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clesiastical affairs in their own dominions, as they should think most expedient, yet so as to be able to give to God and the Emperor, an account of their administration, when it should be demanded of them.
This was probably the most happy termination of the Diet, for the Lutherans, that could have taken place. For it at once put it out of the power of Papists to persecute farther the reformers, and gave the princes who favored the reformation, an opportunity to extend their patronage to the utmost, until Charles V. should be ready to convene a general council ;-a period evidently far distant, for the troubled state of his immense dominions engrossed all his attention: and the Pope, clement VII. had entered into confederacy with Francis I. and the Venetians against that prince, and inflamed his resentment and indignation, to such a degree, that Charles felt little disposition to do any thing which would injure the Lutherans, and favor the papal cause.
Soon after the death of his patron, Frederic, Luther was married to Catharine Bore, a virtuous nun, of noble parent
The papists reviled him for this, as a sensualist, and some of his friends thought the time for such a procedure improper; but Luther had openly opposed the celibacy of the clergy, and he said, he thought it right to confirm, by his own example, the doctrine he had taught; for he observed many were still pusillanimous, notwithstanding the great light of the Gospel.'
Being anxious, if possible, to gain his adversaries, or at least to soften their asperities, Luther wrote two submissive letters, one to Henry Viii, king of England, and the other, to George, duke of Saxony, but they both replied with virulence; whereupon Luther laid down these regulations for his future conduct. b6 1st. In all matters where the ministry of the word of God was not concerned, he would not only submit to his superiors, but was ready to beg pardon even of children. As a private man, he merited nothing but eternal destruction at the divine tribunal, But 2dly. In regard to the ministry for which he considered himself as having a commission from heaven, there
so much dignity in it, that no man, especially a tyrant, should ever find him give way, submit, or flatter. Lastly, he besought his heayenly Father to enable him to keep his resolution."
Luther was both a musician and a poet; and he circulated a small volume of hymns, containing the main points of Christian doctrine, set to music, which had great effect.
An attempt was made by a Polish Jew, to poison him, but, through the kind care of an overruling Providence, it entirely failed. For a long time, Luther was engaged in a contest with Eras
The Papists had been severely lashed by him, but viewing him as still on their side, and the most able critic in Europe, both the Pope and the king of England importuned him to attack the German Reformer. Flattered by the great, Erasmus became the opponent of Luther, on the doctrines of grace; and the breach between them was very wide.
But the controversy with Zuinglius and Carolstadt, on the Sacrament, which raged with considerable violence in 1526-27, was far more lamentable.
In the favorable period that succeeded the diet of Spire, the great reformer was very active, in company with his fellow laborers, in fixing the principles of the reformation ; correcting abuses; inspiring the timid with fortitude ; and extending far and wide the light of truth, the knowledge of salvation through faith in Christ.
But this period was to have a termination. The councils of princes change. The Emperor and the Pope became friends. The commotions and troubles of Europe were terminated ; and the Emperor had leisure, and alas ! the disposition also to lay a heavy hand upon the reformers. He assembled another diet at Spire, in 1529; and caused the former decree to be repealed, · and every change in the doctrine, discipline or worship of the established religion, before the determination of the general council should be known, to be declared unlawful.
Such a proceeding on the part of the Emperor and his Diet, was viewed by the Protestants as iniquitous and intolerable, and designed, if not to crush the infant churches, at least to prevent their increase; and the elector of Saxony, the marquis of Brandenburgh, the landgrave of Hesse, the dukes of Lunenburgh, the prince of Anhalt, with the deputies of fourteen Imperial or free cities, solemnly protested against it, on the 19th of April, as anjost and impious. On this account they were, and from that time to this, their followers have been denominated Pro
The legates who had the boldness to present this protest to Charles, were put under arrest. A dark cloud seemed to hang over the affairs of the protestants. The Emperor and Pope, had
many interviews at Bologna to devise measures for the extirpation of heresy. Fortunately, Charles was not disposed to accede to the violent procedings of the Pope. He hoped to
reconcile the Protestants by means of a general council. But the Pope dreaded such an assembly. General councils the Pope found factious,ungovernable, presumptuous, and promoters of free inquiry, and civil liberty. Charles, therefore, could not move bim, and he proceded to Augsburg, June, 1530, to the general Diet, resolved there to bring, if possible, all disputes to a termination. But as he could not examine, 'and decide without knowing the exact sentiments of the Protestants, Charles required Luther to commit to writing, the chief points of his religious system. Luther presented seventeen articles of faith, formerly agreed upon at Torgaw, which were called the articles of Torgaw. These at the request of the princes assembled at Augsburg, were enlarged by Melanchton, a man of the greatest learning, and most pacific spirit among the reformers. The creed thus completed, formed the famous confession of Augsburg
This confession did great honor to the pen of Melanchton. It contained twentyeight chapters, and was a fair expose of the religious opinions of the protestants, and of the errors and abuses of the church of Rome. It was read publicly in the diet.
Another confession was presented to the diet, by those who adopted the opinions of Zuinglius, in relation to the eucharist.
But a decree was passed against the Lutherans, more violent than that of the diet of Worms. It condemned their tenets, forbade any person to protect or tolerate such as taught them, enjoined a strict observance of established rites, and prohibited any further innovation, under severe penalties. All orders of men were required to assist in carrying the decree into execution.
Tbis oppressed the feeble spirit of Melancthon, and threw him into a state of deep melancholy.
But Luther was never dismayed; and he exhorted the protestant princes, with great boldness, to unite in defence of the truths which God had revealed. His councils were obeyed, and they assembled at Smalkalde, December 16th, 1530, and formed a league of mutual defence against all agressors, and resolved to apply for protection to the kings of France, England, and Denmark.
These kings, from enmity to Charles V. favored the protestants, and Charles finding trouble accumulating upon him, concluded a peace with the Protestants in 1532, at Nuremberg, which amounted almost to a complete toleration of their religion. This event inspired the friends of the reformation throughout Europe, with new vigor and resolution, and excited thern to press forward, with great boldness, in the work of liberating mankind from spiritual despotism.
But it is an evil with which the reformers had to contend,' that the human mind once roused by grand objects, especially if uninformed, is apt to become wild and irregular. The peasants who, at the beginning of the reformation, had run into such extravagances for religious liberty, were indeed subdued; but their spirit lived and raged tremendously in 1533, in Westphalia and the Netherlands. A furious rabble came to the city of Munster, pretending to a commission from heaven to destroy and overturn all civil institutions, and to establish a new republic, and committed the most horrible excesses. Their principal leaders were John Mathias, a baker, and John Boccold, a journeyman tailor. Their chief tenets were, that the office of magistracy is unnecessary; that all distinctions among men are contrary to the Gospel; that property 'should be held in common, and that a plurality of wives is commendable. But their more peculiar doctrine, from which they were named, related to the sacrament of baptism. They declared that it should be administered only to persons grown up to years of understanding, and should be performed not by sprinkling with water, but by immersion. Hence, as the subjects had been once baptized, they were called ANABAPTISTS.
But their reign at Munster was short. The bishop of Mun. ster, assisted by some German princes, came against them with an armed force. In the conflict, Mathias was at first successful; and so elated was he, that he sallied forth with thirty men, declaring that he would go like Gideon, and smite the host of the ungodly. In an instant, they were all destroyed. Boccold then assumed the chief command; pretended to extraordinary reve. lations; marched through the streets naked, crying with a loud voice, That the kingdom of Zion was at hand;' took to himself fourteen wives ; levelled to the ground the loftiest buildings; deposed senators, and raised his officers from the lowest ranks. The blood of suspected persons flowed freely. One of his wives, expressing a doubt of his divine mission, had her head cut off with his own hands. But he was not able to maintain his dominion. On the 24th of June, 1535, the royal forces took the city, and slew most of the fanatics. Boccold was taken prisoner, and shown through the cities of Germany. He was then brought back to Munster, and put to death in the most cruel manner.
Thus ended the kingdom of Anabaptists in Germany; but their principles relating to baptism took deep root in the Low Countries, and were carried into England. These scenes were deeply painful to Luther.
“ Satan,” said he, “ rages; we have need of your prayers. The new secta
rians called Anabaptists, increase in number, and display great external appearances of strictnesss of life, as also great boldness in death, whether they suffer by fire or water.” While he detested their turbulence and pitied their delusion, he knew that the Papists looked upon them as his followers, and upon him as the grand culprit ; and that such proceedings, such cries, as “ No tribute, all things in common, no magistrates," must alarm every ruler in Christendom, and make each consider the extinction of Lutheranism as essential to bis safety. Luther was no fanatic. He had an enlightened and noble spirit. “We differ," said he, 5 from these fanatics not merely in the article of baptism, but also in the general reason which they give for rejecting the baptism of infants. • It was,' say they, ' a practice under the Papacy. Now we do not argue in that manner. We allow that in the Papacy are many good things, and all those good things we have retained."
He abhorred persecution for religious opinions. He did not believe that errors in doctrine were to be extirpated by fire and the sword, but by the word of God. He viewed it right that false teachers should be removed from their stations ; but declared that capital punishments should never be inflicted, but for sedition and tumult. He utterly disapproved, therefore, of the sanguinary proceedings against the Anabaptists, and wished that they might be reclaimed and guided by arguments from Scripture.
Another class of men arose about the same time, headed by Jobn Agricola, a disciple of Luther, who, because of their peculiar sentiments, have been called ANTINOMIANS. Some of their peculiarities were, that the law ought not to be proposed as a rule of life; that men ought not to doubt of their faith; that God sees no sin in believers, and they are not bound to confess sin, mourn for it, or pray that it may be forgiven ; that Christ became as sinful as we, and we are as completely righteous as Christ; that the new covenant is not properly made with us, but with Christ for us ; and that sanctification is not a proper evidence of justification.
But while Luther was disquieted with these things, a most surprising and important event occurred, which filled his heart with joy. This was the overthrow of the Papal power in England.
Henry VIII., a prince of great abilities and violent passions, had come out, at the beginning of the reformation, in opposition to Luther, and obtained from the Pope the title of Defender of the Faith. But, like all wicked men, he cared more for the