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IMMEDIATELY after the dissolution of the diet, the Em- BOOK
IX. peror ordered the Interim to be published in the German as well as Latin language. It met with the usual reception of
1548. conciliating schemes, when proposed to men heated with The Intedisputation; both parties declaimed against it with equal vio- rim equally lence. The Protestants condemned it as a system contain- ed of by : ing the grossest errors of Popery, disguised with so little Protest
ants and art, that it could impose only on the most ignorant, or on Papists. those who, by wilfully shutting their eyes, favoured the deception. The Papists inveighed against it, as a work in which some doctrines of the church were impiously given up, others meanly concealed, and all of them delivered in terms calculated rather to deceive the unwary, than to instruct the ignorant, or to reclaim such as were enemies to the truth. While the Lutheran divines fiercely attacked it on one hand, the general of the Dominicans with no less vehemence impugned it on the other. But at Rome, as soon as the contents of the Interim came to be known, the indignation of the courtiers and ecclesiastics rose to the greatest height.
They exclaimed against the Emperor's profane encroachment on the sacerdotal function, in presuming, with the concurrence of an assembly of laymen, to define articles of faith, and to regulate modes of worship. They compared this rash deed to that of Uzziah, who, with an unhallowed hand, had touched the ark of God; or to the bold attempts of those Emperors, who had rendered their memory detestable, by endeavouring to model the Christian church according to their pleasure. They even affected to find out a resemblance between the Emperor's conduct and that of Henry VIII. and expressed their fear of his imitating the example of that apostate, by usurping the title as well as jurisdiction belonging to the head of the church. All, therefore, contended with one voice, that as the foundations of eccle. siastical authority were now shaken, and the whole fabric ready to be overturned by a new enemy, some powerful method of defence must be provided, and a vigorous resistance must be made, in the beginning, before he grew top formidable to be opposed.
The Pope, whose judgment was improved by long ex- The sentiperience in great transactions, as well as by a more exten- ments of
BOOK sive observation of human affairs, viewed the matter with IX.
more acute discernment, and derived comfort from the very 1548.
circumstance which filled them with apprehension. He the Pope was astonished that a Prince of such superior sagacity as with regard to it. the Emperor, should be so intoxicated with a single victory,
as to imagine that he might give law to mankind, and decide even in those matters, with regard to which they are most impatient of dominion. He saw that, by joining any one of the contending parties in Germany, Charles might have had it in his power to have oppressed the other, but that the presumption of success had now inspired him with the vain thought of his being able to domineer over both. He foretold that a system which all attacked, and none defended, could not be of long duration; and that, for this reason, there was no need of his interposing in order to hasten its fall; for as soon as the powerful hand which now upheld it was withdrawn, it would sink of its own accord, and be forgotten for everb.
The Emperor, fond of his own plan, adhered to his reror enforc, es compli-solution of carrying it into full execution. But though the ance with Elector Palatine, the Elector of Brandenburg, and Maurice, the Interim.
influenced by the same considerations as formerly, seemed ready to yield implicit obedience to whatever he should enjoin, he met not every where with a like obsequious submission. John Marquis of Brandenburg Anspach, although he had taken part with great zeal in the war against the confederates of Smalkalde, refused to renounce doctrines which he held to be sacred ; and reminding the Emperor of the repeated promises which he had given his Protestant allies, of allowing them the free exercise of their religion, he claimed, in consequence of these, to be exempted from receiving the Interim. Some other Princes, also, ventured to mention the same scruples, and to plead the same indulgence. But on this, as on other trying occasions, the firmness of the Elector of Saxony was most distinguished, and merited the highest praisé. Charles, well knowing the authority of his example with all the Protestant party, laboured, with the utmost earnestness, to gain his approbation of the Inte
b Sleid. 468. F. Paul, 271. 277. Pallav. ii. 64.
rim, and by employing sometimes promises of setting him at B O OK liberty, sometimes threats of treating him with greater harshness, attempted alternately to work upon his hopes and
1548. his fears. But he was alike regardless of both. After having declared his fixed belief in the doctrines of the Reformation, “ I cannot now, said he, in my old age, abandon the principles, for which I early contended; nor, in order to procure freedom during a few declining years, will I betray that good cause, on account of which I have suffered so much, and am still willing to suffer. Better for me to enjoy in this solitude, the esteem of virtuous men, together with the approbation of my own conscience, than to return into the world, with the imputation and guilt of apostacy, to disgrace and embitter the remainder of my days.” By this magnanimous resolution, he set his countrymen a pattern of conduct, so very different from that which the Emperor wished him to have exhibited to them, that it drew upon him fresh marks of his displeasure. The rigour of his confinement was increased; the number of his servants abridged; the Lutheran clergymen, who had hitherto been permitted to attend him, were dismissed; and even the books of devotion, which had been his chief consolation during a tedious imprisonment, were taken from him. The Landgrave of Hesse, his companion in misfortune, did not maintain the same constancy. His patience and fortitude were both so much exhausted by the length of his confine, ment, that, willing to purchase freedom at any price, he wrote to the Emperor, offering not only to approve of the In, terim, but to yield an unreserved submission to his will in every other particular. But Charles, who knew that what, ever course the Landgrave might hold, neither his example nor authority would prevail on his children or subjects to receive the Interim, paid no regard to his offers. He was kept confined as strictly as ever; and while he suffered the cruel mortification of having his conduct set in contrast to that of the Elector, he derived not the smallest benefit from the mean step which exposed him to much deserved cen. sured.
d Sleid. 462
c Sleid. 462. VOL. III.
BOOK But it was in the Imperial cities that Charles met with IX.
the most violent opposition to the Interim. These small
commonwealths, the citizens of which were accustomed to The free ci. liberty and independence, had embraced the doctrines of the ties struge. Reformation when they were first published, with remarkgle against receiving able eagerness; the bold spirit of innovation being peculiar
ly suited to the genius of free government. Among them, the Protestant teachers (had made the greatest number of proselytes. The most eminent divines of the party were settled in them as pastors. By having the direction of the schools and other seminaries of learning, they had trained up disciples, who were as well instructed in the articles of their faith, as they were zealous to defend them. Such persons were not to be guided by example, or swayed by authority; but having been taught to employ their own understanding in examining and deciding with respect to the points in controversy, they thought that they were both qualified and entitled to judge for themselves. As soon as the contents of the Interim were known, they, with one voice, joined in refusing to admit it. Augsburg, Ulm, Strasburg, Constance, Bremen, Magdeburg, together with many other towns of less note, presented remonstrances to the Emperor, setting forth the irregular and unconstitu. tional manner in which the Interim had been enacted, and beseeching him not to offer such violence to their consciences, as to require their assent to a form of doctrine and worship, which appeared to them repugnant to the express precepts of the divine law. But Charles having prevailed on so many Princes of the Empire to approve of his new model, was not much moved by the representations of those cities, which, how formidable soever they might have proved, if they could have been formed into one body, lay so remote from each other, that it was easy to oppress them separately, before it was possible for them to unite.
In order to accomplish this, the Emperor saw it to be reby violence quisite that his measures should be vigorous, and executed to submit.
with such rapidity as to allow no time for concerting any common plan of opposition. Having laid down this maxim as the rule of his proceedings, his first attempt was upon
the city of Augsburg, which, though overawed with the BOOK presence of the Spanish troops, he knew to be as much dissatisfied with the Interim as any in the Empire. He ordered one body of these troops to seize the gates; he posted the rest in different quarters of the city; and assembling all the burgesses in the town-hall, he, by his sole absolute authori. Aug. 3. ty, published a decree abolishing their present form of government, dissolving all their corporations and fraternities, and nominating a small number of persons, in whom he vested for the future all the powers of government. Each of the persons, thus chosen, took an oath to observe the Interim. An act of power so unprecedented as well as arbitrary, which excluded the body of the inhabitants from any share in the government of their own community, and subjected them to men who had no other merit than their servile devotion to the Emperor's will, gave general disgust; but as they durst not venture upon resistance, they were obliged to submit in silence From Augsburg, in which he left a garrison, he proceeded to Ulm, and new-modelling its government with the same violent hand, he seized such of their pastors as refused to subscribe the Interim, committed them to prison, and at his departure carried them along with him in chains f. By this severity he not only secured the reception of the Interim in two of the most powerful cities, but gave warning to the rest what such as continued refractory had to expect. The effect of the example was as great as he could have wished ; and many towns, in order to save themselves from the like treatment, found it necessary to comply with what he enjoined. This obedience, extorted by the rigour of authority, produced no change in the sentiments of the Germans, and extended no farther than to make them conform so far to what he required, as was barely sufficient to screen them from punishment. The Protestant preachers accompanied those religious rites, the observation of which the Interim prescribed, with such an explication of their tendency, as served rather to confirm than to remove the scruples of their hearers with regard to them. The people, many of whom had grown up to mature years
e Sleid. 469.
f Ibid, 472,