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B O O K forming between the Pope and Emperor. In confirmation VII.
of this, they heard from the Low-Countries that Charles had 1546.
issued orders, though with every precaution which could keep the measure concealed, for raising troops both there and in other parts of his dominions. Such a variety of information, corroborating all that their own jealousy or ob
servation led them to apprehend, left the Protestants little Their deli. reason to doubt of the Emperor's hostile intentions. Under berations.
this impression, the deputies of the confederates of Smalkalde assembled at Francfort, and by communicating their intelligence and sentiments to each other, reciprocally heightened their sense of the impending danger. But their union was not such as their situation required, or the preparations of their enemies rendered necessary. Their league had now subsisted ten years. Among so many members, whose territories were intermingled with each other, and who according to the custom of Germany, had created an infinite variety of mutual rights and claims by intermarriages, alliances, and contracts of different kinds, subjects of jealousy and discord had unavoidably arisen. Some of the confederates, being connected with the Duke of Brunswick, were highly disgusted with the Landgrave, on account of the rigour with which he had treated that rash and unfortunate Prince. Others taxed the Elector of Saxony and Landgrave, the heads of the league, with having involved the members in unnecessary and exorbitant expenses by their profuseness or want of economy. The views, likewise, and temper of those two Princes, who, by their superior power and authority, influenced and directed the whole body, being extremely different, rendered all its motions languid, at a time when the utmost vigour and dispatch were requisite. The Landgrave, of a violent and enterprising temper, but not forgetful, amidst his zeal for religion, of the usual maxims of human policy, insisted that, as the danger which threatened them was manifest and unavoidable, they should have recourse to the most effectual expedient for securing their own safety, by courting the protection of the Kings of France and England, or by joining in alliance with the Protestant cantons of Switzerland, from whom they might expect such powerful and present assist
as their situation demanded. The Elector, on the B O O K
VII. other hand, with the most upright intentions of any Prince in that age, and with talents which might have qualified him abundantly for the administration of government in any tranquil period, was possessed with such superstitious veneration for all the parts of the Lutheran system, and such bigoted attachment to all its tenets, as made him averse to an union with those who differed from him in any article of faith, and rendered him very incapable of undertaking its defence in times of difficulty and danger. He seemed to think, that the concerns of religion were to be regulated by principles and maxims totally different from those which apply to the common affairs of life ; and being swayed too much by the opinions of Luther, who was not only a stranger to the rules of political conduct, but despised them; he often discovered an uncomplying spirit, that proved of the greatest detriment to the cause which he wished to support. Influenced, on this occasion, by the severe and rigid notions of that Reformer, he refused to enter into any confederacy with Francis, because he was a persecutor of the truth ; or to solicit the friendship of Henry, because he was no less impious and profane than the Pope himself; or even to join in alliance with the Swiss, because they differed from the Germans in several essential articles of faith. This dissention, about a point of such consequence, produced its natural effects. Each secretly censured and reproached the other. The Landgrave considered the Elector as fettered by narrow prejudices, unworthy of a Prince called to act a chief part in a scene of such importance. The Elector suspected the Landgrave of loose principles and ambitious views, which corresponded ill with the sacred cause wherein they were engaged. But though the Elector's scruples prevented their timely application for foreign aid ; and the jealousy or discontent of the other Princes defeated a proposal for renewing their original confederacy, the term during which it was to continue in force being on the point of expiring; yet the sense of their common danger induced them to agree with regard to other points, particularly that they would never acknowledge the assembly of Trent as a lawful
BOOK council, nor suffer the archbishop of Cologne to be oppressed VII.
on account of the steps which he had taken towards the
reformation of his diocese .. 1546.
Their negociations with the emperor.
The Landgrave, about this time, desirous of penetrating to the bottom of the Emperor's intentions, wrote to Granvelle, whom he knew to be thoroughly acquainted with all his master's schemes, informing him of the several particulars which raised the suspicions of the Protestants, and begging an explicit declaration of what they had to fear or to hope. Granvelle, in return, assured them, that the intelligence which they had received of the Emperor's military preparations was exaggerated, and all their suspicions destitute of foun, dation ; that though, in order to guard his frontiers against any
insult of the French or English, he had commanded a small body of men to be raised in the Low-Countries, he was as solicitous as ever to maintain tranquillity in Ger
But the Emperor's actions did not correspond with these professions of his minister. For, instead of appointing men of known moderation and a pacific temper to appear in defence of the Catholic doctrines at the conference which had been agreed on, he made choice of fierce bigots, attached to their own system with a blind obstinacy, that rendered all hope of a reconcilement desperate. Malvenda, a Spanish divine, who took upon him the conduct of the debate on the part of the Catholics, managed it with all the subtle dexterity of a scholastic metaphysician, more studious to per. plex his adversaries than to convince them, and more intent on palliating error than on discovering truth. The Protestants, filled with indignation, as well at his sophistry as at some regulations which the Emperor endeavoured to impose on the disputants, broke off the conference abruptly, being now fully convinced that, in all his late measures, the Emperor could have no other view than to amuse them, and to gain time for ripening his own schemes 8.
THE EMPEROR CHARLES V.
WHILE appearances of danger daily increased, and the BOOK tempest which had been so long a gathering was ready to break forth in all its violence against the Protestant church, Luther was saved, by a seasonable death, from feeling or Death of beholding its destructive rage. Having gone, though in a
Luther. declining state of health, and during a rigorous season, to his native city of Eysleben, in order to compose, by his authority, a dissention among the Counts of Mansfield, he was seized with a violent inflammation in his stomach, which in Feb. 18. a few days put an end to his life, in the sixty-third year of
As he was raised up by Providence to be the author of one of the greatest and most interesting revolutions recorded in history, there is not any person perhaps whose character has been drawn with such opposite colours. In his own age, one party, struck with horror and inflamed with rage, when they saw with what a daring hand he overturned every thing which they held to be sacred, or valued as beneficial, imputed to him not only all the defects and vices of a man, but the qualities of a dæmon. The other, warmed with the admiration and gratitude, which they thought he merited as the restorer of light and liberty to the Christian church, ascribed to him perfections above the condition of humanity, and viewed all his actions with a veneration bordering on that which should be paid only to those who
1546. His character.
B 0 0 K are guided by the immediate inspiration of Heaven. It is
his own conduct, not the undistinguishing censure or the exaggerated praise of his contemporaries, that ought to regulate the opinions of the present age concerning him. Zeal for what he regarded as truth, undaunted intrepidity to maintain his own system, abilities, both natural and acquire ed, to defend his principles, and unwearied industry in pro. pagating them, are virtues which shine so conspicuously in every part of his behaviour, that even his enemies must allow him to have possessed them in an eminent degree. To these may be added, with equal justice, such purity and even austerity of manners, as became one who assumed the character of a Reformer; such sanctity of life as suited the doctrine which he delivered ; and such perfect disinterestedness as affords no slight presumption of his sincerity. Şuperior to all selfish considerations, a stranger to the elegancies of life, and despising its pleasures, he left the honours and emoluments of the church to his disciples, remaining satisfied himself in his original state of professor in the university, and pastor of the town of Wittemberg, with the moderate appointments annexed to these offices. His extraordinary qualities were allayed with no inconsiderable mixture of human frailty and human passions. These, however, were of such a nature, that they cannot be imputed to malevolence or corruption of heart, but seem to have taken their rise from the same source with many of his virtues. His mind, forcible and vehement in all its operations, roused by great objects, or agitated by violent passions, broke out on many occasions, with an impetuosity which astonishes men of feebler spirits, or such as are placed in a more tranquil situation. By carrying some praise-worthy dispositions to excess, he bordered sometimes on what was culpable, and was often betrayed into actions which exposed him to censure. His confidence that his own opinions were well founded, approached to arrogance ; his courage in asserting them, to rashness; his firmness in adhering to them, to obstinacy; and his zeal in confuting his adversaries, to rage and scurrility.
Accustomed himself to consider every thing as subordinate to truth, he expected the same deference for it from other men; and, without making any allowances for their timidity or prejudi