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A. t. 49.
ny had attained a degree of illumination, which CHAP. he considered as peculiar to a few men of eminence and learning in Italy. As all authority A. D. 1517. both civil and ecclesiastical is founded merely on A. Pont. V. opinion, regard must be had by those in power to the character and spirit of the times; a want of due attention to this important maxim brought Charles I. to the scaffold, and overturned no inconsiderable portion of the long established fabric of the Roman church.
the sale of in
The first measures adopted by Luther, (a) Lather opwho was then a young doctor of theology and poses a preacher in the city of Wittemberg, in op
dulgences. posing the sale; or, as it was more decently called, the promulgation of indulgences, was the cautioning his hearers against the imposition attempted to be practised on their credulity; in which he professes that so far from thinking that he should incur reproof, he expected to have found himself warmly patro
(a) He was born at Isleben, in the county of Mansfeld, on the tenth day of November, 1483. His name, in his native language, was Lutter, which afforded some one of his numerous adversaries a subject for the following lines, more remarkable for their scurrility than their wit.
66 Germanis Lutter Scurra est, est Latro Bohemis,
A. D. 1517.
CHAP. nised by the pope, who had in his decretals
explicitly condemned the indecent rapacity of
the collectors. On the same subject he adA. Pont . V. dressed a letter to Albert of Brandenburg elec
tor of Mentz,(a) apprizing him of the consequences likely to result from the scandalous sale of indulgences, and requesting his interference in preventing them.(b) These remonstrances were, however, disregarded ; nor was it likely that they would produce on the elector the effect intended, as he had stipulate with the pope, that he should retain one half of the income derived from indulgences for his own use; a circumstance with which Luther was not at that time acquainted.(c) Finding
(a) “ Igitur cum anno 1517, indulgentiæ in his regioni“ bus venderentur (promulgarentur volui dicere) turpissimo "questu, ego tum eram Concionator, juvenis (ut dicitur) " Doctor Theologiæ, & cæpi dissuadere populis, & cos de" hortari ne indulgentiariorum clamoribus aurem præbe
rent, habere eos meliora quæ facerent, et in iis certus 66 mihi videbar me habiturum patronum Papam, cujus fidu66 cia tum fortiter nitebar, qui in suis Decretis clarissimè "damnat quæstorum, (ita vocat Indulgentiarios prædicatores) " immodestiam.” Lutheri, þræf. ad Op. Lat. tom. i. Ed. Jenæ, 1612.
(b) v. Appendix, No. CXLVIII.
10) “ Nesciebam tamen cujus usibus cederet pecunia,
A. t. 49.
these measures ineffectual, he immediately CHAP. published ninety-five brief propositions, which he had read in the great church at Wittemberg, A. D. 1517. on the eve of All Saints, in the year 1517,(a) A. Pont. V. the chief object of which was to shew, that the pope hath power to remit no other penalties than such as he hath power to impose, (b) and that every truly penitent Christian is released from his offences without the formality of an absolution.(c) Adverting to the pretext
" sed interim libellus edebatur sub insignibus Magdebur“ gensis Episcopi, quo quæstoribus predicatio illa demanda66 batur.” Lutheri, contra Henricum Ducem Brunsvicensen, Apologia, ap. Seckend. Comment, lib. i. sec. vii. p. 15.
(a) To these propositions he gave the following title: " AMORE ET STUDIO ELUCIDANDE VERITATIS, Hæc sub"scripta Themata disputabuntur Willemberge, Præsidente “ R. P. Martino Luthero, Eremilano Augustiniano, Artium “ Theologiæ Magistro, ejusdem ibidem ordinario Lectore. " Quare petit ut qui non possunt verbis præsentes, nobiscum “ disceptare, agant id literis absentes. In nomine Domini " noslri Jesu Christi, Amen. M.D.xv11."
16) Prop. 5. " Papa non vult nec potest
ponas “ remittere, præter eas quas arbitrio vel suo,
(c) Prop. 37. " Quilibet verus Christianus, sive vi“ vus, sive mortuus, habet participationem omnium bono
rum Christi et Ecclesiæ, etiam sine literis veniarum à 66 Doo sibi datam."
A. t. 42.
CHAP. that the monies received were intended for the XV.
purpose of erecting and completing the church A. D. 1517. of St. Peter, Luther observed that the pope, A. Pont. v. out of his unbounded wealth, might if he
chose finish it himself; and that he ought rather to sell the church to succour the distresses of those who were called upon to contribute, than to erect it with the flesh and blood of those committed to his charge.(a) These bold opinions were, however, rendered less offensive by the form in which they were expressed, as subjects of doubt rather than of positive assertion, as well as by the express avowal of the author, that he was ready on all occasions to submit himself and his opinions to the decision of the holy church; but at the same time he not only printed and dispersed his propositions throughout all Germany, but continued to enforce by his preaching the same sentiments which he had expressed by his pen.
They are defended by Tetzel.
No sooner had the propositions of Luther found their
to Franckfort, than John Tetzel, the dominican monk who had been in
(a) Prop. 86. 6 Cur papa, cujus opes hodie sunt
opulentissimis Crassis crassiores, non de suis pecuniio ma“ gis, quàm pauperum fidelium, struit unam tantummodo 66 Basilicam S. Petri?'' “ 7. Prop. p. 50. 51.
trusted by the elector of Mentz as his princi- CHAP. pal agent in the promulgation of indulgences, and who then executed the office of inquisitor A. D. 1517. in that place, endeavoured to counteract their A. Poat. V. effects ; first, by publishing a set of counter propositions by way of reply,(a) and next, by burning those of Luther in public. These violent proceedings only served to excite an equal degree of violence in the friends of Luther at Wittemberg, who having collected together the publication of Tetzel, committed to the flames eight hundred copies in the public square of that city; a circumstance which Luther had the moderation to regret, and which he asserts occurred without his knowledge, or even that of the duke and the magistrates of the place.(b)
The brief animadversions of Johannes Ec- By Eccius.
(a) Entitled as follows: “ QUO VERITAS PATEAT, Er
RORESQUE SUPPRIMANTUR, Redditaque ratione, contra Ca“ tholicam veritatem objecta solvantur, Frater Johannes “ Tetzel, ordinis Prædicatorum, Sacræ Theologia Bacca“ laureus, ac haretice pravitatis Inquisitor, subscriptas “ Positiones sustinebit in florentissimo studio Franckfor6 densi, cis Oderam. Ad laudem Dei, pro fidei Catholicæ “defensione, obque sancla Sedis Apostolicæ honorem,"
16) Maimb. Sect. xii. ap. Seckend. et addit. lib. i. xii, pp. 24. 25.