OF LICHTENFZLD, IN FRANCONIA. page 23.
At the age of sixteen, he entered the monastery yr, Myco. of Annaberg ; and, by Popish austerities and hard- niu»study for the space of seven years, was much reduced in bodily strength. About this time, Tetzel, the impudent vender of indulgences, came into Germany, and Myconius requested he might have one of them gratis, on the score of his poverty, and agreeably to the Popes letters. Tetzel refused; Myconius pressed the point with great spirit, but could not make the least impression on the infamous and hardened popish agent.
Myconius went into holy orders in the year 1.516, preached at Weimar, was confirmed in the truth by Luther's writings, and ever after opposed the corruptions of Popery. He exerted himself in preserving tranquillity at the time of the tumults of the' rustics *; and afterwards displayed so much integrity, learning, and talents for business, that when Henry VIII. abolished the papal authority, he was sent into England to confer with the leading Protestants on ecclesiastical subjects. In 1541 he was brought, by a consumption, to the very edge of the grave ; in which state Luther wrote to him so warm and affectionate a letter, and prayed for his life so vehemently, that Myconius himself attributed his recovery, and the lengthening of his life for six years, to
* Page 203.
the friendship and the supplications of Luther. He
, said, there was something so refreshing to him in
Luthers letter, that he seemed, as it were, plainly to hear Christ call out, " Lazarus, come forth *."
LEO X. page 30.
Persons of an elegant taste, and of loose morals, who are sceptics in religion, and lovers of learning, will always be most disposed to treat this character with tenderness. However, all attempts to prove Leo a religious man are sure to fail : his religion consisted solely in promoting the opulence and grandeur of the Roman See. It may be allowed that he protected learned men ; but his unconquerable indolence, and his habits of luxury and pleasure, forbid us to believe that he himself could possibly have been learned.
Whatever might be his skill in judging of men's proficiency in the fine arts, there is no doubt that he encouraged them: and, as his situation must have exposed him to much adulation, he may possibly have been made to fancy that he had taste and knowledge in many subjects, when in reality he had not much either of the one or of the other.
BUGENHAGIUS. page 49.
He was a celebrated schoolmaster at Treptow in Pomerania, and hence he is often called Pomeranus.
When Luther's treatise on the Babylonish Captivity came out in 1521, and he had read only a few pages of it, he said, " The author of this boot is the most pestilent heretic that ever infested the * Melch. Add.
Church of Christ." After a few days close at- B°«euh tention to the work, he ingenuously recanted his 8^-v—• opinion, in the following strong terms: " The -whole world is blind, and this man alone sees the truth."
During many years he had been much given to prayer and the study of the Scriptures. At the age of thirty-six he came to Wittemberg, was chosen parochial minister of the great church, and with much piety and usefulness discharged the duties of his station for thirty-six years. He always opposed the violent and seditious practices of Carolstadt; and lived on the most friendly terms with Luther and Melancthon*.
At first he thought Luther had been too violent in his answer to Henry VIII. f ; but he changed his opinion, and declared that the author had used the English monarch with too much lenity. " I am convinced," says he, " the Holy Ghost is with Luther; he is a man of an honest, holy, firm, and invincible spirit
GABRIEL, page 81.
A zealous preacher of the Gospel, who had joined in some of the tumults raised by Carolstadt; but on his repentance and promises to abstain from innovations, was recommended by Luther to be the minister of Altenburg. The popish clergy there would not bear the man, and the timid elector did not dare to support him. " I know the prince's reason," said Luther; " we are yet in the flesh, and are frightened where there is nothing to fear. Let the prince and his courtiers see to it—I shall not oppose the Holy Spirit. My judgment is clear that Gabriel ought not to be removed. And * Melch. Ad. f 27. t Selnec. in S. I. 189.
Gabrw. I am also equally clear against supporting him by
v v ' force*."
To Gabriel himself, Luther wrote thus : " I cannot say your letter pleased me. There was in it a degree of spiritual presumption. Do not boast of your readiness to do and to suffer for the Gospel. Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. You have not yet had to contend wid death. It is easier to talk than to do. How many fall away ! How few stand ! Walk in fear ; distrust yourself: leave all to Christ. Preach, faith and charity. The people are all prone to trust in externals. Do you lead them to prove by their fruits that they are branches of Our v I N E f."
EMSER. page 84.
Jerome Emser was one of the most early and bitter adversaries of Luther. He invited him to meet several persons at supper. Luther at first supposed himself to be among friends, but soon found there was an insidious plan laid to draw him to speak freely against the notions of Thomas Aquinas. This happened at Dresden, in January 1518, and afforded a handle for calumniators at the court of Duke George. Emser was one of the counsellors of this prince; and a professor of the canon laws at Leipsic. He paid little regard to truth ; but never ceased snarling at Luther. His books are now food for moths in the libraries of some papists J.
SICKINGEN And CRONEBERG. page 96.
Francis Sickingen, a powerful knight on the banks of the Rhine, who offered protection to Luther • Ep. II, 8o. t El>. H- 62. J Cc<m. de, Luth. C&X VII.
in the year 1520 *. He is one of those alluded to; sickengeu in cap. v. cent. xvi.
It is not so clear that he was a humble Christian,. '—v—' as it is, that he had a high military spirit, and that, in defence of certain rights which he supposed to be violated, he attacked the archbishop of Treves with a large body of cavalry and infantry. In the end, his own castle was stormed, and himself mortally wounded *f.
Hartmuth of Croneberg was the son-in-law of Sickingen ; and though involved in the military proceedings of his father-in-law, he appears to have been truly pious. In 1522 he wrote ta the Pope Adrian in defence of the Reformation; and also exhorted the Imperial regency to promote the good cause. He would willingly, he said, be cut to pieces, provided the reception of the Gospel might be the consequence of his death J.
The violent measures of Sickingen afforded the papal party an occasion of calumniating the Reformers as turbulent and seditious; but the points in dispute had nothing to do with religion. Croneberg from his connection with Sickingen, suffered grievously in his temporal concerns, but remained firm in the faith. Luther wrote to him an admirable consolatory letter §.
Beausobre has confounded this part of the history, by mistaking Croneberg for Sickingen ||.
ADRIAN'S BRIEVE, In 1522,
TO" THE ELECTOR OF SAXONV. page 11,3.
" Beloved in Christ.—We have borne enough, and more than enough. Our predecessor admo
• Com. de Luth. LXXI. t Ibid. CL.
t Ibid.CL. CXLVI1.6. CXXXII. 5. Seek. Ad. II. 225.
« Ep. II. 100, 126. It Ibid. II. 270.
nished you to have nothing more to do with that mischievous Luther, and we hoped you would have repented.
" Our piety and paternal love for you and your subjects, induce us to exhort you once more to repent, before you become reprobate silver, and the Lord reject you *.
" And what shall we say—Who hath bewitched you ! you did run well.—Lift up your eyes, beloved son, and see how you are fallen.
" Is it not enough, that the Christian states should have bloody contests with one another, but you also must nourish a serpent in your bosom, who with the poison of his tongue, a poison worse than that of hell, has destroyed so many myriads of souls ?
" All this desertion from the Church, and all this reviling of her sacred usages, is owing to you. It is owing to you that men die in their sins, and are hurried away, unreconciled by penitence, to the terrible tribunal of God. Such are your merits :— I ought rather to say, What punishment do you not deserve ?
" But the serpent deceived you.—You are duly rewarded for nourishing the serpent, and for believing him.
" But he produces Scripture—What heretic has not done the same? What diabolical blindness must it be to believe a drunkard and a glutton, rather than the whole world, and so many spiritual fathers ! He tells the people, that no man by fastings, prayers, lamentations, can satisfy an angry God, or redeem his sins ;—and that even the Host in the Sacrament is not an offering for sin.
" Be it that you look on him as another Elisha or a Daniel: Does not the spirit of the man appear? Is he not bitter, virulent, arrogant and abusive? Does he not revile with infamous and abominable • Jer. vi. 30.
names and blasphemies the successor of St. Peter? Adrian's And does not the Lord declare, in the book of . Bne-veDeuteronomy *, how he will have his priests to be honoured ? and does not Christ say to his preachers, ' He that despiseth you despiseth me f.'
" Beloved in Christ, we had hoped that you would not have been among the last to return to the bosom of your mother; but we have been disappointed. You have hardened your face beyond the hardness of a rock. Luther lurks under your protection, and his poison is spreading far and wide. We entreat you, therefore, beloved Son, through the bowels of our Redeemer, that before Gods anger shall consume you without remedy, you would pity and help the Church of Christ, oppressed as it now is on all sides, and chiefly by your fault; that you would pity also your country, yourself, and your deluded Saxons. If you repent not, Divine vengeance is at hand, both in this world, and the world to come. Did you never read in the Scriptures of the terrible punishment inflicted on schismatics ? Do you know nothing of the case of Dathan, Abiram, and Korah: or of king Saul and Uzziah ?
" We therefore command and entreat you, beloved Son, to separate yourself from this Martin Luther, and take away this rock of offence. Purge out the old leaven which corrupts the whole mass of your faith ^. Deign, beloved, to imitate that St. Paul in your conversion, whom you have exceeded in persecuting the Church of God.
" If you listen to our entreaties, as we hope you will, we shall rejoice with the angels over the penitent sinner; and with delight shall cany back on our shoulders the lost sheep of the Lord's sheepfold.
" But if you shall say, We will not walk in the good old paths, We will not hearken; the Lord's
Adrinn's answer is, I will bring evil upon this people*.
Brieve. ^ And so we denounce against you, on the authorit)' •of God and the Lord Christ, whose Vicar we are, that your impenitence shall not pass unpunished in this world; and that in the next world the burning of eternal fire awaits you. Adrian, the Pope, and the very religious Emperor Charles, my dear pupil and Son in Christ, are both alive: you have contemptuously violated his edict against Lather's perfidy; and we, the Pope and Emperor, will not allow the Saxon children of our predecessors to perish through the contagion of heresies and schisms, thus protected byaschismatical and heretical prince. Repent, or expect to feel both the Apostolic and Imperial sword of vengeance t."
OLAUS PETRI, page 133.
Laurentius and Olaus Petri were brothers, who had studied in the college of Wittemberg, and learnt from Luther's own mouth the principles of the Reformation X
It is worthy of notice, that after these Reformers had explained to Gustavus the numerous papal abuses, and had obtained his order for a translation of the Bible into the Swedish language,—in imitation of what Luther had done §,—this excellent monarch was so candid and equitable, as to direct the archbishop of Upsal, who was of the popish faction, to prepare another version of the Bible, that there .might be no room to say the truth was obstructed ||.
The substance of Olaus's chapter on Justification .is this:
" It is impossible that man, being born in sin, TM- Pftrishould fulfil the law of God.
" The first use of the law is, that man may know he is a sinner. The law is his schoolmaster : it teaches him that he is under condemnation, and he becomes ardent in his search after the righteousness of Christ. Then he obtains by faith, from the merit of Christ, what he never could have merited by any works of his own. The sinner is not justified on account of what He Does in the way of belief, but because he applies, in the way of acceptance, the righteousness of Christ to himself.
" Good works follow justification. They are not perfect ; but they are accepted. When a believer is inclined to think any thing of his works, he will do better to give the glory to God *."
HESSE, page 146.
The senate of Nuremberg, in reply to Adrian's censures, commended their minister, J. Hesse, in the strongest terms. " In him they had found a disinterested pastor, who fed his flock in their life-time with the incorruptible nourishment of the Divine word ; and who buried those that died in the Lord, as a pious clergyman ought to do, and not as his predecessors had done. For they aimed at nothing but gain; and in fact were more greedy in extracting money from the dead, than from the living ; and all under the pretence of procuring pardon for sinsf-"
Luther preserved an affectionate and uninterrupted correspondence with Hesse. In 1522, he tells him to stir up the people to the practice of faith and charity ; for that at Wittemberg, they were in a fury to take the Sacrament in both kinds ; while at the same time they neglected faith and charity,
which are the two constituent parts of the Christian character.
In 1524, he writes thus : " May the Lord, wb has called you to be a preacher, give you strength That is my way of comforting you. You are in the ship with Christ, What do you expect ? Fine weather ? Nay,—rather winds and waves and tempests, even so that the vessel may begin to sink. Call on Christ for help, for he sometimes sleeps: and then you will have a calm *."
DRACO, page 147.
John Draco took his degree of A. M. at the university of Erfurt, where he was introduced to those learned Reformers, Hesse and Camerarius. He became doctor of divinity at Wittemberg.
He published in 1523, an account of the cruel treatment he had met with at Miltenburg ; addressed it to cardinal Albert, and entreated him to deliver from prison his own deacon and some others that were also in confinement. He had taught nothing, he said, but what he would confess at the day of judgment.
Luther's letter to the afflicted people of Miltenburg is full of wisdom and consolation. He applies, verse by verse, the 120th Psalm to their case ; and observes that they may well allow him to sympathize with them, because they were persecuted under the name of Lutherans : though, he adds, it always grieved him to hear his doctrine called by the name of Lutheranism, when, in fact, it was the Gospel of God himself. —The letter takes up seventeen quarto pages"J".
VOES, ESCH, And LAMBERT, page 148. vTM,**,
The learned writer of their martyrdom tells us, '—Z£—• that all means were used to induce them to recant; and he then proceeds to describe what he himself saw at Brussels. On the day fixed for their execution, the youngest of the three was brought first into the market-place; and directed to kneel before a table, covered like a communion-table. Every body fixed their astonished eyes upon him; but he discovered not the least mark of fear or perturbation of mind. His countenance was placid and composed, yet mild and modest; he seemed entirely absorbed in prayers and holy contemplations. While they were stripping him of his sacerdotal dress, he did every thing they ordered him to do with perfect readiness; and when they had thus made him a layman, he retired. Then the two others were produced ; and they went through the same ceremonies with a cheerful firmness, as far as one may judge from the countenance. Soon after, one of these, together with the youngest first mentioned, came forward ; and the two were led to the fire. At this moment, says the writer,-—if they had not been heretics,—one would have owned, that they gave many most decisive proofs of a sound understanding and pious disposition, and of the joy which they experienced on the prospect of being freed from the body and joined to Christ. The fire was slow in kindling, and the martyrs stood almost naked ; but showed not the least appearance of languor during this vexatious delay. You will ask, How did they behave when the flames broke out ? Their constancy and alacrity certainly increased; and there appeared a cheerfulness, not to be described ; insomuch, that many persons thought they saw them smile in the fire. They sang Te Deum in alternate verses, till at length the flame put an end to the scene. The
Vol. v. P P
E«h, third was not produced. It was suspected that he £ert was put to death privately.
v—' These men were condemned upon sixty-two articles, which need not be repeated, as they were, in the main, expressive of Luther's doctrine. One of them was, " They had obtained more light into the Scriptures from Luther's writings, than from those of other doctors *."
OSIANDER. page 177.
Andreas Osiander began to preach at Nuremberg in Feb. I522f, in the character of a reformer; and he is generally numbered among the worthies who contributed to the deliverance of the Church of Christ from the chains of Popery.—He was a studious and an acute divine; but disposed to adopt novel and mystical opinions, and much disliked on account of his pride and arrogance. He shamefully treated the excellent Melancthon in his old age, who bore his insolence with a truly Christian spirit Osiander, in 1552, died suddenly in Prussia, at a time when he was raising great disturbances among the Lutheran churches %.
HENRY Of ZUTPIIEN. p. 216.
The popish clergy were so provoked at the effect of Henry's preaching at Bremen, that they entreated the senate to expel the heretic from their city. Not succeeding in this way, they complained to the bishop; upon which Henry drew up the articles of his belief; sent the formulary to his Ordinary, and declared himself ready to recant any thing which could be proved by Scripture to be heretical.
• Ep. II. 142. t Com. de Luth. CXXXIX. 3.
: Mekbi Ad.
Instead of receiving an answer, he soon after found Henry of the bull of Leo X. and the emperor's edict at ZutPnen- t
Worms affixed to the doors of the church :
A procedure, the meaning of which could not be mistaken !
About two years after this, A. D. 1524, Henry A. D. was invited to preach the Gospel at Meldorf in 1524Ditmarsia. The people of Bremen entreated him not to leave them; but Henry thought it his duty to obey the call. He said, They had had the Gospel two years at Bremen ; whereas the Ditmarsians were in the midst of wolves, and without a shepherd. He could not therefore resist their prayers.
Henry was joyfully received at Meldorf. Immediately however, even before he began to preach, the fury of Satan and of his agents broke out. What is to be done? said the Prior of the monastery to his clergy. We shall lose all our authority. We must go to work in a different way from that which our friends pursued at Bremen. To be short, he formed a conspiracy of forty-eight of the principal inhabitants of a neighbouring town ; who concurred in the atrocious design of murdering Henry, whom the Prior called " The seditious monk from Bremen." He persuaded them they would thereby effectually gain the favour of the bishop.
The first measure of this wretched combination was to sign an instrument, in which they threatened to fine the parish of Meldorf 1,000 florins, if they should suffer Henry to preach. But the Meldorfians treated the insolent menace with contempt; and in the mean time Henry .persisted in preaching the leading doctrines of the Gospel, and the people received the truth with wonder, joy and thankfulness.
In the mean time the Prior grew impatient for the death of Henry. He called together his digniHenry of fied brethren, and applied also for assistance to tbe z'"pl'"'' , Franciscan monks, who were peculiarly well qualified for the wicked service in which they were to be employed. The party instantly agreed to lodg? complaints before the magistrates concerning tie doctrines of Henry; and to declare, that if such 2 heretic was not put to death, the worship of the Virgin Mary and of the Saints would soon be at aa end, and the two monasteries would be pulled down. This was Their Scriptural way of convicting a heretic ! One of the magistrates observed, that the preacher and his adherents had already been threatened in a written document: but that, if it was thought expedient, the admonition might be repeated No, no, replied the Prior;—we must not proceed so in this business : if you admonish the heretic in writing, he will answer you; and you will not get the better of him. Nay, there is danger lest you yourselves should be seized with the heretical contagion. Upon which they all agreed that Henry should be taken by force, and burnt in the night-time, before the university should know any thing of the affair, or the martyr be brought to trial.
To carry this plan into execution, the principal actors contrived to collect together in the evening, after it was dark, above five hundred rustics from the villages, whose minds, at first averse from so scandalous a transaction, they stirred up to the perpetration of it, partly by threats, and partly by the stimulus of several hogsheads of Hamburgh ale. The clergy led the way with lighted torches. Then an armed body of men came to Meldorf about midnight, and made their first attack upon a parishioner, who was Henryls principal supporter. They hauled him by the hair of his head, and rolled him naked in the dirt. After this, they seized Henry nimself, and dragged him, till, from fatigue, and from his feet being cut with sharp pieces of ice, he could no longer walk.
One of the magistrates of this scene of barbarity Henry of asked the martyr, Whether he would rather choose ^utphen. j to receive his due there at Meldorf, or be sent to the bishop of Bremen? " If," said Henry, " I have preached false doctrine, or committed any
crime, they have me now in their power." " He
would rather die here," cried the manager; and then the multitude, who were heated with strong liquor, shouted aloud, Burn him ! burn him! And thus this good man was condemned to the flames, without any previous hearing.
When brought to the pile of wood, Henry lifted up his hands to heaven, and said, " Forgive them, O Lord, they know not the sin they are committing." A lady of Meldorf was so much affected with the sight of this tragedy, that she offered one thousand florins to the mob, on condition that they would take Henry to prison, and remove him to an impartial trial. Instantly they trampled the lady under their feet, fell upon Henry with clubs, and beat him without mercy.
Almost two hours were spent before the fire could be made to burn, during all which time the barbarous rustics continued either to beat the martyr, or to thrust all kinds of instruments into his back, his sides, and his arms. At last they tied his body to a long ladder; and when he was beginning to pray, they forced his neck with a cord so close to one of the steps of the ladder, that the blood flowed plentifully from his mouth and nose. Their object throughout was, to prevent him from being heard either to speak or to pray. They now endeavoured to place the ladder almost upright, with Henry thus fastened to it; but in their attempt to support it by a sharp pointed pole, they missed their aim; and the good man fell upon the sharp pole, which pierced his'body through, and put an end to his suffering's. The barbarians cast his remains into
the fire : and one of them snatched up a club and
ADRIAN To ERASMUS, page 2.59.
The letter is in substance as follows:
" Beloved Son,
" Do not be uneasy because calumny has represented you as belonging to the Lutheran faction, We do not listen to malignant insinuations against learned and good men. We entreat you, however, out of regard to your own reputation, to take up your pen against these novel heresies. God bas bestowed on you a great genius, and a happy tun for writing; and it is your duty to use your gifts in support of the Church. In that way you will best silence the reports of your being a Lutheran. Hitherto, by your writings, you have adorned every branch of learning; and now, when your faculties are ripened and confirmed, you are called upon by the whole Christian world to exert yourself against the insidious attacks of heretics. Modesty inclines you to suppose you are unequal to the task; but every one knows the contrary : moreover, you have truth on your side, and God will not fail to help you.—Then rouse, rouse yourself in the cause of God : Employ your talents in his service. Come cheerfully to Rome, as soon as the winter is over. Here you will have the advantage of books and oi learned men; and we will take care, and soon too. that you shall not repent of your journey, or of the holy cause in which you engage. Our beloved Son. Faber, will explain my meaning more at length. —Dec. 1, 1522 f.
Erasmus, by his answer, on Dec. 22, showed'that he would not be behind the Pope in compliments. He said, " The world looked to his Holiness alone for the restoration of peace and tranquillity in the Church. The danger was imminent; nevertheless, if a person of no rank might be permitted to speak, he himself would venture to communicate Secretly such advice as would put an end to all the dissensions. Then no harm could ensue from what he had to propose, because the secret would be in the possession of nobody but the Pope and himself*."
Adrian's answer, in the succeeding January 23, is full of the same sort of compliments as those in his former letter. He adds, moreover, that if ever he had entertained any suspicion of the integrity of Erasmus, it was now completely done away, by that piety, zeal, and respect for the Roman See, which his last letter breathed throughout.
He then entreats Erasmus to communicate his Secret with all possible expedition. " There was nothing," he said, " under the sun, which he more ardently wished for, than the extinction of the present evils in the Church *f."
At length, with much parade, the Secret AdVice of Erasmus is disclosed to the Pope, in an elaborate letter of several folio pages. After boasting of his own moderation, and of the proofs he had given that he was no Lutheran, he intimates, that if he had been of a factious turn of mind, or disposed to give way to solicitations, he could have done irreparable mischief to the established hierarchy; and he adds, that the requital which he had met with was such as tended to alienate the mind of any orthodox person, and make him a heretic. But, says he, you will ask me, To what purpose are these complaints, when I am expecting to hear your advice ? " Part of my advice," Erasmus answers, " is implied in what I have already said." And he then * Eras. p. 737. t Ibid- P- 744- .
discloses the remainder of his secret, in terms to this effect:
1. This evil is not to be cured by fire and sword. I do not say what the heretics deserve, but what is expedient to be done.
2. Some concessions ought to be made.
3. The causes of the evils should be investigated, and proper remedies applied, with an amnesty for the past.
4. The licentiousness of the press should be restrained,
5. Hopes should be given that certain grievances will be redressed. Men will breathe freely at tie sweet name of liberty.
6. To settle these points, there should be called together, from different nations, men of integrity, ability, and cool judgment, whose opinion ■
Here Erasmus breaks off in the middle of a sentence : he probably did so on purpose, though be pretends to have wanted time. His letter is without date*.
The Pope and his Cardinals, no doubt disliked the advice.
LUTHER's LETTER To ERASMUS,
He begins in the Apostolical manner: Grace and peace to you from the Lord Jesus.
" I shall not complain of you,'' says he, "f°r having behaved yourself as a man estranged from us, to keep fair with the Papists, my enemies. Nor was I much offended, that in your printed books, to gain their favour, or to soften their rage, you have censured us with too much acrimony. We saw that the Lord had not conferred upon you V> discernment, the courage, and the resolution to jo"1
* Eras. 745.
with us, and freely and openly to oppose those LuAer'i monsters : and therefore we dared not to exact from ~t,er to
1 , Erasmus.
you that which surpasses your strength and your '—* •
capacity. We have even borne with your weakness1, and honoured that portion of the gift of God which is in you.
" The whole world must own with gratitude your great talents and services in the cause of literature, through the revival of which, we are enabled to read the Sacred Scriptures in their originals.
" I never wished that, forsaking or neglecting your own proper talents, you should enter into our camp. You might indeed have favoured us not a little by your wit, and by your eloquence ; but forasmuch as you have not that courage which is requisite, it is safer for you to serve the Lord in your own way. Only we feared, lest our adversaries should entice you to write against us, and that necessity should then constrain us to oppose you to your face. We have withheld some persons amongst us, who were disposed and prepared to attack you; and I could have wished that the Complaint of Hutten had never been published, and still more that your Spongia in answer to it had never come forth; by which you may at present, if 1 mistake not, see and feel how easy it is to say fine things about the duties of modesty and moderation, and to accuse Luther of wanting them; and how difficult and even impossible it is to be really modest and moderate, without a particular gift of the Holy Spirit. Believe me, or believe me not, Jesus Christ is my witness', that I am concerned as well as you, that the resentment and hatred of so many eminent persons hath been excited against you. I must suppose that this gives you no small uneasiness ; for virtue like yours, mere human virtue, cannot raise a man above being affected by such trials. To tell you freely what 1 think, there are persons who, having this weakness also about them, cannot bear, as they ought> your Vol. v. Q 0.
acrimony and your dissimulation, which you want to pass off for prudence and modesty. These ma have cause to be offended; and yet would not be offended, if they possessed greater magnanimity. Although I also am irascible, and have been ofta provoked so as to use an asperity of style, yet I never acted thus, except against hardened and incurable reprobates; nay, some offenders even of this stamp, it is well known, have been treated by me with clemency and gentleness. Hitherto then, though yew have provoked me, I have restrained myself; and I promised my friends, in letters which you have seen, that I would continue to do so, unless you should appear openly against us. For although you are not in our sentiments, and many pious doctrines are condemned by you with irreligion or dissimulation, or treated in a sceptical manner, yet I neither can nor will ascribe a stubborn perverseness to you. What can I do now ? Things are exasperated on both sides; and I could wish, if I might be allowed to act the part of a mediator, that they would cease to attack you with, such animosity, and suffer your old age to rest in peace in the Lord ; and thus they would conduct themselves, in my opinion, if thev either considered your weakness, or the magnitude of the controverted cause, which hath been long since beyond your capacity. They would show their moderation towards you so much the more, since our affairs are advanced to such a point, that our cause is in no peril, although even Erasmus should attack it with all his might; so far are we from fearing any of his strokes and strictures. On the other hand, my dear Erasmus, if you duly reflect upon your own imbecility, you will abstain from those sharp and spiteful figures of rhetoric ; and if you cannot or will not defend our sentiments, you will let them alone, and treat of subjects which suit you better. Our friends, even you yourself must own, have some reason to be out of humour at being lashed by you; because human infirmity thinks of
the authority and reputation of Erasmus, and fears '^jj^ to
it: and indeed there is much difference between ^—t——'
him and the rest of the Papists. He alone is a
more formidable adversary than all of them joined
" My prayer is, that the Lord may bestow on you a spirit worthy of your great reputation ; but if this be not granted, I entreat you, if you cannot help us, to remain at least a spectator of our severe conflict, and not to join our adversaries; and in particular not to write tracts against us : on which condition I will not publish against you."
The learned author refers his reader to many parts of Scripture.
E. g. to Rom. xi. 36. 1 Sam. ii. 25.
Ephes. i. 11. ix. 1.—16.
Matt. x. 29. —,—x. 26.
Prov. xvi. 4. 1 Kings xii. 15.
xx. 24. Rom. ix. 15.
Jerem. x. 23. Eccles. viii. 16. 17.
Gen. xv. 16.
Some other things contained in this performance may be referred to with advantage on a future occasion. Vide Von dor Hardt. IV. 30.
JOHN DE BACKER: page381.
The charges brought against this good man were,
1. That he had spoken lightly of papal indulgences.
2. That he had neglected to celebrate the mass.
3. That he had married a wife *.
• Scult. 318.
On his examination, he boldly maintained that no man ought to submit to any other rule of faith than what was expressed in the Holy Bible; and that God allowed a chaste and honourable marriage, which however the governors of the church refused to tolerate. At the same time he put the court in mind how the fornication of the priests was every day connived at, or forgiven ; then repeated, and forgiven again and again,
At his trial, the president used some expressions too indecent to be mentioned; and in particular, " He wished," he said, " the poor man had lived with ten harlots, rather than that he should have married, and given the court all this trouble." This declaration affected the audience with horror.
The father of Backer addressed his son thus : " Be strong and persevere: I am content, like Abraham, to offer up to God my dearest child that never offended me."
As the martyr passed the prison in his way to execution, he said, " Courage, my dear brethren. From my example have courage, like brave soldiers of Christ." The prisoners answered him with a shout of joy, clapping of hands, and singing of Te Deum. At the stake he cried, " O death, where " is thy sting!" His last words were, " Lord Jesus forgive them, for they know not what they do;— and have mercy on me* !"
* Brandt. 53. ,
END OF THE FIFTH VOLUME.