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chap. - I.
ch. xxiii. 29-28.
says, “Those who especially merit that title, were
but the suggestions of their own natural sagacity, * which in the sight of God is nothing less than a false vision and divination, the deceit of their own heart; and how much less then had they that eternal word which is as a fire : 20. But “these first reformers, were all men of “learning—they translated the scriptures into the ‘popular languages.” But what then 2 where is the 1 car. i. scribe where is the disputer of this world hath oi.... not God made foolish the wisdom of this world 2 hath 14. he not determined that the wisdom of their wise men shall perish : 21. “They maintained (says Maclaine,) that the “faith of Christians was to be determined by the ‘ word of God alone.” And what was this word of God alone, but the scriptures which they translated * And who authorized them to determine the faith of Christians, even by the words of the inspired writers, without having themselves any inspiration or divine commission ? The fact is, they had stolen the words from their neighbour Catholics, and they had stolen them from the apostles and true followers of Christ. 22. Therefore, well said the Lord by Jeremiah ; or sai. 28ehold, I am against the firoshhets, that steal my words so,3,3every one from his neighbour. Behold I am against the frosthets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He waith-Yet I sent them not, nor command£d them. 23. That such were the first reformers, is a fact that cannot be disputed, while it is strongly urged, by their ablest defenders, that they were conducted only by the suggestions of their natural sagacity, and had no divine commission. As no true gospel revolution ever was, or ever can be effected without divine authority, and as it is acknowledged that the first reformers had no such authority; therefore we must look for a very different cause from which all those mighty effects of the Reformation flowed. 24. For many centuries, the enormous power of the pope, and the horrid crimes and corruptions of every rank and order of the catholic church, had been increasing until it became replete with tyranny and all manner of wickedness ; while every attempt to
* reform those open and scandalous abuses, had proved ineffectual. realii. 25. “While the Roman pontiff slumbered in secu::. ‘rity at the head of the church, (says Mosheim,) and ‘saw nothing throughout the vast extent of his do“minion but tranquility and submission;–an obscure ‘and inconsiderable person arose, on a sudden, in the “year 1517, and laid the foundation of this long-ex‘pected change, by opposing, with undaunted reso‘lution, his single force to the torrent of Papal am“bition and despotism.” 26. “This extraordinary man was MARTIN LU“THER,” a monk of the Augustinian Eremites.” Who also saith of himself, in the preface to his works, “At first I was all alone ;” or as Collier hath it in his Historical Dictionary, under Martin Luther, where he praises his magnanimity, in having, “ opposed himself alone to the whole earth.” 27. The beginning of the Reformation arose from the private contentions of two monks, concerning the traffic of indulgences, and the pope's power in regard to the remission of sin. This contention was carried on with usual animosity, between MARTIN LUTHER, and John TEtzEL ; the latter a Dominican monk, who by public authority preached those famous indulgences of pope Leo X. 28. From this private quarrel, proceeded that memorable revolution, called the Blessed Reformation. The causes, and first means of its promotion are briefly stated, by that noted Protestant writer Dr. Robertson, in the following words: Hist, of 29. “It was from causes seemingly fortuitous, and $... ‘ from a source very inconsiderable, that all the migh# * : ty effects of the Reformation flowed—The princes ‘ and nobles were irritated at seeing their vassals * drained of so much wealth, in order to replenish ‘the treasury of a profuse pontiff-Even the most “unthinking were shocked at the scandalous behav“iour of Tetzel and his associates, who often squan‘dered in drunkenness, gaming, and low debauche“ry, those sums which were piously bestowed.” 30. Such then was the favorable state of affairs,
"The place of his birth was Aisleben, in Şarony, Germany.
when Luther first inveighed against the traffic of indulgences. The princes and nobles, being irritated at seeing their vassals, the common people, whom they themselves kept as slaves, drained of so much wealth, were ready to protect Luther's cause in order to support their own tyranny. 31. Luther published ninety-five theses or propositions against indulgences; “to the whole (says Ro‘bertson,) he subjoined solemn protestations of his ‘high respect for the apostolic [i. e. the papal] see, ‘and of his implicit submission to its authority.” 32. The friars of St. Augustin, Luther’s own order, though addicted to the papal see with no less ready obedience than the other monastic fraternities, gave no check to this publication. Luther had acquired extraordinary authority among his brethren ; for he, as well as they, professed the highest regard for the authority of the pope. 33. “And as a secret enmity, excited by interest “or emulation, subsists among all the monastic orders “in the Romish church, the Augustinians were high‘ly pleased with his invectives against the Domini“cans, and hoped to see them exposed to the hatred ‘and scorn of the people.” 34. “Nor was his sovereign the elector of Sarony, “dissatisfied with this obstruction which Luther threw “in the way of the publication of indulgences. He ‘secretly encouraged the attempt, and flattered him‘self that this dispute among the Ecclesiastics them“selves, might give some check to the exactions of ‘the court of Rome, which the secular princes had “long, though without success, been endeavouring ‘to oppose.” 35. It was therefore not from religious considerations that Luther was countenanced by the elector; his protection flowed entirely from political motives. 36. “Leo regarded with the utmost indifference ‘the operations of an obscure friar, who, in the heart * of Germany, carried on a scholastic disputation in a “barbarous style. Little did he apprehend, or Luther ‘ himself dream, that the effects of this quarrel “would be so fatal to the papal see. Leo imputed ‘the whole to monastic enmity and emulation, [and
Hist. of Charlesw vol. ii. p. 112.
ibid. p. 113.
ihed. p. 126.
ibid. p. 115, 116.
raist. of CharlesV vol. ii. p. 116, 117.
+ki. p. 119, 120.
* such it really was, and seemed inclined not to inter-