’ 27, ’35, exclusive of more than thirty reprints), his Annotations and Paraphrases, his Enchiridion Militis Christiani, his editions of Laur. Valla, Jerome, Augustin, Ambrose, Origen, and other Fathers. His Moriae Encomium, or Panegyric of Folly (composed 1509), was often edited. His letters are very important for the literary history of his age. His most popular book is his Colloquies, which contain the wittiest exposures of the follies and abuses of monkery, fasting, pilgrimages, etc. English transl. by N. Bailey, Lond. 1724; new ed. with notes by Rev. E. Johnson, 1878, 2 vols. After 1514 all his works were published by his friend John Froben in Basel.
Comp. Adalb. Horawitz: Erasmus v. Rotterdam und Martinus Lipsius, Wien, 1882; Erasmiana, several numbers, Wien, 1882–85 (reprinted from the Sitzungsberichte of the Imperial Academy of Vienna; contains extracts from the correspondence of Er., discovered in a Codex at Louvain, and in the Codex Rehdigeranus, 254 of the city library at Breslau, founded by Rehdiger). Horawitz and Hartfelder: Briefwechsel des Beatus Rhenanus, Leipzig, 1886.
II. Biographies of Erasmus by himself and by Beatus Rhenanus, in vol. I. of the ed. of Clericus; by Pierre Bayle, in his "Dictionnaire" (1696); Knight, Cambr. 1726; Jortin, Lond. 1748, 2 vols.; 1808, 3 vols. (chiefly a summary of the letters of Erasmus with critical comments); Burigny, Paris, 1757, 2 vols.; Henke, Halle, 1782, 2 vols.; Hess, Zürich, 1789, 2 vols.; Butler, London, 1825; Ad. Müller, Hamburg, 1828 (Leben des E. v. Rotterdam ... Eine gekrönte Preisschrift; comp. the excellent review of Ullmann in the "Studien und Kritiken," 1829, No. I.); Glasius (prize essay in Dutch), The Hague, 1850; Stichart (Er. v. Rotterd., seine Stellung zur Kirche und zu den Kirchl. Bewegungen seiner Zeit), Leipz. 1870; Durand de Laur (Erasme, précurseur et initiateur de l’esprit moderne), Par. 1873, 2 vols.; R. B. Drummond (Erasmus, his Life and Character), Lond. 1873, 2 vols.; G. Feugère (Er., étude sur sa vie et ses ouvrages), Par. 1874; Pennington, Lond. 1875; Milman (in Savonarola, Erasmus, and other Essays), Lond. 1870; Nisard, Rénaissance et réforme, Paris, 1877.—Also Woker: De Erasmi Rotterodami studiis irenicis. Paderborn, 1872. W. Vischer: Erasmiana. Programm zur Rectoratsfeier der Univers. Basel. Basel, 1876. "Erasmus" in Ersch and Gruber, vol. XXXVI. (by Erhard); in the "Allg. Deutsche Biogr." VI. 160–180 (by Kämmel); in Herzog,1 IV. 114–121 (by Hagenbach), and in Herzog,2 IV. 278–290 (by R. Stähelin); in the "Encycl. Brit.," 9th ed., VIII. 512–518. Schlottmann: Erasmus redivivus, Hal. 1883. Comp. Lit. in § 72.
The quarrel between King Henry and Luther was the occasion of a far more serious controversy and open breach between Erasmus and the Reformation. This involved a separation of humanism from Protestantism.
The Position of Erasmus.
Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam506 (1466–1536) was the king among scholars in the early part of the sixteenth century. He combined native genius, classical and biblical learning, lively imagination, keen wit, and refined taste. He was the most cultivated man of his age, and the admired leader of scholastic Europe from Germany to Italy and Spain, from England to Hungary. The visible unity of the Catholic Church, and the easy interchange of ideas through the medium of one learned language, explain in part his unique position. No man before or since acquired such undisputed sovereignty in the republic of letters. No such sovereignty is possible nowadays when distinguished scholars are far more numerous, and when the Church is divided into hostile camps.507
Erasmus shines in the front rank of the humanists and forerunners of the Reformation, on the dividing line between the middle ages and modern times. His great mission was to revive the spirit of classical and Christian antiquity, and to make it a reforming power within the church. He cleared the way for a work of construction which required stronger hands than his. He had no creative and no organizing power. The first period of his life till 1524 was progressive and reformatory; the second, till his death, 1536, was conservative and reactionary.
He did more than any of his contemporaries to prepare the church for the Reformation by the impulse he gave to classical, biblical, and patristic studies, and by his satirical exposures of ecclesiastical abuses and monastic ignorance and bigotry. But he stopped half way, and after a period of, hesitation he openly declared war against Luther, thereby injuring both his own reputation and the progress of the movement among scholars. He was a reformer against reform, and in league with Rome. Thus he lost the respect and confidence of both parties. It would have been better for his fame if he had died in 1516, just after issuing the Greek Testament, a year before the Reformation. To do justice to him, we must look backward. Men of transition, like Staupitz, Reuchlin, and Erasmus, are no less necessary than bold leaders of a new departure. They belong to the class of which John the Baptist is the highest type. Protestants should never forget the immense debt of gratitude which they owe to the first editor of the Greek Testament who enabled Luther and Tyndale to make their translations of the word of life from the original, and to lead men to the very fountain of all that is most valuable and permanent in the Reformation. His edition was hastily prepared, before the art of textual criticism was born; but it anticipated the publication of the ponderous Complutensian Polyglot, and became the basis of the popularly received text. His exegetical opinions still receive and deserve the attention of commentators. To him we owe also the first scholarly editions of the Fathers, especially of Jerome, with whom he was most in sympathy. From these editions the Reformers drew their weapons of patristic controversy with the Romanists, who always appealed to the fathers of the Nicene age rather than to the grandfathers of the apostolic age.
Erasmus was allied to Reuchlin and Ulrich von Hutten, but greater and far more influential than both. All hated monasticism and obscurantism. Reuchlin revived Hebrew, Erasmus Greek learning, so necessary for the cultivation of biblical studies. Reuchlin gave his nephew Melanchthon to Wittenberg, but died a good Catholic. Hutten became a radical ultra-reformer, fell out with Erasmus, who disowned him when he was most in need of a friend, and perished in disgrace. Erasmus survived both, to protest against Protestantism.
And yet he cannot be charged with apostasy or even with inconsistency. He never was a Protestant, and never meant to be one. Division and separation did not enter into his program. From beginning to end he labored for a reformation within the church and within the papacy, not without it. But the new wine burst the old bottles. The reform which he set in motion went beyond him, and left him behind. In some of his opinions, however, he was ahead of his age, and anticipated a more modern stage of Protestantism. He was as much a forerunner of Rationalism as of the Reformation.
Sketch of His Life.
Erasmus was the illegitimate son of a Dutch priest, Gerard, and Margaret, the daughter of a physician,—their last but not their only child.508 He was born in Rotterdam, Oct. 27, in the year 1466 or 1467.509 He received his early education in the cathedral school of Utrecht and in a flourishing classical academy at Deventer, where he began to show his brilliant talents, especially a most tenacious memory. Books were his chief delight. Already in his twelfth year he knew Horace and Terence by heart.
After the death of his mother, he was robbed of his inheritance by his guardians, and put against his will into a convent at Herzogenbusch, which he exchanged afterwards for one at Steyn (Emaus), near Gouda, a few miles from Rotterdam.
He spent five unhappy years in monastic seclusion (1486–1491), and conceived an utter disgust for monkery. Ulrich von Hutten passed through the same experience, with the same negative result; while for Luther monastic life was his free choice, and became the cradle of a new religious life. Erasmus found relief in the study of the classics, which he pursued without a guide, by a secret impulse of nature. We have from this period a number of his compositions in poetry and prose, odes to Christ and the holy Virgin, invectives against despisers of eloquence, and an essay on the contempt of the world, in which he describes the corruptions of the world and the vices of the monks.
He was delivered from his prison life in 1491 by the bishop of Cambray, his parsimonious patron, and ordained to the priesthood in 1492. He continued in the clerical profession, and remained unmarried, but never had a parish.
He now gave himself up entirely to study in the University of Paris and at Orleans. His favorite authors were Cicero, Terence, Plutarch, and Lucian among the classics, Jerome among the fathers, and Laurentius Valla the commentator. He led hereafter an independent literary life without a regular charge, supporting himself by teaching, and then supported by rich friends.510 In his days of poverty he solicited aid in letters of mingled humility and vanity; when he became famous, he received liberal gifts and pensions from prelates and princes, and left at his death seven thousand ducats. The title of royal counsellor of the King of Spain (Charles V.) brought him an annual income of four hundred guilders after 1516. The smaller pensions were paid irregularly, and sometimes failed in that impecunious age. Authors seldom received copy money or royalty from publishers and printers, but voluntary donations from patrons of learning and persons to whom they dedicated their works. Froben, however, his chief publisher, treated Erasmus very generously. He traveled extensively, like St. Jerome, and made the personal acquaintance of the chief celebrities in church and state.
He paid two important visits to England, first on the invitation of his grateful and generous pupil, Lord Montjoy, between 1498 and 1500, and again in 1510. There he became intimate with the like-minded Sir Thomas More, Dean Colet, Archbishop Warham, Cardinal Wolsey, Bishop Fisher, and was introduced to King Henry VII. and to Prince Henry, afterwards Henry VIII. Colet taught him that theology must return from scholasticism to the Scriptures, and from dry dogmas to practical wisdom.511 For this purpose he devoted more attention to Greek at Oxford, but never attained to the same proficiency in it as in Latin. On his second visit he was appointed Lady Margaret’s professor of divinity, and reader of Greek, in Cambridge. His room in Queen’s College is still shown. The number of his hearers was small, and so was his income. "Still," he wrote to a friend in London, "I am doing my best to promote sound scholarship." He had much to say in praise of England, where he received so much kindness, but also in complaint of bad beer and bad wine, and of his robbery at Dover, where he was relieved of all his money in the custom-house, under a law that no one should take more than a small sum out of the realm.
Between his visits to England he spent three years in Italy (1506–1509), and bathed in the fountain of the renaissance. He took the degree of doctor of divinity at Turin, and remained some time in Venice, Padua, Bologna, and Rome. He edited the classics of Greece and Rome, with specimens of translations, and superintended the press of Manutius Aldus at Venice. He entered into the genius of antiquity, and felt at home there. He calls Venice the most magnificent city of the world. But the lovely scenery of Italy, and the majestic grandeur of the Alps, seem to have made no more impression upon his mind than upon that of Luther; at least, he does not speak of it.
After he returned from his last visit to England, he spent his time alternately at Brussels, Antwerp, and Louvain (1515–1521). He often visited Basel, and made this ancient city of republican Switzerland, on the boundaries between France and Germany, his permanent home in 1521. There he lived several years as editor and adviser of his friend and publisher, John Froben, who raised his press to the first rank in Europe. Basel was neutral till 1529, when the Reformation was introduced. It suited his position and taste. He liked the climate and the society. The bishop of Basel and the magistrate treated him with the greatest consideration. The university was then in its glory. He was not one of the public teachers, but enjoyed the intercourse of Wyttenbach, Capito, Glarean, Pellican, Amerbach. "I am here," he wrote to a friend, "as in the most agreeable museum of many and very eminent scholars. Everybody knows Latin and Greek, most of them also Hebrew. The one excels in history, the other in theology; one is well versed in mathematics, another in antiquities, a third in jurisprudence. You know how rarely we meet with such a combination. I at least never found it before. Besides these literary advantages, what candor, hospitality, and harmony prevail here everywhere! You would swear that all had but one heart and one soul."
The fame of Erasmus brought on an extensive correspondence. His letters and books had the widest circulation. The "Praise of Folly" passed through seven editions in a few months, and through at least twenty-seven editions during his lifetime. Of his "Colloquies," a bookseller in Paris printed twenty-four thousand copies. His journeys were triumphal processions. Deputations received him in the larger cities with addresses of welcome. He was treated like a prince. Scholars, bishops, cardinals, kings, and popes paid him homage, sent him presents, or gave him pensions. He was offered by the Cardinal of Sion, besides a handsome board, the liberal sum of five hundred ducats annually, if he would live with him in Rome. He was in high favor with Pope Julius II. and Leo X., who patronized liberal learning. The former released him from his monastic vows; the latter invited him to Rome, and would have given him any thing if he had consented to remain. Adrian VI. asked his counsel how to deal with the Lutheran heresy (1523). Clement VII., in reply to a letter, sent him a present of two hundred florins. Paul III. offered him a cardinal’s hat to reward him for his attack on Luther (1536), but he declined it on account of old age.
The humanists were loudest in his praise, and almost worshiped him. Eoban Hesse, the prince of Latin poets of the time, called him a "divine being," and made a pilgrimage on foot from Erfurt to Holland to see him face to face. Justus Jonas did the same. Zwingli visited him in Basel, and before going to sleep used to read some pages of his writings. To receive a letter from him was a good fortune, and to have a personal interview with him was an event. A man even less vain than Erasmus could not have escaped the bad effect of such hero-worship. But it was partly neutralized by the detractions of his enemies, who were numerous and unsparing. Among these were Stunica and Caranza of Spain, Edward Lee of England, the Prince of Carpi, Cardinal Aleander, the leaders of scholastic divinity of Louvain and Paris, and the whole crowd of ignorant monks.
His later years were disturbed by the death of his dearest and kindest friend, John Froben (1527), to whose memory he paid a most noble tribute in one of his letters; and still more by the progress of the Reformation in his own neighborhood. The optimism of his youth and manhood gave way to a gloomy, discontented pessimism. The Lutheran tragedy, he said, gave him more pain than the stone which tortured him. "It is part of my unhappy fate, that my old age has fallen on these evil times when quarrels and riots prevail everywhere." "This new gospel," he writes in another letter, "is producing a new set of men so impudent, hypocritical, and abusive, such liars and sycophants, who agree neither with one another nor with anybody else, so universally offensive and seditious, such madmen and ranters, and in short so utterly distasteful to me that if I knew of any city in which I should be free from them, I would remove there at once." His last letters are full of such useless lamentations. He had the mortification to see Protestantism triumph in a tumultuous way in Basel, through the labors of Oecolampadius, his former friend and associate. It is pleasant, however, and creditable to him, that his last interview with the reformer was friendly and cordial. The authorities of the city left him undisturbed. But he reluctantly moved to the Roman Catholic city of Freiburg in Baden (1529), wishing that Basel might enjoy every blessing, and never receive a sadder guest than he.512 He bought a house in Freiburg, lived there six years, and was treated with every demonstration of respect, but did not feel happy, and yielded to the solicitations of the Queen Regent of the Netherlands to return to his native land.
On his way he stopped in Basel in the house of Jerome Froben, August, 1535, and attended to the publication of Origen. It was his last work. He fell sick, and died in his seventieth year, July 12, 1536, of his old enemies, the stone and the gout, to which was added dysentery. He retained his consciousness and genial humor to the last. When his three friends, Amerbach, Froben, and Episcopius, visited him on his death-bed, he reminded them of Job’s three comforters, and playfully asked them about the torn garments, and the ashes that should be sprinkled on their heads. He died without a priest or any ceremonial of the Church (in wretched monastic Latin: "sine crux, sine lux, sine Deus"), but invoking the mercy of Christ. His last words, repeated again and again, were, "O Jesus, have mercy; Lord, deliver me; Lord, make an end; Lord, have mercy upon me!"513
In his will, dated Feb. 12, 1536, he left his valuables to Froben, Rhenanus, and other friends, and the rest to the aged and poor and for the education of young men of promise.514 The funeral was attended by distinguished men of both parties. He lies buried in the Protestant cathedral of Basel, where his memory is cherished.
Erasmus was of small stature, but well formed. He had a delicate constitution, an irritable temperament, fair skin, blonde hair, wrinkled forehead, blue eyes, and pleasant voice. His face had an expression of thoughtfulness and quiet studiousness.515 In his behavior he combined dignity and grace. "His manners and conversation," says Beatus Rhenanus, "were polished, affable, and even charming."
He talked and wrote in Latin, the universal language of scholars in mediaeval Europe. He handled it as a living language, with ease, elegance, and effect, though not with classical correctness. His style was Ciceronian, but modified by the ecclesiastical vocabulary of Jerome. In his dialogue "Ciceronianus," or on the best mode of speaking (1528), he ridicules those pedantic semi-pagans, chiefly Italians, who worshiped and aped Cicero, and avoided Christian themes, or borrowed names and titles from heathen mythology. He had, however, the greatest respect for Cicero, and hoped that "he is now living peacefully in heaven." He learned neither German nor English nor Italian, and had only an imperfect knowledge of French, and even of his native Dutch.
He had a nervous sensibility. The least draught made him feverish. He could not bear the iron stoves of Germany, and required an open fireplace. He could drink no wine but Burgundy. He abhorred intemperance. He could not eat fish on fast days; the mere smell of it made him sick: his heart, he said, was Catholic, but his stomach Lutheran. He never used spectacles either by day or by candle-light, and many wondered that study had not blinded his eyes. He walked firm and erect without a cane. His favorite exercise was horseback-riding.516 He usually traveled on horseback with an attendant, and carried his necessaries, including a shirt, a linen nightcap, and a prayer-book, in a knapsack tied to the saddle. He shrank from the mere mention of death, and frankly confessed that he was not born to be a martyr, but would in the hour of trial be tempted to follow St. Peter. He was fond of children, and charitable to the poor.
His Theological Opinions.
Erasmus was, like most of the German and English humanists, a sincere and enlightened believer in Christianity, and differed in this respect from the frivolous and infidel humanists of France and Italy. When charged by Prince Albertus Pius of Carpi, who was in high favor at the papal court, with turning sacred things into ridicule, he answered, "You will much more readily find scoffers at sacred things in Italy among men of your own rank, ay, and in your much-lauded Rome, than with us. I could not endure to sit down at table with such men." He devoted his brilliant genius and classical lore to the service of religion. He revered the Bible as a divine revelation, and zealously promoted its study. He anticipated Luther in the supreme estimate of the word of God as the true source of theology and piety. Oecolampadius confessed that he learned from Erasmus "nihil in sacris scripturis praeter Christum quaerendum."
He had a sharp eye to the abuses of the Church, and endeavored to reform them in a peaceful way. He wished to lead theology back from the unfruitful speculations and frivolous subtleties of scholasticism to Scriptural simplicity, and to promote an inward, spiritual piety. He keenly ridiculed the foolish and frivolous discussions of the schoolmen about formalities and quiddities, and such questions as whether God could have assumed the form of a woman, or an ass, or a cucumber, or a flint-stone; whether the Virgin Mary was learned in the languages; and whether we would eat and drink after the resurrection. He exposed the vices and follies, the ignorance and superstition, of the monks and clergy. He did not spare even the papacy. "I have no desire," he wrote in 1523, that the primacy of the Roman See should be abolished, but I could wish that its discipline were such as to favor every effort to promote the religion of the gospel; for several ages past it has by its example openly taught things that are plainly averse to the doctrines of Christ."
At the same time he lacked a deeper insight into the doctrines of sin and grace, and failed to find a positive remedy for the evils he complained of. In using the dangerous power of ridicule and satire which he shared with Lucian, he sometimes came near the line of profanity. Moreover, he had a decidedly skeptical vein, and in the present century he would probably be a moderate Rationalist.
With his critical faculty he saw the difficulties and differences in the human surroundings and circumstances of the Divine Scriptures. He omitted in his Greek Testament the forgery of the three witnesses, 1 John 5:7, and only inserted it under protest in the third edition (1522), because he had rashly promised to do so if a single Greek MS. could be found to contain it.517 He doubted the genuineness of the pericope of the adulteress (John 8:1–11), though he retained it in the text. He disputed the orthodox punctuation of Rom. 9:5. He rejected the Pauline origin of Hebrews, and questioned the Johannean authorship of the Apocalypse. He judged Mark to be an abridgment of Matthew. He admitted lapses of memory and errors of judgment in the Apostles. He denied any other punishment in hell except "the perpetual anguish of mind which accompanies habitual sin." As to the Lord’s Supper, he said, when asked his opinion by the magistrate of Basel about the book of Oecolampadius and his figurative interpretation,518 that it was learned, eloquent, well written, and pious, but contrary to the general belief of the church from which it was dangerous to depart. There is good reason to believe that he doubted transubstantiation. He was also suspected of leaning to Arianism, because he summed up the reaching of Scripture on the Trinity in this sentence: "The Father is very frequently called God, the Son sometimes, the Holy Spirit never;" and he adds: "Many of the fathers who worshiped the Son with the greatest piety, yet scrupled to use the word homoousion, which is nowhere to be found in Holy Scripture."519 He moderated the doctrine of hereditary sin, and defended human freedom in his notes on Romans. He emphasized the moral, and depreciated the doctrinal, element in Christianity. He deemed the Apostles’ Creed sufficient, and was willing to allow within this limit freedom for theological opinions. "Reduce the number of dogmas," he advised Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, "to a minimum; you can do it without injury to Christianity; on other points, leave every one free to believe what he pleases; then religion will take hold on life, and you can correct the abuses of which the world justly complains."
He had a high opinion of the morality and piety of the nobler heathen, such as Socrates, Cicero, and Plutarch. "The Scriptures," he says in his Colloquies, "deserve, indeed, the highest authority; but I find also in the writings of the ancient heathen and in the poets so much that is pure, holy and divine, that I must believe that their hearts were divinely moved. The spirit of Christ is perhaps more widely diffused than we imagine, and many will appear among the saints who are not in our catalogue."520 Then, after quoting from Cicero and Socrates, he says, "I can often hardly restrain myself from exclaiming, ’Holy Socrates, pray for us.’ "
The same liberal sentiments we find among the early Greek fathers (Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen), and in Zwingli.
Bigoted Catholics hated and feared him, as much as the liberal admired and lauded him. "He laid the egg," they said, "which Luther hatched."521 They perverted his name into Errasmus because of his errors, Arasmus because he ploughed up old truths and traditions, Erasinus because he had made himself an ass by his writings. They even called him Behemoth and Antichrist. The Sorbonne condemned thirty-seven articles extracted from his writings in 1527. His books were burned in Spain, and long after his death placed on the Index in Rome.
In his last word to his popish enemies who identified him with Luther to ruin both together, he writes: "For the future I despise them, and I wish I had always done so; for it is no pleasure to drown the croaking of frogs. Let them say, with their stout defiance of divine and human laws, ’We ought to obey God rather than men.’ That was well said by the Apostles, and even on their lips it is not without a certain propriety; only it is not the same God in the two cases. The God of the Apostles was the Maker of heaven and earth: their God is their belly. Fare ye well."522
The literary labors of Erasmus may be divided into three classes: —
I. Works edited. Their number proves his marvellous industry and enterprise.
He published the ancient Latin classics, Cicero, Terence, Seneca, Livy, Pliny; and the Greek classics with Latin translations, Euripides, Xenophon, Demosthenes, Plutarch, Lucian.
He edited the principal church fathers (some for the first time from MSS.); namely, Jerome (1516–1518; ed. ii., 1526; ed. iii., a year after his death), Cyprian (1520), Athanasius (in a Latin version, 1522), Hilarius (1523), Irenaeus (Latin, 1526, ed. princeps, very defective), Ambrose (1527), Augustin (1529), Epiphanius (1529), Chrysostom on Matthew (1530), Basil (in Greek, 1532; he called him the "Christian Demosthenes"), Origen (in Latin, 1536). He wrote the prefaces and dedications.
He published the Annotations of Laurentius Valla on the New Testament (1505 and 1526), a copy of which he had found by chance on the shelves of an old library.
The most important of his edited works is the Greek New Testament, with a Latin translation.523
II. Original works on general literature.
His "Adages" (Adagia), begun at Oxford, dedicated to Lord Mountjoy, first published in Paris in 1500, and much enlarged in subsequent editions,524 is an anthology of forty-one hundred and fifty-one Greek and Latin proverbs, similitudes, and sentences,—a sort of dictionary and commonplace-book, brimful of learning, illustrations, anecdotes, historical and biographical sketches, attacks on monks, priests, and kings, and about ten thousand quotations from Greek poets, literally translated into the Latin in the metre of the original.
"The Praise of Folly" (Encomium Moriae)525 was written on a journey from Italy to England, and finished in the house of his congenial friend, Sir Thomas More (whose name in Greek means "Fool"), as a jeu d’esprit, in the manner of his favorite Lucian. It introduces Folly personified as a goddess, in ironical praise of the merits, and indirect ridicule of the perversities, of different classes of society. It abounds in irony, wit, and humor, in keen observations of men and things, and contains his philosophy of life. The wise man is the most miserable of men, as is proved by the case of Socrates, who only succeeded in making himself ridiculous; while the fool is the happiest man, has no fear of death or hell, no tortures of conscience, tells always the truth, and is indispensable to the greatest of monarchs, who cannot even dine without him. In conclusion Erasmus, rather irreverently, quotes Scripture proofs in praise of folly. Pope Leo X. read and enjoyed the, book from beginning to end. Holbein illustrated it with humorous pictures, which are still preserved in Basel.
In his equally popular "Colloquies" (Colloquia Familiaria), begun in 1519, and enlarged in numerous editions, Erasmus aims to make better scholars and better men, as he says in his dedication to John Erasmius Froben (the son of his friend and publisher).526 He gives instruction for Latin conversation, describes the good and bad manners of the times, and ventilates his views on a variety of interesting topics, such as courtesy in saluting, rash vows a soldier’s life, scholastic studies, the profane feast, a lover and maiden, the virgin opposed to matrimony, the penitent virgin, the uneasy wife, the shipwreck, rich beggars, the alchemist, etc. The "Colloquies" are, next to the "Praise of Folly," his most characteristic work, and, like it, abound in delicate humor, keen irony, biting satire. He pays a glowing tribute to Cicero, and calls him "sanctum illud pectus afflatum coelesti numine;" and in the same conversation occurs the famous passage already referred to, "Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis." He shows his sympathy with the cause of Reuchlin in the dialogue Apotheosis Reuchlini Capnionis, by describing a vision in which the persecuted Hebrew scholar (who died June 22, 1522) was welcomed in heaven by St. Jerome, and, without leave of the Pope, enrolled in the number of saints. But during Reuchlin’s life he had kept neutral in the Dominican quarrel about Reuchlin’s orthodoxy. He is very severe on "the coarse, over-fed monks," and indulges too freely in insinuations which offend modern taste.527 He attacks war, which he hated even more than monkery; and in his description of a reckless, extravagant, debauched, sick, poor and wretched soldier, he took unchristian revenge of Ulrich von Hutten after his miserable death. In the dialogue, "Unequal Marriage," he paints him in the darkest colors as an abandoned roué. He gives an amusing description of a German inn, which makes one thankful for the progress of modern civilization. The bedrooms, he says, are rightly so called; for they contain nothing but a bed; and the cleanliness is on a par with the rest of the establishment and the adjoining stable. The "Ichthyophagia" is a dialogue between a butcher and a fishmonger, and exposes the Pharisaical tendency to strain out a gnat and to swallow a camel, and to lay heavy burdens on others. "Would they might eat nothing but garlic who imposed these fish-days upon us!" "Would they might starve to death who force the necessity of fasting upon free men!" The form of the dialogue furnished the author a door of escape from the charge of heresy, for he could not be held responsible for the sentiments of fictitious characters; moreover, he said, his object was to teach Latin, not theology. Nevertheless, the Sorbonne condemned the "Colloquies," and the Inquisition placed them in the first class of prohibited books.
The numerous letters of Erasmus and to Erasmus throw much light upon contemporaneous literary and ecclesiastical history, and make us best acquainted with his personality. He corresponded with kings and princes, popes and cardinals, as well as with scholars in all parts of Europe. He tells us that he wrote sometimes forty letters in a day.528
III. Theological works. The edition of the Greek Testament, with a new Latin version and brief annotations, and the independent paraphrases, are the most important contributions of Erasmus to exegesis, and have appeared in very many editions. The paraphrastic form of commenting, which briefly explains the difficulties, and links text and notes in continuous composition, so as to make the writer his own interpreter,529 was a great benefit to the incipient scholarship of his day, and facilitated a more general spread of the New Testament, which he eloquently defended. He did not penetrate into the deeper meaning of the Scriptures, but he made the surface more intelligible by the moonlight of philology and refined culture. His Paraphrases cover the whole New Testament, except the Apocalypse, and fill the seventh volume of Le Clerk’s edition of his works. A translation was published in two volumes folio, in black-letter, at London, 1551, and appointed, by public authority, to be placed in all the parish churches of England.
His "Method of True Theology" (Ratio verae Theologiae)530 was prefixed to his first edition of the Greek Testament, and afterwards expanded and separately published, and dedicated to Cardinal-Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz (1519), in a preface full of complaints over the evil times of violent controversy, which, in his judgment, destroyed charity and the peaceful cultivation of learning and practical piety. He maintains that the first requisite for the study of the Scriptures is a knowledge of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. Nor are poetry and good letters to be neglected. Christ clothes his teaching in poetic parables; and Paul quotes from the poets, but not from Aristotle.
The Enchiridion Militis Christiani,531 first published at Louvain, 1501 (or 1503),532 and translated into several languages, is a treatise on practical piety in its conflict with the Devil and unruly passions. The author borrows his weapons from the Scriptures, the fathers, and the Greek and Roman philosophers, and shows that the end of all human effort is Christ, and that the way to Christ is faith abounding in good works. In a later edition he added a defense, with a sharp attack on the scholastic theology contrasted with the plain, practical teaching of Christ and the apostles. The book was condemned by the Sorbonne as heretical.
In the tract on the Confessional (1524), he enumerates the advantages and the perils of that institution which may be perverted into a means of propagating vice by suggesting it to young and inexperienced penitents. He leaves, on the whole, the impression that the confessional does more harm than good.
In the book on the Tongue (1525), he eloquently describes, and illustrates with many anecdotes, its use and abuse. After its publication he wrote to his friends, "Erasmus will henceforth be mute, having parted with his tongue."
But a year after appeared his book on the Institution of Christian Matrimony (1526), dedicated to Queen Catherine of England. It contains the views of an unmarried man on the choice of a mate, the duties of parents, and the education of children. He justly blames Tertullian and Jerome (he might have included all the fathers) for their extravagant laudation of celibacy, and suggests doubts on the sacramental character of marriage.
One of his last works was a Catechism on the Apostles’ Creed, the Decalogue, and the Lord’s Prayer, which he dedicated to the father of the unfortunate Anne Boleyn. For the same nobleman he wrote a short devotional work on preparation for death.
§ 72. Erasmus and the Reformation.
I. Erasmus: De Libero Arbitrio diatribe (1524), in Opera ed. Lugd. IX. Pars I. 1215 sqq., in Walch, XVIII. Hyperaspistae diatribes libri duo contra Servum Arbitr. M. Lutheri, in 2 parts (1526 and 1527), in Opera IX. Pars II. 1249 sqq., and in Walch, XVIII.
Luther: De Servo Arbitrio ad Erasmum Roterodamun, Wittembergae, 1525. On the last p. of the first ed. before me is the date "Mense Decembri, Anno MDXXV." German in Walch, XVIII. Erl. ed. Opera Lat. VII. 113 sqq. Letters of Luther to Erasmus and about Erasmus in Walch, XVIII., and in De Wette, I. pp. 39, 52, 87, 247; II. 49; III. 427; IV, 497.
II. Chlebus: Erasmus und Luther, in "Zeitschr. f. Hist. Theol.," 1845. Döllinger in his Die Reformation, 1846, vol. i. pp. 1–20. Kerker: Er. u. sein Theol. Standpunkt, in the "Theol. Quartalschrift," 1859. D. F. Strauss: Ulrich von Hutten, 4th ed. Bonn, 1878, pp. 448–484, 511–514, and passim. Plitt: Erasmus in s. Stellung zur Reformation, Leipz., in the "Zeitschrift f. Hist. Theol.," 1866, No. III. Rud. Stähelin: Eras. Stellung z. Reformation, Basel, 1873 (35 pp.; comp. his art. In Herzog2, quoted in § 71). Froude: Times of Erasmus and Luther. Three Lect., delivered at Newcastle, 1867 (in the first series of his "Short Studies on Great Subjects," New York ed., 1873, pp. 37–127), brilliant but inaccurate, and silent on the free-will controversy. Drummond: Erasmus, etc., 1873, vol. II. chs. xiii.-xv. E. Walter: Erasmus und Melanchthon, Bernburg, 1879. A. Gilly: Erasme de Rotterd., sa situation en face de l’église et de la libre pensée, Arras, 1879. Comp. also Kattenbusch: Luther’s Lehre vom unfreien Willen, Göttingen, 1875, and Köstlin: Luther’s Theologie, vol. II. 32–55.
Erasmus was eighteen years older than Luther, and stood at the height of his fame when the reformer began his work. He differed from him as Jerome differed from Augustin, or Eusebius from Athanasius. Erasmus was essentially a scholar, Luther a reformer; the one was absorbed in literature, the other in religion. Erasmus aimed at illumination, Luther at reconstruction; the former reached the intellect of the educated, the latter touched the heart of the people. Erasmus labored for freedom of thought, Luther for freedom of conscience. Both had been monks, Erasmus against his will, Luther by free choice and from pious motives; and both hated and opposed monkery, but the former for its ignorance and bigotry, the latter for its self-righteousness and obstruction of the true way to justification and peace. Erasmus followed maxims of worldly wisdom; Luther, sacred principles and convictions. The one was willing, as he confessed, to sacrifice "a part of the truth for the peace of the church," and his personal comfort; the other was ready to die for the gospel at any moment. Erasmus was a trimmer and timeserver, Luther every inch a moral hero.
Luther wrote upon his tablet (1536), "Res et verba Philippus; verba sine re Erasmus; res sine verbis Lutherus; nec res nec verba Carolostadius." But Luther himself was the master of words and matter, and his words were deeds. Melanchthon was an improved Erasmus on the side of evangelical truth.
It is easy to see how far two men so differently constituted could go together, and where and when they had to part. So long as the Reformation moved within the church, Erasmus sympathized with it. But when Luther, who had at first as little notion of leaving the Catholic Church, burnt the Pope’s bull and the decretals, and with them the bridge behind him, Erasmus shrank back, and feared that the remedy was worse than the evil. His very breadth of culture and irresolution became his weakness; while Luther’s narrowness and determination were his strength. In times of war, neutrality is impossible, and we must join one of the two contending armies. Erasmus was for unity and peace, and dreaded a split of the church as the greatest calamity; and yet he never ceased to rebuke the abuses. It was his misfortune, rather than his fault, that he could not side with the Reformation. We must believe his assertion that his conscience kept him from the cause of the Lutherans. At the same time he was concerned for his personal comfort and literary supremacy, and anxious to retain the friendship of his hierarchical and royal patrons. He wished to be a spectator, but not an actor in "the Lutheran tragedy."
Erasmus hailed the young Melanchthon with enthusiastic praise of his precocious genius and learning, and continued to respect him even after his breach with Luther. He stood in friendly correspondence with Zwingli, who revered him as the prince of humanists. He employed Oecolampadius as his assistant, and spoke highly, though evasively, of his book on the eucharist. He was not displeased with Luther’s attacks on indulgences and monasticism, and wrote to Zwingli that he had taught nearly every thing that Luther teaches, but without his coarseness and paradoxes.533 In a letter of reply, dated Louvain, May 30, 1519, he courteously but cautiously and condescendingly accepted Luther’s compliments and friendship, but advised him to moderate his tone, and to imitate Paul, who abolished the law by allegorical interpretation; at the same time he frankly admitted that he had not read his books, except portions of the commentary on the Psalms,534 and that he considered it his duty to keep neutral, in order to do the more for the revival of letters. In conclusion he expressed the wish: "May the Lord Jesus grant you daily more of his Spirit for his glory and the general good."535
So far, then, he objected not so much to the matter as to the manner of Luther, whose plebeian violence and roughness offended his cultured taste. But there was a deeper difference. He could not appreciate his cardinal doctrine of justification by faith alone, and took offence at the denial of free-will and human merit. He held the Catholic views on these subjects. He wished a reform of the discipline, but not of the faith, of the church, and cared little for dogmatic controversies.
His gradual alienation may be seen in the following extracts from his letters.
To Albrecht, Cardinal-Archbishop of Mainz, he wrote from Louvain, Nov. 1, 1519: –
"Permit me to say that I have never had any thing to do either with the affair of Reuchlin or with the cause of Luther. I have never taken any interest in the Cabbala or the Talmud. Those virulent contentions between Reuchlin and the party of Hochstraten have been extremely distasteful to me. Luther is a perfect stranger to me, and I have never had time to read his books beyond merely glancing over a few pages. If he has written well, no praise is due to me; if not, it would be unjust to hold me responsible .... Luther had written to me in a very Christian tone, as I thought; and I replied, advising him incidentally not to write any thing against the Roman Pontiff, nor to encourage a proud or intolerant spirit, but to preach the gospel out of a pure heart .... I am neither Luther’s accuser, nor advocate, nor judge; his heart I would not presume to judge—for that is always a matter of extreme difficulty—still less would I condemn. And yet if I were to defend him, as a good man, which even his enemies admit him to be; as one put upon his trial, a duty which the laws permit even to sworn judges; as one persecuted—which would be only in accordance with the dictates of humanity—and trampled on by the bounden enemies of learning, who merely use him as a handle for the accomplishment of their designs, where would be the blame, so long as I abstained from mixing myself up with his cause ? In short, I think it is my duty as a Christian to support Luther in this sense, that, if he is innocent, I should not wish him to be crushed by a set of malignant villains; if he is in error, I would rather see him put right than destroyed: for thus I should be acting in accordance with the example of Christ, who, as the prophet witnesseth, quencheth not the smoking flax, nor breaketh the bruised reed."
To Pope Leo X., from Louvain, Sept. 13, 1520 (three months after the excommunication of Luther, June 15): –
"I have no acquaintance with Luther, nor have I ever read his books, except perhaps ten or twelve pages, and that only by snatches. From what I then saw, I judged him to be well qualified for expounding the Scriptures in the manner of the Fathers,—a work greatly needed in an age like this, which is so excessively given to mere subtleties, to the neglect of really important questions. Accordingly, I have favored his good, but not his bad, qualities, or rather I have favored Christ’s glory in him. I was among the first to foresee the danger there was of this matter ending in violence, and no one ever hated violence more than I do. Indeed, I even went so far as to threaten John Froben the printer, to prevent him publishing his books. I wrote frequently and industriously to my friends, begging that they would admonish this man to observe Christian meekness in his writings, and do nothing to disturb the peace of the church. And when he himself wrote to me two years ago, I lovingly admonished him what I wished him to avoid; and I would he had followed my advice. This letter, I am informed, has been shown to your Holiness, I suppose in order to prejudice me, whereas it ought rather to conciliate your Holiness’s favor towards me."
On Dec. 5, 1520, five days before the burning of the Pope’s bull, Erasmus, being asked for his opinion about Luther by the Elector Frederick of Saxony, whom he happened to meet at Cologne, hesitated a while, and looked blank; but being pressed by the Elector, who stood square before him and stared him in the face, he gave the well-known answer, –
"Luther has committed two sins,—he has touched the Pope on the crown, and the monks on the belly."536
The Elector smiled, and remembered the expression shortly before his death. Returned to his lodgings, Erasmus wrote down some axioms rather favorable to Luther and disapproving of the "Pope’s unmerciful bull," and sent them to Spalatin, but concealed the manuscript from fear that Aleander might see it; but it had been already published.
From a letter to a friend in Basel (Louis Berus), dated Louvain, May 14, 1521:–
"By the bitterness of the Lutherans, and the stupidity of some who show more zeal than wisdom in their endeavors to heal the present disorders, things have been brought to such a pass, that I, for one, can see no issue but in the turning upside down of the whole world. What evil spirit can have sown this poisonous seed in human affairs? When I was at Cologne, I made every effort that Luther might have the glory of obedience and the Pope of clemency, and some of the sovereigns approved of this advice. But, lo and behold! the burning of the Decretals, the ’Babylonish Captivity,’ those propositions of Luther, so much stronger than they need be, have made the evil, it seems, incurable .... The only thing that remains to us, my dear Berus, is to pray that Christ, supreme in goodness and in power, may turn all to good; for he alone can do so."
In the same month, during the sessions of the Diet of Worms, he wrote to Nicholas Everard, from Mechlin, 1521: –
"If Luther had written more moderately, even though he had written freely, he would both have been more honored himself, and done more good to the world; but fate has decreed otherwise. I only wonder that the man is still alive .... They say that an edict is in readiness far more severe than the Pope’s bull;537 but from fear, or some other reason, it has not yet been published. I am surprised that the Pope should employ such agents, some of them illiterate men, and all of them headstrong and haughty, for the transaction of such affairs. Nothing can exceed the pride or violent temper of Cardinal Cajetan, of Charles Miltitz, of Marinus, of Aleander. They all act upon the principle of the young king who said, ’My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins.’ As to Aleander, he is a complete maniac,—a bad, foolish man."
After the Diet of Worms, several events occurred which seemed to confirm his worst fears about the effects of the Reformation, and imbittered him against its leaders; namely, the disturbances of Carlstadt at Wittenberg (1521), Luther’s invective against Henry VIII. (1522), and the fierce attack of his former friend and admirer Ulrich von Hutten (1523).538
Nevertheless, he advised Pope Adrian VI. to avoid all harsh measures, to deal gently with errors, to pardon past misdoings, to reform abuses, and to call a general council of moderate men. The counsel was disregarded.
Glareanus (Loriti) of Basel described Erasmus very well, when he wrote to Zwingli, Jan. 20, 1523, "Erasmus is an old man, and desires rest. Each party would like to claim him, but he does not want to belong to any party. Neither party is able to draw him. He knows whom to avoid, but not whom to attach himself to." Glareanus added, however, that Erasmus confessed Christ in his writings, and that he never heard any unchristian word from his lips.539
§ 73. The Free-will Controversy. 1524–1527.
See Literature in § 73.
After halting some time between approval and disapproval, Erasmus found it impossible to keep aloof from the irrepressible conflict. Provoked by Hutten, and urged by King Henry and English friends, he declared open war against Luther, and broke with the Reformation. He did so with great reluctance; for he felt that he could not satisfy either party, and that he was out of his element in a strictly theological dispute. He chose for his attack Luther’s doctrine of total depravity.
Here lay the chief dogmatic difference between the two. Erasmus was an admirer of Socrates, Cicero, and Jerome; while Luther was a humble pupil of St. Paul and Augustin. Erasmus lacked that profound religious experience through which Luther had passed in the convent, and sympathized with the anthropology of the Greek fathers and the semi-Pelagian school.
In September, 1524, Erasmus appeared on the field with his work on the "Freedom of the Will." It is a defence of freedom as an indispensable condition of moral responsibility, without which there can be no meaning in precept, repentance, and reward. He maintains essentially the old semi-Pelagian theory, but in the mildest form, and more negatively than positively; for he wished to avoid the charge of heresy. He gives the maximum of glory to God, and a minimum to man. "I approve," he says, "of those who ascribe something to free-will, but rely most upon grace." We must exert our will to the utmost, but the will is ineffective without the grace of God. He urged against Luther Christ’s call upon Jerusalem to repent (Matt. 23:37), and the will of God that no one should perish, but that all should be saved (Ezek. 33:11; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). He treated him with respect, but charged him with attempting to drive out one extreme by another.
Luther appreciated the merits of Erasmus, and frankly acknowledged his literary superiority.540 But he knew his weakness, and expressed, as early as 1516, the fear that he understood too little of the grace of God.541 He found in his writings more refutation of error than demonstration of truth, more love of peace than love of the cross. He hated his way of insinuating doubts. On June 20, 1523, he wrote to Oecolampadius:542 "May the Lord strengthen you in your proposed explanation of Isaiah [in the University of Basel], although Erasmus, as I understand, does not like it .... He has done what he was ordained to do: he has introduced the ancient languages, in the place of injurious scholastic studies. He will probably die like Moses in the land of Moab. He does not lead to better studies which teach piety. I would rather he would entirely abstain from explaining and paraphrasing the Scriptures, for he is not up to this work .... He has done enough to uncover the evil; but to reveal the good and to lead into the land of promise, is not his business, in my opinion." In a letter to Erasmus, dated April, 1524, a few months before the open breach, he proposed to him that they should let each other alone, and apologized for his subserviency to the papists, and his want of courage, in a manner which could not but wound the sensitive scholar.543
Luther on the Slavery of the Human Will.
He waited a whole year before he published his reply on the "Slavery of the Will" (December, 1525). It is one of his most vigorous and profound books, full of grand ideas and shocking exaggerations, that border on Manichaeism and fatalism.544 He thanked Erasmus for going to the root of the controversy instead of troubling him "about the papacy, purgatory, indulgences, and other fooleries." He inseparably connects divine foreknowledge and foreordination, and infers from God’s almighty power that all things happen by necessity, and that there can be no freedom in the creature.545 He represents the human will as a horse or a donkey which goes just as the rider directs it; and that rider is the Devil in the state of fallen nature, and God in the state of grace. The will has no choice of master; it is God and the Devil who are fighting for its possession. The Scripture exhortations to repentance and holy living must not be understood seriously, but ironically, as if God would say to man: Only try to repent and to do good, and you will soon find out that you cannot do it. He deals with man as a mother with the child: she invites the child to walk, in order that he may stretch out the arm for help. God speaks in this fashion solely to convict us of our helplessness, if we do not implore his assistance. Satan said, "Thou art free to act." Moses said, "Act," in order to convict us, before Satan, of our inability to act.
In the same book Luther makes a distinction between the Word of God and God himself, or between the revealed will of God, which offers salvation to all, and the concealed or hidden will, which means to save only some, and to leave the rest to deserved perdition. In this way he escapes the force of such passages as Ezek. 18:23; 33:11; 1 Tim. 2:4, urged by Erasmus, that God does not wish the death but the salvation of the sinner (namely, according to his revealed will only).546 But this distinction puts a contradiction in God, which is impossible and intolerable.
If we except the peculiar way of statement and illustration, Luther’s view is substantially that of St. Augustin, whom Erasmus, with all due reverence for the great man, represents as teaching, "God works in us good and evil, and crowns his good works in us, and punishes his bad works in us." The positive part is unobjectionable: God is the author and rewarder of all that is good; but the negative part is the great stumbling-block. How can God in justice command us to walk when we are lame, and punish us for not walking? The theory presupposes, of course, the apostasy and condemnation of the whole human race, on the ground of its unconscious or impersonal pre-existence and participation in the sin and guilt of Adam.
All the Reformers were originally Augustinians, that is, believers in the total depravity of man’s nature, and the absolute sovereignty of God’s grace. They had, like St. Paul and St. Augustin, passed through a terrible conflict with sin, and learned to feel in their hearts, what ordinary Christians profess with their lips, that they were justly condemned, and saved only by the merits of Christ. They were men of intense experience and conviction of their own sinfulness and of God’s mercifulness; and if they saw others perish in unbelief, it was not because they were worse, but because of the inscrutable will of God, who gives to some, and withholds from others, the gift of saving faith. Those champions of freedom taught the slavery of the will in all things pertaining to spiritual righteousness. They drew their moral strength from grace alone. They feared God, and nothing else. Their very fear of God made them fearless of men. The same may be said of the French Huguenots and the English Puritans. Luther stated this theory in stronger terms than Augustin or even Calvin; and he never retracted it,—as is often asserted,—but even twelve years later he pronounced his book against Erasmus one of his very best.547 Melanchthon, no doubt in part under the influence of this controversy, abandoned his early predestinarianism as a Stoic error (1535), and adopted the synergistic theory. Luther allowed this change without adopting it himself, and abstained from further discussion of these mysteries. The Formula of Concord re-asserted in the strongest terms Luther’s doctrine of the slavery of the human will, but weakened his doctrine of predestination, and assumed a middle ground between Augustinianism and semi-Pelagianism or synergism.548 In like manner the Roman Catholic Church, while retaining the greatest reverence for St. Augustin and indorsing his anthropology, never sanctioned his views on total depravity and unconditional predestination, but condemned them, indirectly, in the Jansenists.549
The Erasmus-Luther controversy led to some further personalities in which both parties forgot what they owed to their cause and their own dignity. Erasmus wrote a bitter retort, entitled "Hyperaspistes," and drove Luther’s predestinarian views to fatalistic and immoral consequences. He also addressed a letter of complaint to Elector John. The outrages of the Peasants’ War confirmed him in his apprehensions. He was alienated from Melanchthon and Justus Jonas. He gave up correspondence with Zwingli, and rather rejoiced in his death.550 He spoke of the Reformation as a tragedy, or rather a comedy which always ended in a marriage. He regarded it as a public calamity which brought ruin to arts and letters, and anarchy to the Church.551
He was summoned to the Diet of Augsburg, 1530, as a counsellor of the Emperor, but declined because he was sick and conscious of his inability to please either party. He wrote, however, to Cardinal Campeggio, to the bishop of Augsburg, and other friends, to protest against settling questions of doctrine by the sword. His remedy for the evils of the Church was mutual forbearance and the correction of abuses. But his voice was not heeded; the time for compromises and half measures had passed, and the controversy took its course. He devoted his later years chiefly to the editing of new editions of his Greek Testament, and the writings of the church fathers.
Luther abandoned Erasmus, and abused him as the vainest creature in the world, as an enraged viper, a refined Epicurean, a modern Lucian, a scoffer, a disguised atheist, and enemy of all religion.552 We gladly return from this gross injustice to his earlier estimate, expressed in his letter to Erasmus as late as April, 1524: "The whole world must bear witness to your successful cultivation of that literature by which we arrive at a true understanding of the Scriptures; and this gift of God has been magnificently and wonderfully displayed in you, calling for our thanks."
§ 74. Wilibald Pirkheimer.
Bilibaldi Pirkheimeri Opera politica, historica, philologica, et epistolica, ed. by M. Goldast, Francf., 1610, fol. With a portrait by A. Dürer. His Encomium Podagrae was translated into English by W. Est, The Praise of the Gout, or the Gout’s Apology, a paradox both pleasant and profitable. Lond., 1617.
Lampe: Zum Andenken W. P.’s. Nürnberg, 1828. Karl Hagen: Deutschlands literarische und relig. Verhältnisse im Ref. Zeitalter. Mit besonderer Rücksicht auf Wilibald Pirkheimer. Erlangen, vol. I., 1841, pp. 188 sqq., 261 sqq., 2d ed. 1868. Döllinger: Reformation, vol. I., 161–174. D. F. Strauss: Ulrich von Hutten, 4th ed., Bonn, 1878, pp. 118 sq.; 227–235; 514–518. Lochner: Lebensläufe berühmter und verdienter Nürnberger, Nürnb., 1861. Rud. Hagen: W. P. in seinem Verhältniss zum Humanismus und zur Reformation, Nürnberg, 1882. Lic. P. Drews: Wilibald Pirkheimer’s Stellung zur Reformation, Leipz., 1887 (138 pp.).
About this time, and after the Peasants’ War, the most eminent humanists withdrew from the Reformation, and followed Erasmus into the sheepfold of the mother church, disgusted with the new religion, but without being fully reconciled to the old, and dying at last of a broken heart. In this respect, the apprehension of Erasmus was well founded; the progress of the Reformation arrested and injured the progress of liberal learning, although not permanently. Theology triumphed over classical culture, and fierce dogmatic feuds took the place of satirical exposures of ignorant monks. But the literary loss was compensated by a religious gain. In the judgment of Luther, truth proved mightier than eloquence, faith stronger than learning, and the foolishness of God wiser than the wisdom of men.553
Among the pupils, friends and admirers of Erasmus, who were first attracted and then repelled by the Reformation, are Wilibald Pirkheimer, Crotus Rubeanus, Mutianus Rufus, Ulrich Zasius, Vitus Amerpach, Georg Wizel, Jacob Strauss, Johann Wildenauer (Egranus), Johann Haner, Heinrich Loriti Glareanus, and Theobald Billicanus.554
Wilibald Pirkheimer (1470–1530), the most distinguished and influential of them, was descended from an ancient, rich, and noble family of Nürnberg, and received a liberal military and diplomatic education. He spent seven years in Italy (1490–1497), and became a leader in the Renaissance. He occupied also a high social position as senator of Nürnberg and imperial counsellor. He was honored by important diplomatic missions, and fulfilled them with great ability. He was not an original genius, but the most learned and most eloquent layman in Germany. He mastered philology, jurisprudence, geography, astronomy, music, painting, botany, and all the discoveries and sciences of the time. He collected a rare library of books and manuscripts and a cabinet of coins, and gave free access to visitors. He translated writings of Xenophon, Plato, Plutarch, Euclid, Ptolemy, Lucian, Gregory Nazianzen, and Nilus, into Latin.555 He was called "the Nürnberg Xenophon," for his account of the rather inglorious Swiss campaign (1499) in which he took part as an officer.556 He carried on an extensive correspondence with the leading humanists, especially Reuchlin, Ulrich von Hutten, and Erasmus, and also with the Reformers, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Oecolampadius, and Luther. He was the Maecenas of Germany, and a gentleman of striking and commanding presence, social culture, charming manners, and princely liberality.557 He constantly entertained distinguished strangers at his hospitable board. Nürnberg was then the first German city in politics, industry, and commerce. He made it also a centre of literature and illumination. At Venice there was a proverb:, All German cities are blind, except Nürnberg, which has one eye."
Pirkheimer hailed the beginnings of the Reformation with patriotic and literary enthusiasm, invited Luther to his house when he returned utterly exhausted from Augsburg in 1518, distributed his books, and, with his friends Albrecht Dürer and Lazarus Spengler, prepared the way for the victory of the new ideas in his native city. He wrote an apology of Reuchlin in his controversy with the Dominicans, contributed probably to the "Letters of Obscure Men," and ridiculed Dr. Eck in a satirical, pseudonymous dialogue, after the Leipzig disputation.558 Eck took cruel revenge when he published the Pope’s bull of excommunication, by naming Pirkheimer among the followers of Luther, and warning him through the magistrate of Nürnberg. Luther burnt the Pope’s bull; but Pirkheimer helped himself out of the difficulty by an evasive diplomatic disclaimer, and at last begged absolution.
This conduct is characteristic of the humanists. They would not break with the authorities of the church, and had not the courage of martyrs. They employed against existing abuses the light weapons of ridicule and satire rather than serious argument and moral indignation. They had little sympathy with the theology and piety of the Reformers, and therefore drew back when the Reformers, for conscience’ sake, broke with the old church, and were cast out of her bosom as the Apostles were cast out of the synagogue.
In a letter to Erasmus, dated Sept. 1, 1524, Pirkheimer speaks still favorably of Luther, though regretting his excesses, and deprecates a breach between the two as the greatest calamity that could befall the cause of sound learning. But soon after the free-will controversy, and under the influence of Erasmus, he wrote a very violent book against his former friend Oecolampadius, in defence of consubstantiation (he did not go as far as transubstantiation).559
The distractions among Protestants, the Anabaptist disturbances, the Peasants’ War, the conduct of the contentious Osiander, sickness, and family afflictions increased his alienation from the Reformation, and clouded his last years. The stone and the gout, of which he suffered much, confined him at home. Dürer, his daily companion (who, however, differed from him on the eucharistic question, and strongly leaned to the Swiss view), died in 1528. Two of his sisters, and two of his daughters, took the veil in the nunnery of St. Clara at Nürnberg. His sister Charitas, who is famous for her Greek and Latin correspondence with Erasmus and other luminaries, was abbess. The nunnery suffered much from the disturbances of the Reformation and the Peasants’ War. When it was to be secularized and abolished, he addressed to the Protestant magistrate an eloquent and touching plea in behalf of the nuns, and conclusively refuted the charges made against them. The convent was treated with some toleration, and survived till 1590.
His last letters, like those of Erasmus, breathe discontent with the times, lament over the decline of letters and good morals, and make the evangelical clergy responsible for the same evils which he formerly charged upon the Roman clergy and monks. "I hoped," he wrote to Zasius (1527), a distinguished professor of jurisprudence at Freiburg, who likewise stood halting between Rome and Wittenberg,—"I hoped for spiritual liberty; but, instead of it, we have carnal license, and things have gotten much worse than before." Zasius was of the same opinion,560 and Protestants of Nürnberg admitted the fact of the extensive abuse of the gospel liberty.561 In a letter to his friend Leib, prior of Rebdorf, written a year before his death, Pirkheimer disclaims all fellowship with Luther, and expresses the opinion that the Reformer had become either insane, or possessed by an evil spirit.562 But, on the other hand, he remained on good terms with Melanchthon, and entertained him on his way to the Diet of Augsburg in 1530.
His apparent inconsistency is due to a change of the times rather than to a change of his conviction. Like Erasmus, he remained a humanist, who hoped for a reformation from a revival of letters rather than theology and religion, and therefore hailed the beginning, but lamented the progress, of the Lutheran movement.563
Broken by disease, affliction, and disappointment, he died in the year of the Augsburg Confession, Dec. 22, 1530, praying for the prosperity of the fatherland and the peace of the church. He left unfinished an edition of Ptolemy’s Geography, which Erasmus published with a preface. Shortly before his death, Erasmus had given him an unfavorable account of the introduction of the Reformation in Basel and of his intention to leave the city.
Pirkheimer made no permanent impression, and his writings are antiquated; but, as one of the most prominent humanists and connecting links between the mediaeval and the modern ages, he deserves a place in the history of the Reformation.
§ 75. The Peasants’ War. 1523–1525.
I. Luther: Ermahnung zum Frieden auf die zwölf Artikel der Bauernschaft in Schwaben (1525); Wider die mörderischen und raüberischen Rotten der Bauern (1525); Ein Sendbrief von dem harten Büchlein wider die Bauern (1525). Walch, Vols. XVI. and XXI. Erl. ed., XXIV. 257–318. Melanchthon: Historic Thomae Münzers (1525), in Walch, XVI. 204 sqq. Cochlæus (Rom. Cath.), in his writings against Luther.
II. Histories of the Peasants’ War, by Sartorius (Geschichte des deutschen Bauernkriegs, Berlin, 1795); Wachsmuth (Leipzig. 1834); Oechsle (Heilbronn, 1830 anti 1844); Bensen (Erlangen, 1840); Zimmermann (Stuttgart, 1841, second edition 1856, 3 Vols.); Jörg (Freiburg, 1851); Schreiber (Freiburg, 1863–66, 3 vols.); Stern (Leipzig, 1868); Baumann (Tübingen, 1876–78); L. Fries, ed. by Schäffler and Henner (Würzburg, 1876, 1877); Hartfelder (Stuttgart, 1884).
III. Monographs on Thomas Münzer by Strobel (Leben, Schriften und Lehren Thomae Müntzers, Nürnberg and Altdorf, 1795); Gebser (1831); Streif (1835); Seidemann (Dresden, 1842); Leo (1856); Erbkam (in Herzog2, Vol. X. 365 sqq.).
IV. Ranke: II. 124–150. Janssen: II. 393–582. Häusser: ch. VII. Weber: Weltgesch., vol. X. 229–273 (second edition, 1886).
The ecclesiastical radicalism at Wittenberg was the prelude of a more dangerous political and social radicalism, which involved a large portion of Germany in confusion and blood. Both movements had their roots in crying abuses; both received a strong impetus from the Reformation, and pretended to carry out its principles to their legitimate consequences; but both were ultra- and pseudo-Protestant, fanatical, and revolutionary.
Carlstadt and Münzer are the connecting links between the two movements, chiefly the latter. Carlstadt never went so far as Münzer, and afterwards retraced his steps. Their expulsion from Saxony extended their influence over Middle and Southern Germany.564
Condition of the Peasants.
The German peasants were the beasts of burden for society, and in no better condition than slaves. Work, work, work, without reward, was their daily lot, even Sunday hardly excepted. They were ground down by taxation, legal and illegal. The rapid increase of wealth, luxury, and pleasure, after the discovery of America, made their condition only worse. The knights and nobles screwed them more cruelly than before, that they might increase their revenues and means of indulgence.
The peasants formed, in self-protection, secret leagues among themselves: as the "Käsebröder" (Cheese-Brothers), in the Netherlands; and the "Bundschuh,"565 in South Germany. These leagues served the same purpose as the labor unions of mechanics in our days.
Long before the Reformation revolutionary outbreaks took place in various parts of Germany,—a.d. 1476, 1492, 1493, 1502, 1513, and especially in 1514, against the lawless tyranny of Duke Ulrich of Würtemberg. But these rebellions were put down by brute force, and ended in disastrous failure.566
In England a communistic insurrection of the peasants and villeins occurred in 1381, under the lead of Wat Tyler and John Balle, in connection with a misunderstanding of Wiclif’s doctrines.
The Reformation, with its attacks upon the papal tyranny, its proclamation of the supremacy of the Bible, of Christian freedom, and the general priesthood of the laity, gave fresh impulse and new direction to the rebellious disposition. Traveling preachers and fugitive tracts stirred up discontent. The peasants mistook spiritual liberty for carnal license. They appealed to the Bible and to Dr. Luther in support of their grievances. They looked exclusively at the democratic element in the New Testament, and turned it against the oppressive rule of the Romish hierarchy and the feudal aristocracy. They identified their cause with the restoration of pure Christianity.
Thomas Münzer, one of the Zwickau Prophets, and an eloquent demagogue, was the apostle and travelling evangelist of the social revolution, and a forerunner of modern socialism, communism, and anarchism. He presents a remarkable compound of the discordant elements of radicalism and mysticism. He was born at Stolberg in the Harz Mountain (1590); studied theology at Leipzig; embraced some of the doctrines of the Reformation, and preached them in the chief church at Zwickau; but carried them to excess, and was deposed.
After the failure of the revolution in Wittenberg, in which he took part, he labored as pastor at Altstädt (1523), for the realization of his wild ideas, in direct opposition to Luther, whom he hated worse than the Pope. Luther wrote against the "Satan of Altstädt." Münzer was removed, but continued his agitation in Mühlhausen, a free city in Thuringia, in Nürnberg, Basel, and again in Mühlhausen (1525).
He was at enmity with the whole existing order of society, and imagined himself the divinely inspired prophet of a new dispensation, a sort of communistic millennium, in which there should be no priests, no princes, no nobles, and no private property, but complete democratic equality. He inflamed the people in fiery harangues from the pulpit, and in printed tracts to open rebellion against their spiritual and secular rulers. He signed himself "Münzer with the hammer," and "with the sword of Gideon." He advised the killing of all the ungodly. They had no right to live. Christ brought the sword, not peace upon earth. "Look not," he said, "on the sorrow of the ungodly; let not your sword grow cold from blood; strike hard upon the anvil of Nimrod [the princes]; cast his tower to the ground, because the day is yours."
The Program of the Peasants.
At the beginning of the uprising, the Swabian peasants issued a program of their demands, a sort of political and religious creed, consisting of twelve articles.567
Professing to claim nothing inconsistent with Christianity as a religion of justice, peace, and charity, the peasants claim: 1. The right to elect their own pastors (conceded by Zwingli, but not by Luther). 2. Freedom from the small tithe (the great tithe of grain they were willing to pay). 3. The abolition of bond-service, since all men were redeemed by the blood of Christ (but they promised to obey the elected rulers ordained by God, in every thing reasonable and Christian). 4. Freedom to hunt and fish. 5. A share in the forests for domestic fuel. 6. Restriction of compulsory service. 7. Payment for extra labor above what the contract requires. 8. Reduction of rents. 9. Cessation of arbitrary punishments. 10. Restoration of the pastures and fields which have been taken from the communes. 11. Abolition of the right of heriot, by which widows and orphans are deprived of their inheritance. 12. All these demands shall be tested by Scripture; and if not found to agree with it, they are to be withdrawn.
These demands are moderate and reasonable, especially freedom from feudal oppression, and the primitive right to elect a pastor. Most of them have since been satisfied. Had they been granted in 1524, Germany might have been spared the calamity of bloodshed, and entered upon a career of prosperity. But the rulers and the peasants were alike blind to their best interests, and consulted their passion instead of reason. The peasants did not stick to their own program, split up in parties, and resorted to brutal violence against their masters. Another program appeared, which aimed at a democratic reconstruction of church and state in Germany. Had Charles V. not been taken up with foreign schemes, he might have utilized the commotion for the unification and consolidation of Germany in the interest of an imperial despotism and Romanism. But this would have been a still greater calamity than the division of Germany.
Progress of the Insurrection.
The insurrection broke out in summer, 1524, in Swabia, on the Upper Danube, and the Upper Rhine along the Swiss frontier, but not on the Swiss side, where the peasantry were free. In 1525 it extended gradually all over South-Western and Central Germany. The rebels destroyed the palaces of the bishops, the castles of the nobility, burned convents and libraries, and committed other outrages. Erasmus wrote to Polydore Virgil, from Basel, in the autumn of 1525: "Every day there are bloody conflicts between the nobles and the peasants, so near us that we can hear the firing, and almost the groans of the wounded." In another letter he says: "Every day priests are imprisoned, tortured, hanged, decapitated, or burnt."
At first the revolution was successful. Princes, nobles, and cities were forced to submit to the peasants. If the middle classes, which were the chief supporters of Protestant doctrines, had taken sides with the peasants, they would have become irresistible.
But the leader of the Reformation threw the whole weight of his name against the revolution.
Luther advises a wholesale Suppression of the Rebellion.
The fate of the peasantry depended upon Luther. Himself the son of a peasant, he had, at first, considerable sympathy with their cause, and advocated the removal of their grievances; but he was always opposed to the use of force, except by the civil magistrate, to whom the sword was given by God for the punishment of evil-doers. He thought that revolution was wrong in itself, and contrary to Divine order; that it was the worst enemy of reformation, and increased the evil complained of. He trusted in the almighty power of preaching, teaching, and moral suasion. In the battle of words he allowed himself every license; but there he stopped. With the heroic courage of a warrior in the spiritual army of God, he combined the humble obedience of a monk to the civil authority.
He replied to the Twelve Articles of the Swabian peasants with an exhortation to peace (May, 1525). He admitted that most of them were just. He rebuked the princes and nobles, especially the bishops, for their oppression of the poor people and their hostility to the gospel, and urged them to grant some of the petitions, lest a fire should be kindled all over Germany which no one could extinguish. But he also warned the peasants against revolution, and reminded them of the duty of obedience to the ruling powers (Rom. 13:1), and of the passage, that "They that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matt. 26:52). He advised both parties to submit the quarrel to a committee of arbitration. But it was too late; he preached to deaf ears.
When the dark cloud of war rose up all over Germany, and obscured the pure light of the Reformation, Luther dipped his pen in blood, and burst out in a most violent manifesto "against the rapacious and murderous peasants." He charged them with doing the Devil’s work under pretence of the gospel.568 He called upon the magistrates to "stab, kill, and strangle" them like mad dogs. He who dies in defence of the government dies a blessed death, and is a true martyr before God. A pious Christian should rather suffer a hundred deaths than yield a hair of the demands of the peasants.569
So fierce were Luther’s words, that he had to defend himself in a public letter to the chancellor of Mansfeld (June or July, 1525). He did not, however, retract his position. "My little book," he said, "shall stand, though the whole world should stumble at it." He repeated the most offensive passages, even in stronger language, and declared that it was useless to reason with rebels, except by the fist and the sword.570
Cruel as this conduct appears to every friend of the poor peasants, it would he unjust to regard it as an accommodation, and to derive it from selfish considerations. It was his sincere conviction of duty to the magistrate in temporal matters, and to the cause of the Reformation which was threatened with destruction.
Defeat of the Rebellion.
The advice of the Reformer was only too well executed by the exasperated princes, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, who now made common cause against the common foe. The peasants, badly armed, poorly led, and divided among themselves, were utterly defeated by the troops of the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, Duke Henry of Brunswick, the Elector Jolin, and the Dukes George and John of Saxony. In the decisive battle at Frankenhausen, May 25, 1525, five thousand slain lay on the field and in the streets; three hundred were beheaded before the court-house. Münzer fled, but was taken prisoner, tortured, and executed. The peasants in South Germany, in the Alsace and Lorraine, met with the same defeat by the imperial troops and the forces of the electors of the Palatinate and Treves, and by treachery. In the castle of Zabern, in the Alsace (May 17), eighteen thousand peasants fell. In the Tyrol and Salzburg, the rebellion lasted longest, and was put down in part by arbitration.
The number of victims of war far exceeded a hundred thousand.571 The surviving rebels were beheaded or mutilated. Their widows and orphans were left destitute. Over a thousand castles and convents lay in ashes, hundreds of villages were burnt to the ground, the cattle killed, agricultural implements destroyed, and whole districts turned into a wilderness. "Never," said Luther, after the end of the war, "has the aspect of Germany been more deplorable than now."572
The Peasants’ War was a complete failure, and the victory of the princes an inglorious revenge. The reaction made their condition worse than ever. Very few masters had sufficient humanity and self-denial to loosen the reins. Most of them followed the maxim of Rehoboam: "My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions" (1 Kings 12:14). The real grievances remained, and the prospect of a remedy was put off to an indefinite future.
The cause of the Reformation suffered irreparable injury, and was made responsible by the Romanists, and even by Erasmus, for all the horrors of the rebellion. The split of the nation was widened; the defeated peasantry in Roman Catholic districts were forced back into the old church; quiet citizens lost their interest in politics and social reform; every attempt in that direction was frowned down with suspicion. Luther had once for all committed himself against every kind of revolution, and in favor of passive obedience to the civil rulers who gladly accepted it, and appealed again and again to Rom. 13:1, as the popes to Matt. 16:18, as if they contained the whole Scripture-teaching on obedience to authority. Melanchthon and Bucer fully agreed with Luther on this point; and the Lutheran Church has ever since been strictly conservative in politics, and indifferent to the progress of civil liberty. It is only in the nineteenth century that serfdom has been entirely abolished in Germany and Russia, and negro slavery in America.
The defeat of the Peasants’ War marks the end of the destructive tendencies of the Reformation, and the beginning of the construction of a new church on the ruins of the old.
* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.
412 De Wette, I. 588.
413 De Wette, I. 589, 600.
414 See his letter to Spalatin, May 14, in De Wette, II. 6.
415 On my last visit, July 31, 1886, I saw only scratches and disfigurements on the wall where the ink-spot was formerly pointed out. "No old reporter," says Köstlin, I. 472 sq., "knows any thing about the spot of the inkstand on the wall; the story arose probably from a spot of a different sort." Semler saw such an ink-spot at Coburg. The legend, however, embodies a true idea.
416 In Goethe’s Faust, Mephistopheles appears in the disguise of a poodle, the canis infernus, and is conjured by the sign of a cross:
"Bist du, Geselle,
Ein Flüchtling der Hölle?
So sieh diess Zeichen,
Dem sie sich beugen
Die schwarzen Schaaren ."
417 "Verachtung kann der stolze hoffährtige Geist nicht leiden."Tischreden. (LX. 75. Erl.-Frkf. ed.)
418 In the alphabetical index of the Erlangen-Frankfurt edition of Luther’s German Works, the title Teufel fills no less than ten closely printed pages (vol. LXVII. 243-253). His Table-Talk on the Devil occupies about 150 pages in vols. LIX. and LX. It is instructive and interesting to read it through. Michelet devotes a whole chapter to this subject (pp. 219-234). For a systematic view, see Köstlin, Luther’s Theologie, vol. II. 313 sq.; 351 sqq.
419 "Der Teufel ist ein trauriger Geist," he says in his Table-Talk (LX. 60), "und macht traurige Leute; darum kann er Fröhlichkeit nicht leiden. Daher kommt’s auch, dass er von der Musica aufs Weiteste fleuget; er bleibt nicht, wenn man singt, sonderlich geistliche Lieder. Also linderte David mit seiner Harfen dem Saul seine Anfechtung, da ihn der Teufel plagte."
420 Ein Polter-und Rumpel-Geist.
421 "Solche Wechselbälge [or Wechselkinder, changelings] und Kielkröpfe supponit Satan in locum verorum filiorum, und plaget die Leute damit. Denn diese Gewalt hat der Satan, dass er die Kinder auswechselt und einem für sein Kind einen Teufel in die Wiegen legt." Erl. ed., LX. 41.
422 De Wette, II. 21 sq.
423 "Bibliam Graecam et Hebraicam lego." To Spalatin, May 14 (De Wette, II. 6).
424 See Preface to the St. Louis ed. of Walch, XI. (1882), p. 1 sqq., and Köstlin, I. 486-489.
425 Both letters in Walch, XIX. 656 sqq.; Luther’s letter in De Wette, II. 112-115. Comp. Köstlin, I. 485 sq. The usual opinion that Albrecht revived the traffic in indulgences at Halle seems at least doubtful, and is denied by Albrecht Wolters in his Easter Program, Hat Cardinal Albrecht von Mainz im J. 1521 den Tetzel’schen Ablasshandel erneuert? Bonn, 1877 (pp. 24). He concludes: "Somit war der ’Abgott,’ welchen Luther bekämpfte, nicht die Erneuerung des Tetzel’schen Ablasshandels, sondern die Wiederaufrichtung der in Sachsen theils erloschenen, theils erlöschenden alten Ablasslehre, welche der Cardinal durch Ausstellung seiner mit Ablass begnadigten Reliquien zur Hebung des neuen Stifts und in der Stiftskirche zu Halle im Jahr 1521 versucht hat."
426 The testimony of the great philosopher Hegel is worth quoting. He says in his Philosophie der Geschichte, p. 503: "Luther hat die Autorität der Kirche verworfen und an ihre Stelle die Bibel und das Zeugniss des menschlichen Geistes gesetzt. Dass nun die Bibel selbst die Grundlage der christlichen Kirche geworden ist, ist von der grössten Wichtigkeit; jeder soll sich nun selbst daraus belehren, jeder sein Gewissen daraus bestimmen können. Diess ist die ungeheure Veränderung im Principe: die ganze Tradition und das Gebäude der Kirche wird problematisch und das Princip der Autorität der Kirche umgestossen. Die Uebersetzung, welche Luther von der Bibel gemacht hat, ist von unschätzbarem Werthe für das deutsche Volk gewesen. Dieses hat dadurch ein Volksbuch erhalten, wie keine Nation der katholischen Welt ein solches hat; sie haben wohl eine Unzahl von Gebetbüchlein, aber kein Grundbuch zur Belehrung des Volks. Trotz dem hat man in neueren Zeiten Streit deshalb erhoben, ob es zweckmässig sei, dem Volke die Bibel indie Hand zu geben; die wenigen Nachtheile, die dieses hat, werden doch bei weitem von den ungeheuren Vortheilen überwogen; die äusserlichen Geschichten, die dem Herzen und Verstande anstössig sein können, weiss der religiöse Sinn sehr wohl zu unterscheiden, und sich an das Substantielle haltend überwindet er sie." Froude (Luther, p. 42) calls Luther’s translation of the Bible "the greatest of all the gifts he was able to offer to Germany."
427 Hence repeatedly published from the remaining fragmentary MSS. in Upsala (Codex Argenteus, so called from its silver binding), Wolfenbüttel and Milan, by H. C. von Gabelenz and J. Loebe (1836), Massmann (1857), Bernhardt (1875), Stamm (1878), Uppström (1854-1868, the most accurate edition), R. Müller and H. Hoeppe (1881), W. W. Skeat (1882). Comp. also Jos. Bosworth, The Gothic and Anglo-Saxon Gospels in Parallel Columns with the Versions of Wycliffe and Tyndale, London, 2d ed., 1874 (with a fac-simile of the Codex Argenteus).
428 By P. Philipp Klimesch (librarian of the convent), Der Codex Teplensis, enthaltend "Die Schrift des newen Gezeuges." Aelteste deutsche Handschrift, welche den im 15 Jahrh. gedruckten deutschen Bibeln zu Grunde gelegen. Augsburg and München, 1881-1884, in 3 parts. The Codex contains also homilies of St. Augustin and St. Chrysostom, and seven articles of faith. The last especially have induced Keller and Haupt to assign the translation to Waldensian origin. But these Addenda are not uncatholic, and at most would only prove Waldensian or Bohemian proprietorship of this particular copy, but not authorship of the translation. See Notes below, p. 353.
429 See Dr. M. Rachel’s Gymnasial program: Ueber die Freiberger Bibelhandschrift, nebst Beiträgen zur Gesch. der vorlutherischen Bibelübersetzung, Freiberg, 1886 (31 pages).
430 This apocryphal Epistle was also included in the Albigensian (Romance) version of the 13th century, in a Bohemian version, and in the early English Bibles, in two independent translations of the 14th or 15th century, but not in Wiclif’s Bible. See Forshall and Maddan, Wycliffite Versions of the Bible (1850), IV. 438 sq.; Anger, Ueber den Laodicenerbrief (Leipzig, 1843); and Lightfoot, Com. on Ep. to the Colossians (London, 1875), p. 363 sq. On the other hand, the same pseudo-Pauline Epistle appears in many MSS. and early editions of the Vulgate, and in the German versions of Eck and Dietenberger. It can therefore not be used as an argument for or against the Waldensian hypothesis of Keller.
431 Ninety-seven editions of the Vulgate were printed between 1450 and 1500,—28 in Italy (nearly all in Venice), 16 in Germany, 10 in Basel, 9 in France. See Fritzsche in Herzogii, vol. VIII. 450.
432 In the royal library of Munich there are 21 MSS. of German versions of the Gospels and Epistles. The Gospels for the year were printed about 25 times before 1518; the Psalter about 13 times before 1513. See besides the works of Panzer, Kehrein, Keller, Haupt, above quoted, Alzog, Die deutschen Plenarien im 15. und zu Anfang des 16. Jahrh., Freiburg-i-B., 1874.
433 Luther’s use of the older German version was formerly ignored or denied, but has been proved by Professor Krafft of Bonn (1883). He adds, however, very justly (l.c. p. 19): "Es gereicht Luther zum grössten Verdienst, dass er auf den griechischen Grundtext zurückgegangen, den deutschen Wortschatz zunächst im N. T. wesentlich berichtigt, dann aber auch mit seiner Genialität bedeutend vermehrt hat." See Notes below, p. 352.
434 "Ich kann," he says in his Tischreden, "weder griechisch noch ebraeisch, ich will aber dennoch einem Ebraeer und Griechen ziemlich begegnen. Aber die Sprachen machen für sich selbst keinen Theologen, sondern sind nur eine Hülfe. Denn soll einer von einem Dinge reden, so muss er die Sache [Sprache?] zuvor wissen und verstehen." Erl.-Frkf. ed., vol. LXII. 313.
435 Under the title: Das Newe Testament Deutzsch. Wittemberg. With wood-cuts by Lucas Cranach, one at the beginning of each book and twenty-one in the Apocalypse. The chapter division of the Latin Bible, dating from Hugo a St. Caro, was retained with some paragraph divisions; the versicular division was as yet unknown (Robert Stephanus first introduced it in his Latin edition, 1548, and in his Greek Testament of 1551). The order of the Epistles is changed, and the change remained in all subsequent editions. Some parallel passages and glosses are added on the margin. It contained many typographical errors, a very curious one in Gal. 5:6: "Die Liebe, die durch den Glauben thaetig ist," instead of "Der Glaube, der durch die Liebe thätig ist."
A copy of this rare edition, without the full-page Apocalyptic pictures, but with the error just noticed, is in the Union Seminary Library, New York. It has the famous preface with the fling at the "rechte stroern Epistel" of St. James, which was afterwards omitted or modified.
436 The woodcuts were also changed. The triple papal crown of the Babylonian woman in Rev. 17 gave place to a simple crown.
437 Fritzsche (l.c., p. 549): "Vom N. T. sind von 1522-1533 ziemlich sicher 16 original Ausgaben nachgewiesen ... Die Nachdrucke belaufen sich auf ungefähr 54, wobei Augsburg mit 14, Strassburg mit 13, und Basel mit 12 vertreten ist."
438 Under the title: Biblia, das ist die gantze Heilige Schrift, Deutsch. Auffs neu zugericht. D. Mart. Luther. Wittemberg. Durch Hans Lufft, M.D.XLV. fol. with numerous woodcuts. A copy in the Canstein Bibelanstalt at Halle. The Union Theol. Seminary in New York has a copy of the edition of 1535 which bears this title: Biblia das ist die /gantze Heilige /Schrifft Deutsch./ Mart. Luth./ Wittemberg./ Begnadet mit Kür-/ furstlicher zu Sachsen /freiheit. /Gedruckt durch Hans Lufft./ M. D. XXXV. The margin is ornamented. Then follows the imprimatur of the Elector John Frederick of Saxony, a preface of Luther to the O. T., and a rude picture of God, the globe and paradise with Adam and Eve among trees and animals.
439 Republished with the greatest care by Bindseil & Niemeyer. See Lit., p. 340.
440 See Note at the end of the next section.
441 De Actis et Scriptis M. Lutheri ad Ann. 1522. Gieseler (IV. 65 sq.) quotes the whole passage in Latin.
442 The last edition of Dr. Eck’s Bible appeared in 1558, at Ingolstadt, Bavaria.
443 Ed. of 1535: der.
444 Ed. of 1535: nicht.
445 Later eds.: eine … schelle.
446 He could say with perfect truth: "Ich habe meine Ehre nicht gemeint, auch keinen Heller dafür genomen, sondern habe es zu Ehren gethan den lieben Christen und zu Ehren einem, der droben sitzt."
447 "Interim Biblia transferam, quanquam onus susceperim supra vires. Video nunc, quid sit interpretari, et cur hactenus a nullo sit attentatum, qui proficeretur nomen suum. [This implies his knowledge of older German translations which are anonymous.] Vetus Testamentum non potero attingere, nisi vobis praesentibus et cooperantibus."
448 "Ach Gott! wie ein gross und verdriesslich Werk ist es, die hebräischen Schreiber zu zwingen deutsch zu reden; wie sträuben sie sich und wollen ihre hebräische Art gar nicht verlassen und dem groben Deutschen nachfolgen, gleich als wenn eine Nachtigall ... sollte ihre liebliche Melodei verlassen und dem Kukuk nachsingen." Walch, XVI. 508. Comp. his letter to Spalatin about the difficulties in Job, Feb. 23, 1524, in De Wette, II. 486.
449 Luther’s copy of the Hebrew Bible is preserved in the Royal Library at Berlin. The editio princeps of the whole Hebrew Bible appeared 1488 (Soncino: Abraham ben Chayin de’ Tintori). A copy in possession of Dr. Ginsburg in England. See Stevens, l.c. p. 60. Portions had been printed before.
450 A copy of the Lyons ed. of 1519, and one of the Basel ed. of 1509, now in possession of the Brandenburg Provincial Museum at Berlin. Grimm, Gesch. d. luther. Bibelübers., p. 8, note.
451 Lyra acquired by his Postillae perpetuae in V. et N. Test. (first published in Rome, 1472, in 5 vols. fol., again at Venice, 1540) the title Doctor planus et utilis. His influence on Luther is expressed in the well-known lines:—
"Si Lyra non lyrasset,
Lutherus non saltasset ."
452 Greek and Latin, 2 vols. folio. The first part contains Preface, Dedication to Pope Leo X., and the Ratio seu Compendium verae Theologiae per Erasmum Roterodamum (120 pages); the second part, the Greek Text, with a Latin version in parallel columns, with brief introductions to the several books (565 pages). At the end is a Latin letter of Frobenius, the publisher, dated "Nonis Fehr. Anno M.D.XIX." A copy in the Union Theol. Seminary, New York. - Some say that Luther made use of Gerbel’s reprint of Erasmus, 1521. But Dr. Reuss of Strassburg, who has the largest collection and best knowledge of Greek Testaments, denies this. Gesch. der h. Schriften des N. T., 5th ed., II. 211, note.
453 See Schaff, Companion to the Greek Testament, etc., New York, 3d ed., 1888, pp. 229 sqq., and the facsimile of the Erasmian ed. on p. 532 sq. Tyndale’s English version was likewise made from Erasmus.
454 O. von Gebhardt, in his Novum Test. Graece et Germanice, Preface, p. xvi., says of the second ed. of Erasmus: "Die Zahl der Druckfehler ist so gross, dass ein vollständiges Verzeichniss derselben Seiten füllen würde." Comp. Scrivener, Introd. to the Criticism of the N. T., 3d ed. (1883), p. 432 sq.
455 It first appeared in the Frankfort edition of Luther’s Bible, 1574. The revised Luther-Bible of 1883 strangely retains the passage, but in small type and in brackets, with the note that it was wanting in Luther’s editions. The Probebibel departs only in a few places from the Erasmian text as followed by Luther: viz., Acts 12:25; Heb. 10:34; 1 John 2:23; Rev. 11:2. In this respect the German revision is far behind the Anglo-American revision of 1881, which corrects the Textus Receptus In about five thousand places.
456 He says in his Tischreden (Erl. ed., vol. lxii. 313): "Ich habe keine gewisse, sonderliche eigene Sprache im Deutschen [i.e., no special dialect], sondern brauche der gemeinen deutschen Sprache, dass mich Oberländer und Niederländer verstehen mögen. Ich rede nach der sächsischen Canzelei, welcher nachfolgen alle Fürsten und Könige in Deutschland. Alle Beichstädte, Fürstenhöfe schreiben nach der sächsischen und unseres Fürsten Canzelei, darumb ists auch die gemeinste deutsche Sprache. Kaiser Maximilian und Kurfürst Friedrich, Herzog zu Sachsen, etc., haben im römischen Reich die deutschen Sprachen [dialects] also in eine gewisse Sprache gezogen." Formerly the Latin was the diplomatic language in Germany. Louis the Bavarian introduced the German in 1330. The founder of the diplomatic German of Saxony was Elector Ernst, the father of Elector Friedrich. See Wilibald Grimm, Gesch. der luth. Bibelübersetzung (Jena, 1884), p. 24 sqq.
457 The same word silverling occurs once in the English version, Isa. 7:23, and is retained in the R. V. of 1885. The German Probebibel retains it in this and other passages, as Gen. 20:16; Judg. 9:4, etc.
458 See Grimm, Luther’s Uebersetzung der Apocryphen, in the "Studien und Kritiken" for 1883, pp. 376-400. He judges that Luther’s version of Ecclesiasticus (Jesus Sirach) is by no means a faithful translation, but a model of a free and happy reproduction from a combination of the Greek and Latin texts.
459 "Luther’s Sprache," says Jakob Grimm, In the Preface to his German Grammar, "muss ihrer edeln, fast wunderbaren Reinheit, auch ihres gewaltigen Einflusses halber für Kern und Grundlage der neuhochdeutschen Sprachniedersetzung gehalten werden, wovon bis auf den heutigen Tag nur sehr unbedeutend, meistens zum Schaden der Kraft und des Ausdrucks, abgewichen wordenist. Man darf das Neuhochdeutsche in der That als den protestantischen Dialekt bezeichnen, dessen freiheitathmende Natur längst schon, ihnen unbewusst, Dichter und Schriftsteller des katholischen Glaubens überwältigte. Unsere Sprache ist nach dem unaufhaltsamen Laufe der Dinge in Lautverhältnissen und Formen gesunken; was aber ihren Geist und Leib genährt, verjüngt, was endlich Blüten neuer Poesie getrieben hat, verdanken wir keinem mehr als Luthern." Comp. Wetzel, Die Sprache Luthers in seiner Bibel, Stuttgart, 1850. Heinrich Rückert, Geschichte der neu-hochdeutschen Schriftsprache, II. 15-175. Opitz, Ueber die Sprache Luthers, Halle, 1869. Dietz, Wörterbuch zu Luther’s deutschen Schriften, Leipzig, 1870 sqq. Lehmann, Luthers Sprache in seiner Uebersetzung des N. T., Halle, 1873.
460 Annotationes des hochgel. und christl. doctors Hieronymi Emsers über Luthers neuw Testament, 1523. I have before me an edition of Freiburg-i.-B., 1535 (140 pages). Emser charges Luther with a thousand grammatical and fourteen hundred heretical errors. He suspects (p. 14) that he had before him "ein sonderlich Wickleffisch oder Hussisch Exemplar." He does not say whether he means a copy of the Latin Vulgate or the older German version. He finds (p. 17) four errors in Luther’s version of the Lord’s Prayer: 1, that he turned Vater unser into Unser Vater, against the German custom for a thousand years (but in his Shorter Catechism he retained the old form, and the Lutherans adhere to it to this day); 2, that he omitted der du bist; 3, that he changed the panis supersubstantialis (überselbständig Brot!) into panis quotidianus (täglich Brot); 4, that he added the doxology, which is not in the Vulgate. In our days, one of the chief objections against the English Revision is the omission of the doxology.
461 Das gantz New Testament: So durch den Hochgelerten L. Hieronymum Emser seligen verteutscht, unter des Durchlauchten Hochgebornen Fürsten und Herren Georgen Hertzogen zu Sachsen, etc., ausgegangen ist. Leipzig, 1528. The first edition appeared before Emser’s death, which occurred Nov. 8, 1527. I find in the Union Seminary four octavo copies of his N. T., dated Coln, 1528 (355 pp.), Leipzig, 1529 (416 pp.), Freiburg-i.-B. 1535 (406 pp.), Cöln, 1568 (879 pp.), and a copy of a fol. ed., Cologne, 1529 (227 pp.), all with illustrations and marginal notes against Luther. On the concluding page, it is stated that 607 errors of Luther’s are noted and corrected. The Cologne ed. of 1529 indicates, on the titlepage, that Luther arbitrarily changed the text according to the Hussite copy ("wie Martinus Luther dem rechten Text, dem huschischen Exemplar nach, seins gefallens ab und zugethan und verendert hab"). Most editions contain a Preface of Duke George of Saxony, in which he charges Luther with rebellion against all ecclesiastical and secular authority, and identifies him with the beast of the Apocalypse, Rev. 13 ("dass sein Mund wol genannt werden mag der Mund der Bestie von welcher Johannes schreibet in seiner Offenbarung am dreizehnten").
462 Dr. Döllinger, in his Reformation, vol. III. 139 sqq., 156 sqq., goes into an elaborate proof. In his Luther, eine Skizze (Freiburg-i. -B., 1851), p. 26, he calls Luther’s version "ein Meisterstück in sprachlicher Hinsicht, aber seinem Lehrbegriffe gemäss eingerichtet, und daher in vielen Stellen absichtlich unrichtig und sinnentstellend." So also Cardinal Hergenröther (Lehrbuch der allg. Kirchengesch., vol. III. 40, third ed. of 1886): "Die ganze Uebersetzung war ganz nach Luthers System zugerichtet, auf Verbreitung seiner Rechtfertigungslehre berechnet, oft durch willkührliche Entstellungen und Einschaltungen seinen Lehren angepasst."
463 By older and more recent Romanists, as Ward, Errata of the Protestant Bible, Dublin, 1810. Trench considers the main objections in his book on the Authorized Version and Revision, pp. 165 sqq. (in the Harper ed. of 1873). The chief passages objected to by Romanists are Heb. 13:4 (where the E. V. translates "Marriage is honorable in all" for "Let marriage be honorable among all"); 1 Cor. 11:27 ("and" for "or"); Gal. 5:6 ("faith which worketh by love;" which is correct according to the prevailing sense of ejnergei'sqai, and corresponds to the Vulgate operatur, against the Roman view of the passive sense, "wrought by love," in conformity with the doctrine of fides formata), and the rendering of eijdwlon by image, instead of idol. The E. V. has also been charged with a Calvinistic bias from its connection with Beza’s Greek text and Latin notes.
464 But he omitted allein in Gal. 2:16, where it might be just as well justified, and where the pre-Lutheran Bible reads "nur durch den Glauben." However correct in substance and as an inference, the insertion has no business in the text as a translation. See Meyer on Rom. 3:28, 5th ed., and Weiss, 6th ed. (1881), also my annotations to Lange on Romans (p. 136).
465 In his Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen, in the Erl.-Frkf. ed., vol. LXV., p. 107 sqq. It was published in September, 1530, with special reference to Emser, whom he does not name, but calls "the scribbler from Dresden" ("der dresdener Sudler").
466 The Revisers of the Probebibel retained the interpolated allein in Rom. 8:28, the nur in 4:15, and the incorrect rendering in 3:25,26,—a striking proof of Luther’s overpowering influence even over conscientious critical scholars in Germany. Dr. Grimm, the lexicographer (l.c., p. 48), unjustly censures Meyer and Stier for omitting the word allein. I have an old copy of Luther’s Testament, without titlepage, before me, where the word allein is printed in larger type with a marginal finger pointing to it.
467 The Prefaces are collected in the 7th volume of Bindseil’s edition of the Luther Bible, and in the 63d volume of the Erlangen ed. of Luther’s works. The most important is his preface to the Epistle to the Romans, and his most objectionable that to the Epistle of James.
468 He adds in the marginal note on Rev. 17: "Hie zeiget er die römische Kirche in ihrer Gestalt und Wesen, die verdammt soll werden." His friend Cranach, in the accompanying picture in the first ed., and also in the ed. of 1535, represents the harlot as riding on a dragon with a triple crown on her head.
469 Biblia beider Allt unnd Newen Testamenten, fleissig, treulich vn Christlich nach alter inn Christlicher Kirchen gehabter Translation, mit Ausslegung etlicher dunckeler ort und besserung vieler verrückter wort und sprüch ... Durch D. Johan Dietenberger, new verdeutscht. Gott zu ewiger ehre unnd wolfarth seiner heil. Christlichen Kirchen … Meynz, 1534, fol. From a copy in the Union Seminary (Van Ess library). Well printed and illustrated.
470 I have before me three copies of as many folio editions of Eck’s Bible, 1537, 1550, and 1558, bearing the title: Bibel Alt und New Testament, nach dem Text in der heiligen Kirchen gebraucht, durch Doctor Johan Ecken, mit fleiss, auf hochteutsch verdolmetscht, etc. They were printed at Ingolstadt, and agree in the number of pages (1035), and vary only in the date of publication. They contain in an appendix the Prayer of Manasseh, the Third Book of Maccabees, and the spurious Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans.
471 There is an Italian proverb that translators are traitors (Traduttori traditori). Jerome speaks of versiones which are eversiones. As Trench says, there are in every translation "unavoidable losses inherent in the nature of the task, in the relations of one language to the other, in the lack of accurate correlations between them, in the different schemes of their construction."
472 Hence the stiffness of literalism and the abundance of Latinisms in the Rhemish Version of the N. T. (first published in 1582, second ed. 1600, third ed. at Douay, 1621), such as "supersubstantial bread" for daily or needful bread (Jerome introduced supersubstantialis for the difficult ejpiouvsio" in the Lord’s Prayer, Matt. 6:11, but retained quotidianus in Luke), transmigration of Babylon, impudicity, coinquinations, postulations, agnition, cogitation, prepuce, pasche, exinanite, contristate, domesticals, exemplars of the coelestials, etc. Some of them have been silently removed in modern editions. The notes of the older editions abound in fulminations against heretics.
473 Under the title: Loci communes rerum theologicarum seu hypotyposes theologicae, Wittenberg, 1521. Bindseil puts the publication in December. I have a copy of the Leipzig ed. of M.D.LIX., which numbers 858 pages without indices, and bears the title: Loci Praecipui Theologici. Nunc denuo cura et diligentia summa recogniti, multisque in locis copiose illustrati, cum appendice disputationis de conjugio, etc.
474 See his ethical writings in vol. XVI. of his Opera, in the "Corp. Reform.," and a discussion of their merits in Wuttke’s Handbuch der christl. Sittenlehre, 3d ed. (1874), I. 148 sqq.
475 See his letters to his friend Camerarius, 2 Sept. 1535 ("Corp. Ref." II. 936), and Dec. 24, 1535 (ib. II. 1027): "Ego nunc in meis Locis multa mitigavi." ... "In Locis meis videor habere deutevra" frontivda"." His letters are interspersed with Greek words and classical reminiscences.
476 Loc. Theol., 1521 A.7: "Quandoquidem omnia quae eveniunt, necessario juxta divinam praedestinationem eveniunt, nulla est voluntatis nostrae libertas." He refers to Rom. 9 and 11 and Matt. 10:29.
477 In his Com. in Ep. ad Roman., 1524, cap. 8: "Itaque sit haec certa sententia, a Deo fieri omnia tam bona quam mala ... Constat Deum omnia facere non permissive sed potenter,—ita ut sit ejus proprium opus Judae proditio, sicut Pauli vocatio." Luther published this commentary without Melanchthon’s knowledge, and humorously dedicated it to him.
478 Invictus libellus non solum immortalitate, sed quoque canone ecclesiastico dignus."In the beginning of De Servo Arbitrio (1525), against Erasmus.
479 He says in his Tischreden (Erl. ed., LIX. 278 sq.): "Wer itzt ein Theologus will werden, der hat grosse Vortheil. Denn erstlich hat er die Bibel, die ist nu so klar, dam er sie kann lesen ohne alle Hinderung. Darnach lese er darzu die locos communes Philippi; die lese er fleissig und wohl, also dass er sie gar im Kopfe habe. Wenn er die zwei Stücke hat, so ist er ein Theologus, dem weder der Teufel noch kein Ketzer etwas abbrechen kann, und ihm stehet die ganze Theologia offen, dass er Alles, was er will, darnach lesen kann ad aedificationem. Und wenn er will, so mag er auch dazu lesen Philippi Melanchthonis Commentarium in Epistolam Pauli ad Romanos. Lieset er alsdenn darzu meinen commentarium in Epistolam ad Galatas und in Deuteronomium, so gebe ich ihm denn eloquentiam et copiam verborum. Ihr findet kein Buch unter allen seinen Büchern, da die summa religionis oder die ganze Theologia so fein bei einander ist, als in den locis communibus. Leset alle Patres und Sententiarios, so ist es doch Alles nichts dagegen. Non est melior liber post scripturam sanctam, quam ipsius loci communes. Philippus ist enger gespannet denn ich; ille pugnat et docet; ich bin mehr ein Rhetoricus oder ein Wäscher [Deutscher?]"
480 Eck’s Loci Communes adversus Lutheranos, Landshut, 1525, passed through many editions.
481 Melanchthon was simply professor, first of Greek, then of theology. Calvin was destined by his father for the clerical profession, and he received the tonsure; but there is no record of his ordination for the priesthood.
482 Kampschulte, l.c., II. 117 sqq., gives a full account of this Pfaffenstum and its consequences.
483 See his letters to Melanchthon and Spalatin, in De Wette, II. 7sq., 31. To the latter he wrote: "Erfordiae Satanas suis studiis nobis insidiatus est, ut nostros mala fama inureret, sed nihil proficiet: non sunt nostri, qui haec faciunt."
484 Letter to Lange, March 28, 1522, in De Wette, II. 175.
485 Libellus de Canonicis Scripturis, Wittenb. 1520; also in German: Welche Bücher heilig und biblisch seind. Comp. Weiss, Einleitung in’s N. T. (1886), p. 109, and Reuss, Histoire du Canon (1863), 357 sqq. (Hunter’s translation, p. 336 sq.)
486 Marcus (Marx) Thomä and Stübner are not two distinct persons, but identical. See Köstlin’s note, vol. I. 804 sq.
487 In De Wette, II. 137-141. De Wette calls the letter "ein bewunderungswürdiges Denkmal des hohen Glaubensmuthes, von welchem Luther erfüllt war."
488 De Wette, II. 141-144.
489 Published by Bernet, Joh. Kessler genannt Athenarius, St. Gallen, 1826, and more fully by E. Götzinger in Kessler’s Sabbata, St. Gallen, 1866 and 1868, 2 parts. See a good account in Hagenbach’s Ref. Gesch., pp. 141 sqq. In the Schwarze Bär hotel at Jena, where I stopped a few days in July, 1886, the "Lutherstube" is still shown with the likeness of Luther an old Bible, and Kessler’s report.
490 See the description of Mosellanus, p. 180.
491 "Mit tiefen, schwarzen Augen und Braunen blinzend und zwitzerlnd wie ein Stern, dass die nit wohl mögen angesehen werden."
492 Köstlin, I. 536, with references, p. 805.
493 The ajlhqeuvein ejn ajgavph/, Eph. 4:15.
494 Erl. ed., XXVIII. 219 and 260 (second sermon). The allusion to the drinking of "Wittenbergisch Bier mit meinem Philippo und Amsdorf" (p. 260) is omitted in the shorter edition, which has instead: "wenn ich bin guter Dinge gewesen" (p. 219).
495 Luther speaks favorably of him, and recommended him to a pastoral charge at Altenburg. See his letters in De Wette, II. 170, 183, 184.
496 He published at Nürnberg, 1524, a self-defense "Wider das geistlose sanftlebende Fleisch zu Wittenberg," and called Luther an "Arch-heathen," "Arch-scamp," "Wittenberg Pope," "Babylonian Woman," "Dragon," "Basilisk," etc.
497 Nevertheless, in 1526 he invited Luther and his wife, Melanchthon and Jonas, as sponsors at the baptism of a new-born son in the village of Segren near Wittenberg. He lived after his return from exile in very humble circumstances, barely making a living from the sale of cakes and beer.
498 His writings against Carlstadt, in Walch, X., XV., and XX., and in Erl. ed., LXIV. 384-408. His book Wider die himmlischen Propheten (1525) is chiefly directed against Carlstadt. In the Table Talk (Erl. ed., LXI. 911 he calls Carlstadt and Münzer incarnate devils.
499 Ranke (Päpste, I. 60): "Adrian war von durchaus unbescholtenem Ruf: rechtschaffen, fromm, thätig; sehr ernsthaft, man sah ihn nie anders als leise mit den Lippen lächeln; aber voll wohlwollender, reiner Absichten: ein wahrer Geistlicher. Welch ein Gegensatz, als er nun dort einzog, wo Leo so prächtig und verschwenderisch Hof gehalten! Es existirt ein Brief von ihm, in welchem er sagt: er möchte lieber in seiner Propstei zu Löwen Gott dienen als Papst sein." Pallavicino calls him "ecclesiastico ottimo, pontifide mediocre."
500 "Ut primum curia haec, unde forte omne hoc malum processit, reformetur." See the instruction in Raynaldus, ad ann. 1522, Tom. XI. 363. Luther published it with sarcastic comments. Pallavicino charges Adrian with exaggeration and want of prudence, which he thought was "often more important for the public good than personal holiness." See Hergenröther, III. 43.
501 See details in Ranke, II., 108 sqq. and in Janssen, II., 336 sqq.
502 Pallavicino and Hergenröther (III. 41) show that Leo conferred the title in a bull of Oct. 11, 1521, and that Clement confirmed it in a bull of March 5, 1523.
503 Especially in the German edition of his reply, where Henry is styled not only a gekrönter Esel (crowned donkey) and elender Narr (miserable fool), but even a verruchter Schurke, unverschämter Lügner, Gotteslästerer, etc ."I say it before all the world, that the King of England is a liar and no gentleman (ein Unbiedermann)." He makes fun of his title "Defender of Faith." The papists who deny Christ may need such a defender; but "the true church disdains a human patron, and sings, ’Dominus mihi adjutor’ (Ps. 9:10), and ’Nolite confidere in principibus’ (Ps. 118:8, 9)." In conclusion he apologizes for his violence, because he had to deal with "unvernünftigen wilden Ungeheuern." Card. Hergenröther (Kirchengesch. III. 41, 3d, 1886) says: "Luther antwortete in der gemeinsten und boshaftesten Weise, die Grobheit zur Classicität ausbildend."
504 Wider Hanswurst, 1541.
505 He wrote in March: "Ego jam alteris literis in Angliam vocor" (Op. II 708).
506 His double name is a Latin and Greek translation of his father’s Christian name Gerard (Roger), or Gerhard = Gernhaber or Liebhaber,i.e., Beloved, in mediaeval Latin Desiderius, in Greek Erasmus, or rather Erasmius from jEravsmio" Lovely. He found out the mistake when he became familiar with Greek, and accordlingly gave his godson, the son of his publisher Froben, the name John Erasmius (Erasmiolus). In dedicating to him an improved edition of his Colloquies (1524), he calls this book "ejravsmion, the delight of the Muses who foster sacred things." " He was equally unfortunate in the additional epithet Roterodamus, instead of Roterodamensis. But he was innocent of both mistakes.
507 Drummond (II. 337) calls Erasmus "the greatest luminary of his age, the greatest scholar of any age." But his learning embraced only the literature in the Greek and Latin languages.
508 His father was ordained a priest after the birth of Erasmus; for he says that he lived with Margaret "spe conjugii," and became a priest in Rome on learning from his parents, who were opposed to the marriage, the false report that his beloved Margaret was dead.
509 He says in his autobiographical sketch: "Natus Roterodami vigilia Simonis et Judæ circa annum 67, supra millesimum quadringentesimum." His friend and biographer, Beatus Rhenanus, did not know the year of his birth. His epitaph in Basel gives 1466; the inscription on his statue at Rotterdam gives 1467; the historians vary from 1464 to 1469. Bayle, Burigny, Müller, and Drummoud (I. 3 sq.) discuss the chronology.
510 He calls himself, in his autobiographical sketch, "dignitatum ac divitiarum perpetuus contemptor."
511 J. H. Lupton: A Life of John Colet, D. D., Dean of St. Paul’s and Founder of St. Paul’s School. London, 1887.
512 He dictated these lines to his friend Amerbach on departing:
"Jam Basilea vale! qua non urbs altera multis
Annis exhibuit gratius hospitium.
Hinc precor omnia laeta tibi, simul illud,
ErasmoHospes uti ne unquam tristior adveniat ."
513 "O Jesu, misericordia; Domine, libera me; Domine, fac finem; Domine, miserere mei;" and in German or Dutch, Lieber God (Gott)!—Beatus Rhenanus, in Vita Er.
514 Drummond, II. 338-340, gives the document in full.
515 See the interesting description of his face by Lavater in his Physiognomik, quoted by Ad. Müller, p. 108, and Hagenbach, K. Gesch., III. 50. There are several portraits of him,—by Matsys (1517), Dürer (1523), and, the best, by Holbein who painted him repeatedly at Basel.
516 In thanking Archbishop Warham of Canterbury for the present of a horse, he thus humorously describes the animal: "I have received the horse, which is no beauty, but a good creature notwithstanding; for he is free from all the mortal sins, except gluttony and laziness; and he is adorned with all the virtues of a good confessor, being pious, prudent, humble, modest, sober, chaste, and quiet, and neither bites nor kicks." To Polydore Virgil, who sent him money to procure a horse, he replied, "I wish you could give me any thing to cure the rider." ("Dedisti quo paretur equus, utinam dare possis quo reparetur eques." —Op. III. 934.)
517 … "ne cui sit ansa calumniandi. Tametsi suspicor codicem illum ad nostros esse correctum."—Opera, VI. 1080. The Codex Montfortianus, now in Dublin, was probably written between 1519-1522, and the disputed passage interpolated with the purpose of injuring the reputation of Erasmus. See J. R. Harris, The Origin of the Leicester Codex of the N. Test., London and Cambridge, 1887, p. 46 sqq.
518 De genuina verborum Domini: Hoc est corpus meum, etc., juxta vetustissimos auctores expositione liber. Basil., 1525.
519 .. See the Preface to his edition of St. Hilary on the Trinity, published at Basel, 1523.
520 "Fortasse latius se fundit spiritus Christi quam nos interpretamur, et multi sunt in consortio sanctorum qui non sunt apud nos in catalogo."—Coll., in the conversation entitled Convivium Religiosum.
521 He himself alludes to this saying: "Ego peperi ovum, Lutherus exclusit" (Op. III. 840), but adds, "Egoposui ovum gallinaceum, Lutherus exclusit pullum longe dissimillimum."
522 Des. Erasmi Epistola ad quosdam impudentissimos Graculos (jackdaws). Op. IX. Pars II. (or vol. X.), p. 1745; Drummond, II. 265 sq.
523 On this see the critical introductions to the New Testament; Scrivener’s Introd. to the Criticism of the N. T., 3d ed., pp. 429-434; Schaff’s Companion to the Greek Test., 3d ed., pp. 229-232; and Drummond, I. 308 sqq.
524 The last edition before me, Adagiorum Chiliades ... ex officina Frobenia, 1536, contains 1087 pages folio, with an alphabetical index of the Proverbs. See vol. II. of the Leiden ed. For extracts see Drummond, I. ch. X.
525 Mwrivas jEgkwvmion, id est Stultitiae Laus, first printed 1510 or 1511. Op. IV. 405-507. There is a neat edition of the Encomium and the Colloquia by Tauchnitz, Leipzig, 1829. Drummond (I. 184 sqq.) gives a good summary of the contents.
526 The work which appeared in 1518 under this title, with a preface of Rhenanus, was disclaimed by Erasmus, except some portions which he had dictated more than twenty years previously to a pupil in Paris by way of amusement. He compared it to an ass in a lion’s skin. The Colloquia are printed in Opera, I. 624-908. I have an edition cum notis selectis variorum accurante Corn. Schrevelio. Lugd., Bat. Bailey’s translation, London, 1724, republished 1878, reproduces in racy colloquial English the idiomatic and proverbial Latinisms of the original.
527 In the dialogue Virgo misovgamo", the maiden Catharine, who had resolved to become a nun, is advised by her lover Eubulus that she may keep her chastity more safely at home; for the monks were by no means all " eunuchs,"but often do all they can to deserve their name " fathers."("Patres vocantur, ac frequenter efficiunt, ut hoc nomen vere competat in ipsos.") She is also told that " all are not virgins who wear the veil, unless there be many in our days who share the pecular privilege of the Virgin Mary, of being a virgin after childbirth."The maiden admits the force of her lover’s arguments, but refuses to be convinced. In the colloquy that follows, entitled Virgo poenitens, she acknowledges the wisdom of the advice when it was too late. She had scarcely been twelve days in the nunnery before she entreated her mother, and then her father, to take her home if they wished to save her life.
528 The Epistolae in Froben’s ed. of 1540, Tom. III. fol. (1213 pp.), with his preface, dated Freiburg, 1529; in Le Clerk’s ed., Tom. III. Pars I. and II. There is also a fine edition of the collected epistles of Erasmus, Melanchthon, Thomas More, and Lud. Vives, London, 1642, 2 vols. fol. 2146 and 116 pages, with a good portrait of Erasmus (a copy in the Union Seminary). Recent additions have been made by Horawitz (Erasmiana, 1883 sqq.). Jortin and Drummond give many extracts from the epistles.
529 Erasmus well defines it in the dedicatory preface ad Card. Grimanum, before the Pauline Epistles: "hiantia committere, abrupta mollire, confusa digerere, evoluta evolvere, nodosa explicare, obscuris lucem addere, hebraismum romana civitate donare ... et ita temperare paravfrasinne fiat parafrovnhsi", h. e. sic aliter dicere ut non dicas alia."
530 Opera, vol. V. 57 sqq.
531 Usually translated "The Manual of a Christian Soldier;" but ejgceirivdionmeans also a dagger, and he himself explains it, "Enchiridion, hoc est, pugiunculum."Op. V. 1-65. The first English translation (1533) is believed to be by William Tyndale, the translator of the New Testament. Another, with notes, which I have before me, is by Philip Wyatt Crowther, Esq., London, 1816, under the title "The Christian’s Manual," etc.
532 On the disputed date see Drummond, I. 122.
533 "Videor mihi fere omnia docuisse quae docet Lutherus, nisi quod non tam atrociter, quodque abstinui a quibusdam aenigmatibus et paradoxis." In Zwingli’s Opera, ed. Schuler and Schulthess, vol. VII. 310.
534 After the bull of excommunication, it required special permission to read the books of the heretic. In a letter to Bombasius, Sept. 23, 1521, Erasmus says that he begged Jerome Aleander for permission, but was denied unless he were to obtain it in express words from the Pope. Drummond, II. 85 sq.
535 Ems., Epist. 427. See the first letter of Luther (March 28, 1519), the reply of Erasmus (May 30), and a second letter of Luther (April, 1524), and the reply of Erasmus (May 5), in Latin in Er. Epist., in German in Walch, vol. XVIII., 1944 sqq., and in the Appendix to Müller’s Erasmus, pp. 385-395. The two letters of Luther to Erasmus are also given in Latin by De Wette, I. 247-249, and II. 498-501.
536 See p. 232.
537 The edict was passed May 26, 1521, but dated back May 8. (See p. 318.)
538 Erasmus had disowned the poor fugitive Hutten, who turned on him like a wild beast in his Expostulatio cum Erasmo, published at Strasburg, July, 1523. Erasmus wrote to Pirkheimer, "Emoriar si crediturus eram, in universis Germanis esse tantum inhumanitatis, impudentiae, vanitatis, virulentiae quantum habet unus libellus Hutteni." He answered by Spongia Erasmi adversus Adspergines Ulrici Hutteni, Basel, 1523. (Opera, vol. IX. Pars II. 1631-73). Luther judged: "I am not pleased with Hutten’s attack, but still less with Erasmus’s reply." The Expostulatio and the Spongia were also translated into German. See on this bitter personal controversy, Strauss, Ulrich von Hutten, pp. 448-484; and Drummond, II. 120 sqq.
539 Opera Zw., VII. 263.
540 He wrote him a very respectful letter, March 28, 1519, thanking him for his great services to the cause of letters, and congratulating him for being heartily abused by the enemies of truth and light. Even in his book against Erasmus (De Servo Arbitrio), he says at the beginning: "Viribus eloquentiae et ingenio me longissime superas." And towards the close: "Fateor, tu magnus es et multis iisque nobilissimis dotibus a Deo ornatus ... ingenio, eruditione, facundia usque ad miraculum. Ego vero nihil habeo et sum, nisi quod Christianum esse me glorier."Op. Lat. VII. 367 (Erl. Frcf. ed.).
541 See his letters to Lange and Spalatin in De Wette, I. 39 sq., 52; 87 sq. To Lange he wrote; "Ich fürchte, Erasmus breitet Christum und die Gnade Gottes nicht genug aus, von der er gar wenig weiss. Das Menschliche gilt mehr bei ihm als das Göttliche."
542 De Wette, II. p. 352 sqq.
543 In De Wette, II. 498 sq. Erasmus answered, May 5, 1524.
544 Köstlin (I. 773) says that it is not surpassed by any work of Luther, "for energy and acuteness." But Döllinger and Janssen (II. 379) judge that Luther borrowed it from the Koran rather than from the New Testament.
545 "Ipsa ratione teste nullum potest esse liberum arbitrium in homine vel angelo aut ulla creatura."Op. Lat. VII. 366.
546 "Multa facit Deus quae verbo suo non ostendit nobis, multa quoque vult, quae verbo suo non ostendit sese velle. Sic non vult mortem peccatoris, verbo scilicet, vult autem illam voluntate illa imperscrutabili." Vol. VII. p. 222. Erl. ed. Op. Lat. The scholastic divines made a similar distinction between the voluntas signi and the voluntas beneplaciti.
547 In 1537 he wrote to Capito, "Nullum agnosco meum justum librum nisi forte De Servo Arbitrio et Catechismum." De Wette, V. 70. In the Articles of Smalkald he again denied the freedom of the will as a scholastic error; and in his last work, the Commentary on Genesis vi:6, and xxvi, he reaffirmed the distinction of the secret and revealed will of God, which we are unable to harmonize, but for this reason he deems it safest to adhere to the revealed will and to avoid speculations on the impenetrable mysteries of the hidden will. "Melius et tutius est consistere ad praesepe Christi hominis; plurimum enim periculi in eo est, si in illos labyrinthos divinitatis te involvas." On Gen. 6:6, in the Erl. ed. of Exeg. Opera, II. 170.
548 Form. Conc., Art. II. and XI. See Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, I. 313 sq.
549 Ibid., I. 102 sqq. Among the condemned propositions of Quesnel are these: "The grace of Christ is necessary for every good work; without it nothing can be done.""The will of man, before conversion by prevenient grace, is capable of all evil and incapable of good."
550 When he heard of it in 1531, he wrote to a friend, "It is a good thing that two of their leaders have perished,—Zwingli on the battle-field, and Oecolampadius shortly after of fever and abscess."—Op. III. 1422.
551 He gives a deplorable picture of the demoralizing effects of the Reformation in a letter to Geldenhauer in 1526, Opera X. 1578-1580, quoted in full in Latin and German by Döllinger, Die Reformation, I. 13-15. The Strasburg preachers, Capito, Bucer, and Hedio, tried to refute the charges in 1530. Erasmus again came out with the charge, among others, that luxury was never greater, nor adulteries more frequent, than among the self-styled evangelicals, and appeals in confirmation to admissions of Luther, Melanchthon, and Oecolampadius. Some of his last letters, discovered and published by Horawitz (Erasmiana, 1885, No. IV. p. 44 sqq.), contain similar complaints.
552 In his letter to Link, March 7, 1529 (in De Wette, III. 426 sq.), he calls Erasmus "a[qeon, Lucianumque, Epicurum," and in a letter to his son John, 1533 (De Wette, IV. 497), he says: "Erasmus, hostis omnium religiorum et inimicus singularis Christi, Epicuri Lucianique perfectum exemplar et idea." Comp. his judgments in the Tischreden, LXI. 93-113 (Erl. ed.).
553 See his letter to Caspar Börner, professor of literature in Leipzig, May 28, 1522, in De Wette, II. 199-201. The letter was intended also for Erasmus, and printed under the title, "Judicium D. M. Lutheri de Erasmo Roterodamo. Epistola ad amicum 1522." He says that he would not provoke Erasmus, but was not afraid of his attack.
554 Döllinger gives, from the R. Catholic standpoint, a full account of these scholars in the first volume of his work on the Reformation (Regensburg, 1846). On Wizel we have an interesting university program of Neander: Commentatio de Georgio Vicelio. Berlin, 1840. Strauss notices several of them from the rationalistic standpoint, in his Ulrich von Hutten.
555 On his literary labors, see Karl Hagen, l.c., I. 280 sqq.
556 He tells in his narrative the following anecdote of a brave and quick-witted Swiss maiden. When asked by the imperial soldiers, "What are the Swiss guards doing on their post?" she replied, "Waiting for you to attack them." — "How strong is their number?" — "Strong enough to throw you all back." — " But how strong?" — "You might have counted them in the recent fight, but fright and flight made you blind." —" What do they live of?" — "Of eating and drinking." The soldiers laughed, but one drew his sword to kill her. "Verily," she said, "you are a brave man to threaten an unarmed girl. Go and attack yonder guard, who can answer you with deeds instead of words." Comp. Münch, W. P.’s Schweizerkrieg und Ehrenhandel. Basel, 1826. Drews, l.c., p. 10.
557 Unfortunately his moral character was not free from blemish. He became a widower in 1504, and lived in illicit intercourse with his servant, who bore him a son when he was already past fifty. Christoph Scheurl wrote: "I wish Melanchthon knew Pirkheimer better: he would then be more sparing in his praise. With the most he is in bad repute." See K. Hagen, l.c., I. 347, and Drews, l.c., 14 sq.
558 Eccius dedolatus (Der abgehobelte Eck). Auctore Ioanne Francisco Cottalambergio, Poëta Laureato. 1520. See p. 182.
559 Bilibaldi Birckheimheri de vera Christi carne et vero ejus sanguine, ad Ioan. Oecolampadium responsio. Norembergae, 1526. Bilibaldi Pirckheymeri de vera Christi carne, etc., reponsio secunda. 1527. I give the titles, with the inconsistencies of spelling from original copies in the Union Theol. Seminary. Pirkheimer calls Oecolampadius (his Greek name for Hausschein, House-lamp) "Coecolampadius" (Blindschein, Blind-lamp), and deals with him very roughly. Drews (pp. 89-110) gives a full account of this unprofitable controversy.
560 Comp. Döllinger, Die Reform. i. 174-182.
561 Hans Sachs (in his Gespräch eines evang. Christen mit einem katholischen, Nürnberg, 1524) warns the Nürnbergers against their excesses of intemperance, unchastity, uncharitableness, by which they brought the Lutheran doctrine into contempt. Döllinger, l.c., I. 174 sqq., quotes testimonies to the same effect from Konrad Wickner and Lazarus Spengler, both prominent Protestants in Nürnberg, and from contemporaries in other parts of Germany.
562 Döllinger, I. p. 533 sq., gives this letter in Latin and German, and infers from it that Pirkheimer died a member of the Catholic Church.
563 This is substantially also the judgment of Drews, his most recent biographer, who says (l.c., p. 123): "Pirkheimer ist jeder Zeit Humanist geblieben ... In der Theorie war er ein Anhänger der neuen, gewaltigen Bewegung; aber als dieselbe anfing praktisch zu werden, erschrak er vor den Gährungen, die unvermeidlich waren. Der Humanist sah die schönen Wissenschaften bedroht; der Patrizier erschrak vor der Übermacht des Volkes; der Staatsmann erzitterte, als er den Bruch mit den alten Verhältnissen als eine Notwendigkeit fühlte. Nur ein religiös fest gegründeter Glaube war im Stande, über diesen Kämpfen den Sieg und den Frieden zu sehen. Daran aber fehlte es gerade Pirkheimer; alles theologische Interesse vermag dieses persönliche religiöse Leben nicht zu ersetzen. Wohl besass er ein lebendiges Rechtsgefühl, einen ethischen Idealismus, aber es fehlte ihm die Kraft, im eignen Leben denselben zu verwirk-lichen. Ihm war das Leben ein heiteres Spiel, solange die Tage sonnenhell waren; als sie sich umdüsterten, wollten sich die Wolken weder hinwegscherzen, noch hinwegschmähen lassen. Ein religiös, sittlicher Charakter war Pirkheimer nicht, ’Vivitur ingenio, caetera mortis erunt,’ diese Worte hat er unter sein von Dürer gezeichnetes Bild (1524) gesetzt. Sie enthalten das Glaubensbekenntnis Pirkheimers, das Geheimnis seines Lebens."
564 Ranke (II. 126): "Dass Münzer und Karlstadt, und zwar nicht ohne Zuthun Luthers, endlich aus Sachsen entfernt wurden, trug zur Ausbreitung und Verstärkung dieser Bewegung ungemein bei. Sie wandten sich beide nach Oberdeutschland." Ranke attributes too much influence to Carlstadt’s false doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, which he published after his expulsion.
565 So called from the tied shoe which the peasants wore as a symbol of subjection, in contrast to the buckled shoe of the upper classes.
566 On the connection of the earlier peasants’ insurrections with the movements preparatory to the Reformation, compare Ullmann’s essay on Hans Böheim of Niklashausen, in his Reformatoren vor der Reformation, vol. I. 419-446.
567 They are given In German by Walch, Strobel, Oechsle, Gieseler, Weber. The authorship is uncertain. It is ascribed to Christoph Schappeler, a native Swiss, and preacher at Memmingen; but also to Heuglin of Lindau, Habmeier, and Münzer. See the note of Ranke, II. 135.
568 Kurzum, eitel Teufelswerk treiben sie, und insonderheit ists der Erzteufel, der zu Mühlhausen regiert [Münzer],und nichts denn Raub, Mord, Blutvergiessen anricht, wie denn Christus von ihm sagt, Joh. 8:44, dass er sei ein Mörder von Anbeginn."Erl. ed., XXIV. 288.
569 "Darum, lieben Herren, löset hie, rettet hie, erbarmet euch der armen Leute [i.e., not the peasants, but the poor people deluded by them]; steche, schlage, würge hie wer da kann. Bleibst du darüber todt: wohl dir, seliglicheren Tod kannst du nimmermehr überkommen. Denn du stirbst im Gehorsam göttlichs Worts und Befehls, Rom. 13:1." ... "So bitte ich nun, fliche von den Bauern wer da kann, als vom Teufel selbst."Ibid., xxiv. 294. In his explanatory tract, p. 307, this passage is repeated more strongly."Der halsstarrigen, verstockten, verblendeten Bauern erbarme sich nur niemand, sondern haue, steche, würge, schlage drein, als unter die tollen Hunde, wer da kann und wie er kann. Und das alles, auf dass man sich derjenigen erbarme, die durch solche Bauern verderbt, verjagt und verführt werden, dass man Fried und Sicherheit erhalte."
570 Ibid., 298, 303, 307. See preceding note.
571 Bishop Georg of Speier estimated the number of the killed at a hundred and fifty thousand. This does not include those who were made prisoners, beheaded, and hanged, or dreadfully mutilated. A hangman in the district of Würzburg boasted that he had executed by the sword three hundred and fifty in one month. Margrave George of Brandenburg had to remind his brother Casimir, that, unless he spared some peasants, they would have nothing to live on. Janssen, II. 563.
572 Letter of Aug. 16, 1525, to Brismann (in De Wette, III. 22): "Rusticorum res quievit ubique, caesis ad centum millia, tot orphanis factis, reliquis vero in vita sic spoliatis, ut Germaniae facies miserior nunquam fuerit. Ita saeviunt victores, ut impleant suas iniquitates."
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