224. POPE LEO'S BULL AGAINST LUTHER, AND LUTHER'S ANSWER
Now, as you have heard the presumptuous and arrogant sentence of Pope Clement, wherein he taketh upon him, contrary to the ordinance of God in his Levitical law, (as is before showed,) and contrary to the best learned judgments of Christendom, to command and compel the king, against his conscience, to retain in matrimony his brother's wife; here followeth in like order to be inferred, according to my promise, another like wicked, blasphemous, and slanderous bull of Pope Leo against Martin Luther, with the just appellation also of the said Martin Luther from the pope to a general council: wherein may appear to all men, the lying spirit of the pope, both in teaching most heretical doctrine, derogating from the blood of Christ, and also falsely depraving and perverting the sound doctrine of Luther, falsely and untruly charging him with heresy, when he is the greater heretic himself. For what heretic would ever say that the Church of Rome was consecrated and sanctified by the blood of Peter, but only the pope? or who would call this heresy, to refer all our salvation and sanctification only and totally to the blood of the Son of God, unless he were a heretic of all heretics himself?
After the like dealing we read of wicked King Ahab, who, being only the disturber of Israel himself, crieth out upon Elias for troubling Israel. So here, in semblable wise, Pope Leo, with what heaps of tragical words and exclamations doth he fume and rage against the true servant of God, poor Luther, for disturbing the church of God, when it is the pope only and his father's house that troubleth, and long hath troubled, the true church of the Lord; as by his doings all the world may see enough and too much. In the mean time read, I beseech thee, with judgment, this impudent and false slanderous bull of the pope, with the appeal also of Luther again from the said pope; a copy whereof, because it be rare to be gotten, and hath not been hitherto commonly seen, being before omitted, I thought to commit here to history, as I had it out of certain registers; the manner and tenor whereof is this as followeth.
A copy of the bull of Pope Leo the Tenth, no less slanderous than barbarous, against Martin Luther and his doctrine: with the answer of Luther joined to the same.
"Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for a perpetual memory. Rise up, O Lord! and judge thy cause; remember the rebukes wherewith we are scorned all the day long of foolish rebukers. Incline thine ear unto our prayers; for foxes are risen up, seeking to destroy thy vineyard, the winepress whereof thou only hast trodden; and, ascending up to thy Father, didst commit the charge and regiment thereof unto Peter, as chief head and thy vicar, and his successors. The wild boar out of the wood seeketh to exterminate and root up thy vineyard. Rise up, Peter! and for this thy pastoral charge committed to thee from above, attend to the cause of the holy church of Rome, the mother of all churches and of our faith, which thou, by the commandment of God, didst consecrate with thine own blood; against which (as thou hast foretold us) false liars have risen up, bringing in sects of perdition, to their own speedy destruction; whose tongue is like fire, full of unquietness, and replenished with deadly poison; who, having a wicked zeal, and nourishing contentions in their hearts, do brag and lie against the verity.
"Rise up, Paul! also, we pray thee, who hast illuminated the same church with thy doctrine and like martyrdom. For now is sprung up a new Porphyry, who, as the said Porphyry then unjustly did slander the holy apostles, so, semblably, doth this man now slander, revile, rebuke, bite, and bark against the holy bishops our predecessors, not in beseeching them, but in rebuking them. And where he distrusteth his cause, there he falleth to opprobrious checks and rebukes, after the wonted use of heretics, whose uttermost refuge is this, (as Jerome saith,) that when they see their cause go to wreck, then, like serpents, they cast out the venom with their tongue; and when they see themselves near to be overcome, they fall to railing. For though heresies (as thou sayest) must needs be, for the exercise of the faithful, yet, lest these heresies should further increase, and these foxes gather strength against us, it is needful that, by thy means and help, they be suppressed and extinguished at the beginning.
"Finally, let all the whole universal church of God's saints and doctors rise up, whose true expounding of Holy Scripture being rejected, certain persons whose hearts the father of lies hath blinded, and wise in their own conceits, (as the manner of heretics is,) do expound the Scriptures otherwise than the Holy Ghost doth require, following only their own sense of ambition and vain-glory; yea, rather do wrest and adulterate the Scriptures. So that, as Jerome saith, now they make it not the gospel of Christ, but of man, or, which is worse, of the devil. Let all the holy church, I say, rise up, and with the blessed apostles together make intercession to Almighty God, that the errors of all schismatics being rooted and stocked up, his holy church may be conserved in peace and unity. For of late, (which for sorrow we cannot express,) by credible information and also by public fame it hath come to our ears, yea, we have seen, also, and read with our eyes, divers and sundry errors, of which some have been condemned by councils and constitutions of our predecessors, containing expressly the heresies of the Greeks and of the Bohemians; some again respectively, either heretical, or false, or slanderous, or offensive to good ears, or, such as may seduce simple minds, newly to be raised up, by certain false pretended gospellers; who, by curious pride, seeking worldly glory against the doctrine of the apostles, would be more wise than becometh them; whose babbling, (as St. Jerome calleth it,) without authority of the Scriptures, would find no credit unless they should seem to confirm their false doctrine even with testimonies of the Scripture, but yet falsely interpreted. Which worketh us so much the more grief, for that those heresies be sprung up in the noble nation of the Germans, unto which nation we, with our predecessors, have always borne special favour and affection. For after the empire was first translated by the Church of Rome, from the Greeks unto the Germans, the said our predecessors and we, have always had them as special abettors and defenders of this our church, and they have always showed themselves as most earnest suppressors of heresies: as witness whereof remain yet those laudable constitutions of German emperors, set forth and confirmed by our predecessors, for the liberty of the church, and for expulsing heretics out of all Germany; and that under grievous penalty and loss of all their goods and lands; which constitutions, if they were observed this present day, both we and they should now be free from this disturbance.
"Furthermore, the heresy of the Hussites, Wicklevists, and of Jerome of Prague, being condemned and punished in the council of Constance, doth witness the same: moreover doth witness the same, so much blood of the Germans, spilt fighting against the Bohemians. To conclude, the same also is confirmed and witnessed by the learned and true confutation, reprobation, and condemnation, set forth by the universities of Cologne and Louvain in Germany, against the aforesaid errors. Many other witnesses also we might allege, whom here (lest we should seem to write a story) we pretermit.
"Wherefore we, for the charge of our pastoral office committed unto us, can no longer forbear or wink at the pestiferous poison of these aforesaid errors; of the which errors we thought here good to recite certain, the tenor of which is this as followeth
"'It is an old heresy to say, that the sacraments of the new law do give grace to them which have in themselves no let to the contrary.'
'To deny that sin remaineth in a child after his baptism, is to tread down Paul and Christ under foot.'
'The origin of sin, although no actual sin do follow after, doth stay the soul, leaving the body, from the entrance into heaven.'
'Unperfect charity of a man departing must needs bring with it great fear, which of itself is enough to deserve the pain of purgatory, and stoppeth the entrance into the kingdom of heaven.'
'To say that penance standeth of three parts, to wit, contrition, confession, satisfaction, is not founded in Holy Scriptures, nor in ancient, holy, and Christian doctors.'
'Contrition, which a man stirreth up in himself, by discussing, remembering, and detesting his sins, in revolving his former years in bitterness of soul, and in pondering the weight, number, and filthiness of his sins, the losing of eternal bliss, and getting of eternal damnation: this contrition maketh a man a hypocrite, and a great sinner.'
'It is an old proverb, and to be preferred before the doctrine of all that have written hitherto of contrition: from henceforth to transgress no more. The chiefest and the best penance is a new life.'
'Neither presume to confess thy venial sins, nor yet all thy mortal sins; for it is impossible to remember all the mortal sins that thou hast committed, and therefore, in the primitive church, they confessed the mortal sins which only were manifest.'
'While we seek to number all our sins sincerely unto the priest, we mean nothing else herein, but that we will leave nothing to the mercy of God to be forgiven.'
'In confession no man hath his sins forgiven, except he believe, when the priest forgiveth, the same to be remitted: yea, otherwise, his sin remaineth unforgiven, unless he believe the same to be forgiven. For else remission of the priest, and giving of grace, doth not suffice, except belief come on his part that is remitted.'
'Think not thy sin to be assoiled for the worthiness of thy contrition, but for the word of Christ, Whatsoever thou loosest, &c. When thou art absolved of the priest, trust confidently upon these words, and believe firmly thyself to be absolved, and then art thou truly remitted.'
'Admit the party that is confessed were not contrite, (which is impossible,) or that the priest pronounced the words of loosing not in earnest, but in jest; yet, if the party believe that he is absolved, he is truly absolved indeed.'
'In the sacrament of penance and absolution, the pope or bishop doth no more than any inferior priest can do: yea, and where a priest is not to be had, there every Christian man, yea, or Christian woman, standeth in as good stead.'
'None ought to say to the priest, that he is contrite; neither ought the priest to ask any such matter.'
'It is a great error of them who come to the holy housel trusting upon this, that they are confessed, that their conscience grudgeth them in no deadly sin, that they have said their prayers, and done such other preparatives before; all those do eat and drink to their own judgment: but, if they believe there to obtain God's grace, this faith maketh them pure and worthy.'
'It were good that the church should determine in a general council, laymen to communicate under both kinds; and the Bohemians so doing be therein neither heretics nor schismatics.'
'The treasures out of which the pope doth grant his indulgences, are not the merits of Christ, nor of his saints.'
'Indulgences and pardons be a devout seducing of the faithful, and hinderance to good works, and are in the number of them which be things lawful, but not expedient.'
'Pardons and indulgences, to them which have them, avail not to remission of the punishment due before God for actual sins committed.'
'They which think that indulgences are wholesome and conducible to the fruit of the Spirit, are deceived.'
'Indulgences are only necessary for public transgressions, and are only granted to them that are obstinate and impatient.'
'Indulgences and pardons are unprofitable to six sorts of persons: first, to them that be dead, or lie in dying: secondly, to them that be weak and infirm: thirdly, to such as have lawful impediments: fourthly, to them that have not offended: fifthly, to such as have offended, but not publicly: sixthly, to those that amend and do well.'
'Excommunications be only outward punishments, and do not deprive a man of the public spiritual prayers of the church.'
'Christians are to be taught rather to love excommunication, than to dread it.'he bishop of Rome, successor of Peter, is not the vicar of Christ, ordained by Christ in St. Peter, to have authority over all the churches in the world.'
'The words of Christ to Peter, Whatsoever thou loosest, &c., extend no further but only to those things which be bound of Peter himself.'
'It is not in the hands either of the church or of the pope, to make articles of the faith, yea, or laws either of manners or good works.'
'Albeit the pope, with a great part of the church, teaching so or so, did not err therein, yet is it no sin nor heresy for a man to hold contrary to them; namely, in such things which are not necessary to salvation, so long as it is not otherwise condemned or approved by a general council.'
'We have a way made plain unto us to infringe the authority of councils, and freely to gainstand their doings, and to judge upon their decrees, and boldly to speak our knowledge, whatsoever we judge to be true, whether the same be approved or reproved by any general council.'
'Some of the articles of John Huss, condemned in the council of Constance, are Christian, most true and evangelical, which the universal church cannot condemn.'
'In every good work, the just man sinneth.'
'Every good work of ours, when it is best done, it is a venial sin.'
'To burn heretics, is against the will of the Spirit.'
'To fight against the Turks, is to repugn against God, visiting our iniquities by them.'
'Free-will, after sin, is a title and name only of a thing; and while man doth that which lieth in him, he sinneth deadly.'
'Purgatory cannot be proved out of Holy Scripture which is canonical.'
'Souls in purgatory be not certain of their safety, at least not all; neither is it proved by reasons or by Scriptures, that they be utterly out of the state to deserve or increase charity.'
'Souls in purgatory do sin without intermission, so long as they seek rest, and dread punishment.'
'The souls being delivered out of purgatory by the prayers of the living, be less blessed than if they had satisfied for themselves.'
'Ecclesiastical prelates, and worldly princes, should not do amiss, if they would scour away all the bags of Begging Friars.'
"All which errors there is no man in his right wits but he knoweth the same, in their several respects, how pestilent they be, how pernicious, how much they seduce godly and simple minds; and finally, how much they be against all charity, and against the reverence of the holy Church of Rome, the mother of all the faithful and mistress of the faith itself, and against the sinews and strength of ecclesiastical discipline, which is obedience, the fountain and well-spring of all virtues, and without which every man is to be convinced easily to be an infidel.
"We, therefore, desiring to proceed in the premises more earnestly, as behoveth in things of most importance, and meaning to cut off the course of this pestiferous and cankered disease, lest it should spread itself further in the Lord's field, like hurtful brambles or briers; and using upon the said errors, and every of them, diligent trial, debating, strait examination, ripe deliberation; and further, weighing and thoroughly sifting all and every of the same together, with our reverend brethren the cardinals of the Church of Rome, the priors of the orders regular, or ministers general; also with divers other professors and masters of divinity, and of both laws, and those the best learned: do find the aforesaid errors or articles respectively, as is aforesaid, not to be catholic, nor to be taught as catholic, but to be against the doctrine or tradition of the catholic church, and against the true interpretation of Holy Scripture, received by the same; to whose authority Augustine thought we ought so much to lean, that he would not (as he said) have believed the gospel, if the authority of the church had not thereunto moved him.
"For by these errors, or at least by some of them, it followeth consequently, that the same church, which is guided by the Holy Ghost, now doth, and ever hath erred: which is utterly against that which Christ at the time of his ascension, (as we read in the holy Gospel of Matthew,) promised to his disciples, saying, I am with you until the end of the world, &c.; and also against the determination of the holy fathers, against the express ordinances or canons of councils and head bishops, whom not to obey, hath always been the cause and nurse of all heresies and schisms, as Cyprian doth witness.
"Wherefore, by the counsel and assent of the said our reverend brethren, upon due consideration of all and singular the premises, by the authority of Almighty God, and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, we do condemn, reprove, and utterly reject, all and singular the articles or errors aforesaid respectively, as some to be heretic, some to be slanderous, some to be offensive to godly ears, or else seducing simple minds, and repugnant to the catholic truth; and, by the tenor hereof, we here decree and declare, that they ought of all Christian people, both men and women, to be taken as damned, reproved, and rejected. And therefore, forbidding here, under pain of the greater curse and excommunication, losing of their dignities, whether they be ecclesiastical or temporal, and to be deprived and made incapable of all regular orders and privileges, given and granted by the see apostolic, of what condition soever they be; also of losing their liberties to hold general schools, to read and profess any science and faculty; of losing also their tenures and feoffments, and of inability for ever to recover the same again, or any other; moreover, under pain of secluding from Christian burial, yea, and of treason also, and incurring such pains and punishments expressed in the law, as are due for all heretics and abettors of the same: we charge and command all and singular Christian people, both men and women, as well of the laity as of the clergy, both secular and also regular, of what order soever they be; and, briefly, all other persons, of what degree or condition soever they be, or in what dignity soever they are placed, either ecclesiastical or temporal: as first, the cardinals of the holy Church of Rome, patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, with the prelates and heads of the churches patriarchal, metropolitan, or other cathedral, collegiate, and other small and inferior churches; also all clerks and other persons ecclesiastical, as abbots, priors, or ministers, general or particular, brethren or religious men, exempt and not exempt: also universities of schools, and all others, as well secular priests, as regular and religious persons of all orders, yea of the Begging Friars also: Item, kings, electors of the imperial crown, princes, dukes, marquises, barons, captains, conductors and servitors, and all officers, judges, notaries, whether they be ecclesiastical or secular; commonalties, universities, dominions, cities, castles, lordships, and places, with the inhabiters of the same: and, finally, all other persons whatsoever, ecclesiastical or regular, dispersed in whatever places through the whole universal world, or who shall be hereafter dispersed, but especially in high Almany, that they shall not presume, publicly or privately, under any manner of pretence or colour, colourably or expressly, or how else soever, to hold, maintain, defend, preach, or favour, the aforesaid errors or any of them, or any such perverse doctrine.
"Over and besides, forasmuch as the aforesaid errors, and many others, are contained in the books or writings of the aforesaid Martin Luther, therefore we condemn, reprove, and utterly reject, and hold for utterly condemned, reproved, and rejected, the aforesaid books, and all the writings of the said Martin, with his preachings, in what tongue soever they are found, wherein the said errors, or any of them, are contained; willing and commanding, under the virtue of holy obedience and incurring the penalties aforesaid, to all and singular Christian people, both men and women above rehearsed, that they presume not by any manner of ways, directly or indirectly, colourably or expressly, privily or apertly, either in their houses, or in other public or private places, to read, hold, preach, print, publish, or defend, either by themselves or by others; but, straight-ways after the publishing hereof, they do burn, or cause to be burned, the said errors, by their ordinaries diligently being searched out, and solemnly presented in the sight of the whole clergy and the people, under all and singular the penalties aforesaid.
"Now, as touching the said Martin, O good Lord, what have we left undone? what have we left unattempted? what fatherly charity have we not showed, whereby to have reduced him from these errors? For, after that we did cite him, thinking to proceed with him more favourably, we invited and exhorted him as well by divers tractations had with our legate, as by our own letters, that he would relinquish the aforesaid errors, or else, having safe-conduct offered to him, with money necessary for his journey, to come to us without any fear or dread, which perfect charity ought to cast out; and so, after the example of our Saviour and his apostle St. Paul, he would speak, not in corners and in secret, but openly to our face. Which if he had done, of truth we think no less but that, reforming himself, he would have recognised his errors, neither should have found so many faults in the court of Rome, which he, being seduced with the rumours of malicious people more than he ought, doth so much reprehend: where we would have taught him to see more clearly than the light day, that the holy fathers of Rome, our predecessors, (whom he, without all modesty, most injuriously doth rail upon,) did never err in their canons and constitutions, which he so much depraveth. For, as saith the prophet, Neither is there resin nor physician lacking in Gilead. But he hath always showed himself disobedient, and refused at our citation to appear; and yet to this present day, continuing still in his stubborn mind and heart indurate, hath remained more than a year under our curse; yea, and moreover, adding mischief to mischief, (which is worst of all,) he, hearing of this our citation, burst out into a presumptuous appellation from us, unto the next general council, against the constitution both of Pope Pius the Second and Pope Julius the Second, our predecessors, which so decreed, that all they which so did appeal, should be punished as heretics.
"In vain, also, he seeketh refuge to the general council, who professeth himself not greatly to regard such councils. So that now we might lawfully proceed against him, as against one notoriously suspected of his faith, yea, a very heretic indeed, without any further citation or delay, to the condemnation of him, as of a heretic, and to the severity of all and singular pains and censures afore written. Yet we, notwithstanding, by the counsel of our brethren aforesaid, following the clemency of Almighty God, who willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should convert and live, and forgetting all injuries heretofore done unto us and to the see apostolic, have thought good to use all favourable means towards him that we might; and so to work (as much as in us lieth) that he, by this way of mansuetude, might be brought to reformation; so that he, forsaking his former errors, might be received as the lost child, and return home again into the lap of his mother the church.
"Wherefore, in most hearty wise we exhort and beseech the said Martin and all his adherents, receivers, and abettors, by the bowels of the mercy of our God, and by the sprinkling of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom and by whom is made the redemption of mankind, and the edification of holy mother church, that they will cease to disturb the peace, unity, and verity of the said church, for which our Saviour so instantly prayed to his Father; and that they will abstain from such pernicious errors aforesaid; who, in so doing, shall find with us, (if they shall obey, or shall certify us by lawful witnesses to have obeyed effectually herein,) the affection of fatherly charity, and a full fountain opened of all mercy and clemency: willing and charging the said Martin, notwithstanding, from henceforth, that he utterly desist in the mean time from all preaching and office of preaching. Or else, if the love of justice and virtue shall not restrain the said Martin from sin, neither the hope of our pardon shall reduce and bring him to repentance, to the intent that the terror of punishment and of discipline may bridle him, we require and admonish the said Martin and his adherents, abettors, favourers, and receivers, by the tenor hereof, in the virtue of holy obedience, and under incurring all the penalties aforesaid, strictly charging and commanding that within forty days (whereof twenty we assign for the first, ten for the second, and the other ten for the third and peremptory term) immediately following after the setting up of these present letters, the said Martin, his abettors, favourers, adherents, and receivers aforesaid, do surcease from the aforesaid errors, and from the preaching, publishing, maintaining, and defending of the same; also from setting out of book or scriptures upon the said errors, or any of them; and, furthermore, that they burn, or cause to be burned, all and singular such books and scriptures as contain the aforesaid errors, or any of them, by any manner of way. Also, that the said Martin do utterly revoke those errors and assertions, and so to certify us of the revoking thereof by public testimony, in due form of law, signed by the hands of two prelates, to be sent unto us within the term of other like forty days, or else to be brought by him unto us, if he himself will come, (which would please us much rather,) with a full safe-conduct above mentioned, which from henceforth we are content to offer unto him, to the intent that no scruple of doubt, touching his true obedience, should hereafter remain.
Contrariwise, if the said Martin, (which God defend,) his abettors, favourers, adherents, and maintainers aforesaid, shall otherwise do, or shall not fulfil, to every effect and purpose, all and singular the premises within the term aforesaid, we then, following the doctrine of the apostles, which teacheth us to avoid an heretical person after the first and second correction, as well now as before, and as well before as now -- declaring, by our authority, the said Martin, his abettors, favourers, adherents, maintainers, and receivers, as withered branches not remaining in Christ, but teaching and preaching contrary doctrine, repugnant to the catholic faith, slanderous and damnable, to the great offence of God's majesty, to the detriment and slander of the universal church and catholic faith, and despising the keys of the church, to be, and to have been, notorious and obstinate heretics,-- do condemn the same for such by the tenor hereof, willing and commanding them to be holden and taken for such by all Christian people aforesaid.
"Over and besides, we forbid, under the incurring of all and singular the penalties afore expressed in so doing, that no man presume by any manner of way, directly or indirectly, secretly or expressly, privily or apertly, to read, hold, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend, either by themselves or by any other, the said books and writings; not only those wherein the errors aforesaid are contained, but also all others, whatsoever have been or shall be set forth, written, or made by the said Martin, vehemently suspected as a pernicious enemy of the catholic faith, to the intent that his memory may utterly be rooted out from the fellowship of all Christian people; or rather, with fire to consume them, as is before declared.
"We admonish, moreover, all and singular Christ's faithful people, under the said pain of the great curse, to avoid, or cause to be avoided, so much as in them doth lie, the aforesaid heretics not obedient to our commandments, and to have no fellowship, nor any conversation or communion, with them, or with any of them, neither to minister to them things necessary.
"And moreover, to the more confusion of the said Martin, with his abettors, adherents, and retainers aforesaid, thus being declared and condemned as heretics after the expiring of the term aforesaid, we command all and sigular Christ's faithful people, both men and women, as patriarchs, archbishops, prelates of churches (either patriarchal, metropolitan, and other cathedral, collegiate, and other inferior churches); to deans and chapters, and other ecclesiastical persons secular, and of all other orders, even of the Begging Friars also (especially of that congregation, where the said Martin is professed, or hath his abode); also to regulars exempt, and not exempt: Item, to all and singular princes, (what dignity or calling soever, either ecclesiastical or temporal, they be of,) to kings, princes, electors, dukes, marquises, earls, barons, captains, conductors, servitors, commonalties, universities, dominions, cities, lands, castles, and places, or the citizens and inhabitants thereof: and briefly, to all and singular others aforesaid, through the universal world dispersed, especially in Almany, that they and every of them, under all and singular penalties aforesaid, do personally apprehend the said Martin, his abettors, adherents, receivers, and favourers, and retain them being apprehended, at our instance, and send them unto us (who, in so doing, for their good work shall receive of us and the see apostolic condign reward and recompence); or, at least, that they utterly drive them, and every one of them, out of their metropolitan, cathedral, collegiate, and other churches, houses, monasteries, convents, cities, dominions, universities, commonalties, castles, lands, and places respectively, as well the clergymen, as the regulars and laymen, all and singular aforesaid.
"These cities, dominions, lands, castles, villages, commonalties, holds, towns, and places, wheresoever they he situate respectively; metropolitan, cathedral, collegiate, and other churches; monasteries also, priories, convents, and religious and devout places, or what order soever (as is aforesaid) unto which it shall chance the said Martin to come; so long as he or they shall there remain, and three days after their departing from thence, we here give over to the ecclesiastical interdiction.
"And that the premises may be known to all men, we command moreover to all patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, prelates of the patriarchal, metropolitan, and other cathedral and collegiate churches; to deans and chapters, and other persons ecclesiastical, and of what order else soever aforesaid; to regular brethren, religious monks, exempt and not exempt as aforesaid, wheresoever they dwell, and especially within Almany, that they and every of them, under like censures and pains, do publicly denounce, and cause and command to be denounced by others, the said Martin, with all and singular his aforesaid adherents, which shall not obey our commandments and monitions, within the term aforesaid, upon every Sunday, and other festival days, within their churches, when the greatest concourse of people shall resort to divine service, to be declared and condemned for heretics; and that all Christ's faithful people shall avoid them under the said censures and penalties as be afore expressed; and that they do set up these presents, or cause to be set up, or the transcript of them made under the form hereafter ensuing, in their churches, monasteries, houses, convents, and other places, there openly to be seen and read.
"Item, We do excommunicate and curse all and singular persons, of whatsoever state, degree, condition, pre-eminence, dignity, or excellency they be, who shall procure, or cause to be procured, by themselves or others, privily or apertly, directly or indirectly, secretly or expressly, whereby these presents, or the copies transcribed, or the examples of them cannot be read, set up, and published in their lands and dominions, &c.
"Let no man therefore be so bold to dare to infringe, or with rash presumption to contrary, this writing of our damnation, reprobation, rejection, decree, declaration, inhibition, will, commandment, exhortation, beseeching, request, admonition, assignation, grant, condemnation, subjection, excommunication, and curse. And if any person and persons dare presume to attempt the same, let him know and be sure, that he shall incur the indignation of Almighty God, and his blessed apostles Peter and Paul.
"Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, A. D. 1520, the seventeenth of the calends of July, and of our popedom the eighth year."
Although it was somewhat long before this bull aforesaid of Pope Leo, being sent and dispersed through all other places abroad, could come to the hands of Luther, yet as soon as he, by means of his friends, might get a sight thereof, he shaped an answer again to the same, in such sort as, I am sure, the pope himself will say that this bull was never so baited, and so well-favouredly shaken in all his days; as by the handling of the matter, and reading of his answer, may evidently appear. The contents and copy of which answer I thought here, next under the said bull, immediately to exhibit to the Christian reader, that whoso is disposed to confer the one with the other, having them both at hand, may judge the better of the whole matter and cause, and also may see the true image of the pope, out of his painted vizor, appear in his own perfect colours. The answer now to the bull here followeth:
"Martin Luther to the Christian reader, wisheth the grace of Christ to eternal salvation. I heard a fame afar off, Christian reader, that a certain bull was past out against me, and sent almost over all the world before it came to me, against whom it was specially directed, and to whom it most chiefly appertained. For what cause I cannot tell, except, peradventure, it was for that the said bull, like unto a night-crow, and as a bird of darkness hatched in the night, durst not fly in the day, nor abide to come in my sight. Notwithstanding the said night-fowl, after long time, by help of friends, was caught at length, and brought unto me in his own likeness to behold. 'Which causeth me yet to be uncertain what to think, whether my papists do daily and jest with me, in setting out such famous libels without any name. against me; or whether in truth and earnest they play the mad-men so against me at Rome, or no. For first, neither do I see here the style, (as it is called,) nor the process of the court of Rome observed. And again, (which maketh me more to doubt,) herein be brought and condemned such articles, which it is plain and manifest to be most Christian: whereby it seemeth to me most like, that the said monster was hatched by John Eckius, a man wholly compacted, and framed altogether, of lies, dissimulations, errors, and heresies.
"The said suspicion this also partly confirmeth, for that I hear it so bruited abroad, that the said Eckius is thought and said to be the apostle of such a goodly bull. And not unlike, when none could be more meet apostle for such an apostleship than he. And indeed I heard no less long since, than that a bull was in working against me at Rome, partly by the workmanship of Eckius; which, because (as the style and composition thereof declareth) it displeased the good and learned men there, was therefore deferred, and should have been suppressed.
"But, whatsoever the matter be, it seemeth to me not unlike, wheresoever this apostle Eckius beareth rule, there to be the kingdom of antichrist, and all kind of madness there to reign. In the mean time I will so deal, that I will not seem to believe Pope Leo the Tenth, with his learned cardinals, to be the authors of this furious madness; which I do, not so much for the honour of the see of Rome, as because I will not be puffed up too much with pride, and seem to myself as one worthy to suffer such, so great, and so glorious things for the verity of God. For if it were so indeed, that the bishop of Rome did so furiously rage against me, who were then so happy before God as Luther, to be condemned for so manifest a truth of such a proud prelate? wherein what were more to be wished for by me, than that I should never be absolved, reconciled, nor have any part with that so doltish and unlearned, wicked and furious antichrist? Happy were that day, happy were that death, and to be received with all joy and thankfulness to God, if it might be my hap at any time -- in such a cause as this is, to be apprehended and to suffer death. But give the honour of this cause unto others, and let this matter find its martyr worthy for the same: I, for my sins, am not worthy to come to that honour.
"Let other men, therefore, think of these Romanists what they list; thus I think, that whosoever was the author of this bull, he is a very antichrist; and against antichrist these things I write, to redeem the verity of Christ, so much as in me lieth, which he laboured to extinguish. And first, that he shall obtain no part of his will in any thing against me, here I protest before God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy angels, and all the world, that I dissent with all my heart from the condemnation of this bull, which bull I also do curse and execrate, as an enemy, a church-robber, and blasphemy against Christ the Son of God, cur Lord, Amen.
"Furthermore, I hold, defend, and embrace with the full trust of my spirit, those articles in the said bull condemned and excommunicated; and I affirm, that the same ought to be holden by all faithful Christians, under pain of eternal malediction; and that they are to be counted for antichrists, whosoever have consented to the said bull, whom I also, together with the spirit of all them which purely know the truth, do utterly detest, and shun them, according to the precept of our Lord Jesu Christ, Amen. And let this stand for my revocation, O thou bull, which art the very daughter of all vain bubbles.
"This my confession and protestation made, (for witness whereof I take all them that shall read these presents,) before I proceed to defend and declare these aforesaid articles, I will first begin with certain arguments for the confutation of the said bull; whereof the first I will take of the blind ignorance of this blockish antichrist. For the apostle Peter so commandeth, that we should be ready to render a reason of that faith and hope which is in us; and the apostle Paul willeth a bishop to be mighty to exhort in sound doctrine, and to refute the gainsayers. And these things be they, which, now three years ago, I have desired and looked for out of Rome, or from them that take part with Rome: which things, also, we do read to be observed most diligently amongst the ancient fathers, whensoever they condemned heresy: neither do we read that the apostles did ever decree any thing in their councils, but they first alleged the Holy Scripture. So I also, when I waited that they would answer me with grapes, and inform me with true testimonies of the Scripture, behold they bring to me sour and wild grapes, condemning me with nothing else but bare words; whereas I have fortified my matter with plain Scriptures.
"I say unto thee, O thou most unlearned antichrist, hast thou joined such brain-sick rashness together with such barbarous ignorance, that thou wilt presume to think all men to be turned into stocks and blocks, and to think that thou, with thy bare and naked words only, canst triumph against the invincible force and power of God's holy word? hast thou learned this manner of condemning the magistralities of Cologne and of Louvain?
"If this be the manner of the church to damn errors, only to say, 'I like it not,' 'I deny it,' 'I will not,' what fool, what patch, what ass, what block, cannot condemn after this manner? Is not thy whorish face ashamed, in the public sight of the church to dare once to set the trifling vanities of thy naked and bare words only against the thunderbolts of God's eternal word? O impudent condemnation and right seemly for antichrist! who hath not one jot or tittle to bring against such evident Scriptures inferred against him, but only with one word cometh and saith, 'I condemn thee.' And why then do we not believe the Turk? why do we not admit the Jews? why do we not honour the heretics, (who also condemn our writings as well as he,) if it be enough only to condemn? unless we do not therefore peradventure give place unto them, because they condemn us not utterly without some Scriptures and reasons. But these men, after a new-found fashion, utterly, without all Scriptures or reason, do condemn us. What then shall I think to be the cause, why they proceeded against me with their bull condemnatory, so vain, so ridiculous, so trifling, but only their mere blockishness, whereby they, seeing my allegations to be true, and not able to abide, nor yet to confute the same, thought to terrify me with their vain rattling of their rotten parchment. But I tell thee, antichrist, that Luther, being accustomed to war, will not be terrified with these vain bulls, and hath learned to put a difference between a piece of paper and the omnipotent word of God.
"Of the like ignorance proceedeth this also, that they, against their own conscience, durst not particularly digest all and singular the articles in their orders; for they feared lest they should note him for a heretic, whom they were not able perhaps to convince either to be erroneous or offensive, and therefore they have found out this adverb respective: and after the numbering of the articles, then cone they, and say that some be respectively heretical, some erroneous, and some offensive; which is as much to say, that we suppose them to be heretical, some erroneous, and some slanderous: but we cannot tell which, what manner, and how great they are. O dastardly ignorance, how slippery and cowardly art thou! how art thou afraid of the light! how dost thou turn and return into all things, lest thou shouldst be taken, like a Proteus! And yet, for all that, thou shalt not so escape; yea, in thy wiliness thou shalt the rather be overtaken and subverted.
"Come out therefore, O thou ass-headed antichrist! show forth thy wisdom, and dispose thy matters in order. Tell us, if thou canst, what sayest thou or meanest thou, when thou sayest this article is heretical, this is erroneous, this is offensive. For it becometh such a worshipful condemner to know what he condemneth; and too shameful it is to condemn an article for heretical, and yet cannot name the same: neither will I be answered here with 'respectively,' but I look to be taught simply and plainly; for I am one of Ocham's faction, which contemn these respectives, and love to have all things simple and absolute.
"Thou seest therefore, good reader, the ignorant dotage of this antichrist; how craftily, and yet grossly, he thinketh to walk in a net under his adverb 'respectively,' who not only doth not teach the truth, and the cause of his condemning, but neither also dare prove any error, nor show forth what it is that he condemneth; and yet must he needs condemn. Is not this, trow you, a proper kind of damning, to damn, and cannot tell what he damneth? Is not this a fine manner of elocution, passing all rhetoric, to speak, and yet not to know what he speaketh? What purgations might we wish sufficient to purge the doltish brains of these bull-bragging bedlamites? with such blindness and doltishness are all these adversaries of God's truth worthy to be plagued.
"But I know whereupon all this grief riseth. The origin thereof is this: Eckius, mine old adversary, remembering how he was put to shame enough at Leipsic, when he, rousing himself upon his stage, and frothing at his mouth like a boar, with a furious voice called me three hundred times 'heretic,' for the articles of Huss, and yet afterwards was not able to prove the same, whereas the sentence condemnatory of the council of Constance, alleged of me otherwise than Eckius looked for, noted there no certain article for heretical; and also the same condemnation, much like to this of ours, with the like foolishness called some of Huss's articles heretical, some erroneous, and some offensive; and Eckius, hearing this, being confounded in himself for his impudent rashness, perceiving that he had called me heretic falsely and untruly, he thought then to heal this wound again at Rome, and there to establish his false and impudent lying. But the lying sophister shall not prevail, by the help, I trust, of Christ; for I ask and require you still, that they absolutely and not respectively, distinctly and not confusedly, simply and not dissemblingly, plainly and not obscurely, particularly and not in general, do show what is, and what is not, heretical. But when will they so do? When Christ and Belial, or when light and darkness, shall agree together.
"And what shall I do then in the mean time? First, I will contemn these dastardly dotipoles and unlearned papists and apostles of antichrist. And I will scorn them as Elias did, and say, If Baal be God, let him answer. Peradventure he is drunk, or busy in his journey: cry out higher, for he is a god, and peradventure sleepeth. For what other thing do these bull-bragging asses deserve else, which condemn that they know not, and confess all their own ignorance?
"Secondly, I will not be troubled nor disquieted for the matter, neither am I to be counted heretic, erroneous, or offensive, so long as I shall not be proved and plainly convicted with simple and manifest words in what article I am so judged. Neither do I here charge my papists, these blockheads, that I will put them to their proofs, but only that they will show me at least my error; that is, that they will show me, if they know what it is that they themselves do prattle of, or have any feeling of their own doings. For so long as they assign me no heretical article, I am at free liberty to deny what article soever they lay unto me to be heretical, and say it is catholic.
"Again, what a rudeness is it in this wicked and doltish antichrist, worthy to be laughed at, whereas these dromedaries do distinguish heretical articles from those that be erroneous, and the erroneous from offensive, and those again from slanderous? By the which subtile distinction of those gross-headed dolts this we do gather, that that article which is erroneous is not heretical; and if it be not heretical, what doth it then appertain to these ecclesiastical condemners, who ought to condemn those things only which be heretical? For that which is not heretical, is catholic; as Christ himself saith, He that is not against us is with us. Yea, I would wish that these jolly sophisters would show me in all the church an article that is erroneous and not heretical: for if it be erroneous, it differeth nothing from heretical, but only in stiffness of defending. For all things be equally either true or false, although affection, in some one thing which is true or false, may be greater or less. Ye see therefore again, how these men, for all their bragging bulls, are not able to produce me one article which is erroneous and not heretical; and yet, like wise brain-sick men, they will needs babble they know not themselves what, condemning that which they find erroneous and not heretical, which cannot stand either in matter or in words; so that such as are the articles, such is the condemnation.
"The like wisdom also they show in affirming that to be scandalous, which is neither heretical nor erroneous. That article I would fain see either in my books, or in the words and works of any writer else from the beginning of the world to the latter end. What made my papists then to excogitate these so prodigious monsters, but only their monstrous fury and madness? unless, peradventure, they mean those articles to be as scandalous as commonly all true and catholic articles are wont to be. For what is more scandalous than verity? Yea, only truth and verity is scandalous to all proud and senseless persons, as it is said of Christ: We preach, saith St. Paul, Christ crucified; a stumbling-stone to the Jews, and to the Gentiles foolishness; and, He is set to be the fall and rising up of many in Israel. Wherefore, whereas my papists do distinguish scandalous articles from heretical and erroneous, and forasmuch as that which is not heretical or erroneous must needs he catholic and true; it followeth thereof; that these scandalous articles be understood and condemned by them for such as be very catholic and sound. O worthy condemnations, and meet for the papists!
"Mark here, good reader, the impiety of these blind buzzards; whither they roll themselves; how they deride and mock themselves; how easily they are taken in their own words; how fond and foolish they are in their studies, not only in not proving any error or slander in these articles, but also in going about only to express them; how they cast out things impossible, and most foolishly repugnant to themselves. Where is then, thou most presumptuous and shameless bull, thy doltish respective now become? whither respectedst thou? Verily into the bottomless pit of impiety, and thine own brutish stolidity.
"The like, also, is to be said touching the articles offensive, which must be neither slanderous, nor erroneous, nor heretical, seeing they are made distinct by such great rabbins. Who will not now marvel at the deep and profound wisdom of these papists, who could find out that to be offensive in the church, which is neither false, nor heretical, nor slanderous, but true, sound, catholic, and edifying, and yet must that also be condemned? And who would not now desire and covet to be condemned, also, by such hair-brained idiots, who, by their own condemning, do utter themselves to approve things damnable, and to condemn things justifiable; that is, who openly show themselves, to their own great ignominy and shame, to be more senseless than stocks, rocks, or blocks? Go ye now, therefore, O ye impious and brainless papists, and if ye will needs write, show yourselves more sober: for this bull, it appeared, was either spewed out in your night feasts, among drabs and harlots, or else huddled up in the canicular days, or mad midsummer moon: for never were there any dizards that would show themselves so mad.
"Let us now return this dirt of antichrist, and cast it in his own teeth, and of his own words let us judge him and condemn him, that hereafter he may learn to take better heed, and to be better advised in his lying. For, as the proverb saith, A liar had need to have a good memory. If some articles be offensive, and others heretical, and thou condemnest him which is no heretic, and consequently a true catholic, although he be six hundred times offensive, doth not thy shameless mouth then condemn thyself, not only of heresy, but of extreme impiety, blasphemy, and treason against God's holy truth, showing thyself to be the man indeed who is the adversary, and is extolled above all that is called God, or is worshipped? Art not thou, then, the man of sin, the son of perdition, that denieth God his Redeemer, and taketh away the love of truth, to establish the setting forth of his error, for men to believe iniquity; as Paul foretold? for if the article be not heretical, it cannot be offensive or slanderous, but only to such heretics as antichrist is, and satanists of all piety. See therefore how his shameless and most foolish bull, while it condemneth in me one thing to be heretical, and another offensive, doth manifestly declare the authors thereof to be true heretics, and the enemies of God indeed. So that now it may appear that there is no knowledge nor counsel against the Lord, seeing blind impiety is thus caught in the words of his own mouth: so truly it is said, that he that casteth up a stone on high, it falleth down again upon his own pate.
"And (which is chiefest of all) by this their wicked contradiction it cometh to pass, that the cogitations of their own hearts be revealed, and that they themselves chiefly do utter and disclose their own wickedness which they covet most to conceal, that all men may see how ready they are to condemn all verity even at once. For when they affirm such articles to be heretical, which neither they can, nor know, nor yet dare show or name to be heretical, what have we thereby to understand, but that they are adversaries of Christ from the bottom of their hearts, and ready to impugn all truth? And yet, notwithstanding, with their damnable hypocrisy, they pretend themselves to be condemners of heresies! Learn, learn, ye beetle-headed asses with your blustering bulls, learn, I say, what it is, Christ to be a sign of contradiction, and a stone of offence. How soon and easily are all your inward impiety and your ignominy disclosed with the same covert of words, wherewith in vain you went about to cloak the same! Thus then have we here proved by this first and manifest argument, that the aforesaid bull proceedeth from none other than very antichrist himself, the chiefest adversary of God and of all godliness. And now let either Eckius, or the pope, acknowledge if he dare, and then consider what opinion we ought to have of him, or what name to give him; in whom all cursed names, as in one heap, do concur together and agree, as impiety, blasphemy, ignorance, foolishness, hypocrisy, lying, yea, briefly, Satan himself with his antichrist.
"Neither doth this impiety any thing less appear in that also which I will now say. For this worshipful bull decreeth in plain and most impudent words, that those books also of mine ought to be burned, in which are no errors contained, to the end that the memory of me may be utterly rooted out.
"Canst thou, O Christian reader, now doubt that the great dragon of hell himself speaketh in this bull? It is an old proverb, 'that the ass singeth therefore evil-favouredly, because he taketh his note too high.' So this bull, in like manner, should have piped more tuneably, if he had not set out his blasphemous throat so open against heaven, so impudently and devilishly condemning also the manifest and evident truth. For hitherto Satan, whensoever he oppressed the truth, did it under the colour of truth. But this man of sin, the adversary that is extolled above God, without all colour, not privily, but apertly, and that in the open church of God, without all shame taketh upon him to condemn, and commandeth to be burned, the sincere verity of Christ, known and allowed both of him and of all others. What more could be done amongst the Turks? What place is this worthy of, I pray thee, but the deep dungeon of hell? And are ye not afraid, ye antichrists! with your brutish bulls, lest stories and trees should sweat with blood, at the most horrible sight of this your execrable impiety and blasphemy?
"Where art thou now, good Emperor Charles? Where are ye, Christian kings and princes? Ye have given your names to Christ in baptism, and can ye now abide these infernal voices of such an antichrist? Where be ye bishops? where be ye doctors? where be all ye that confess Christ? Can ye hold your peace at these horrible and prodigious monsters of the papists? O miserable church of God! which art made now so great a scorn, and a very mocking-stock of Satan! O miserable are all they which live in these times! The wrath of God is finally come upon the papists, enemies to the cross of Christ and verity of God, resisting all men, and forbidding the truth of Christ to be taught and preached; as St. Paul said of the Jews. Admit, I pray you, that I were such a one indeed, as that cursed and malicious bull doth make me to be, a heretic, erroneous, schismatical, offensive, scandalous, in certain of my books; yet why should the other books of mine be condemned that are catholic, Christian, true, edifying, and peaceable? Where have these wretched papists learned this religion, that, for the person's cause being evil, they should damn and burn the holy and sound verity of God? Can ye not destroy men, but you must also destroy the truth? Will ye pluck up the good wheat also with the cockle? Will ye also scatter the corn away together with the chaff? And why then receive ye Origen in his catholic books, and do not utterly reject him altogether? Yea, why suffer ye wicked Aristotle, (in whom is nothing taught but errors,) and do not at least in some part condemn him? Why burn ye not and set on fire the wicked, barbarous, unlearned, and heretical decretals of the pope? Why do ye not all this, I say? but only for that ye are set in tins holy place for no other cause, but only to be the abomination spoken of in Daniel, which should put down truth and set up lies, and the operation of error: for this thing, and no other, becometh the seat of antichrist.
"Wherefore this I say to thee, Pope Leo the Tenth, and to you, lords cardinals, and all others whosoever, in any part or doing in that court of Rome, and this I speak boldly unto your faces, if this bull hath come out in your name, and by your knowledge, and if ye will so acknowledge it for your own, then will I likewise use my power, by the which I am made in my baptism the son of God, and coheir with Christ, being founded upon a sure rock, which neither feareth the gates of hell, nor heaven, nor earth -- and say, admonish, and exhort you in the Lord, that you will reform yourselves, and take a better way, and refrain hereafter from those diabolical blasphemies, and too much exceeding presumptuous impieties. And this I allege, that unless ye so do, know for certain that I, with all them that worship Christ, do account your seat, possessed and oppressed of Satan himself, to be the damned seat of antichrist, which we not only do not obey, and will not be subject nor concorporate unto, but also do detest and abhor the same, as the principal and chiefest enemy of Christ; being ready, in this our sentence and profession, not only to suffer gladly your fond foolish censures, but also do pray you heartily, that you will never assoil us again, nor ever number us in your fellowship: and moreover, to fulfil your bloody tyranny, we do willingly offer ourselves to die for the same. And, according to the power and might that the Spirit of Christ and the efficacy of our faith can do in these our writings, if ye shall still so persist in your fury, we condemn you; and, together with this bull, and all the decretals, we give you to Satan, to the destruction of the flesh, that your spirit in the day of the Lord may be delivered, in the name which you persecute, of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
"For our Lord Jesus Christ yet liveth and reigneth, (in whom I do nothing doubt,) who, I firmly trust, will shortly come and slay with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming, this man of sin, and son of perdition; forasmuch as I cannot deny, if the pope be the author and doer of these misshapen and monstrous doings, but he is the true, final, most wicked, and famous antichrist, that subverteth the whole world by the operation of his delusions; as we see it in all places fulfilled and accomplished.
"But whither doth the burning zeal of charity carry me? neither am I as yet fully persuaded this to be the pope's bull, but to proceed from his wicked apostle Eckius, who, with his fathers, furiously gaping at me like a gulf, would swallow me clean up, singing with the wicked thus, Let us swallow him up quick and whole like hell, and like one descending down into the pit. For little careth this furious mad-brain how the verity of God be extinguished, (yea, he would count that for a lucre,) so he might fill his malicious desire with the blood of his brother. Oh miserable state of the church at this time, worthy to be bewailed with tears of blood! But who heareth our groanings? or who comforteth our weepings? The fury of the Lord seemeth to be inexorable against us.
"Over and besides, what a ridiculous toy or pretty figment have they invented, whereby belike to sport themselves with some merry matter amongst their earnest business, writing, that besides other great friendship which they have showed unto me, they have also offered to support me with money, and to bear my charges with their liberality, in my journey to Rome. Will ye see what a charity is newly come upon the city of Rome, which, after it hath pilled and polled the whole world of their money, and hath consumed and wasted the same by intolerable tyranny, now cometh, and to me only offereth money? But this impudent lie, I know with whose hammer it was coined: Cajetan the cardinal, a man born and formed to lie for the whetstone, after his worshipful legation despatched in Germany, coming home to Rome, there forged and feigned that he promised me money; whereas he, being at Augsburg, was there in such miserable penury, and so pinching in his house, that it was thought he would have famished his family. But thus it becometh the bull to be a thing of nought, void of all truth and wit.
"And so these great judges and condemners, after all this, have yet authority to command us to believe them to say truth, when they do nothing but lie; and that they are good catholics, when they be stark heretics; and that they are true Christians, when they play the very antichrist: and all by the virtue of this universal Whatsoever thing thou bindest, &c., so that where nothing is excepted, they think they may do all things. Who not only do lie most loudly and manifestly, but also (which passeth all impudency) do vaunt and commend their liberality before the people, to bring me more in hatred, making men falsely to believe that they offered friendship and money unto me: whereas these tyrants of Rome, if they had had any truth, goodness, or godliness in them, should have taken some better heed in their doing and speaking, so that no adversary might conceive any suspicion of evil against them. But now, if there were no other matter else to bring this bull out of credit, only this gross and foolish lie were sufficient to declare, how light, vain, and false this bull is. What! would Rome, think ye, offer money to me? And how then cometh this, which I know to be most certain, that out of the bank (as they call it) two or three hundred crowns were assigned in Germany to be disposed and given to ruffians and catchpoles, to murder Luther? For these be the reasons and arguments whereby now fighteth, reigneth, and triumpheth the holy apostolic see, the mistress of faith, and mother of all churches, which long since should have been proved to be the very seat of antichrist, and manifold ways heretical, if she had fought with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; whereof she herself is nothing ignorant. And therefore, because she would not he brought to that issue, thus she fareth, and taketh on like as she were mad, in the church of Christ; confounding and consuming all things, with wars, murders, bloodshed, death, and destruction; and yet, for all this, they must needs be counted most holy fathers in God, vicars of Christ, and pastors of his flock!
"But go to (that I may also dally with them a while); let them yet send me the money they spake of -- for as touching their promise and safe-conduct, (because I will not overcharge them,) that I gladly resign to them again, seeing I have no great need thereof, so that the money may come to my hands. But here I must require so much as may suffice me, to wit, that I may be furnished with fifty thousand footmen, and ten thousand horsemen, to conduct me safe to Rome; and so, for any other promise of safe-conduct I will not trouble them. And this I require because of the danger that is in Rome, that devoureth up her inhabitants; neither keepeth, nor ever did keep, promise with any; where these most holy fathers do slay their beloved children in the charity of God, and brethren destroy their brethren, to do service to Christ, as their manner is, and the style of Rome. In the mean time, I will keep myself free and safe from the citation of the most reverend bull. O ye miserable varlets! which are so confounded with the truth, and with your own conscience, that neither ye can lie handsomely, neither dare ye speak the truth; and yet neither can ye so keep yourselves quiet: to your perpetual ignominy and confusion.
"Furthermore, here in this bull is brought in a strange fashion of style not heard of before. For whereas Augustine hath said, that he would not believe the gospel except he had been moved by the authority of the church, now cometh in this goodly bull, and maketh this catholic church to be a few reverend cardinals his brethren, and priors of regular orders, masters of divinity, and doctors of the law, out of whose counsel the said bull boasteth herself to be born and brought forth; blessed babe, forsooth, of such a universal church! O happy travail, no doubt, of this catholic church, never seen nor heard of before, and such as Augustine, the valiant impugner of sects, if he did see it, would not doubt to call it the synagogue of the devil! See, therefore, the madness of these papists: The universal church is a few cardinals, priors, and doctors, scarcely perhaps twenty persons in all; when, also, it is possible enough, that never a one of them all is the member of one chapel or altar. And whereas the church is the communion of saints, as we say in the Creed, out of this communion of saints, that is, out of this universal church, all they then must needs be excluded, whosoever be not in the number of these twenty persons: and so, whatsoever these holy men do think or judge, by and by the universal church must needs hold and believe the same, albeit they be liars, heretics, and antichrists, thinking and judging nothing but that which is abominable.
"Would there ever any man think such doltishness and madness to be in Rome! Are there any brains in these men's heads, think ye, or hearts in their bodies? Augustine speaketh of the church dispersed through the whole world, confessing the gospel with one consent; neither would God, that any book else should be received with such consent of the whole world as the Holy Scripture, (as the said Augustine, in his Confessions, affirmeth,) lest, by the receiving of other books, schisms may take occasion to rise; according as the wicked see of Rome hath long sought by her decrees, and hath, for a great part, brought the same to pass already. But yet the universal church did never agree thereto; for in the east, west, and south there have been Christians, who, being content only with the gospel, have not regarded how Rome hath gone about of a particular church to make herself a universal church, and accuseth other churches as schismatical; whereas she hath cut off herself from the universal church, and striveth in vain to draw the whole universal church to her, being the mother and fountain of all schisms, and all by the means of this tyranny.
"Let no man, therefore, ever think that this true catholic church aforesaid will believe or maintain those things which this detestable bull here prattleth, when neither that which is the very true Church of Rome indeed doth herself so think, nor taketh that by and by to be catholic, whatsoever is known to proceed from the Church of Rome: for, as I said, there is no book which shall be called catholic hereafter, as neither it hath been heretofore, besides only the Holy Scripture. For the Church of Rome, it may suffice to glory herself to be a little parcel or piece of the universal church; and so let her vex herself only with her own decrees. Neither let any man think this to be the bull of the catholic church, but rather to proceed out of the court of Rome. For such wisdom and religion may well beseem that seat of Satan, which seeketh to be counted for the whole universal church, and obtrudeth her foolish and wicked bulls most arrogantly and vainly on the whole world, instead of sincere catholic doctrine. Whose pride and presumption hath grown so far, that she, trusting upon her own power, without all learning and holiness of life, taketh upon her to prescribe laws to all men, of all their doings and sayings; as though, for dominion only and loftiness of spirit, she were to be counted the house and church of Christ: whereas, by this means, Satan also, (the prince of the world,) or the Turk, might be counted the church of Christ. Again, neither can the monarchies of the Gentiles abide mighty princes to reign over them without wisdom and goodness. Furthermore, in the church the spiritual man only judgeth all things, and is judged of no man; and not the pope alone, or the court of Rome, unless they be spiritual.
"But against all this their rash presumption I boldly set the invincible champion of the church, St. Paul, who saith, If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first man hold his peace. Here have ye plainly, that the pope, or any other elder, whatsoever he be, ought to keep silence, if any thing be revealed to another that is inferior in the church. I, therefore, upon his authority, contemning the presumptuous proceeding of this swelling bull, do confidently take upon me to defend the articles, caring nothing for the bare condemnation of any person, yea, of the pope himself, with his whole church, unless he shall inform me by the Scriptures. Whereof the first article is this:
"I. 'It is an heretical sentence, and also common, to say, that sacraments of the new law do give grace to them that have no obstacle in themselves to the contrary.'
"Answer.-- I acknowledge this article to be mine, and I ask of you, good masters respectivists, which make these articles respectively, some to be heretical, some erroneous, some slanderous, &c., whither respected this article, I pray you? to heresy, to error, to slander and offence? Or else whither respected you in condemning the same? To the Holy Scripture? to the holy fathers? to faith? to the church? To which of these, I beseech you, tell me? Neither do I here put you to the labour of proving, but only require you to show your judgment, what you think, that I may know wherein I say amiss. Will you that I should tell you, you babish infants and noddies, whither this article respecteth? I will. This article hath two respects; whereof the one respecteth the papists, the condemners hereof, amongst whom it respecteth some to be mules, some to be horses, which have no understanding, and to be void of all sense; and yet, notwithstanding, they will needs condemn all things. Another respect it hath to the Holy Scripture, which saith, Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. Whereupon consequently it followeth, that the sacraments of the new law can give no grace to the unbelievers, (forasmuch as the sin of infidelity is the greatest obstacle,) but only to the believers: for only faith putteth no obstacle. All other things be obstacles, although they put not the same obstacles which the sophisters understand, meaning only of the actual purpose of external sin. I confess therefore this article not only to be mine, but also to be the article of the catholic and Christian verity; and the bull which condemneth the same, to be twice heretical, impious and blasphemous, with all them which follow the same, who, little regarding the sin of incredulity, foolishly and madly do hold, that the obstacle is taken away, if a man cease from sinning, although the unbeliever can think no good thing. But these things I have discussed more at large in my books, and will more discuss, if those prating Romanists dare at any time prove their opinion, and confute mine.
"II. 'To deny that sin remaineth in a child after his baptism, is as much as to tread down Christ and Paul together under foot.'
"Answer.-- I would also require of them to show the cause why this article is condemned, if they were not so blinded in their fantastical respects that they are not able to perceive why they would have this article condemned: and yet I cannot tell whether it be heretical or erroneous; and no marvel when the condemners themselves cannot tell me. I hold, therefore, this article by the apostle, I myself in my mind do serve the law of God, and in my flesh the law of sin. Here the apostle confesseth plainly of himself, that in his flesh he serveth sin. And also, Christ is made to us of God our righteousness, our wisdom, sanctification, and redemption. And how then doth he sanctify them that be sanctified already, unless it be as the Apocalypse saith, He that is holy let him be holy still. To be sanctified, is as much as to be purged from sin: but what have these our respectivists to do with the apostle Paul, seeing they are the whole universal church, by whose authority Paul either standeth or falleth, being but a member only, and a part of the church? The Lord rebuke thee, Satan, and these thy Satanical papists!
"III. 'The original root of sin, although no actual sin do follow, stoppeth the soul departing out of the body from entrance into heaven.'
"Answer.-- As touching this matter, I never defined any thing hitherto, but largely and probably I have disputed hereof; neither yet to this day am I fully certain what is done with such a soul. But our papists, more blind than buzzards, when they are nothing able to perceive what cause this article hath worthy to be condemned, yet dare they take upon them to pronounce that, which the whole universal church is ignorant of: I yet, notwithstanding, contemning this foolish and fond condemnation aforesaid, do hold this article probably to be true. For, seeing this original root, which I spake of, is truly sin, as I have proved, and seeing that sin letteth a man from entering into heaven; as it is written, No polluted thing shall enter; I suppose, therefore, that original sin withholdeth a man from entering into heaven: neither do I any thing at all esteem the fantastical dreams of them, whereby they, extenuating original sin, do call it openly the pain of sin, and imperfections; plain against the manifest Scriptures, which call it sin, and teach the same to be cured by grace, which is the medicine of true, and not of feigned, sin.
"IV. 'The imperfect charity of a man departing, necessarily carrieth with it great fear, which of itself is enough to make the pain of purgatory, and letteth the entrance into the kingdom of heaven.'
"Answer.-- This followeth of the other going before, which, in like manner, I did not determinately affirm, although very probably I do yet hold the same, asking, before, a dispensation after mine own arbitrement, even in defiance of the bull, which is not able to bring forth any other probation but this: 'We are the highest powers in the church, yea, we are the church itself: ergo, we are the best learned, most holiest, full of the Holy Ghost, which cannot err, although we stink like a filthy puddle to the whole world, polluted with all kinds of sins, and drowned in ignorance.' But all these reasons prevail nothing with me: peradventure they may with them which fear lest, if my sentence should prevail, then purgatory should be taken out of the pope's hands; and then priests and religious men, having lost their gainful offices of vexing (of releasing, I would have said) the dead, should he pinched by the bellies and brought to penury. It was time, therefore, for their greedy avarice here to awake and look about, and not to suffer their frivolous opinions, but yet very gainful, to be overcome with truth, and so to be overthrown.
"V. 'Whereas they say penance standeth of three parts, to wit contrition, confession, and satisfaction, it is not founded in Holy Scripture, nor in ancient, holy, and Christian doctors.'
"Answer.-- This article, in what respect it is condemned, I do right well perceive; for the respect thereof is to greedy covetousness, and therefore I know that the probation thereof hath the like respect, which is this: If this article were true, then men would give nothing for satisfaction and indulgences, neither should we have any more wherewith to vex them with confessions, cases reserved, restricted, or ampliated for our gain: and so should we become beggars, and God's service should be minished in vigils and masses: but it is wicked that God's service should be minished; therefore, Luther is a heretic. This consequence holds from the bull to the papists, and contrariwise.
"I beseech thee, by the Lord Jesus, whatsoever grave and learned reader shall read these things, that thou wilt pardon this my levity, and, as it may seem, my childishness. For thou seest how I have to do with such men as be twice children, and yet do brag themselves to be peers and principal pillars of all men. I assure you, I know it most certainly to be true, that there be many and great governors of the people, which this so ridiculous and foolish reason above recited hath moved to the condemnation of my books. Unless I perceived (with tears I speak it) the anger of God sharp and fierce against us, in bringing us under subjection of such effeminate children, and such dregs of the earth, and vile refuse of all other people of the whole world, it would make me to burst for very grief and sorrow.
"My sentence is, and hath been, this: That the satisfaction, which the keys are able to dispense withal, standeth not by the law of God: for, if it did, then could it not be dispensed withal by the keys. If these bull-founders do charge me with any other thing besides in this article, they do nothing else but as they are wont to do: for what matter or marvel is it, if antichrist do lie?
"VI. Contrition which is gotten by examining, remembering, and detesting our sins, whereby a man calleth to mind his years past in the bitterness of his soul, in pondering the greatness, the multitude, and filthiness of his sins, the losing of eternal bliss, and the purchasing of eternal damnation: this contrition maketh a hypocrite, yea, rather a man to be more a sinner.'
"Answer.-- O the incredible blindness and brutishness of these Romish bulls! This article is truly mine, and very Christian; which I will not suffer to be wrested from me, for all the popes and papists in the world. For this I meant by that doctrine, that repentance is of no force, unless it be done in faith and charity; which thing they also would teach themselves, but that they do neither know nor teach, either what faith or charity is. And therefore, in condemning my doctrine, they condemn also their own, foolishly repugning against themselves in their own contradiction. I say, therefore, that he that teacheth repentance in such wise and manner that he hath not a greater regard to the promised mercy of God and faith in the same, than to this afflicting and vexing of the mind, he teacheth the repentance of Judas Iscariot; he is pestilent, a devil to men's souls, and tormentor of consciences. Read the books of these sophisters, where they write of repentance, and thou shalt see there no mention made either of promise or faith: for these lively parts of repentance they clean omit, and only do vex men with these dead contritions. But hereof we will hereafter treat more at large.
"But what should I here stand upon every article, seeing my books be abroad, wherein I have given a reason of all sufficiently, and more would have done, if mine adversaries also had brought to light theirs? For what foolishness is this, that they think to answer me with this one saying, That they count all my sayings as damned? whereas I did write to this end only, that they should acknowledge their errors wherewith they have so long bewitched the people of God. Neither did I look that I should be condemned, who, understanding and knowing the same right well, have justified those things, which they have condemned before, with sufficient authority both of Scripture and reason: neither looked I that they should tell me what they thought (for I knew all that well enough); but that which I sought of them, was, to know whether they thought right therein or not. Here looked I to be taught; and, behold, none of them all durst once put forth his head. Wherefore I see these asses nothing to understand either the things that I say, or yet themselves; but they be such blind buzzards, that they perceive not what it is that I seek in my books: for they dream that I have such an opinion of them, as though they had the truth of their side, when there is nothing that I less think to be true. For I, foreseeing that they had condemned all these things before, came forth, and showed myself as one not to be condemned, but as already condemned by them, to accuse their condemnation to be wicked, heretical, and blasphemous; and so openly to denounce them as heretics and erroneous, unless they showed some better reason and ground of their doings and doctrine; whereas they, on the other side, like foolish minstrels harping all on one string, have nothing else in their mouths, but we condemn that we have condemned proving, after a new kind of logic, the same thing by itself. O most idiot huddipeaks, and blockish condemners! Where is the saying of Peter, Be always ready to render an account of that faith and hope which is in you?
"Wherefore, seeing these ignorant papists, being thus confounded, do so flee away from the face of the manifest verity, that they dare not once open their mouths in defence of themselves or of their cause, and have blasted out with much ado this timorous bull of theirs; I, being comforted with the flight of these mine adversaries, do account this their dastardly damnation, instead of a full justification of my cause; and so rebound again their own damnation upon their own heads. For how could they more condemn themselves, than while they (fearing to be found themselves culpable of heresy, if they should be driven to give account of their doctrine) do flee to this miserable and desperate refuge, willingly to shut their eyes, and stop their ears, and to say 'I will not, I damn thee; I hear thee not, I allow thee not?' If I should have played any such mad part, how would they (I pray you) have triumphed against me? This dastardly fear declareth what cowards they are.
"Wherefore, not to burden the reader with any tedious prolixity of matter in prosecuting every article, I here protest in these presents, that I confess all these things here condemned by this miserable bull, for pure, clear, and catholic doctrine, whereof I have sufficiently given account in my books which be extant abroad.
"Furthermore, I will also that the said my books, being extant abroad, shall be taken as a public accusation against these wicked sophisters and seducers of the people of God; so that unless they shall give an account of their doctrine, and shall convict me with good ground of Scripture, I do here, as much as in me lieth, denounce them as guilty of errors, heresy, and sacrilege; admonishing, desiring, and in the Lord exhorting, all them that truly confess Christ, that they will beware and take heed of their pestiferous doctrine; and not to doubt, but that the true antichrist reigneth by them in the world amongst us.
"And if any shall contemn this my brotherly admonition, let him know that I am pure and clean from his blood, and excused from the last judgment of Christ: for I have left nothing undone, which Christian charity did bind me to do.
"Finally, if there be no other way whereby I may resist these babbling and trifling condemners, the uttermost and last which I have I will give and bestow in the quarrel; that is, this life and blood of mine. For better it were for me a thousand times to be slain, than to revoke one syllable of these articles, which they have condemned. And now, as they do curse and excommunicate me for their damnable heresy, so I again likewise do curse and excommunicate them for the holy verity of God. Christ, who is the Judge of all, judge and determine this matter between us, whether of these two excommunications, his or mine, shall stand and prevail before him! Amen."
[Note: The following remarks of Thomas Carlyle on the character of Luther are extremely apposite:
"It is curious to reflect what might have been the issue, had Roman popery happened to pass this Luther by; to go on in its great wasteful orbit, and not come athwart his little path, and force him to assault it! Conceivable enough, that in this case he might have held his peace about the abuses of Rome; left providence and God on high to deal with them! A modest, quiet man; not prompt he to attack irreverently persons in authority. His clear task, as I say, was to do his own duty; to walk wisely in this world of confused wickedness, and save his soul alive. But the Roman high priesthood did come athwart him; afar off at Wittenberg he, Luther, could not get live in honesty for it; he remonstrated, resisted, came to extremity, was struck at, and struck again, and so it came to wager of battle between them! This is worth attending to in Luther's history. Perhaps no man of so humble, peaceable a disposition, ever filled the world with contention. We cannot but see that he would have loved privacy, quiet diligence in the shade; that it was against his will he ever became a notoriety. Notoriety, what would that do for him? The goal of his march through this world was the Infinite Heaven; an indubitable goal for him. In a few years he should either have attained that, or lost it for ever! We will say nothing at all, I think, of that sorrowfulest of theories, of its being some mean shopkeeper grudge, of the Augustine monk against the Dominican, that first kindled the wrath of Luther, and produced the Protestant Reformation. We will say to the people who maintain it, if indeed any such exist now, Get first into the sphere of thought by which it is so much as possible to judge of Luther, or of any man like Luther, otherwise than distractedly; we may then begin arguing with you.
"The monk Tetzel, sent out carelessly in the way of trade, by Leo the Tenth,-- who merely wanted to raise a little money, and for the rest seems to have been a pagan rather than a Christian, so far as he was any thing -- arrived at Wittenberg and drove his scandalous trade there. Luther's flock bought indulgences; in the confessional of his church, people pleaded to him that they had already got their sins pardoned. Luther, if he would not be found wanting at his own post, a false sluggard and coward at the very centre of the little space of ground that was his own and no other man's, had to step forth against indulgences, and declare aloud that they were a futility and sorrowful mockery, that no man's sins could be pardoned by them. It was the beginning of the whole Reformation. We know how it went forward from this public challenge of Tetzel, on the last day of October, 1517, through remonstrance, and argument;-- spreading ever wider, rising ever higher; till it became unquenchable, and enveloped all the world. Luther's heart's desire was to have this grief and other griefs amended; his thought was still far from introducing separation in the church, or revolting against the pope, father of Christendom. The elegant pagan pope cared little about this monk and his doctrines; wished, however, to have done with the noise of him. In the space of some three years, having tried various softer measures, he thought good to end it by fire. He dooms the monk's writings to be burnt by the hangman, and his body to be sent bound to Rome -- probably for a similar purpose. It was the way they had ended with Huss, with Jerome, the century before. A short argument, fire. Poor Huss: he came to that Constance council, with all imaginable promises and safe-conducts; an earnest, not rebellious, kind of man: 'three feet wide, six feet high, seven feet long;' burnt the true voice out of this world; choked it in smoke and fire. That was not well done!
"I, for one, pardon Luther for now altogether revolting against the pope. The elegant pagan, by this fire-decree of his, had kindled into noble, just wrath the bravest heart then living in this world. The bravest, if also one of the humblest, peaceablest, it was now kindled. 'These words of mine, words of truth and soberness, aiming faithtully, as human inability would allow, to promote God's truth on earth, and save men's souls, you, God's vicegerent on earth, answer them by the hangman and fire! Yon will burn me and them, for answer to the God's message they strove to bring you! You are not God's vicegerent; you are another's, I think! I take your bull as an emparchmented lie, and burn it. You will do what you see good next: this is what I do.'-- It was on the tenth of December, 1520, three years after the beginning of the business, that Luther with a great concourse of people took this indignant step of burning the pope's fire-decree in the market place of Wittenberg. Wittenberg looked on 'with shoutings.' The whole world was looking on. The pope should not have provoked that 'shout!' It was the shout of the awakening of nations. The quiet German heart, modest, patient of much, had at length got more than it could bear. Formulism, pagan popism, and other falsehood and corrupt semblance, had ruled long enough; and here once more was a man who durst tell all men, that God's world stood not on semblances but on realities; that life was a truth and not a lie!"
-- Carlyle's Hero Worship, p. 212-216.]
In storying the life of Luther, it was declared before, how the said Luther in the beginning, being rejected first by the Cardinal Cajetan, appealed from the cardinal unto the pope. When that would not serve, neither could any tolerable submission of Luther to the pope be received, but that the pope with his cardinals, contrary to all equity and conscience, would needs proceed against him, and against the express truth of God's word, thinking by mere authority to bear down the verity as be had used before to do: Luther, following the justness of his cause, was then compelled to appeal from the pope to the next general council, and so did, as before you may read; which was two years before the pope's bull against Luther came out. The tenor of this appellation, before omitted, I thought here to exhibit; whereby the reader, considering the great change of religion and state of the church which since hath ensued, may also perceive the true original cause and occasion how it first began; by what order and degrees it after increased; what humility and submission, first on Luther's part were showed; and, again, what insolency, wrong, and violence, of the pope's part, were declared. And further, whereas Pope Leo, in his bull above prefixed, seemeth to pretend certain conditions of favour, charity, and money offered to Luther in the beginning, how false and vain that is, by this present appeal may appear.
The tenor and form of the appeal of Martin Luther from Pope Leo to the next general council.
"That forasmuch as the liberty of appealing is provided for a remedy to relieve the oppressed from injury and violence of the superior, it was therefore lawful for Martin Luther so to do; especially being manifold ways injured and molested by the see of Rome, and other the pope's confederates, as he, in the said appeal, declareth. For at first, whereas he, modestly disputing of the errors and abuses of the pope's pardons, did somewhat withstand the impudent raving and blasphemies of them that came about with the pope's pardons, to poll and rob the people, he was therefore openly railed upon and defamed by them in their public sermons to be a heretic, and, consequently upon the same, accused to Pope Leo for a heretic, by Marius the pope's proctor and others.
"Then was obtained of the pope a commission to cite up the said Luther to appear at Rome before the cardinals, by Hieronymus, and Sylvester Prieras, his mortal enemies, whereas he could by no way appear without manifest danger of his life, both by the way, and also in the city of Rome.
"For the consideration whereof,Duke John Frederic, prince elector, and the landgrave, entreated for him to have his cause indifferently to be heard, and to be committed to two parties that were equal, and not partial: yet, notwithstanding the earnest suit of these princes, the contrary labour of the cardinals, which were his capital adversaries, so prevailed at Rome, that the cause of Luther was still detained in their own hands; and, contrary to all indifferency, was committed to the hearing of the pope's legate then in Germany, called Cardinalis Sancti Sixti; who, being no less enemy against Luther than the others, and notwithstanding that Luther obediently appeared at his call, and with humble protestation submitted himself to be answered by the Scriptures; and referred himself to the judgment of the see of Rome, and of four universities, to wit, Basil, Friburg, Louvain, and Paris; yet, contrary to all equity, showing forth no Scripture nor reason, rejecting his gentle protestation, submission, and honest offer, with all other his requests and suits, he would needs forthwith have him to revoke his errors, threatening and menacing him most cruelly, and commanded him no more to come in his sight.
"Whereupon Luther, being thus proudly rejected of the cardinal, made his appeal from the said cardinal to Pope Leo, being better informed.
"This appellation also being contemned of the pope, who would neither come to any agreement, nor take any reasonable condition, nor show Luther his errors by the Scripture, nor yet refer the matter by learning to be decided, but would needs perforce proceed against him by mere authority and oppression at Rome, Luther then, seeing there was no other refuge or remedy for his own defence, and seeing, moreover, the truth of God's word to lie under foot, by might and authority oppressed, so that none durst almost confess the same, and that the poor flock was so nursled in errors and vain opinions, to the seduction of their souls; for these, and other such causes, he, being necessarily thereunto compelled, commenced this appeal from the pope misinformed, to the next general council that should be, calling for the help of the public notary, and testimony also of sufficient witnesses, requisite in that behalf accordingly."