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were piercing and full of fire; his voice was sweet, and vehement, when once fairly raised'; he had a stern countenance ; and, though most intrepid and high spirited, he could assume the appearance of modesty and humility whenever he pleased, which, however, was not often the case. By friends and enemies, he was acknowledged as a man of great learning, and elegant taste, and pre-eminent above all others, as a popular preacher and teacher of philosophy.
His piety kept pace with his learning and popularity. In 1516 we find him thus writing to a friend. 66 I desire to know what your soul is doing; whether, wearied at length of its own righteousness, it learns to refresh itself, and to trust in the righteousness of Christ.”-Remarkable language for that period.
While he was filling the highly important station, to which providence had raised him, with great credit to himself and his country, and gaining more and more knowledge of the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, John Tetzel appeared, in the year 1517, in the neighbourhood of Wittemberg, selling indulgences.* To this office that bold dominican inquisitor had been delegated by Albert, Archbishop of Mentz,. to whom the indulgences had been sent by Leo X.
Had Tetzel been of a mild and timid spirit, the reformation. might have been delayed another century; but he was a man of uncommon boldness and impudence, just calculated to rouse the indignation of Luther. He was indeed a veteran in the traffic.. Ten years before, he had collected 2000 forins in the
of two days; and he boasted that, by his indulgences, he had saved more souls from hell than ever St. Peter converted by his preaching. The following was one of his abominable articles of traffic. 66 May our Lord Jesus Christ,. have mercy upon thee, and absolve thee by the merits of his most holy passion. And I, by his authority, that of his Apostles Peter and Paul, and of the
According to a book, called the Tax book of the sacred Roman ehancery, containing the exact sums demanded for the remission of sins, we find the following fees. For simony,
most holy Pope, granted and committed to me in these parts, do absolve thee first, from all ecclesiastical censures, in whatever manner they bave been incurred, and then from all the sins, transgressions and excesses how enormous soever they may be, even such as are reserved for the cognizance of the Holy See, and as far as the keys of the Holy Church extend; I remit to thee all the punishment which thou deservest in purgatorty on their account; and I restore thee to the holy sacraments of the Church, to the unity of the faithful, and to that innocence and purity which thou possessed at baptism; so that when thou diest, the gates of punishment shall be shut, and the gates of the paradise of delight shall be opened; and if thou shall not die at present, this grace shall remain in full force when thou art at the point of death. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Another related to the deliverance of departed friends from the fire of purgatory; and such was the grossness of this man, that he would publicly say, “ The moment the money tinkles in the chest, your father's soul mounts out of purgatory."
The prices of these indulgences varied according to the circumstances and crimes of the purchasers. For the better sale of them, whole districts of country were farmed out to the highest bidders. These were often men of the most licentious characters, who, after they had quieted the consciences of thousands in sin, spent their nights in riot and voluptuosness. John Tetzel was a common adulterer.*
When Tetzel appeared in Saxony, vast crowds flocked from all parts of the country to purchase indulgences. The spectacle grieved the spirit of Luther, and he gently remonstrated against it from the pulpit of Wittemberg. The least opposition was sufficient to rouse the haughty spirit of Tetzel. He stormed and raged, and constructed a pile of wood, and set it on fire, to
* That the Protestant reader may see to what extent this sale has been carried on since the reformation, in Popish countries, and how much we are indebted to Martin Luther; the following fact is added, as given by Milner. "In the year 1709, the privateers of Bristol took a galleon, in which they found 500 bales of bulls, for indulgences, and 16 reams were in a bale. So that they reckon the whole came to 3,840,000, averaging in price, from 20 pence to eleven pounds." In Spain and Portugal, the traffic is still continued. In Spain, the King has the profits. In Portugal, the King and the Pope go shares.
A short time since, a gentleman, to ascertain the present state of things, went to the office at Naples, and for two sequins purchased a plenary remission of all sins for himself, and any two persons, whose names he should insert.
LUTHER OPPOSES TETZEL.
show what he would do to the man, who should dare call in question the holiness of his sales. The effect of this on Luther's mind, was to lead him to examine thoroughly the subject; and, being satisfied of the iniquity of the traffic, he came out with great boldness against it; warned the people against trusting to any thing for salvation devised by man ; wrote to Alberta elector of Mentz, to whose jurisdiction the country was immediately subject, exposing the wickedness of the sellers of indulgences, and reproaching the sales; and even dared to publish ninety-five theses, in which he developed his opinions concerning this iniquitous traffic, and challenged its friends to defend it.
Luther as yet thought not of the wonderful things which he was to accomplish. As fully as any man, he acknowledged the supremacy of the Pope, and the propriety of his granting indulgences, remitting church censures and temporal punishments ; but his mind was satisfied respecting the Pope's utter impotence, to remit divine punishment, either in this or the future world. In a subsequent account of himself, he says,
66 I was compelled in my conscience, to expose the scandalous sale of indulgencns. I found myself in it alone, and, as it were, by surprise. And when it became impossible for me to retreat, I made many concessions to the Pope ; not, however, in many im.portant points ; but certainly at that time, I adored him in ear-
The boldness of Luther, in doing what no one else dared to do, and what almost every one wished to have done, attracted great attention and applause throughout Germany. His theses spread into every city and village, and were read by all classes of people with amazing avidity. Tetzel, finding it necessary for him to do more than rage and threaten, published in opposition to Luther, one hundred and six propositions, in which he made some efforts to 'refute the arguments of the bold reformer.. Other champions of the Papal cause also came out in its defence ; particularly Prierias, a Dominican friar and Inquisitor General; and Eckius, a renowned professor of divininity at Ingoldstadt. But Luther stood firm against every adversary. He had the Scriptures in his hands, and from them he was able to draw weapons of defence, which, in every contest, gave him. the decided advantage.
Although Luther had ventured to attack a power which appeared invincible, yet there were several circumstances occurring in that period which surprisingly favoured his cause. The Papal power had risen to a height which could not long be sustained. The exorbitant wealth, and dissolute manners of the Clergy had alienated from them every reflecting mind. A
general demand for more than a century had been made, for a council which should reform abuses. The revival of learning in the west of Europe, in consequence of the literati having sought refuge from Constantinople, reduced by the Turks, in Italy, France, and Germany, where they became instructers of youth in all the public seminaries of learning, and introduced a taste for the study of the ancient Greek and Roman authors ; had roused the human mind to a sense of its native dignity and worth, and introduced a bold spirit of investigation into the correctness of long established notions, and an ardent desire for improvement in every art and science. The art of printing, which had been invented in Germany about the year 1440, gare the world in 1450, at Mentz, A PRINTED BIBLE ; and enabled mankind to multiply copies of books to almost any extent, with amazing rapidity, and but little comparative expense. Before that period, books were written out with the pen on parchment,* which made them expensive and scarce. Had Luther then risen, he would have communicated his sentiments to but very few, for what he communicated must have been chiefly from the pulpit. Whatever he wrote would scarce have been read by a hundred persons. But appearing as he did, at this fortunate moment, when the discovery of this wonderful art had not only rendered the multiplication of books easy, but had raised in the world an astonishing thirst for reading, Luther's books at once, filled Europe, and his opposition to the corruptions of the Papacy became the subject of universal conversation. Luther himself was a Franciscan friar. Tetzel, a Dominican. These orders were bitter enemies, and it was only for Luther to imitate Paul, when he exclaimed, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, to enlist in his favour the whole body of the Franciscans, though they had ever been firm supporters of the Papal dominion.
But while these and other circumstances may be pointed out as propitious to the cause of Luther, his astonishing success must and will, by every pious mind, be ascribed to the overruling providence of God. It was the great head of the
* The Jews wrote the Old Testament on skins with very great care, and connected them together and rolled them in a double roll. The Greek mannscripts were written in capital letters, and without any separation of words ; thus,
BLESSEDARETHEDEADWHODIEINTHELORD. No manuscript of the New Testament extant, can be traced higher than the fourth century. Most of the Hebrew manuscripts were written between the years 1000 and 1457. Those of an earlier period have been, for some reasons unknown, destroyed.
REVIVAL OF LEARNING.
Church, ever watchful of that which he had purchased with his own blood, who raised up this wonderful reformer, gave him his astonishing talents and ardent love of truth, preserved his life amid many dangers, and enabled him to expose the corruption of the Man of sin, and lead forth the Church from this worse than Egyptian bondage.
Leo X. the Roman Pontiff, at first viewed the contest in Germany with indifference; supposing it to be only a contest, not uncommon in that age, between a Dominican and Franciscan monk.
“ Brother Martin,” said he, “ is a man of a very fine genius, and these squabbles are the mere effusions of monastic envy.' But on being fully informed of its nature and extent, he became alarmed, and summoned Luther, July, 1518, to appear at Rome, within sixty days, to answer for his conduct before the Auditor of the Chamber, and Prieras, the Inquisitor General. Luther knew there would be no safety for him at Rome; and, through the earnest solicitation of his patron, Frederick the Wise, he obtained liberty to have his cause tried before Cardinal Cajetan, who was then the pope's legate, in Germany. Within sixteen days after this citation, however, he was condemned as an incorrigible heretic at Rome by the Bishop of Ascoli, the Auditor of the Apostolical Chamber ;—such was the sincerity of the Pope in granting him a hearing in Germany.
Having obtained a safe conduct from the Emperor, Luther appeared before Cajetan at Augsburg, in the month of October; but Cajetan was a Dominican, the avowed friend of Tetzel, and enemy of Luther. He did nothing but require Luther, in a most arrogant manner, immediately to renounce his opinions and return into the bosom of the church, and this without having one of them proved erroneous. Such an assumption of authority was not at all calculated to intimidate or move such a mind as Martin Luther's. He expressed the utmost reverence for the Pope, but declared he would never renounce opinions which he viewed as scriptural, without being convinced of his error. Cajetan immediately threate ned him with the heaviest church censures; and it being eviflent that nothing awaited him but the severest measures, the reformer secretly withdrew from the presence of the Cardinal and returned to Wittemberg; appealing from the Pope himself, “ill-informed, to the same Leo X. better informed "
This appeal, however, was soon evidently hopeless; for the Pope issued a special edict, commanding all his subjects to acknowledge his power of delivering from all the punishments due to sin and transgression of every kind." This completely shut the door against all hope of reconciliation but by a direct