Leipsic, when he made the characteristic reply, “ If God call me to Leipsic, then will I go to Leipsic, though it rain Duke Georges nine days running.”. According to Luther's own testimony, the Duke was quite a theologian and paid uncommon attention to the Bible. * *The doctrine which Luther inculcated in his sermon was this: the faith of salvation belongs only to the true disciples, who hear the word of God with attention, and are elected and predestinated to eternal life. The Duke was greatly disturbed, and said he was sorry he had heard the sermon. In Luther's conversations with the theologians, he excited still greater hostility; and one evening an old Dominican friar stood behind the door a long time, in order to get a chance to spit in his face as he came out to go to his lodgings. But it was all the same to Luther; his simple and earnest heart was bent only on proclaiming the truth as it is in Jesus.

Luther returned to Wittemberg; and still further to disseminate his views, according to the fashion of those times, he published ninety-nine theses, which he pledged himself to defend against all opponents, either orally or in writing. As a specimen, we select the following:

“The excellent, infallible, and sole preparation for grace, is the election and everlasting predestination of God.”

“On man's part there is nothing goes before grace, nothing but impotency and rebellion.

"We do not become righteous by doing that which is righteous, but having become righteous, we do that which is righteous.

“ The law makes sin to abound, for it irritates and repels the will. But the grace of God makes righteousness to abound by Jesus Christ, who leads us to love the law.

"The law which is good, and in which we have life, is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.

“Grace is not given that work may be done afterwards easier ; but because without grace no work of love can be done at all."

Thus for the first eight years that Luther was Professor of Theology at Wittemberg, from the twenty-sixth to the thirtyfourth year of his age, (1509–1517,) he was rapidly preparing his own mind, and the minds of others, for the great crisis which at length came in the autumn of 1517. So greatly are those in error, who imagine that the commencement of the great Protestant Reformation was a sudden or accidental thing. It had been long preparing, and at the proper time it must needs

The first eight years of Luther's public life were years of


• Aud i. 32.

+ Aud i. 73, De W. i. 84f.

uninterrupted prosperity and honor. His reputation was constantly and rapidly increasing, and students from all parts of Germany, and even from other countries, flocked to Wittemberg to enjoy the instructions of the learned and eloquent Professor Luther. His labors were incessant, and such as he loved—the investigation and illustration of the great truths of the Bible, which then had all the freshness of novelty to the darkened mind of Europe. He had constantly, from four hundred to six hundred theological students under his care, to whom he lectured every day at one o'clock; he administered the ordinances, attended the confessional, and preached every week in the great city church, which was insufficient to contain the crowds that were brought together every Lord's day to hear him; and every few months he issued from the press, then newly invented, some publication of a doctrinal or didactic character, illustrating some portion of Scripture; and his writings were all eagerly purchased and read as soon as they made their appearance. Thus was he employed, and such was his situation when the enormous abuses attending the sale of indulgences aroused all his energies to attempt the reformation of a corrupt and flagitiously wicked church. To appreciate in any degree the boldness and the importance of the stand which he found himself compelled to take, we must advert to the power which was then wielded by those against whom he commenced the war, and their enormous and unscrupulous wickedness.

On these two topics, we refer the reader to what we have already written in the Biblical Repository for April, 1844, pp. 261–269.

During all this period of thick darkness and terrible depression, here and there a witness for the truth appeared, and ventured to testify against the wickedness and the errors of the times; but his life was generally forfeited by his temerity. Wickliffe preached in England as early as 1369; John Huss and Jerome, of Prague, in Bohemia, in 1415; and Savonarola, in Italy, in 1483; but of the four, three were burned at the stake, and their frightful sufferings tended for a while to confirm the power of the church. Sovereigns, and men of leading minds, saw that things were wrong, and earnestly desired a change; but what could be done to effect it, or how it could be done, they were entirely at a loss to devise. When Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia, read the first reform sermons of Huss, (whose name in Bohemian signifies goose,) he exclaimed, in reference to the excellent truths they contained, and the supposed hopeless folly of Huss for uttering them: “These are golden eggs, but it must be a goose that laid them.” When Huss, by a combination of falsehood, treachery, and perjury, of which even ecclesiastical history affords but few examples, was brought to the stake, while the fire was kindling around him, he said to his executioners, in reference to the above remark of Wenceslaus, and with a prophetic confidence that God would prosper, by some other instrument, the cause to which he was a martyr: “ You, this day, roast a goose, but God will soon send forth a swan, whose

song you will in vain attempt to silence.” How beautifully was this fulfilled in Luther! Notwithstanding the almost certain martyrdom of every witness for the truth, there was still an impression on the minds of pious men, that God would ere long provide some one for the accomplishment of a work so difficult and so necessary. The celebrated Weselius said to a young friend, “You will live to see the day, when the doctrines of the scholastic doctors, Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventura, will be rejected by all Christian theologians." An old preacher at Erfort said to his hearers, “ The time will come when men will read the gospel for themselves out of the book; some of you will live to see it, though I shall not.” Andrew Prales, an Augustinian at Leipsic, said often to his brethren : “O brethren, Christendom hath need of a great and bold reformation, and I see already that it is very near. God will raise up a hero who will have enough of youth and power, and diligence and learning, and gifts of eloquence, to set himself against the current of the times and begin the reformation.” John Hilten, a Fransiscan monk, imprisoned at Eisenach for his piety, said to his prior, who was reproaching and abusing him : “Go to, in the year 1516 he will come who shall reform you, and then will my prediction bear testimony against you.” This was said about the time of Luther's birth. *

Those who became acquainted with Luther, began early to hope that he might be the hero destined by God for this work. Soon after he came to Wittemberg, Pollich von Mellerstedt, rector of the university, who on account of his learning and enlightened views, was called lux mundi, said respecting him: "This monk will put all the doctors in the wrong; he will introduce a new doctrine, and reform the whole Romish church; for he sustains himself on the writings of the apostles and prophets, and stands on the word of Jesus Christ, which no sophistry and no philosophy can stand against or overthrow.” The old Émperor Maximilian, an enlightened but timid and irresolute man, read Luther's first theses against indulgences, with great delight, and said to Pfeffinger, the secretary of the Elector of Saxony, who was then at his court: “What is that monk of yours about? There is something in him not to be despised. He will play a game with the priests yet. Tell Frederick, come what will, take good care of brother Martin; we shall need him." An old

Godfrey Arnold I: xv. 2. Math. 7.

priest, Dr. Fleck, who had long felt indignation at the insolence and viciousness of the clergy, saw Luther's theses nailed up in the hall of his convent, at Steinlausig, and beginning to read he broke into a loud laugh, and shouting for joy, he exclaimed: "Ho, ho! he's come; he'll do it. This is the one we have been waiting for so long." He immediately ran to his cell and wrote a letter to Luther, exhorting him to go on with good courage, for he was in the right, and God himself and the prayers of all the captives in the Romish Babylon would be with him.*

The immediate occasion of the outbreak was this; Cardinal Albert, archbishop of Mainz, the young and luxurious primate of Germany, was indebted to pope Leo X. 4500 thalers, for his pallium. The pallium is a white woolen band, perhaps two feet in length and six inches wide, ornamented with a red chaplet, and thrown over the shoulder of the archbishop when dressed in his canonicals. This article is made of the wool of consecrated sheep, by the nuns of St. Agnes at Rome; it is considered essential to the investiture of the archbishop, and as it is always buried with the incumbent when he dies, no one can avail himself of the pallium of his predecessor. Every new archbishop, therefore, must have a new pallium, and on the sale of them the pope makes a large percentage. They cost him about ten cents each, but an archbishop must pay for one a sum varying from 5000 to 25,000 dollars, according to the money value of the see on which he enters.

As we have said, Albert was indebted to the pope some 30,000 dollars for his pallium ; and as the pope kept up a very expensive establishment, he needed all that money, and more. All the more common ways of extorting money had been already exhausted; and they now bethought themselves of an expedient which had sometimes been resorted to before, namely, the selling of indulgences, that is the remission of the pains of purgatory, or the shortening of the time of those pains, for sins committed. Albert was to take the trouble and expense of selling the indulgences in Germany, and as a compensation was to have onethird of the profits wherewith to pay his debt to the pope, another third was to go to the treasury of the Empire to conciliate the government, and the remaining third was the pope's own perquisite. As his agent for selling these precious wares, Albert employed John Tetzel

, a Dominican monk, of whose extravagance and folly in peddling indulgences we have all heard enough. That we may see just what impression the affair made at the time, instead of giving any narrative of our own, we will give a literal translation from John Mathesius, a contemporary, the student and confidential friend of Luther. Says this honest

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*Godf. Arnold, II. xvi. 1 Math. 10, 11, 23.


narrator: "In the year 1516, the indulgence-pedler, John Tetzel, (whom the Elector of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, had begged off at Inspruck, from the bag in which he was sewed up by order of the Emperor Maximilian, that he might be thrown in the river and drowned, for the crime of adultery,) came to Germany at the request of certain bishops, to get money by the sale of indulgences, wherewith to pay the debts they owed at Rome for their bishops' palls.

“Now when Luther had derived new and firm grounds for our faith from God's word, and had publicly testified that the Bible only shows us the way to heaven, it so happened that the indulgence-trader, John Tetzel set up an indulgence-shop at Jüterbok, four miles from Wittemberg, and this stupid Romish specimen, like a real incendiary, spoke the word with great bawling, since he said, namely, that his real cross with the Pope's arms, was as efficacions as the cross of Christ. Likewise he would not change with St. Peter in heaven, for he had redeemed more souls with his indulgences, than St. Peter had with his gospel. Likewise the indulgence-grace was just the grace whereby men are reconciled to God. Likewise, it was a

10 way to have remission of sins without distress or repentance or sorrow or penance, to buy his and the Pope's grace and letters of indulgence; for so soon as the penny chinked in the chest did the soul spring out of purgatory into heaven. Such great grace

and power was committed to him at Rome, if any one had assaulted even the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, it would be forgiven him, together with future sins, if he would only put the proper sum in the chest.

"When Tetzel so peremptorily put forth his cheating business, and many people flocked io this indulgence-market, in order to buy grace and eternal life with their money, Luther began in his cloister to warn his hearers against this money-indulgence, and taught at first, very modestly, that it were better to give alms to the poor, according to the command of Christ, than to spend money for such uncertain grace. He who repents his life long, , and turns himself to God with all his heart, he obtains the heavenly grace and the forgiveness of all his sins, which the Lord Christ, by the sacrifice of his blood, hath purchased for us, and he can bid for it and buy it without money and without price, as Isaiah says. Afterwards he began in his cloister and in his university, to inquire and to speak respecting these things; and since he was a doctor of the Holy Scripture, he always grounded his cause on the word of the Prophets and Apostles.”

“When Tetzel the indulgence-trader, who was putting off his Romish paper and wax and lead for good pennies and shillings and guineas, heard of this, he began to curse, and revile, and damn Luther as an arch-heretic. But by his presumptuous

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