|Inhibentes nihilominus eidem Martino ex nunc, ut interim ab omni praedicatione seu praedicationis officio omnino desistat. Alioquin in ipsum Martinum si forte justitiae et virtutis amor a peccato non retrahat, indulgentiaeque spes ad poenitentiam non reducat, poenarum terror coërceat disciplinae: eundem Martinum ejusque adhaerentes complices, fautores, et receptatores tenore praesentium requirimus, et monemus in virtute sanctae obedientiae, sub praedictis omnibus et singulis poenis eo ipso incurrendis districte praecipiendo mandamus, quatenus infra sexaginta dies, quorum viginti pro primo, viginti pro secundo, et reliquos viginti dies pro tertio et peremptorio termino assignamus ab affixione praesentium in locis infrascriptis immediate sequentes numerandos, ipse Martinus, complices, fautores, adhaerentes, et receptatores praedicti a praefatis erroribus, eorumque praedicatione, ac publications, et assertione, defensione quoque et librorum seu scripturarum editione super eisdem, sive eorum aliquo omnino desistant, librosque ac scripturas omnes et singulas praefatos errores seu eorum aliquos quomodolibet continentes comburant, vel comburi faciant. Ipse etiam Martinus errores et assertiones hujusmodi omnino revocet, ac de revocatione hujusmodi per publica documenta in forma juris valida in manibus duorum Praelatorum consignata ad nos infra alios similes sexaginta dies transmittenda, vel per ipsummet (si ad nos venire voluerit, quod magis placeret) cum praefato plenissimo salvo conductu, quem ex nunc concedimus deferenda, nos certiores efficiat, ut de ejus vera obedientia nullus dubitationis scrupulus valeat remanere.
[In case Luther and his followers refuse to recant within sixty days, they will be excommunicated, and dealt with according to law.]
Alias si (quod absit) Martinus praefatus, complices, fautores, adhaerentes et receptatores praedicti secus egerint, seu proemissa omnia et singula infra terminum praedictum cum effectu non adimpleverint, Apostoli imitantes doctrinam, qui haereticum hominem post primam et secundam correctionem vitandum docuit, ex nunc prout ex tunc, et e converso eundem Martinum, complices, adhaerentes, fautores et receptatores praefatos et eorum quemlibet tanquam aridos palmites in Christo non manentes, sed doctrinam contrariam, Catholicae fidei inimicam, sive scandalosam seu damnatam, in non modicam offensam divinae majestatis, ac universalis Ecclesiae, et fidei Catholicae detrimentum et scandalum dogmatizantes, claves quoque Ecclesiae vilipendentes, notorios et pertinaces haereticos eâdem auctoritate fuisse et esse declarantes, eosdem ut tales harum serie condemnamus, et eos pro talibus haberi ab omnibus utriusque sexus Christi fidelibus supradictis volumus et mandamus. Eosque omnes et singulos omnibus supradictis et aliis contra tales a jure inflictis poenis praesentium tenore subjicimus, et eisdem irretitos fuisse et esse decernimus et declaramus.
[All Catholics are admonished not to read, print, or publish any book of Luther and his followers, but to burn them.]
Inhibemus praeterea sub omnibus et singulis praemissis poenis eo ipso incurrendis, omnibus et singulis Christi fidelibus superius nominatis, ne scripta, etiam praefatos errores non continentia, ab eodem Martino quomodolibet condita vel edita, aut condenda vel edenda, seu eorum aliqua tanquam ab homine orthodoxae fidei inimico, atque ideo vehementer suspecta, et ut ejus memoria omnino deleatur de Christifidelium consortio, legere, asserere, praedicare, laudare, imprimere, publicare, sive defendere, per se vel alium seu alios, directe vel indirecte, tacite vel expresse, publice vel occulte, seu in domibus suis, sive aliis locis publicis vel privatis tenere quoquomodo praesumant, quinimmo illa comburant, ut praefertur.282
[Christians are forbidden, after the excommunication, to hold any intercourse with Luther and his followers, or to give them shelter, on pain of the interdict; and magistrates are commanded to arrest and send them to Rome.]
Monemus insuper omnes et singulos Christifideles supradictos, sub eadem excommunicationis latae sententiae poena, ut haereticos praedictos declaratos et condemnatos, mandatis nostris non obtemperantes, post lapsum termini supradicti evitent et quantum in eis est, evitari faciant, nec cum eisdem, vel eorum aliquo commercium aut aliquam conversationem seu communionem habeant, nec eis necessaria ministrent.
Ad majorem praeterea dicti Martini suorumque complicum, fautorum et adhaerentium ac receptatorum praedictorum, sic post lapsum termini praedicti declaratorum haereticorum et condemnatorum confusionem universis et singulis utriusque sexus Christifidelibus Patriarchis, Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Patriarchalium, Metropolitanarum, et aliarum cathedralium, collegiatarum ac inferiorum ecclesiarum Praelatis, Capitulis, aliisque personis ecclesiastica, saecularibus et quoramvis Ordinum etiam Mendicantium (praesertim ejus congregationis cujus dictus Martinus est professus, et in qua degere vel morari dicitur) regularibus exemptis et non exemptis, necnon universis et singulis principibus, quacumque ecclesiastica vel mundana fulgentibus dignitate Regibus, Imperatoris283 Electoribus, Ducibus, Marchionibus, Comitibus, Baronibus, Capitaneis, Conductoribus, Domicellis, Communitatibus, Universitatibus, Potentatibus, Civitatibus, Terris, Castris et locis, seu eorum habitatoribus, civibus et incolis omnibusque aliis et singulis supradictis per universum Orbem, praesertim in eadem Alemania constitutis mandamus, quatenus sub praedictis omnibus et singulis poenis, ipsi vel eorum quilibet, praefatum Martinum, complices, adhaerentes, receptantes et fautores personaliter capiant et captos ad nostram instantiam retineant et ad nos mittant: reportaturi pro tam bono opere a nobis et Sede Apostolica remunerationem, praemiumque condignum vel saltem eos et eorum quemlibet, de Metropolitanis, Cathedralibus, Collegiatis, et aliis ecclesiis, domibus, Monasteriis, Conventibus, Civitatibus, Dominiis, Universitatibus, Communitatibus, Castris, Terris, ac locis respective, tam clerici et regulares quam laici omnes et singuli supradicti omnino expellant.
[The places which harbor Luther and his followers are threatened with the Interdict.]
Civitates vero, Dominia, Terras, Castra, Villas, comitatus, fortilicia, Oppida et loca quaecumque ubilibet consistentia earum et eorum respective Metropolitanas, Cathedrales, Collegiatas et alias ecclesias, Monasteria, Prioratus, Domus, Conventus et loca religiosa vel pia cujuscunque ordinis (tit praefertur) ad quae praefatum Martinum vel aliquem ex praedictis declinare contigerit, quamdiu ibi permanserint et triduo post recessum, ecclesiastico subjicimus interdicto.
[Provision for the promulgation and execution of the bull.]
Et ut praemissa omnibus innotescant, mandamus insuper universis Patriarchis, Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Patriarchalium, Metropolitanarum et aliarum cathedralium ac collegiatarum ecclesiarum Praelatis, Capitulis aliisque personis ecclesiasticis, saecularibus et quorumvis Ordinum supradictorum regularibus, fratribus religiosis, monachis exemptis et non exemptis supradictis, ubilibet, praesertim in Alemania constitutis quatenus ipsi vel eorum quilibet sub similibus censuris et poenis co ipso incurrendis, Martinum omnesque et singulos supradictos qui elapso teremo hujusmodi mandatis seu monitis nostris non paruerint, in eorum ecclesiis, dominicis et aliis festivis diebus, dum inibi major populi multitudo ad divina convenerit, declaratos haereticos et condemnatos publice nuncient faciantque et mandent ab aliis nunciari et ab omnibus evitari. Necnon omnibus Christifidelibus ut eos evitent, pari modo sub praedictis censuris et poenis. Et praesentes literas vel earum transumptum sub forma infrascripta factum in eorum ecclesiis, monasteriis, domibus, conventibus et aliis locis legi, publicare atque affigi faciant. Excommunicamus quoque et anathematizamus omnes et singulos cujuscumque status, gradiis, conditionis, prae-eminentiae, dignitatis aut excellentiae fuerint qui quo minus praesentes literae vel earum transumpta, copiae seu exemplaria in suis terris et dominiis legi, affigi et publicare possint, fecerint vel quoquomodo procuraverint per se vel alium seu alios, publice vel occulte, directe vel indirecte, tacite vel expresse.
Postremo quia difficile foret praesentes literas ad singula quaeque loca deferri in quibus necessarium foret, volumus et apostolica authoritate decernimus, quod earum transumptis manu publici notarii confectis et subscriptis, vel in alma Urbe impressis et sigillo alicujus ecclesiastici Praelati munitis ubique stetur et plena fides adhibeatur, prout originalibus literis staretur, si forent exhibitae vel ostensae.
Et ne praefatus Martinus omnesque alii supradicti, quos praesentes literae quomodolibet concernunt, ignorantiam earundem literarum et in eis contentorum omnium et singulorum praetendere valeant, literas ipsas in Basilicas Principis Apostolorum et Cancellariae Apostolicae, necnon Cathedralium ecclesiarum Brandeburgen., Misnen. et Morspergen. [Merseburg] valvis affigi et publicari debere284 volumus, decernentes, quod earundem literarum publicatio sic facta, supradictum Martinum omnesque alios et singulos praenominatos, quos literae hujusmodi quomodolibet concernunt, perinde arctent, ac si literae ipsae die affixionis et publicationis hujusmodi eis personaliter lectae et intimatae forent, cum non sit verisimile, quod ea quae tam patenter fiunt debeant apud eos incognita remanere.
Non obstantibus constitutionibus et ordinationibus apostolicis, seu si supradictis omnibus et singulis vel eorum alicui aut quibusvis aliis a Sede Apostolica praedicta, vel ab ea potestatem habentibus sub quavis forma, etiam confessionali et cum quibusvis etiam fortissimis clausulis, aut ex quavis causa, seu grandi consideratione, indultum vel concessum existat, quod interdici, suspendi, vel excommunicari non possint per literas Apostolicas, non facientes plenam et expressam ac de verbo ad verbum, non autem per clausulas generates id importantes, de indulto hujusmodi mentionem, ejusdem indulti tenores, causas285 et formas perinde ac si de verbo ad verbum insererentur, ita ut omnino tollatur, praesentibus pro expressis habentes.
Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostrae damnationis, reprobationis, rejectionis, decreti, declarationis, inhibitionis, voluntatis, mandati, hortationis, obsecrationis, requisitionis, monitionis, assignationis, concessionis, condemnationis, subjectionis, excommunicationis, et anathematizationis infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attentare praesumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei ac Beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum ejus se noverit incursurum.
Dat. Romae apud S. Petrum anno incarnationis Dominicae Milesimo Quingentesimo Vigesimo. XVII. Kls. Julii. Pontificatus Nostri Anno Octavo.
Visa. R. Milanesius.
Impressum Romae per Iacobum Mazochium
De Mandato S. D. N. Papae.286
§ 48. Luther burns the Pope’s bull, and forever breaks with Rome. Dec. 10, 1520.
Literature in § 47.
Luther was prepared for the bull of excommunication. He could see in it nothing but blasphemous presumption and pious hypocrisy. At first he pretended to treat it as a forgery of Eck.287 Then he wrote a Latin and German tract, "Against the bull of Antichrist,"288 called it a "cursed, impudent, devilish bull," took up the several charges of heresy, and turned the tables against the Pope, who was the heretic according to the standard of the sacred Scriptures. Hutten ridiculed the bull from the literary and patriotic standpoint with sarcastic notes and queries. Luther attacked its contents with red-hot anger and indignation bordering on frenzy. He thought the last day, the day of Antichrist, had come. He went so far as to say that nobody could be saved who adhered to the bull.289
In deference to his friends, he renewed the useless appeal from the Pope to a free general council (Nov. 17, 1520), which he had made two years before (Nov. 28, 1518); and in his appeal he denounced the Pope as a hardened heretic, an antichristian suppresser of the Scriptures, a blasphemer and despiser of the holy Church and of a rightful council.290
At the same time he resolved upon a symbolic act which cut off the possibility of a retreat. The Pope had ordered his books, good and bad, without any distinction, to be burned; and they were actually burned in several places, at Cologne even in the presence of the Emperor. They were to be burned also at Leipzig. Luther wanted to show that he too could burn books, which was an old custom (Acts 19:19) and easy business. He returned fire for fire, curse for curse. He made no distinction between truth and error in the papal books, since the Pope had ordered his innocent books to be destroyed as well. He gave public notice of his intention.
On the tenth day of December, 1520, at nine o’clock in the morning, in the presence of a large number of professors and students, he solemnly committed the bull of excommunication, together with the papal decretals, the Canon law, and several writings of Eck and Emser, to the flames, with these words (borrowed from Joshua’s judgment of Achan the thief, Josh. 7:25): "As thou [the Pope] hast vexed the Holy One of the Lord, may the eternal fire vex thee!"291
The spot where this happened is still shown outside the Elster Gate at Wittenberg, under a sturdy oak surrounded by an iron railing.292
Several hundred students tarried at the fire, which had been kindled by a master of the university, some chanting the Te Deum, others singing funeral dirges on the papal laws; then they made a mock procession through the town, collected piles of scholastic and Romish books, and returning to the place of execution, threw them into the flames.
Luther, with Melanchthon, Carlstadt, and the other doctors and masters, returned home immediately after the act. He at first had trembled at the step, and prayed for light; but after the deed was done, he felt more cheerful than ever. He regarded his excommunication as an emancipation from all restraints of popery and monasticism. On the same day he calmly informed Spalatin of the event as a piece of news.293 On the next day he warned the students in the lecture-room against the Romish Antichrist, and told them that it was high time to burn the papal chair with all its teachers and abominations.294 He publicly announced his act in a Latin and German treatise, "Why the Books of the Pope and his Disciples were burned by Dr. Martin Luther." He justified it by his duties as a baptized Christian, as a sworn doctor of divinity, as a daily preacher, to root out all unchristian doctrines. He cites from the papal law-books thirty articles and errors in glorification of the papacy, which deserve to be burned; and calls the whole Canon-law "the abomination of desolation" (Matt. 24:15) and antichristian (2 Thess. 2:4), since the sum of its teaching was, that "the Pope is God on earth, above all things, heavenly and earthly, spiritual and temporal; all things belong to the Pope, and no one dare ask, What doest thou?" Simultaneously with this tract, he published an exhaustive defense of all his own articles which had been condemned by the Pope, and planted himself upon the rock of God’s revelation in the Scriptures.
Leo X., after the expiration of the one hundred and twenty days of grace allowed to Luther by the terms of the bull, proceeded to the last step, and on the third day of January, 1521, pronounced the ban against the Reformer, and his followers, and an interdict on the places where they should be harbored. But Luther had deprived the new bull of its effect.
The burning of the Pope’s bull was the boldest and most eventful act of Luther. Viewed in itself, it might indeed have been only an act of fanaticism and folly, and proved a brutum fulmen. But it was preceded and followed by heroic acts of faith in pulling down an old church, and building up a new one. It defied the greatest power on earth, before which emperors, kings, and princes, and all the nations of Europe bowed in reverence and awe. It was the fiery signal of absolute and final separation from Rome, and destroyed the effect of future papal bulls upon one-half of Western Christendom. It emancipated Luther and the entire Protestant world from that authority, which, from a wholesome school of discipline for young nations, had become a fearful and intolerable tyranny over the intellect and conscience of men.
Luther developed his theology before the eyes of the public; while Calvin, at a later period, appeared fully matured, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter. "I am one of those," he says, "among whom St. Augustin classed himself, who have gradually advanced by writing and teaching; not of those who at a single bound spring to perfection out of nothing.
He called the Pope the most holy and the most hellish father of Christendom. He began in 1517 as a devout papist and monk, with full faith in the Roman Church and its divinely appointed head, protesting merely against certain abuses; in 1519, at the Leipzig disputation, he denied the divine right, and shortly afterwards also the human right, of the papacy; a year later he became fully convinced that the papacy was that antichristian power predicted in the Scriptures, and must be renounced at the risk of a man’s salvation.
There is no doubt that in all these stages he was equally sincere, earnest, and conscientious.
Luther adhered to the position taken in the act of Dec. 10, 1520, with unchanging firmness. He never regretted it for a moment. He had burned the ship behind him; he could not, and he would not, return. To the end of his life he regarded and treated the Pope of Rome in his official capacity as the very Antichrist, and expected that he soon would be destroyed by spiritual force at the second coming of Christ. At Schmalkalden in 1537 he prayed that God might fill all Protestants with hatred of the Pope. One of his last and most violent books is directed "Against the Papacy at Rome, founded by the Devil." Wittenberg, 1545.295 He calls Paul III. the "Most hellish Father," and addresses him as "Your Hellishness." instead of "Your Holiness." He promises at the close to do still better in another book, and prays that in case of his death, God may raise another one "a thousandfold more severe; for the devilish papacy is the last evil on earth, and the worst which all the devils with all their power could contrive. God help us. Amen." Thus he wrote, not under the inspiration of liquor or madness, as Roman historians have suggested, but in sober earnest. His dying words, as reported by Ratzeburger, his physician, were a prediction of the approaching death of the papacy: —
"Pestis eram vivus, moriens tua mors ero Papa."
From the standpoint of his age, Luther regarded the Pope and the Turk as "the two arch-enemies of Christ and his Church," and embodied this view in a hymn which begins, —
"Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort
Und steur’ des Papst’s und Türken Mord."296
This line, like the famous eightieth question of the Heidelberg Catechism which denounces the popish mass as an "accursed idolatry," gave much trouble in mixed communities, and in some it was forbidden by Roman-Catholic magistrates. Modern German hymn-books wisely substitute "all enemies," or "enemies of Christ," for the Pope and the Turk.
In order to form a just estimate of Luther’s views on the papacy, it must not be forgotten that they were uttered in the furnace-heat of controversy, and with all the violence of his violent temper. They have no more weight than his equally sweeping condemnation of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.
§ 49. The Reformation and the Papacy.
Here is the place to interrupt the progress of events, and to reflect on the right or wrong of the attitude of Luther and the Reformation to the papacy.
The Reformers held the opinion that the papacy was an antichristian institution, and some of the Protestant confessions of faith have given symbolical sanction to this theory. They did not mean, of course, that every individual Pope was an Antichrist (Luther spoke respectfully of Leo X.), nor that the papacy as such was antichristian: Melanchthon, at least, conceived of the possibility of a Christian papacy, or a general superintendence of the Church for the preservation of order and unity.297
They had in view simply the institution as it was at their time, when it stood in open and deadly opposition to what they regarded as the truth of the gospel of Christ, and the free preaching of the same. Their theory does not necessarily exclude a liberal and just appreciation of the papacy before and after the Reformation.
And in this respect a great change has taken place among Protestant scholars, with the progress of exegesis and the knowledge of church history.
1. The prophetic Scripture texts to which the Reformers and early Protestant divines used to appeal for their theory of the papacy, must be understood in accordance with the surroundings and conditions of the writers and their readers who were to be benefited. This does not exclude, of course, an application to events and tendencies of the distant future, since history is a growing and expanding fulfillment of prophecy; but the application must be germane to the original design and natural meaning of the text. Few commentators would now find the Pope of Rome in "the little horn" of Daniel (7:8, 20, 21), who had in view rather Antiochus Epiphanes; or in the Apocalyptic beast from the abyss (Rev. 13:1), and "the mother of harlots" (17:5), which evidently apply to the persecuting heathen Rome of Nero and his successors.
St. John is the only biblical writer who uses the term Antichrist;"298 but he means by it, in the first instance, the Gnostic heresy of his own day, which denied the incarnation; for he represents this denial as the characteristic sign of Antichrist, and represents him as being already in the world; yea, he speaks of "many" antichrists who had gone out of the Christian churches in Asia Minor. The Pope has never denied the incarnation, and can never do it without ceasing to be Pope.
It is quite legitimate to use the terms "antichrist" and antichristian" in a wider sense, of all such men and tendencies as are opposed to Christ and his teaching; but we have no right to confine them to the Pope and the Roman Church., , Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:4, 11, 23, 24).
St. Paul’s prediction of the great apostasy, and the "man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshiped; so that he sits in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God."299 sounds much more than any other passage like a description of the papacy with its amazing claim to universal and infallible authority over the Church of God. But the application becomes more than doubtful when we remember that the apostle characterizes this antichristian apostasy as "the mystery of lawlessness," already at work in his day, though restrained from open manifestation by some conservative power.300 The papacy did not yet exist at the time; and its besetting sin is not lawless freedom, but the very opposite.
If we would seek for Scripture authority against the sins and errors of popery, we must take our stand on our Lord’s opposition to the traditions of the elders, which virtually set aside the word of God; on Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians and Romans, where he defends Christian freedom against legalistic bondage, and teaches the great doctrines of sin and grace, forgotten by Rome, and revived by the Reformation; and on St. Peter’s protest against hierarchical presumption and pride.
There was in the early Church a general expectation that an Antichrist in the emphatic sense, an incarnation of the antichristian principle, a pseudo-Christ of hell, a "world-deceiver" (as he is called in the newly discovered "Teaching of the Apostles"301), should appear, and lead astray many Christians immediately before the second coming of Christ. The Reformers saw this Antichrist in the Pope, and looked for his speedy destruction; but an experience of more than three hundred and fifty years proves that in this expectation they were mistaken, and that the final Antichrist is still in the future.
2. As regards church history, it was as yet an unexplored field at the time of the Reformation; but the Reformation itself roused the spirit of inquiry and independent, impartial research. The documentary sources of the middle ages have only recently been made accessible on a large scale by such collections as the Monumenta Germania. "The keys of Peter," says Dr. Pertz, the Protestant editor of the Monumenta, "are still the keys of the middle ages." The greatest Protestant historians, ecclesiastical and secular,—I need only mention Neander and Ranke,—agree in a more liberal view of the papacy.302
After the downfall of the old Roman Empire, the papacy was, with all its abuses and vices, a necessary and wholesome training-school of the barbarian nations of Western and Northern Europe, and educated them from a state of savage heathenism to that degree of Christian civilization which they reached at the time of the Reformation. It was a check upon the despotism of rude force; it maintained the outward unity of the Church; it brought the nations into communication; it protected the sanctity of marriage against the lust of princes; it moderated slavery; it softened the manners; it inspired great enterprises; it promoted the extension of Christianity; it encouraged the cause of learning and the cultivation of the arts of peace.
And even now the mission of the papacy is not yet finished. It seems to be as needful for certain nations, and a lower stage of civilization, as ever. It still stands, not a forsaken ruin, but an imposing pyramid completed to the very top. The Roman Church rose like a wounded giant from the struggle with the Reformation, abolished in the Council of Trent some of the worst abuses, reconquered a considerable portion of her lost territory in Europe, added to her dominion one-half of the American Continent, and completed her doctrinal and governmental system in the decrees of the Vatican Council. The Pope has lost his temporal power by the momentous events of 1870; but he seems to be all the stronger in spiritual influence since 1878, when Leo XIII. was called to occupy the chair of Leo X. An aged Italian priest shut up in the Vatican controls the consciences of two hundred millions of human beings,—that is, nearly one-half of nominal Christendom,—and rules them with the claim of infallibility in all matters of faith and duty. It is a significant fact, that the greatest statesman of the nineteenth century, and founder of a Protestant empire, who at the beginning of the Kulturkampf declared that he would never go to Canossa (1872), found it expedient, after a conflict of ten years, to yield to an essential modification of the anti-papal May-laws of 1873, without, however, changing his religious conviction, or sacrificing the sovereignty of the State; he even conferred an extraordinary distinction upon the Pope by selecting him as arbiter in an international dispute between Germany and Spain (1885).303 But it is perhaps still more remarkable, that Leo XIII. in return sent to Prince Bismarck, the political Luther of Germany, the Christ Order, which was never given to a Protestant before, and that he supported him in the political campaign of 1887.
3. How can we justify the Reformation, in view of the past history and present vitality of the Papacy?
Here the history of the Jewish Church, which is a type of the Christian, furnishes us with a most instructive illustration and conclusive answer. The Levitical hierarchy, which culminated in the high priest, was of divine appointment, and a necessary institution for the preservation of the theocracy. And yet what God intended to be a blessing became a curse by the guilt of man: Caiaphas, the lineal descendant of Aaron, condemned the Messiah as a false prophet and blasphemer, and the synagogue cast out His apostles with curses.
What happened in the old dispensation was repeated on a larger scale in the history of Christianity. An antichristian element accompanied the papacy from the very beginning, and culminated in the corruptions at the time of the Reformation. The greater its assumed and conceded power, the greater were the danger and temptation of abuse. One of the best of Popes, Gregory the Great, protested against the title of, "universal bishop," as an antichristian presumption. The Greek Church, long before the Reformation, charged the Bishop of Rome with antichristian usurpation; and she adheres to her protest to this day. Not a few Popes, such as Sergius III., John XII., Benedict IX., John XXIII., and Alexander VI., were guilty of the darkest crimes of depraved human nature; and yet they called themselves successors of Peter, and vicars of Christ. Who will defend the papal crusades against the Albigenses and Waldenses, the horrors of the Inquisition, the papal jubilee over the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and all those bloody persecutions of innocent people for no other crime but that of opposing the tyranny of Rome, and dissenting from her traditions? Liberal and humane Catholics would revolt at an attempt to revive the dungeon and the fagot against heresy and schism; but the Church of Rome in her official capacity has never repudiated the principle of persecution by which its practice was justified: on the contrary, Pope Gregory XVI. declared liberty of conscience and worship an insanity (deliramentum), and Pius IX. in his "Syllabus" of 1864 denounced it among the pernicious and pestilential errors of modern times. And what shall we say of the papal schism in the fifteenth century, when two or three rival Popes laid all Christendom under the curse of excommunication? What of the utter secularization of the papacy just before the Reformation, its absorption in political intrigues and wars and schemes of aggrandizement, its avarice, its shameless traffic in indulgences, and all those abuses of power which called forth the one hundred and one gravamina of the German -nation? Who will stand up for the bull of excommunication against Luther, with its threats of burning him and his books, and refusing the consolations of religion to every house or community which should dare to harbor him or any of his followers? If that bull be Christian, then we must close our eyes against the plain teaching of Christ in the Gospels.
Even if the Bishop of Rome should be the legitimate successor of Peter, as he claims, it would not shield him against the verdict of history. For the carnal Simon revived and reasserted himself from time to time in the spiritual Peter. The same disciple whom Christ honored as the "Rock," on whose confession he promised to build his Church, was soon afterwards called "Satan" when he presumed to divert his Master from the path of suffering; the same Peter was rebuked when he drew the sword against Malchus; the same Peter, notwithstanding his boast of fidelity, denied his Lord and Saviour; and the same Peter incurred the severe remonstrance of Paul at Antioch when he practically denied the rights of the Gentile converts, and virtually excluded them from the Church. According to the Roman legend, the prince of the apostles relapsed into his consistent inconsistency, even a day before his martyrdom, by bribing the jailer, and fleeing for his life till the Lord appeared to him with the cross at the spot of the memorial chapel Domine quo vadis. Will the Pope ever imitate Peter in his bitter repentance for denying Christ?
If the Apostolic Church typically foreshadows the whole history of Christianity, we may well see in the temporary collision between Peter and Paul the type of the antagonism between Romanism and Protestantism. The Reformation was a revolt against legal bondage, and an assertion of evangelical freedom. It renewed the protest of Paul against Peter, and it succeeded. It secured freedom in religion, and as a legitimate consequence, also intellectual, political, and civil freedom. It made the Word of God with its instruction and comfort accessible to all. This is its triumphant vindication. Compare for proof Protestant Germany under William I., with Roman-Catholic Germany under Maximilian I.; England under Queen Victoria, with England under Henry VII.; Calvinistic Scotland and Lutheran Scandinavia in the nineteenth century, with Roman Scotland and Scandinavia in the fifteenth. Look at the origin and growth of free Holland and free North America. Contrast England with Spain of the present day; Prussia with Austria; Holland with Portugal; the United States and Canada with the older Mexico and Peru or Brazil. Consider the teeming Protestant literature in every department of learning, science and art; and the countless Protestant churches, schools, colleges, universities, charitable institutions and missionary stations scattered all over the globe. Surely, the Reformation can stand the test: "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Opinions of representative Protestant historians who cannot be charged with partisan bias or Romanizing tendency: —
"Whatever judgment," says Leopold von Ranke, who was a good Lutheran (Die römischen Päpste, I. 29), "we may form of the Popes of former times, they had always great interests in view: the care of an oppressed religion, the conflict with heathenism, the propagation of Christianity among the Northern nations, the founding of an independent hierarchical power. It belongs to the dignity of human existence to will and to execute something great. These tendencies the Popes kept in higher motion."
In the last volume of his great work, published after his death (Weltgeschichte, Siebenter Theil, Leipzig, 1886, pp. 311–313), Ranke gives his estimate of the typical Pope Gregory VII., of which this is a condensed translation: —
"The hierarchical system of Gregory rests on the attempt to make the clerical power the basis of the entire human existence. This explains the two principles which characterize the system,—the command of (clerical] celibacy, and the prohibition of investiture by the hands of a layman. By the first, the lower clergy were to be made a corporation free from all personal relations to human society; by the second, the higher clergy were to be secured against all influence of the secular power. The great hierarch had well considered his standpoint: he thereby met a want of the times, which regarded the clergy, so to say, as higher beings. All his words had dignity, consistency and power. He had a native talent for worldly affairs. Peter Damiani probably had this in view when he called him, once, the holy Satan .... Gregory’s deliverances contain no profound doctrines; nearly all were known before. But they are summed up by him in a system, the sincerity of which no one could call in question. His dying words: ’I die in exile, because I loved justice,’ express his inmost conviction. But we must not forget that it was only the hierarchical justice which he defended to his last breath."—In the thirteenth chapter, entitled "Canossa," Ranke presents his views on the conflict between Gregory VII. and Henry IV., or between the hierarchical and the secular power.
Adolf Harnack, a prominent historian of the present generation, in his commemorative address on Martin Luther (Giessen, 1883, p. 7), calls "the idea of the papacy the greatest and most humane idea (die grösste und humanste Idee) which the middle age produced."
It was In a review of Ranke’s History of the Popes, that Lord Macaulay, a Protestant of Scotch ancestry, penned his brilliant eulogy on the Roman Church as the oldest and most venerable power in Christendom, which is likely to outlast all other governments and churches. "She was great and respected," he concludes, "before the Saxon set his foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshiped in the Temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigor, when some traveler from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s."304
But we must not overlook a later testimony, in which the eloquent historian supplemented and qualified this eulogy: —
"From the time," says Macaulay in the first chapter of his History of England, "when the barbarians overran the Western Empire, to the time of the revival of letters, the influence of the Church of Rome had been generally favorable to science, to civilization, and to good government. But, during the last three centuries, to stunt the growth of the human mind has been her chief object. Throughout Christendom, whatever advance has been made in knowledge, in freedom, in wealth, and in the arts of life, has been made in spite of her, and has everywhere been in inverse proportion to her power. The loveliest and most fertile provinces of Europe have, under her rule, been sunk in poverty, in political servitude, and in intellectual torpor; while Protestant countries once proverbial for sterility and barbarism, have been turned, by skill and industry, into gardens, and can boast of a long list of heroes and statesmen, philosophers and poets. Whoever, knowing what Italy and Scotland naturally are, and what, four hundred years ago, they actually were, shall now compare the country round Rome with the country round Edinburgh, will be able to form some judgment as to the tendency of papal domination. The descent of Spain, once the first among monarchies, to the lowest depths of degradation; the elevation of Holland, in spite of many natural disadvantages, to a position such as no commonwealth so small has ever reached,—teach the same lesson. Whoever passes, in Germany, from a Roman-Catholic to a Protestant principality, in Switzerland from a Roman-Catholic to a Protestant canton, in Ireland from a Roman-Catholic to a Protestant county, finds that he has passed from a lower to a higher grade of civilization. On the other side of the Atlantic, the same law prevails. The Protestants of the United States have left far behind them the Roman Catholics of Mexico, Peru, and Brazil. The Roman Catholics of Lower Canada remain inert, while the whole continent round them is in a ferment with Protestant activity and enterprise. The French have doubtless shown an energy and an intelligence which, even when misdirected, have justly entitled them to be called a great people. But this apparent exception, when examined, will be found to confirm the rule; for in no country that is called Roman-Catholic has the Roman-Catholic Church, during several generations, possessed so little authority as in France.
"It is difficult to say whether England owes more to the Roman-Catholic religion or to the Reformation. For the amalgamation of races and for the abolition of villenage, she is chiefly indebted to the influence which the priesthood in the middle ages exercised over the laity. For political and intellectual freedom, and for all the blessings which political and intellectual freedom have brought in their train, she is chiefly indebted to the great rebellion of the laity against the priesthood."
§ 50. Charles V.
Most of the works on Charles V. are histories of his times, in which he forms the central figure. Much new material has been brought to light from the archives of Brussels and Simancas. He is extravagantly lauded by Spanish, and indiscriminately censured by French historians. The Scotch Robertson, the American Prescott, and the German Ranke are impartial.
I. Joh. Sleidan (d. 1556): De Statu Religionis et Reipublicae Carlo V. Caesare Commentarii, Argentor. 1555 fol. (best ed. by Am Ende, Frf.-a.-M., 1785). Ludw. v. Seckendorf: Com. Hist. et Apol. de Lutheranism sive de Reformatione Religionis, Leipzig, 1694. Goes to the year 1546.—The English Calendars of State-Papers,—Spanish, published by the Master of the Rolls.—De Thou: Historia sui Temporis (from the death of Francis I.).—The Histories of Spain by Mariana (Madrid, 1817–22, 20 vols. 8vo); Zurita (Çaragoça, 1669–1710, 6 vols. fol.); Ferreras (French trans., Amsterdam, 1751, 10 vols. 4to); Salazar de Mendoza (Madrid, 1770–71, 3 vols. fol.); Modesto Lafuente (Vols. XI. and XII., 1853), etc.
II. Biographies. Charles dictated to his secretary, William Van Male, while leisurely sailing on the Rhine, from Cologne to Mayence, in June, 1550, and afterwards at Augsburg, under the refreshing shade of the Fugger gardens, a fragmentary autobiography, in Spanish or French, which was known to exist, but disappeared, until Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove, member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, discovered in the National Library at Paris, in 1861, a Portuguese translation of it, and published a French translation from the same, with an introduction, under the title: Commentaires de Charles-Quint, Brussels, 1862. An English translation by Leonard Francis Simpson: The Autobiography of the Emperor Charles V., London, 1862 (161 and xlviii. pp.]. It is a summary of the Emperor’s journeys and expeditions ("Summario das Viages e Jornadas"), from 1516 to 1548. It dwells upon the secular events; but incidentally reveals, also, his feelings against the Protestants, whom he charges with heresy, obstinacy, and insolence, and against Pope Paul III., whom he hated for his arrogance, dissimulation, and breach of promise. Comp. on this work, the introduction of Lettenhove (translated by Simpson), and the acute criticism of Ranke, vol. vi. 75 sqq.
Alfonso Ulloa: Vita di Carlo V., Venet., 1560. Sandoval: Histoiria de la Vida y Hechos del Emperadòr Carlos Quinto, Valladolid, 1606 (Pampelona, 1618; Antwerp, 1681, 2 vols.). Sepulveda (Whom the Emperor selected as his biographer): De Rebus Gestis Caroli V. lmperatoris, Madrid, 1780 (and older editions). G. Leti: Vita del Imperatore Carlo V., 1700, 4vols. A. de Musica (in Menckenius, Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum, vol. I., Leipzig, 1728). William Robertson (d. 1793): The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V., London, 1769, 3 vols.; 6th ed., 1787, 4 vols.; new ed. of his Works, London, 1840, 8 vols. (vols. III., IV., V.); best ed., Phila. (Lippincott) 1857, 3 vols., with a valuable supplement by W. H. Prescott on the Emperor’s life after his abdication, from the archives of Simancas (III., 327–510). Hermann Baumgarten: Geschichte Karls V., Stuttgart, 1885 sqq. (to embrace 4 vols.; chiefly based on the English Calendars and the manuscript diaries of the Venetian historian Marino Sanuto).
III. Documents and Treatises on special parts of his history. G. Camposi: Carlo V. in Modena (in Archivio Storico Italiano, Florence, 1842–53, 25 vols., App.). D. G. van Male: Lettres sur la vie intérieure de l’Empéreur Charles-Quint, Brussels, 1843. K. Lanz: Correspondenz des Kaisers Karl V. aus dem kaiserlichen Archiv und der Bibliothèque de Burgogne in Brussel, Leipzig, 1844–46, 3 vols.; Staatspapiere zur Geschichte des Kaisers Karl V., Stuttgart, 1845; and Actenstücke und Briefe zur Geschichte Karls V., Wien, 1853–57. G. Heine: Briefe an Kaiser Karl V., geschrieben von seinem Beichtvater (Garcia de Loaysa) in den Jahren 1530–32, Berlin, 1848 (from the Simancas archives). Sir W. Maxwell Stirling: The Cloister-Life of Charles V., London, 1852. F. A. A. Mignet: Charles-Quint; son abdication, son séjour et sa mort au monastère de Yuste, Paris, 1854; and Rivalité de François I. et de Charles-Quint, 1875, 2 vols. Amédée Pichot: Charles-Quint, Chronique de sa vie intérieure et de sa vie politique, de son abdication et de sa retraite dans le cloître de Yuste, Paris, 1854. Gachart (keeper of the Belgic archives): Retraite et mort de Charles-Quint au monastère de Yuste (the original documents of Simancas), Brussels. 1854–55, 2 vols.; Correspondance de Charles-Quint et de Adrien VI., Brussels, 1859. Henne: Histoire du règne de Charles V. en Belgique, Brussels, 1858 sqq., 10 vols. Th. Juste: Les Pays-bas sous Charles V., 1861. Giuseppe de Leva: Storia documentata di Carlo V. in correlazione all’ Italia, Venice, 1863. Rösler: Die Kaiserwahl Karls V., Wien, 1868. W. Maurenbrecher: Karl V. und die deutschen Protestanten, 1545–1555, Düsseldorf, 1865; Studien und Skizzen zur Geschichte der Reformationszeit, Leipzig, 1874, pp. 99–133. A. v. Druffel: Kaiser Karl V. und die röm. Curie 1544–1546. 3 Abth. München, 1877 sqq.
IV. Comp. also Ranke: Deutsche Geschichte, I. 240 sqq., 311 sqq.; and on Charles’s later history in vols. II., III., IV., V., VI. Janssen: Geschichte des deutschen Volkes, II. 131 sqq., and vol. III. Weber: Allgemeine Weltgeschichte, vol. X. (1880), 1 sqq. Prescott’s Philip II., bk. I, chaps. 1 and 9 (vol. I. 1–26; 296–359). Motley’s Rise of the Dutch Republic, vol. I., Introduction.
Before passing to the Diet of Worms, we must make the acquaintance of Charles V. He is, next to Martin Luther, the most conspicuous and powerful personality of his age. The history of his reign is the history of Europe for more than a third of a century (from 1520–1556).
In the midst of the early conflicts of the Reformation, the Emperor Maximilian I. died at Wels, Jan. 12, 1519. He had worn the German crown twenty-six years, and is called "the last Knight." With him the middle ages were buried, and the modern era dawned on Europe.
It was a critical period for the Empire: the religion of Mohammed threatened Christianity, Protestantism endangered Catholicism. From the East the Turks pushed their conquests to the walls of Vienna, as seven hundred years before, the Arabs, crossing the Pyrenees, had assailed Christian Europe from the West; in the interior the Reformation spread with irresistible force, and shook the foundations of the Roman Church. Where was the genius who could save both Christianity and the Reformation, the unity of the Empire and the unity of the Church? A most difficult, yea, an impossible task.
The imperial crown descended naturally on Maximilian’s grandson, the young king of Spain, who became the most powerful monarch since the days of Charles the Great. He was the heir of four royal lines which had become united by a series of matrimonial alliances.
Never was a prince born to a richer inheritance, or entered upon public life with graver responsibilities, than Charles V. Spanish, Burgundian, and German blood mingled in his veins, and the good and bad qualities of his ramified ancestry entered into his constitution. He was born with his eventful century (Feb. 24, 1500), at Ghent in Flanders, and educated under the tuition of the Lord of Chièvres, and Hadrian of Utrecht, a theological professor of strict Dominican orthodoxy and severe piety, who by his influence became the successor of Leo X. in the papal chair. His father, Philip I., was the only son of Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy (daughter of Charles the Bold), and cuts a small figure among the sovereigns of Spain as "Philip the Handsome" (Filipe el Hermoso),—a frivolous, indolent, and useless prince. His mother was Joanna, called, "Crazy Jane" (Juana la Loca), second daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, and famous for her tragic fate, her insanity, long imprisonment, and morbid devotion to the corpse of her faithless husband, for whom, during his life, she had alternately shown passionate love and furious jealousy. She became, after the death of her mother (Nov. 26, 1504), the nominal queen of Spain, and dragged out a dreary existence of seventy-six years (she died April 11, 1555).305
Charles inherited the shrewdness of Ferdinand, the piety of Isabella, and the melancholy temper of his mother which plunged her into insanity, and induced him to exchange the imperial throne for a monastic cell. The same temper reappeared in the gloomy bigotry of his son Philip II., who lived the life of a despot and a monk in his cloister-palace of the Escorial. The persecuting Queen Mary of England, a granddaughter of Isabella, and wife of Philip of Spain, had likewise a melancholy and desponding disposition.
From his ancestry Charles fell heir to an empire within whose boundaries the sun never set. At the death of his father (Sept. 25, 1506), he became, by right of succession, the sovereign of Burgundy and the Netherlands; at the death of Ferdinand (Jan. 23, 1516), he inherited the crown of Spain with her Italian dependencies (Naples, Sicily, Sardinia), and her newly acquired American possessions (to which were afterwards added the conquests of Mexico and Peru); at the death of Maximilian, he succeeded to the hereditary provinces of the house of Habsburg, and soon afterwards to the empire of Germany. In 1530 he was also crowned king of Lombardy, and emperor of the Romans, by the Pope.
The imperial crown of Germany was hotly contested between him and Francis I. All the arts of diplomacy and enormous sums of money were spent on electioneering by both parties. The details reveal a rotten state of the political morals of the times. Pope Leo at first favored the claims of King Francis, who was the natural rival of the Austrian and Burgundian power, but a stranger to the language and manners of Germany. The seven electors assembled at Frankfurt offered the dignity to the wisest of their number, Frederick of Saxony; but he modestly and wisely declined the golden burden lined with thorns. He would have protected the cause of the Reformation, but was too weak and too old for the government of an empire threatened by danger from without and within.306 He nominated Charles; and this self-denying act of a Protestant prince decided the election, June 28, 1520. When the ambassadors of Spain offered him a large reward for his generosity, he promptly refused for himself, and declared that he would dismiss any of his servants for taking a bribe.
Charles was crowned with unusual splendor, Oct. 23, at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), where the founder of the German Empire lies buried. In his oath he pledged himself to protect the Catholic faith, the Roman Church, and its head the Pope.
The new emperor was then only twenty years of age, and showed no signs of greatness. "Nondum" ("Not yet") was the motto which he had adopted for his maiden shield in a tournament at Valladolid two years before. He afterwards exchanged it for "Plus Ultra." He was a good rider, and skilled in military exercises; he could break a lance with any Knight, and vanquish a bull in the ring, like an expert espada; but he was in feeble health, with a pale, beardless, and melancholy face, and without interest in public affairs. He had no sympathy with the German nation, and was ignorant of their language. But as soon as he took the reins of power into his own hands, he began to develop a rare genius for political and military government. His beard grew, and he acquired some knowledge of most of the dialects of his subjects. He usually spoke and wrote French and Spanish.
Charles V. as Emperor.
Without being truly great, he was an extraordinary man, and ranks, perhaps, next to Charlemagne and Otho I. among the German emperors.
He combined the selfish conservatism of the house of Habsburg, the religious ardor of the Spaniard, and the warlike spirit of the Dukes of Burgundy. He was the shrewdest prince in Europe, and an indefatigable worker. He usually slept only four hours a day. He was slow in forming his resolutions, but inflexible in carrying them into practice, and unscrupulous in choosing the means. He thought much, and spoke little; he listened to advice, and followed his own judgment. He had the sagacity to select and to keep the ablest men for his cabinet, the army and navy, and the diplomatic service. He was a good soldier, and could endure every hardship and privation except fasting. He was the first of the three great captains of his age, the Duke of Alva being the second, and Constable Montmorency the third.
His insatiable ambition involved him in several wars with France, in which he was generally successful against his bold but less prudent rival, Francis I. It was a struggle for supremacy in Italy, and in the Councils of Europe. He twice marched upon Paris.307
He engaged in about forty expeditions, by land and sea, in times when there were neither railroads nor steamboats. He seemed to be ubiquitous in his vast dominions. His greatest service to Christendom was his defeat of the army of Solyman the Magnificent, whom he forced to retreat to Constantinople (1532), and his rescue of twenty thousand Christian slaves and prisoners from the grasp of the African corsairs (1535), who, under the lead of the renowned Barbarossa, spread terror on the shores of the Mediterranean. These deeds raised him to the height of power in Europe.
But he neglected the internal affairs of Germany, and left them mostly to his brother Ferdinand. He characterized the Germans as "dreamy, drunken, and incapable of intrigue." He felt more at home in the rich Netherlands, which furnished him the greatest part of his revenues. But Spain was the base of his monarchy, and the chief object of his care. Under his reign, America began to play a part in the history of Europe as a mine of gold and silver.
He aimed at an absolute monarchy, with a uniformity in religion, but that was an impossibility; France checked his political, Germany his ecclesiastical ambition.
His Personal Character.
In his private character he was superior to Francis I., Henry VIII., and most contemporary princes, but by no means free from vice. He was lacking in those personal attractions which endear a sovereign to his subjects.308 Under a cold and phlegmatic exterior he harbored fiery passions. He was calculating, revengeful, implacable, and never forgave an injury. He treated Francis I., and the German Protestant princes in the Schmalkaldian war, with heartless severity. He was avaricious, parsimonious, and gluttonous. He indulged in all sorts of indigestible delicacies,—anchovies, frogs’ legs, eel-pasties,—and drank large quantities of iced beer and Rhine wine; he would not listen to the frequent remonstrances of his physicians and confessors, and would rather endure the discomforts of dyspepsia and gout than restrain his appetite, which feasted on twenty dishes at a single meal. In his autobiography he speaks of a fourteenth attack of gout, which "lasted till the spring of 1548."309
He had taste for music and painting. He had also some literary talent, and wrote or dictated an autobiography in the simple, objective style of Caesar, ending with the defeat of the Protestant league (1548); but it is dry and cold, destitute of great ideas and noble sentiments.
He married his cousin, Donna Isabella of Portugal, at Seville, 1526, and lived in happy union with her till her sudden death in 1539; but during his frequent absences from Spain, where she always remained, as well as before his marriage, and after her death, he indulged in ephemeral unlawful attachments.310 He had at least two illegitimate children, the famous Margaret, Duchess of Parma, and Don Juan of Austria, the hero of Lepanto (1547–1578), who lies buried by his side in the Escorial.
Charles has often been painted by the master hand of Titian, whom he greatly admired. He was of middle size, broad-shouldered, deep-chested, with a commanding forehead, an aquiline nose, a pale, grave, and melancholy countenance. His blue and piercing eye, his blonde, almost reddish hair, and fair skin, betokened his German origin, and his projecting lower jaw, with its thick, heavy lip, was characteristic of the princes of Habsburg; but otherwise he looked like a Spaniard, as he was at heart.
Incessant labors and cares, gluttony, and consequent gout, undermined his constitution, and at the age of fifty he was prematurely old, and had to be carried on a litter like a helpless cripple. Notwithstanding his many victories and successes, he was in his later years an unhappy and disappointed man, but sought and found his last comfort in the religion of his fathers.
§ 51. The Ecclesiastical Policy of Charles V.
The ecclesiastical policy of Charles was Roman Catholic without being ultramontane. He kept his coronation oath. All his antecedents were in favor of the traditional faith. He was surrounded by ecclesiastics and monks. He was thoroughly imbued with the Spanish type of piety, of which his grandmother is the noblest and purest representative. Isabella the Catholic, the greatest of Spanish sovereigns, "the queen of earthly queens."311 conquered the Moors, patronized the discoverer of America, expelled the Jews, and established the Inquisition,—all for the glory of the Virgin Mary and the Catholic religion.312 A genuine Spaniard believes, with Gonzalo of Oviedo, that "powder against the infidels is incense to the Lord." With him, as with his Moorish antipode, the measure of conviction is the measure of intolerance, and persecution the evidence of zeal. The burning of heretics became in the land of the Inquisition a sacred festival, an "act of faith;"313 and such horrid spectacles were in the reign of Philip II. as popular as the bull-fights which still flourish in Spain, and administer to the savage taste for blood.
Charles heard the mass daily, listened to a sermon on Sunday and holy days, confessed and communed four times a year, and was sometimes seen in his tent at midnight on his knees before the crucifix. He never had any other conception of Christianity than the Roman-Catholic, and took no time to investigate theological questions.
He fully approved of the Pope’s bull against Luther, and ordered it to be executed in the Netherlands. In his retreat at Yuste, he expressed regret that he had kept his promise of safe-conduct; in other words, that he had not burned the heretic at Worms, as Sigismund had burned Hus at Constance. He never showed the least sympathy with the liberal tendencies of the age, and regarded Protestantism as a rebellion against Church and State. He would have crushed it out if he had had the power; but it was too strong for him, and he needed the Protestant support for his wars against France, and against the Turks. He began in the Netherlands that fearful persecution which was carried on by his more bigoted son, Philip II., but it provoked the uprising of the people, and ended in the establishment of the Dutch Republic.314 He subdued the Lutheran league in the Schmalkaldian war; pale as death, but trusting in God, he rushed into the hottest of the fight at Mühlberg, and greeted the decisive victory of 1547 with the words: "I came, I saw, and God conquered."315 But the height of his power was the beginning of his decline. The same Saxon Elector, Moritz, who had aided him against the Protestant princes, turned against him in 1552, and secured in the treaty of Passau, for the first time, some degree of legal toleration to the Lutherans in Germany.
But while Charles was a strict Roman Catholic from the beginning to the end of his life, he was, nevertheless, by no means a blind and slavish papist. Like his predecessors on the German throne, be maintained the dignity and the sovereignty of the state against the claims of hierarchical supremacy. He hated the French, or neutral, politics of the papal court. His troops even captured Rome, and imprisoned Clement VII., who had formed a league with Francis I. against him (1527). He quarreled with Pope Paul III., who in turn severely protested against his tolerant or hesitating policy towards the Protestants in Germany. He says, in his Autobiography,316 that "the Pope’s emissaries, and some ecclesiastics, were incessantly endeavoring to induce him to take up arms against the Protestants (tomar as armas contra os protestantes)," but that he "hesitated on account of the greatness and difficulty of such an enterprise."
Moreover, Charles had a certain zeal for a limited reformation of church discipline on the basis of the Catholic doctrine and the papal hierarchy. He repeatedly urged a general council, against the dilatory policy of the Popes, and exhorted Protestants and Catholics alike to submit to its decisions as final. Speaking of the Diet of Augsburg, held in 1530, he says that he, asked his Holiness to convoke and assemble a general council, as most important and necessary to remedy what was taking place in Germany, and the errors which were being propagated throughout Christendom."317 This was likewise consistent with Spanish tradition. Isabella the Catholic, and Cardinal Ximenes, had endeavored to reform the clergy and monks in Spain.318
This Roman-Catholic reformation was effected by the Council of Trent, but turned out to be a papal counter-reformation, and a weapon against Protestantism in the hands of the Spanish order of the Jesuits.
The Emperor and the Reformer.
Charles and Luther saw each other once, and only once, at the Diet of Worms. The Emperor was disgusted with the monk who dared to set his private judgment and conscience against the time-honored creed of Christendom, and declared that he would never make him a heretic. But Luther wrote him a respectful letter of thanks for his safe-conduct.319
Twenty years later, after his victory over John Frederick of Saxony at Mühlberg on the Elbe (April 24, 1547), Charles stood on the grave of Luther in the castle church of Wittenberg, and was advised by the bloodthirsty Duke of Alva to dig up and burn the bones of the arch-heretic, and to scatter the ashes to the winds of heaven; but he declined with the noble words:, I make war on the living, not on the dead." This was his nearest approach to religious toleration. But the interesting incident is not sufficiently authenticated.320
For twenty-six years the Emperor and the Reformer stood at the head of Germany, the one as a political, the other as a religious, leader; working in opposite directions,—the one for the preservation of the old, the other for the creation of the new, order of things. The one had the army and treasure of a vast empire at his command; the other had nothing but his faith and pen, and yet made a far deeper and more lasting impression on his and on future ages. Luther died peacefully in his birthplace, trusting in the merits of Christ, and commending his soul to the God who redeemed him. Ten years later Charles ended his life as a monk in Spain, holding a burning candle in the right hand, and pressing with the left the crucifix to his lips, while the Archbishop of Toledo intoned the Psalm De Profundis. The last word of the dying Emperor was "Jesus."
§ 52. The Abdication of Charles, and his Cloister Life.
The abdication of Charles, and his subsequent cloister life, have a considerable interest for ecclesiastical as well as general history, and may by anticipation be briefly noted in this place.
In the year 305, the last of the imperial persecutors of Christianity, who was born a slave and reached his power by military achievements, voluntarily resigned the throne of the Caesars, and retired for the remaining eight years of his life to his native Salona in Dalmatia to raise cabbages. In the year 1555 (Oct. 25), Charles V., who was born an heir of three kingdoms, wearied of the race of politics, diplomacy, and war, defeated by the treason of Moritz, and tormented by gout, abdicated his crown to live and die like an humble monk.
The abdication of Charles took place in the royal palace at Brussels, in the same hall in which, forty years before, he had been declared of age, and had assumed the reign of Brabant. He was dressed in mourning for his unfortunate mother, and wore only one ornament,—the superb collar of the Golden Fleece. He looked grave, solemn, pale, broken: he entered leaning on a staff with one hand, and on the arm of William of Orange with the other; behind him came Philip II., his son and heir, small, meager, timid, but magnificently dressed,—a momentous association with the two youthful princes who were to be afterwards arrayed in deadly conflict for the emancipation of the Netherlands from the yoke of Spanish tyranny and bigotry.321
The Emperor rose from the throne, and with his right hand resting on the shoulder of the Prince of Orange,—who was one day to become the most formidable enemy of his house,—and holding a paper in the other hand, he addressed his farewell in French before the members of the royal family, the nobility of the Netherlands, the Knights of the Golden Fleece, the royal counselors, and the great officers of the household. He assured them that he had done his duty to the best of his ability, mindful of his dear native land, and especially of the interests of Christianity against infidels and heretics. He had shrunk from no toil; but a cruel malady now deprived him of strength to endure the cares of government, and this was his only motive for carrying out a long-cherished wish of resigning the scepter. He exhorted them above all things to maintain the purity of the faith. He had committed many errors, but only from ignorance, and begged pardon if he had wronged any one.
He then resigned the crown of the Netherlands to his son Philip with the exhortation, "Fear God: live justly; respect the laws; above all, cherish the interests of religion."
Exhausted, and pale as a corpse, he fell back upon his seat amid the tears and sobs of the assembly.322
On the 16th of January, 1556, he executed the deeds by which he ceded the sovereignty of Castile and Aragon, with their dependencies, to Philip. His last act was to resign the crown of Germany into the hands of his brother Ferdinand; but, as affairs move slowly in that country, the resignation was not finally acted on till Feb. 28, 1558, at the Diet at Frankfurt.323
His Retirement to Yuste.
On the 17th of September Charles sailed from the harbor of Flushing for Spain with a fleet of fifty-six sails, his two sisters (Mary, formerly queen of Hungary, and regent of the Low Countries, and Eleanor, the widow of King Francis of France), and a hundred and fifty select persons of the imperial household.
After a boisterous voyage, and a tedious land-journey, he arrived, Feb. 3, 1557, at the Convent of St. Gerome in Yuste, which he had previously selected for his retreat.
The resolution to exchange the splendors of the world for monastic seclusion was not uncommon among the rulers and nobles of Spain; and the rich convents of Montserrat and Poblet (now in ruins) had special accommodations for royal and princely guests. Charles had formed it during the lifetime of the Empress Isabella, and agreed with her that they would spend the rest of their days in neighboring convents, and be buried under the same altar. In 1542 he announced his intention to Francisco de Borgia; but the current of events involved him in a new and vain attempt to restore once more the Holy Roman Empire in the fullness of its power. Now his work was done, and he longed for rest. His resolution was strengthened by the desire to atone for sins of unchastity committed after the death of his wife.324
Yuste is situated in the mountainous province of Estremadura, about eight leagues from Plasencia and fifty leagues from Valladolid (then the capital of Spain), in a well-watered valley and a salubrious climate, and was in every way well fitted for the wishes of the Emperor.325
Here he spent about eighteen months till his death,—a remarkable instance of the old adage, Sie transit gloria mundi.
His Cloister Life.
There is something grand and romantic, as well as sad and solemn, in the voluntary retirement of a monarch who had swayed a scepter of unlimited power over two hemispheres, and taken a leading part in the greatest events of an eventful century. There is also an idyllic charm in the combination of the innocent amusements of country life with the exercises of piety.
The cloister life of Charles even more than his public life reveals his personal and religious character. It was represented by former historians as the life of a devout and philosophic recluse, dead to the world and absorbed in preparation for the awful day of judgment;326 but the authentic documents of Simancas, made known since 1844, correct and supplement this view.
He lived not in the convent with the monks, but in a special house with eight rooms built for him three years before. It opened into gardens alive with aromatic plants, flowers, orange, citron, and fig trees, and protected by high walls against intruders. From the window of his bedroom he could look into the chapel, and listen to the music and prayers of the friars, when unable to attend. He retained over fifty servants, mostly Flemings, including a major-domo (who was a Spaniard), an almoner, a keeper of the wardrobe, a keeper of the jewels, chamberlains, secretaries, physician, confessor, two watchmakers, besides cooks, confectioners, bakers, brewers, game-keepers, and numerous valets.327 Some of them lived in a neighboring village, and would have preferred the gay society of Brussels to the dull monotony of solitude. He was provided with canopies, Turkish carpets, velvet-lined arm-chairs, six cushions and a footstool for his gouty limbs, twenty-five suits of tapestry, sixteen robes of silk and velvet lined with ermine or eider-down, twelve hangings of the finest black cloth, four large clocks of elaborate workmanship, and a number of pocket-watches. The silver furniture for his table and kitchen amounted to fourteen thousand ounces in weight. The walls of his room were adorned with choice pictures, nine from the pencil of Titian (including four portraits of himself and one of the Empress). He had also a small library, mostly of devotional books.328
He took exercise in his gardens, carried on a litter. He constructed, with the aid of a skilled artisan, a little handmill for grinding wheat, puppet soldiers, clocks and watches, and endeavored in vain to make an two of them run exactly alike. The fresh mountain air and exercise invigorated his health, and he never felt better than in 1557.
He continued to take a lively interest in public affairs, and the events of the times. He greeted with joy the victory of St. Quentin; with partial dissatisfaction, the conclusion of peace with the Pope (whom he would have treated more severely); with regret, the loss of Calais; with alarm, the advance of the Turkish fleet to Spain, and the progress of the Lutheran heresy. He received regular dispatches and messengers, was constantly consulted by his son, and freely gave advice in the new complications with France, and especially also in financial matters. He received visits from his two sisters,—the dowager queens of Hungary and France, who had accompanied him to Spain,—and from the nobles of the surrounding country; he kept up a constant correspondence with his daughter Joanna, regent of Castile, and with his sister, the regent of Portugal.
He maintained the stately Castilian etiquette of dining alone, though usually in the presence of his physician, secretary, and confessor, who entertained him on natural history or other topics of interest. Only once he condescended to partake of a scanty meal with the friars. He could not control, even in these last years, his appetite for spiced capons, pickled sausages, and eel-pies, although his stomach refused to do duty, and caused him much suffering.
But he tried to atone for this besetting sin by self-flagellation, which he applied to his body so severely during Lent that the scourge was found stained with his blood. Philip cherished this precious memorial of his father’s piety, and bequeathed it as an heirloom to his son.329
From the beginning of his retreat, and especially in the second year, Charles fulfilled his religious duties with scrupulous conscientiousness, as far as his health would permit. He attended mass in the chapel, said his prayers, and listened to sermons and the reading of selections from the Fathers (Jerome, Augustin, Bernard), the Psalms, and the Epistles of Paul. He favored strict discipline among the friars, and gave orders that any woman who dared to approach within two bow-shots of the gate should receive a hundred stripes. He enjoyed the visits of Francisco Borgia, Duke of Gandia, who had exchanged a brilliant position for membership in the Society of the Jesuits, and confirmed him in his conviction that he had acted wisely in relinquishing the world. He wished to be prayed for only by his baptismal name, being no longer emperor or king. Every Thursday was for him a feast of Corpus Christi.
He repeatedly celebrated the exequies of his parents, his wife, and a departed sister.
Yea, according to credible contemporary testimony, he celebrated, in the presentiment of approaching death, his own funeral, around a huge catafalque erected in the dark chapel. Bearing a lighted taper, he mingled with his household and the monks in chanting the prayers for the departed, on the lonely passage to the invisible world, and concluded the doleful ceremony by handing the taper to the priest, in token of surrendering his spirit to Him who gave it. According to later accounts, the Emperor was laid alive in his coffin, and carried in solemn procession to the altar.330
This relish for funeral celebrations reveals a morbid trait in his piety. It reminds one of the insane devotion of his mother to the dead body of her husband, which she carried with her wherever she went.
We need not wonder that his bigotry increased toward the end of life. He was not philosopher enough to learn a lesson of toleration (as Dr. Robertson imagines) from his inability to harmonize two timepieces. On the contrary, he regretted his limited forbearance towards Luther and the German Protestants, who had defeated his plans five years before. They were now more hateful to him than ever.
To his amazement, the same heretical opinions broke out in Valladolid and Sevilla, at the very court and around the throne of Spain. Augustin Cazalla,331 who had accompanied him as chaplain in the Smalkaldian war, and had preached before him at Yuste, professed Lutheran sentiments. Charles felt that Spain was in danger, and repeatedly urged the most vigorous measures for the extermination of heresy with fire and sword. "Tell the Grand Inquisitor, from me," he wrote to his daughter Joanna, the regent, on the 3d of May, 1558, "to be at his post, and to lay the ax at the root of the evil before it spreads farther. I rely on your zeal for bringing the guilty to punishment with all the severity which their crimes demand." In the last codicil to his will, he conjures his son Philip to cherish the Holy Inquisition as the best instrument for the suppression of heresy in his dominions. "So," he concludes, "shall you have my blessing, and the Lord shall prosper all your undertakings."332
Philip II., who inherited the vices but none of the virtues of his father, faithfully carried out this dying request, and by a terrible system of persecution crushed out every trace of evangelical Protestantism in Spain, and turned that beautiful country into a graveyard adorned by somber cathedrals, and disfigured by bull-rings.
The Emperor’s health failed rapidly in consequence of a new attack of gout, and the excessive heat of the summer, which cost the life of several of his Flemish companions. He died Sept. 21, 1558, a consistent Catholic as be had lived. A few of his spiritual and secular friends surrounded his death-bed. He confessed with deep contrition his sins; prayed repeatedly for the unity of the Church; received, kneeling in his bed, the holy communion and the extreme unction; and placed his hope on the crucified Redeemer. The Archbishop of Toledo, Bartolomé de Carranza, read the one hundred and thirtieth Psalm, and, holding up a crucifix, said: "Behold Him who answers for all. There is no more sin; all is forgiven;" while another of his preachers commended him to the intercession of saints, namely, St. Matthew, on whose day he was born, and St. Matthias, on whose day he was in a few moments to leave this world.
"Thus," says Mignet, "the two doctrines which divided the world in the age of Charles V. were once more brought before him on the bed of death."
It is an interesting fact, that the same archbishop who had taken a prominent part in the persecution of English Protestants under Queen Mary, and who administered the last and truly evangelical comfort to the dying Emperor, became a victim of persecution, and that those very words of comfort were used by the Emperor’s confessor as one of the grounds of the charge of heresy before the tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition. Bartolomé de Carranza was seven years imprisoned in Spain, then sent to Rome, lodged in the Castle of St. Angelo, after long delay found guilty of sixteen Lutheranizing propositions in his writings, suspended from the exercise of his episcopal functions, and sentenced to be shut up for five years in a convent of his order. He died sixteen days after the judgment, in the Convent Sopra Minerva, May 2, 1576, "declaring his innocence with tears in his eyes, and yet with strange inconsistency admitting the justice of his sentence."333
In less than two months after the decease of the Emperor, Queen Mary, his cousin, and wife of his son, died, Nov. 17, 1558, and was borne to her rest in Westminster Abbey. With her the Roman hierarchy collapsed, and the reformed religion, after five years of bloody persecution, was permanently restored on the throne and in the Church of England. In view of this coincidence, we may well exclaim with Ranke, "How far do the thoughts of Divine Providence exceed the thoughts and purposes of men!"334
From Yuste the remains of the once mighty Emperor were removed in 1574 to their last resting-place under the altar of the cathedral of the Escorial. That gloomy structure, in a dreary mountain region some thirty miles north of Madrid, was built by his order as a royal burial-place (between 1563 and 1584), and combines a palace, a monastery, a cathedral, and a tomb (called Pantheon). Philip II., "el Escorialense," spent there fourteen years, half king, half monk, boasting that he ruled the Old and New World from the foot of a mountain with two inches of paper. He died, after long and intense suffering, Sept. 13, 1598, in a dark little room facing the altar of the church.
Father and son are represented in gilt-bronze statues, opposite each other, in kneeling posture, looking to the high altar; Charles V., with his wife Isabella, his daughter Maria, and his sisters Eleonora and Maria; Philip II., with three of his wives, and his weak-minded and unfortunate son, Don Carlos.
The Escorial, like Spain itself, is only a shadow of the past, inhabited by the ghost of its founder, who entombed in it his own gloomy character.335
§ 53. The Diet of Worms. 1521.
I. Sources. Acta et res gestae D. M. Luth. in Comitiis Principum Wormatiae. Anno 1521. 4°. Acta Lutheri in Comitiis Wormatiae ed. Pollicarius, Vitb. 1546. These and other contemporary documents are reprinted in the Jena ed. of Luther’s Opera (1557), vol. II.; in Walch’s German ed., vols. XV., 2018–2325, and XXII., 2026 sqq.; and the Erlangen-Frankf. ed. of the Opera Lat., vol. VI. (1872); Vermischte deutsche Schriften, vol. XII. (or Sämmtl. Werke, vol. LXIV., pub. 1855), pp. 366–383. Förstemann: Neues Urkundenbuch, 1842, vol. I. Luther’s Letters to Spalatin, Cuspinianus, Lucas Cranach, Charles V., etc., see in De Wette, I. 586 sqq. Spalatin: Ann. Spalatin is also, according to Köstlin, the author of the contemporary pamphlet: Etliche wunderliche fleissige Handlung in D. M. Luther’s Sachen durch geistliche und weltliche Fürsten des Reich’s; but Brieger (in his "Zeitschrift für Kirchengesch.," Gotha, 1886, p. 482 sqq.) ascribes it to Rudolph von Watzdorf.
On the Roman-Cath. side, Cochläus (who was present at Worms): Pallavicini (who used the letters of Aleander); and especially the letters and dispatches of Aleander, now published as follows: Johann Friedrich: Der Reichstag zu Worms im Jahr 1521. Nach den Briefen des päpstlichen Nuntius Hieronymus Aleander. In the "Abhandlungen der Bayer. Akad.," vol. XI. München, 1870. Pietro Balan (R. Cath.): Monumenta Reform. Lutheranae ex tabulariis S. Sedis secretis. 1521–1525. Ratisb. Fasc. I., 1883. Contains Aleander’s reports from the papal archives, and is one of the first fruits of the liberal policy of Leo XIII. in opening the literary treasures of the Vatican. Theod. Brieger (Prof. of Ch. Hist. in Leipzig): Aleander und Luther, 1521. Die vervollständigten Aleander-Depeschen nebst Untersuchungen über den Wormser Reichstag. 1 Abth. Gotha, 1884 (315 pages). Gives the Aleander dispatches in Italian and Latin from a MS. in the library of Trent, and supplements and partly corrects, in the chronology, the edition of Balan.
II. Special Treatises. Boye: Luther zu Worms. Halle, 1817, 1824. Zimmer: Luther zu Worms. Heidelb. 1521. Tuzschmann: Luther in Worms. Darmstadt, 1860. Soldan: Der Reichstag zu Worms. Worms