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A. t. 44.
sured the misconduct and the violence of Tetzel, CHAP. whom he called before him, and reprehended with such severity, as being the cause and promoter of A.D. 1519. these dissensions, that the unfortunate monk, ter- A.Pon.VII. rified by the threats of the legate and by the letters which were afterwards addressed to him, fell a sacrifice to his vexation and his grief. (a) By these and similar measures, Luther was at length prevailed upon to relax in his opposition, and to address a letter to the pontiff, in which he laments, with apparent sincerity, the part which he had acted, and to which, as he asserts, he had been impelled by the misconduct, avarice, and violence of his enemies; and declares, in the sight of God and the world, that he had never wished to impeach the authority of the Roman see and of the pontiff, which was held by him as supreme over all in heaven and in earth, except our Lord Jesus Christ. He also professes his readiness to refrain from the further discussion of the question concerning indulgences, provided his adversaries would do the like. (b) From the pacific and obedient tenor of this letter, there is indeed reason to infer that Luther was not at this time averse to a reconcilia
(a) When Luther was informed of his sickness, he addressed a letter to him, entreating him "to keep up his spirits, and to fear nothing from his resentment," &c. Luth. op. in præf. Whether this was really intended as a consolation, the reader will judge.
"How can it be doubted?" says Mr. Henke; "if Luther's own words be read, not at all. 'Ita fregit Miltitius hominem, ut inde contabesceret, & tandem ægritudine conficeretur; quem ego, ubi hoc rescivi, ante obitum literis benignita scriptis consolatus sum, ac jussi animo bono esse, nec mei memoriam metuere.'" v. Germ. ed. vol. iii. p. 188.
(b) v. App. No. CLXXXI.
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CHAP. tion; nor did Leo hesitate to reply to it in terms XIX. equally pacific; insomuch, that the friends of peace A. D. 1519. began to flatter themselves that these disturbances A.Pon.VII. would soon be amicably terminated. (a) But other circumstances arose which revived the fermentation of theological disputes, and gave new life to those animosities which seem to be their natural and invariable result.
putation at Leipsic.
Andrew Bodenstein, better known by the name of Carlostadt or Carlostadius, assumed by him from the place of his birth, was at this time archdeacon of the cathedral at Wittemberg, and having embraced the opinions of Luther, had published a thesis in their defence. This again called. forth the papal champion Eccius, and after much. altercation, it was at length determined, that the dispute should be decided by single combat, substituting only the weapons of argument for those of force. Of this contest, which was carried on in the city of Leipsic, in the presence of George, duke of Saxony, the uncle of the elector Frederick, and a large concourse of other eminent persons both ecclesiastical and secular, the partisans of the Roman church and the adherents to the reformation have each left a full account. (b) After the parties had tried their skill for several successive days, Luther himself, who had accompanied his friend Carlostadt, entered the lists with Eccius. The battle was renewed with great violence, and if the disputants did not succeed in enlightening the understanding, they at least inflamed the passions of each other to a decree of ani
(a) v. Mosheim, Ecclesiast. Hist. vol. ii. p. 21, note (u).
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mosity which sufficiently discovered itself in their CHAP. future conduct. (a) Hoffman, the principal of the university of Leipsic, who sat as umpire on this A. D. 1519. occasion, was too discreet to determine between A.Pon.VII. the contending parties. Each, therefore, claimed the victory; but the final decision upon the various questions which had been agitated, was referred to the universities of Paris and of Erfurt. This
(a) This famous dispute commenced on the 27th day of June, 1519. The principal question agitated between Carlostadt and Eccius was, whether the human will had any operation in the performance of good works, or was merely passive to the power of divine grace? The debate continued six days; Eccius maintaining that the will co-operated with the divine favour, and Carlostadt asserting its total inefficacy for any meritorious purpose. The debate between Luther and Eccius occupied ten days, in the course of which Luther delivered his opinion respecting purgatory, the existence of which he asserted could not be proved by scripture; of indulgences, which he contended were useless; of the remission of punishment, which he considered as inseparable from the remission of sin; of repentance, which he asserted must arise from charity and love, and was useless if induced by fear; of the primacy of the pope, which he boldly contended was supported by human, and not by divine authority. This last point was contested by both parties with great earnestness and ability. Luther, however, acknowledges, that he and his friends were overcome, at least by clamour and by gestures: "Ita, me Deus amet, fateri cogor victos nos esse clamore et gestu." Excerpta Lutheri, de suis et Carolostadii thesibus, ap. Seckend. p. 73.
It is remarkable that Milton appears as an advocate for the Catholic doctrine of free-will, in opposition to the Lutheran and Calvinistic opinion of the total inefficacy of the human mind to all good purposes:
Freely they stood, who stood, and fell, who fell;
Where only what they needs must do appear'd,
Not what they would, what praise could they receive?"
Par. Lost, book iii. v. 102.
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CHAP. debate was again renewed in writing, when not only Carlostadt, Eccius, and Luther, but MelancA.D. 1519. thon, Erasmus, and several other eminent scholars, A.Pon.VII. took an important part in asserting or opposing the various opinions which had been advanced at Leipsic. By the publication of these works the spirit of discussion and inquiry was still further extended; and whether the truth was with the one, or the other, or with neither of the parties, the prolongation of the contest proved almost as injurious to the court of Rome, as if its cause had experienced a total defeat.
On the return of Luther to Wittemberg, Miltitz renewed his endeavours to prevail upon him to desist from further opposition, and to submit himself to the authority of the holy see. For the accomplishment of this object he laboured unceasingly, with such commendations of the virtues and talents of Luther, and such acknowledgments of the misconduct and corruptions of the Roman court, as he thought were likely to gain his confidence and disarm his resentment; a conduct which has been considered by the papal historians as highly derogatory to the Roman pontiff, of whom he was the legate, and injurious to the cause which he was employed to defend. They have also accused this envoy of indulging himself too freely in convivial entertainments and the use of wine; on which occasions he amused his friends with many exaggerated anecdotes, to the discredit and disgrace of the Roman court; which being founded on the authority of the pope's nuncio, (a) were
(a) It is remarked by Bossi, that strictly speaking, Miltitz was neither the legate, nor the nuncio of the pope, but sent in the
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received and repeated as authentic. (a) Finding, CHAP. however, that all his efforts to subdue the pertinacity of Luther were ineffectual, he had recourse to A. D. 1519. the assistance of the society of Augustine monks, A.Pon.VII. then met in a general chapter, whom he prevailed upon to send a deputation to their erring brother, to recal him to a sense of his duty. Luther appeared to be well pleased with this mark of re- upon to spect, and promised that he would again write to the Pope. the pontiff, with a further explanation of his conduct. Availing himself therefore of this opportunity, he addressed another letter to Leo X. which in its purport may be considered as one of the most singular, and in its consequences as one of the most important, that ever the pen of an individual produced. Under the pretext of obedience, respect, and even affection for the pontiff, he has conveyed the most determined opposition, the most bitter satire, and the most marked contempt; insomuch, that it is scarcely possible to conceive a composition more replete with insult and offence, than that which Luther affected to allow himself to be prevailed on to write by the representations of his own fraternity. (b) Amongst the monsters Sarcastic of the age," says Luther," with whom I have now Luther to waged nearly a three-years' war, I am compelled the pope. at times to turn my regards towards you, O most holy father Leo; or rather I may say, that as you are esteemed to be the sole cause of the contest, character of an envoy, for a special purpose only; in admitting the remark, I have not thought it necessary to alter the phraseology of the text, which sufficiently answers the purpose.
ed. vol. ix. pp. 13, 18.*
(a) Pallav. Conc. di Trento, lib. i. (b) v. App. No. CLXXXII.