Martin Luther Collection: Luther, Martin - Theses & Life: 4b. History, Part 2

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Martin Luther Collection: Luther, Martin - Theses & Life: 4b. History, Part 2

TOPIC: Luther, Martin - Theses & Life (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 4b. History, Part 2

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The Deeds of Reverend Father Doctor Martin Luther in the Assemblies of Princes at Worms before Emperor Charles V, the Princes, Electors, and the nobility of the Empire follow.

In the Year of Our Salvation 1521 after Misericordia Domini Sunday (Second Sunday after Easter), Tuesday, Doctor Martin Luther entered Worms, called by Emperor Charles, he the fifth King of the Spaniards of <that> name, Archduke of Austria etc. who in the first year of his Reign celebrated the first gathering of Princes in that royal city.

However since three years before Doctor Martin had proposed at Worms in Saxony certain Paradoxes against the Tyranny of the Roman Bishop to be debated (which nevertheless meanwhile were censured, damned and burned in different ways by the Papists, yet refuted by no one either by Scriptures or by logical arguments), the matter began to incline toward a disturbance, with the people watching the cause of the Gospel against the Clerics.

And for this reason it seemed good, with the Roman Legates stirring things up, that Luther himself be summoned by the Imperial Herald, and he was led in this by the Emperor and the princes giving letters of safe passage.

He was summoned, he came, and he stopped at the Senate (?) of the soldiers of Rhodes, or <as> they are called, of the German order, where he stayed in hospitality and was greeted and sought after even late into the night by many Companions, Barons, honored Cavalry Officers, and Nobles, Priests and Laymen.

But to many men both of the opposing party and to others his arrival happened directly contrary to opinion, for even though he had been summoned by Imperial messenger and by letters given of public safety, Nevertheless because, for a few days before he came, his books were condemned by letters posted publicly and privately, no one thought that he would arrive condemned by this prejudgment.

And when in the neighboring town of Oppenheim, where Luther first learned these things, a deliberation was held by his friends and many of them concluded that he himself should not expose himself to danger, since he saw that these beginnings were done against a given promise, With all listening, he himself responded with a courageous spirit, "Because I was called, it was decreed and is certain that I truly enter the city in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, even if I know that as many Devils are opposed against me as there tiles in all the houses of the entire world, etc."

On the next day after his arrival, Wednesday, a noble Man, Master of the Imperial cavalry, Ulrich of Pappenheim, having been sent by the Emperor, came before luncheon, showing to Doctor Martin the command of Emperor Charles that at the fourth afternoon hour he present himeself before the Imperial Majesty, Princes, Electors, Dukes and the remaining Orders of the Empire, he would hear to what he was summoned, Which Doctor Martin, as he ought, accepted.

And immediately after the fourth hour of that day was heard, D. Ulrich of Pappenheim came and Caspar Sturm Imperial Herald through Germany, (by which Truce-Officer Doctor Martin had been called forth from Witteberg and brought down to Worms) who accompanied the very one called forth through the garden of the Rhodians' Senate, into the lodging of the Companions' of Palatine.

And so that he would not be exposed to the crowd which was great in the just road to the Imperial house, he was led down through some hidden steps in the Auditorium, nevertheless he was not hidden to many, who were barely prevented by force from entering, and many fell to blows in eagerness to see Luther.

When therefore he stood in the sight of the Imperial Majesty, the Princes, Electors and Dukes, in short, everyone of the Empire's orders who attended on the Emperor, Doctor Martin was at first admonished by Ulrich of Pappenheim not to say anything unless asked.

Then the Orator of the Imperial Majesty, Johannes Eck, of the general Official of the Bishop of Treves, in a loud and intelligible voice, first in Latin, then in German, by the order of the Emperor spoke and moved the following resolution against that man, or one similar in effect to it, which follows its manner.

"Martin Luther, the Sacred and unconquered Imperial majesty, on the advice of all Ranks of the holy Roman Empire, orders you to be called hither to the seat of his Majesty, so that I may interrogate you about these two points: First, do you confess that these books before me (a bundle of your books in Latin and your writings in German having been displayed) which circulate under your name are yours, and will you acknowledge those as yours or not? And Second, whether you want to retract and renounce those and the contents of the same or rather to cling and acknowledge the same?"

Here, before Luther responded, Doctor Jerome Schurff, who was standing quite near Doctor Martin, shouted out, "Let the books be given a name."

This Official of Treves read out by name from the books of Doctor Martin Luther those which were written at the same time at Basel, among which also were counted the Commentaries on the Psalter, the Treatise on good works, the Commentary on the Lord's prayer, and in addition to these other non-disputatious Christian treatises.

After these and to these Doctor Martin gave these answers back in Latin and German: "By the Imperial Majesty two things are proposed to me: First, Whether I wish to acknowlege as mine all the books having my name; Second, Whether I wish to defend or in fact to denounce something from those writings which were written and published up to this point by me.

"To which I shall respond as briefly as I can and correctly.

"To begin with, I cannot help but embrace as my own the books already named and I shall never indeed deny anything of them. "Next, so that I may set forth what follows, whether I want to defend everything in an equal degree or to renounce, Because the investigation is about the faith and salvation of souls, and because it concerns the divine word than which nothing is greater in heaven as on earth, which is seemly for all of us to be afraid deservedly, it was accidental and equally dangerous that I publish something unconsidered, since I could be able to defend both less than matter and greater than the truth, not previously thought-out, either of which brought me into the thought which Christ related when He said, 'Who denies me before me, I shall also deny him before my Father who is in the heavens.'

"Therefore I ask, and especially humbly, of the Imperial Majesty for time for deliberating about this case, so that I may satisfy the one interrogating without injury to the divine word and danger to my soul."

From that a deliberation of the Princes began, which the Official of Treves reported thus: "Even if you, Martin Luther, have already been able to perceive sufficiently from the Imperial order to what you have been summoned, and already unworthy about that case, since a longer delay is given for thinking, Nevertheless out of the inborn clemency, the Imperial Majesty grants one day for your contemplation, in order that tomorrow at the same hour you appear in person and not set forth your written thought but relate it orally."

After these Doctor Martin was brought back to his inn by the Herald.

In which matter in order that something not be omitted, between going to hear the Emperor's order and when Luther was already in the very assembly of nobles, he was strongly reminded by others in another voice to act manfully and not to fear those who were able merely to kill his body, but were not able to kill his soul, but rather to fear that one who could send both his soul and body into hell.

The same: When you (pl.) stand before the Kings, do not ponder what you say, for it will be given to you at that hour, etc. On the following Thursday, after four in the afternoon, the Herald came and led Doctor Martin, having been received, into the Palace of the Emperor, where he remained until six on account of the Princes' affairs, anticipating a large crowd of men, with he himself spending time before the throng, And when the assembly was made and Doctor Martin stood before it, the Official sent forth these words.

"Martin Luther, yesterday evening the Imperial Majesty told you this hour, Since you indeed openly accepted the Books which we enumerated yesterday as yours.

"But to the question, Do you want something of yours to be considered null and void, or do you approve everything which you acknowledge, you sought deliberation, which now has its end, Even if by law you ought not have demanded more time for thinking, you knew by so much time to what you were called.

"And it was agreed by all that the business of faith is so certain that each one having been summoned at whatever time was able to give back his sure and unchanging explanation, much more should you so great and so well trained a professor of Theology.

"Come, at least answer the Emperor's demand, whose liberality you perceived in bringing about time for thinking.

"Do you want to regard all the books as admittedly yours? or do you in truth want to retract something?"

The Official said these things in Latin and German. Doctor Martin himself responded in both Latin and German, albeit humbly, not clamorously, and modestly, not nevertheless without Christian ardor and steadfastness, and thus, so that his Opponents desired a speech and a spirit more disheartened.

But much more eagerly they await a Retraction, the hope of which, after the time for deliberating was desired, some men had conceived.

Then he replied in this way.

"Most Serene Lord Emperor, Most Distinguished Princes, Most Merciful Lords, obeying the limit determined for me yesterday evening I appear, beseeching through the mercy of God, that your most serene Majesty, and your most distinguished Lordships deign to hear mercifully this case of (as I hope)

justice and truth. "And if through my inexperience I have not given worthy titles to someone or I have erred in some way or other in courtly manners and actions, kindly forgive since I am a man experienced not in Palaces but in the corners of Monks, who is able to testify nothing else about myself than that by that ingenuousness of soul I have learned and written only this, that I should look only to the glory of God and the genuine education of the faithful of Christ.

"Most serene Emperor, Most distinguished Princes, Most Merciful Lords, To those two Articles proposed to me yesterday through your Most serene Majesty, namely: Whether I acknowledge the books examined and published under my name as mine and whether I want to persist in these defences or to retract I gave my prepared and clear answer, concerning the previous Article, in which I continue steadfastly, and I shall continue into eternity, That those books are manifestly mine and published under my name by me, unless perhaps in the meantime it happened that either by the cunning of rivals or by churlish wisdom something in them was changed or was perversely excerpted.

"For clearly I do not acknowledge something else, only that which is of me only and written by me alone, except the interpretation of all diligence of any kind.

"To the second I would respond, I ask, that your Most serene Majesty and your Lordships deign to turn your attention. "My books are not all of the same type: For there are some in which I handled the piety of faith and morals so directly and Evangelically that my Opponents themselves are forced to admit that those books are useful, blameless, and clearly worthy of the Christian text.

"But the Bull, although harsh and cruel, declares some of my books harmless, also permits to those to be condemned with a absolutely monstrous judgment.

"And so if I were to begin to retract those, I beseech you, what would I do, unless I were the one man of all mortals to condemn that truth, which Friends and Enemies equally acknowledge, the only man of all fighting against a united acknowledgment.

"There is another type (of my writing) which attacks the Pope and the doctrine of the Papists, just as against those who by their own doctrines and worst examples have desolated the Christian world in both direction by an evil of the soul and the body, For no one can either deny or dissimulate this, since the witnesses are the experiences of everyone and the complaints of all men, that not only the consciences of the faithful have been most terribly entrapped, harassed, and tortured through the laws of the Pope and the doctrines of men, but in particular the money and properties, especially in this famous nation of Germany, have been devoured by an unbelievable Tyranny, and are devoured to this day without end and in shameful ways: since nevertheless they themselves by their very own laws (as in distinctio 9. &

25., quaestio 1. & 2.) take care that laws of the Pope and doctrines contrary to the Gospel or the sayings of the Fathers are to be reckoned erroneous and false.

"So if I retracted those, I would offer nothing else than that I would increase the strength of the Tyranny, and to such great impiety I would have already opened not the windows but the doors, rioting wider and more freely than up until now ever dared, and it would be by the testimony of this my retraction, that the most unrestrained reign and most unpunished for their wickedness, by far the most intolerable to the wretched commons, <was> nevertheless strong and stable, especially if I boasted, this was done by me under the most serene authority of your Majesty and of the entire Roman Empire.

"O good God, how great a cover for wicknedness and Tyranny I would then be.

"There is a third type of them, which I wrote against some private and individual (as they call <them>) persons, against those naturally who endeavored to defend the Roman Tyranny and to destroy the piety taught by me.

"Against those I admit that I was harsher than is fitting for religion or profession, for I neither make myself someone Holy, nor do I debate about my life but about the doctrine of Christ.

"Nor is it honest for me to retract those, because by this retraction it would again happen that Tyranny and impiety would reign by my patronage and rage more violently against the people of God than they ever reigned.

"Nevertheless because I am a Man and not God, I am not able to support my books by another patronage than my Lord himself Jesus Christ supported his own doctrine, who when he was before Annas having been asked about his doctrine and received a blow from the officer said: If I have spoken badly, produce the evidence about the evil.

"If the Lord himself, who knew that he was not able to sin, did not refuse to hear evidence against his own doctrine, even from the most worthless servant, by such much more I six times, only being able to sin, ought to seek out and hope if anyone wishes to offer evidence against my doctrine.

"And so I ask through the mercy of God, Most Serene Majesty and your Most Exalted Lords, for someone finally, either the highest <ranked> or the lowest be able to give evidence, refute the errors, gain the upper hand by the Prophetical and Apostolic writings, for I will be the most prepared, if I will taught, whatever error to retract, and I will be the first to cast my books into the fire.

"From these I reckon that it is made clear that I have considered and reflected on the risks and dangers enough, or the passions and disagreements stirred up in the world on the occasion of my doctrine, about which I was gravely and forcefully warned yesterday.

"Clearly that condition in matters is the most pleasing of all to me, to see on account of the word of God passions and disagreements brought about, for He is the way, the outcome and result of the word, For he said, I did not come to bring peace but a sword, For I came to divide the man against the father etc.

"Accordingly we must ponder, since our God is wonderful and terrible in his counsels, lest by chance that which is attempted in such great studies, if we begin from the condemned word of God, turns afterwards rather into an intolerable flood of evils, and what must be avoided, that the Reign of this best Youth Charles the Prince (in whom after God there is much hope) be made misfortunate and inauspicious.

"I would have been able to demonstrate the matter more fully by Examples from scripture, about Pharaoh, the King of Babylon, and the Kings of Israel, who back then most especially destroyed themselves, since they were eager to pacify and stabilize their Reigns by the wisest counsels.

"For it is he himself who grasps the crafty in his cunning, and he overturns mountains before they know.

"And so it is necessary to fear God.

"I do not say these because there is need either for my doctrine or my warning in these whirlwinds, but because I ought not to turn aside the obedience owed my Germany.

"And I entrust myself to these your Powers and to your most Serene Majesty, humbly asking, that they not permit me to be rendered hateful to them by the efforts of my Adversaries without cause. I HAVE SPOKEN."

To these words, the Orator of the Empire similar to one accusing, said, that Luther did not respond to the point, nor ought he have been called into question things which long ago in Councils had been condemned and defined, For that reason a simple and not complicated response was asked of him, Whether he wanted to retract or not?

Here Luther, "Since your most Serene Majesty and your Powers seek a simple response, I will give that, neither sophistical nor pointed in this way:

Unless I shall be refuted by the tesimonies of the scriptures or by evident reason, (for I believe neither in the Pope nor in the Councils alone, since it is agreed that they have rather frequently errred and have contradicted themselves) I am defeated by the writings prompted by me, and my conscience having been caught in the words of God, I am not able to retract nor do I want whatever is neither safe nor upright, since it goes against my conscience.

"Here I stand I can do nothing else God help me. Amen."

This oration delivered by Doctor Martin, the Princes moved into deliberation.

The Official of Treves begin to attack the examination in this way.

"Martin, you have responded more impudently than befits your person, and moreover not to the proposition, you divide the Books in different ways, but in such a way that they all contribute nothing to the investigation.

"The fact is that if you would have recanted those in which the great part of your errors is, without a doubt the Imperial Majesty and his inborn clemency would not tolerate the persecution of the rest of them which are good.

"However you revive what the universal Council of Constance, assembled from the entire German nation, condemned, and you want to be defeated through scripture, in which you violently rant. "For what does it matter to make known a new Controversy about matter condemned for so many ages by the Church and the Council?

"Unless by chance an explanation must be rendered to any one about anything whatsoever.

"The fact is if he carried his point once that he must be refuted by scriptures, whoever contradicts the Councils and the ideas of the Church, we shall have nothing sure or fixed in Christianity.

"And this is the reason why the Imperial majesty asked of you a simple and plain respone, either negative or affirmative.

"Do you wish to support all your writings as for the Church? Or to in fact retract something from them?"

Then Doctor Martin asked that the Imperial Majesty allow him, led and prevented by sacred scriptures, not to be forced to reply against his conscience without the manifest arguments of his opponents.

The response sought was not sophistical, but simple and straight-forward.

He had nothing else than what what he had also given before: Unless by sufficient arguments his Adversaries lay out the conscience caught by those, which they themselves call, errors, nor was he able to get out of the nets in which he had been involved. Not directly true are whatever the Councils have decided, on the contrary, the Councils have been mistaken and have often defined things contrary to themselves, therefore the argument of his opponents does not carry weight.

He was able to point out that the Councils have gone wrong, he was not able to retract what was carefully plainly represented in scripture.

To which nothing was replied by the Official, that not even in the littlest point, forsooth, was he able to show that the Council had gone wrong.

Doctor Martin promised to truly show that he was able and willing.

When however darkness covered the entire auditorium each accordingly went home to his own home.

A good part of the Spaniards followed after the man of God, Luther, as he was departing from the Imperial Majesty and Tribunal, with yells and mocking gestures in a great roar.

On Friday after Misericordia Domini, when the Princes, Electors, Dukes, and the remaining Ranks who were accustomed to be present at consultations had convened, the Emperor sent a Decree into the Senate containing the following:

"Our ANCESTORS and the Christian Princes themselves, were in no way less obedient to the Roman Church than now Doctor Martin Luther attacks it, And because he has taken it into his heart not to depart even a hair's width from his errors, we are not able deviate from the dignified Example of our Ancestors, in defending the ancient faith, and by bringing aid to the Roman seat: Martin Luther himself and his followers we pursue with excommunication, and by other ways if they appear for the extinguishing <of Luther and co.>.

"Nevertheless we are unwilling to violate the given and received security, rather we are about to take pains that he return preserved to the place whence he was summoned."

This statement of Emperor Charles the leading Electors, Dukes, society of the Empire, turned over through the entire Friday afternoon, even an entire Saturday followed, in this way, that Doctor Martin as yet received no response from the Imperial Majesty.

In the meantime he was seen and visited by many Princes, Companions, Barons, Cavalry Officers, Priests, religious and lay, nor can I say <how many> from the number of the commons, These ever occupied the senate nor were they able to get their fill by seeing. Two broadsides were even put up, one against Doctor Luther, the Other, as it seemed, for the Doctor.

Though by a great many intelligent men, this very deed was craftily reckoned by his Enemies so that an occasion would be employed for annulling the given safe conduct.

The Monday after Jubilate Sunday (Third Sunday after Easter), before dinner, the Archbishop of Treves declared to Doctor Martin that he should prepare to appear before him four days at the sixth hour before lunch, having again appointed a place.

On Saint Gregory's Day, shortly before lunch, he who was from the Clerics of the Archbishop of Treves returned to Luther, with the order of his Prince, seeking, that on the next day at the hour recently designated he appear at the inn of his Lord.

Wednesday after the birth of George, complying with the agreement, Doctor Martin entered the inn of the Archbishop of Treves, led in by his Priest and the Imperial Herald, with those following him who traveled with him from Saxony and Thuringia as he came here, and some other close friends besides, where before the Archbishop of Treves <were> Joachim the Marquis of Brandenburg, George the Duke of Saxony, the Bishops of Augsburg and Brandenburg, George the Companion Teacher of the Teutons, Johann Bock of Arge?, Vuerdheymer, and Pentinger the Doctors.

Doctor Voeus, from the clerics of the Marquis of Baden, began to speak and protested that Luther himself was not called in this, so that they would consult with him as if in a public debate or dispute, but only out of Christian charity and a certain mercy, the Princes obtained from the Imperial Majesty that they be permitted to encourage him mercifully and affectionately.

Then he said, "The councils, even if they have decreed contradictory things, have not nevertheless decreed contrary things, Because if they had erred in the highest degree, if you will, on that account nevertheless they have not overthrown their authority, merely so much as anybody would want to strive against those things by his own sense."

Inferring much from the Centurion and Zaccheus, even from human arrangements, from Religious ceremonial decrees, confirming that all those things were sanctified to restrain changes, according to the nature and change of the times, neither are the changes, according to the nature and change of the times, nor is the Church able to be without human arrangements.

<He said that> the tree is learned from its fruits. Nevertheless many good things are said to arise from laws. The fact is that Saint Martin, Saint Nicholas and many other Saints attended Councils.

Next, <he said that> Luther's books would rouse up tremendous disturbances and unbelievable uproars.

Because in the book On Christian Freedom the commons is taken advantage of to cast off the yoke, to establish disobedience: Now it is by far different than when there was one heart and soul together among the faithful, so there is need for laws. Besides it must be considered that since he had written many good works, and without a doubt in good spirit, e.g. Concerning the Threefold Justice, and others, the Devil already works this through hidden ambushes, so that all his works be condemned for eternity. For from this which he wrote last, it truly is judged how the tree not from the flower but from the fruits is recognized.

Then he added words about the mid-day Devil and the work by walking in darkness and the flying arrow.

The entire speech was exhortatory, full of rhetorical commonplaces about honesty, the utility of Laws, and conscience from the region of dangers, and communal and individual salvation.

At the beginning, the middle, and the end repeatedly impressing that this admonition was made with the most well-disposed will and a certain exceptional mercy by the Princes.

Concluding, he added threats in the Epilogue, saying that if he were to persist in the proposition, the Emperor would proceed to expel him from the Empire, admonishing him to reflect and weigh out these and the remaining things.

Doctor Martin replied, "Most Merciful and Illustrious Princes and Lords, Concerning that most merciful and kindly will, from which this admonition began, I thank you as humbly as I can.

"For I realize that I am a little man far lower than that I should be reminded by Princes so great."

Then he boldly proclaimed that He did not reproach all the Councils but only the Council of Constance, for this reason above all, because it condemned the word of God, which John Hus made manifest in the Article condemned there, that the Church of Christ is the company of the predestined.

It is certain that the Council of Constance condemned this Article and thus consequently this Article of our faith: I believe in the holy Church, Universal.

Accordingly he said that he was not able to recant and threaten his life and blood, therefore he was not now reduced to being forced to retract the evident word of God.

For in this defending he ought to obey God rather than men.

And he said he was not able to avoid the Scandal of faith on this occasion, for the Scandal was twofold, of charity and of faith. Of Charity, because it consists of morals and life, of Faith or, in truth, of doctrine, because it consists of the word of God, and he was not now able to avoid this, For it was not in his power so that Christ not be the rock of Scandal.

If the sheep of Christ were fed by the pure food of the Gospels, the faith of Christ truly preached, and the Ecclesiastical Magistrates were truly good and pious, who would faithfully do their duty, there would be no need to burden the Church with human traditions etc.

He knew that Magistrates and ones in power must be obeyed even though they lived evilly and unjustly.

He knew that it must be yielded to one's own sense, and he taught this in his writings, and he would most obediently maintain all these, only he would not be driven to deny the word of God. After Doctor Martin left, the Princes discuss what should be answered to the man.

Accordingly he was recalled into the dining-room, the Doctor of Baden sought the earlier matters again, admonishing that he submit his own writings to the judgement of the Emperor and the Empire. Doctor Martin replied humbly and modestly that he neither allowed nor would he allow that he be said to have run away from the judgement of the Emperor, Nobles and Ranks of the Empire.

For he was so far from avoiding their examination through fear that he would allow his own <writings> to be weighed most exactly rather by the least <qualifed>, only let this be done by the authority of the divine word and sacred scripture.

However the word of God was so evident on his behalf that it would not allow <him> to yield unless having been taught things better than the word of God.

For he learned that Saint Augustine wrote that this honor holds only in those books which are called Canonical, so he <said he> would believe the true ones; the Other Doctors in truth would be valued for ever so great sanctity or doctrine, if they wrote true things -- <he said> only then would he believe them: On these points Saint Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, Examine everything, what is good keep.

And to the Galatians: Even if an Angel comes from heaven and preaches something different, let him be anathema, and so he must not be believed: For that reason he humbly asked that they not urge his conscience bound by the chains of scripture and the divine word to deny the word of God so clear and <he asked> that they consider him committed and they especially bring about before the Imperial majesty that he not be forced to do anything in this matter against his conscience, otherwise he would do everything rather most obediently.

As he was saying these things the Marquis of Brandenburg, Elector Joachim, asked him whether he had said that he would not yield unless refuted by sacred scripture.

Doctor Martin replied, "Also, most merciful Lord, by the clearest and evident proofs possible."

So when this Meeting was adjourned, the rest of the Princes set out into the Senate, the Archbishop of Treves summoned Doctor Martin to his own Dining-room, with Johannes Eckius his own Official and Cochleus having been sent: Doctor Jerome Schurff and Nicholas Ambsdorff were standing by Doctor Martin Luther.

There the Official then began to adduce proof just as a Sophist and a Canon Lawyer, defending the case of the Pope.

<He said> heresies almost always arose from sacred writings, as Arrianism from this passage of the Gospel: Joseph did not know his wife, until she bore his first-born.

Next having progressed so far, in order to strive to tear loose this proposition, that the Church universal is the company of the Saints, He even dared to make wheat from tare, and Limbs from the excrements of bodies.

After making public these and similar ridiculous and worthless ideas, Doctor Martin and Doctor Jerome Schurff reproved them, soberly nevertheless, as having nothing to do with the matter itself, Johannes Cochleus sometimes making noise in the midst of this, he tried to persuade Doctor Luther to desist from what he began and to abstain completely from writing and teaching thereafter.

At length they departed.

Around evening of the same day, the Archbishop of Treves announced to Doctor Martin, through his agent Ambsdorff, that the public safety was lengthened by the Emperor into two days, so that he would meanwhile be able to talk with him.

So on this next day, Doctor Peutinger and Doctor Baden would come to him and he himself would indeed talk with him.

Therefore on Thursday, Saint Mark's Day itself, before Noon, Peutinger and Baden attempted to persuade Doctor Martin to allow without reservation and completely the judgement by the Emperor and the Empire on his own writings.

He replied: He would do and allow everything if only they relied on the authority of sacred scripture: For otherwise he would commit to nothing less.

For God spoke through the Prophet, Do not trust in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.

The same: Accursed is he who trusts in man.

To the more vehement urgings he replied that nothing less should be allowed to the judgement of men than the word of God.

So they went away saying that they would return before lunch so that he could deliberate how he would reply better.

After lunch they returned, they attempted in vain the same thing which <they had attempted> before Noon.

They begged that he submit his writings at the least to the judgement of a future Council.

Luther allowed this, but on this condition, that they themselves should show the excerpted Articles from his own books which would be submitted to the Council, in such a way nevertheless that they give judgement about those from the Scriptures and that they prove the contrary from the testimonies of the same.

And so after those men left Doctor Martin, they told the Archbishop of Treves that Martin promised that he would commit his writings to the Council, in some Articles, and meanwhile he would be silent about the same.

Which Doctor Martin had never considered, he who had never been able to be persuaded by neither any warnings nor threats to want to either renounce his Books or submit them to the judgement of men, books which he had fortified by clear and evident Scriptural testimonies, unless he were proven incontestably by sacred writings and plain arguments that he had erred.

So it happened by a singular gift of God that the Archbishop of Treves who was about to listen to him personally summoned Doctor Martin, When, since he had perceived a contradiction which Peutinger and Baden had said, he asserted that he would not undertake a costly case, unless he had listened to him: For otherwise he was about to approach the Emperor at once and would say what the Doctors had reported.

The Archbishop of Treves in fact acted most mercifully toward Doctor Martin, first, by removing all the Witnesses, both from the Emperor and the Empire and in particular from the court of the Council.

Doctor Martin concealed nothing from Treves in this conversation, maintaining that it would hardly be safe to entrust so great a matter to those men, who after attacking with new commands the one called forth under the protection of safe-conduct, condemned his own opinion and approved the Bull of the Pope.

Then after his Friend was admitted, the Archbishop of Treves asked for remedies from Doctor Martin with which he would be able to answer this case, Luther replied, "There are not better remedies that about which Gamel in Act_5:1-42 has said, with Saint Luke as witness, If this need the counsel of men, let it be dissolved, If in truth it is from God, ye will not be able to dissolve it.

"The Emperor and the ranks of the Empire can write to the Roman Pontiff that they know for certain, if this proposition of his is not from God, it will perish of its own accord within three nay two years."

When Treves said what would he do, if the Articles were excerpeted to be summited to the council, Luther replied: "Provided they are not those which the Council of Constance condemned."

The Archbishop of Treves says that he indeed feared those very ones would be submitted.

Yet Luther said "I am neither able nor willing to be silent about such a thing, as I am certain that the word of God was condemned by those Decress, Accordingly I would rather lose my life and head than abandon the word of the Lord so clear."

The Archbishop of Treves seeing that Doctor Martin would by no means submit the word of God to the judgement of men, dismissed him mercifully, And he replied to him asking to obtain a merciful leave for himself from the Imperial Majesty: "I will properly take care of the thing and I will carry back word of it."

And so not much after, the Official of Treves, with a certain Maximilian Secretary from the Chancellors of the Emperor at hand, told Doctor Martin in his own lodging, by the command of the Emperor, That, because having been admonished so many times by the Imperial Majesty, Electors, Princes, and the Orders of the Empire in vain, he did not want to return to the heart and unity, it remains for the Emperor (as Advocate of the Catholic faith) to proceed.

So the command of the Emperor is that he return to safety within twenty-one days hence, under the protection of the safe-passage, and, by freely saving himself, not to upset the commons on the way by neither preaching nor writing.

When he heard this, Doctor Martin most modestly replied, "Just as it was pleasing to the Lord, so this was done, Let the name of the Lord be praised."

Then he added, First of all, I, a suppliant, give thanks to the Most Serene Imperial Majesty, Princes, and remaining Orders of the Empire, as greatly as I can for so kind and clement a hearing, and for the free conduct both for coming and going.

For he neither desired anything in them, except the reformation through sacred scripture so greatly called for by him. Otherwise he would suffer everything for the Imperial Majesty and the Empire, life and death, fame and ill repute, retaining absolutely nothing for himself, except the unique free word of the Lord in order to confess and bear witness for that: Finally, most humbly commending himself to the Imperial Majesty and the entire Empire and subjecting himself to it.

So the next day, that is, the Friday after Jubilate, on the twenty-sixth day of April, after he said goodbye to his Patrons and friends who had most frequently visited him and he broke his fast, he departed from there at the tenth hour before Noon, accompanied also by those who had set out with him on his way there, Whom Caspar Sturm the Herald after some hours following found at Oppenheim, Sturm pursuing according to the spoken command of the Emperor Charles.


The usual daily PRAYER of Luther.

Strengthen God that in us which you have worked and complete your work which you have begun in us, for your glory, Amen.


Philip Melcan<ch>thon To the the Students of the School at Witteberg, in the Year 1546. On the death of Luther.

Doctor Philip Melanthon publicly recited these following words at the ninth hour before lunch, when we had assembled for a reading of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, remembering that he did this on the advice of other Lords, for this reason, so that reminded about the truth of the matter we would not embrace those fictions being scattered (because they knew that many tales were circulating here and there about the death of Luther).

O Best Young Men, You know that we have undertaken to comment on the Grammatical Explication of the Epistle to the Romans, in which is contained the true doctrine about the Son of God, which God with singular benefit revealed at this time to us through our most beloved Reverend Father and Teacher Doctor Martin Luther. But on this day, the writings are so sad, which have so increased my grief, that I do not know whether I am able to continue hereafter in these scholastic endeavors here: However I therefore wish to recall these to you on the advice of other Lords, so that you may know, how the matter truly is, so that you yourselves neither spread falsehoods about this death nor have faith in other tales spread here and there (as is accustomed to be done). On the day of Mercury (Wednesday), which was the seventeenth of February, Lord Doctor, a little before dinner, began to labor under the customary illness, namely, the pressure of humors, in the orifice of the stomach (under which I remember he also labored several times) this Sickness recurred after dinner, with which when he struggled, he sought solitude in the nearest bedroom: And, he slept there for close to two hours, until the pains increased, And since Doctor Jonas was sleeping along with him in the same room, Lord Doctor Martin called and woke him, and told him to get up and make sure that Ambrose the Pedagogue of the Children heat the room since he would go in there.

Soon Albert Companion from the nobles of Mansfeldt came there along with his wife and many others, whose names have not been expressed in this writing on account of the haste.

At last when he sensed that the end of his life was present, before the fourth hour of the following 18 February he commended himself to God with this prayer.

Mein Himlischer Vater [My Heavenly Father] ewiger Barmhertziger Gott [eternal Compassionate God] Du hast mir deinen lieben Sohn [You have to me your beloved Son] unsern HERREN Ihesum Christum offenbaret [our LORD Jesus Christ revealed] den hab ich gelert [whom I have known] den hab ich bekandt [of whom I have acquaintance] den liebe ich [whom I love] und den ehre ich fYr meinen lieben Heylandt [and whom I honor as my beloved Savior] und Erlsser [and Redeemer] Welchen die Gottlosen verfolgen [Whom the Godless persecute] schenden und schelten. [dissipate and reproach. Nim meine Seele zu dir. [Take my Soul to you.]

Inn dem redet er inn die drey mal. [He said these three times.]

In manus tuas commendo Spiritum meum, redemisti me Deus veritatis.

Into your hands I commend my Spirit, you have redeemed me God of truth.

Unso hat Gott die welt geliebet x. And God so loved the world etc.

After repeating these prayers several times, he was called by God into the everlasting School and into everlasting joys, in which he enjoyed the company of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and of all the Prophets and Apostles.

Ach!, the Charioteer and the chariot Israel died, who guided the Church in this last age of the world: For the doctrine of the Remission of sins and the pledge of the Son of God was not apprehended by human sagacity, It was revealed by God through this man, Whom we saw was roused even by God.

Accordingly let us cherish the memory of this Man and the type of Doctrine handed down by himself and let us be modest and let us consider the enormous calamities and great changes which followed this death.

I pray You O Son of God, Emanuel crucified for us and resurrected, guide, preserve, and protect your Church, Amen.


SOME Distichs follow, About the Deeds of Luther, which comprise together the number of years, even a certain day in itself, as:

Doctor Martin was born in 1485. Which time is contained in this following Distich.

You were born of Issleben O divine Prophet Luther, Religion shines, with you as Leader, the Pope lies dead.


The Youth captures the ranks of Master in the city of Erford Dwelling there after completing four lustra of his life.


The empty superstition the youthful body with a hood Adorns, this all was for a deceit to you -- good! -- O Pope.

THE YEAR in which he came to Witeberg. 1508.

With Christ aiding, Luther is sent to Albior, How great was the Seer? how much glory for the School?

THE DOCTORAL YEAR and in which he was in Rome. 1511.

He obtained the Doctoral ranks by the order of Staupicus, When he came from the city of the fierce Italian Wolf.

YEAR OF RESTORING religion. 1517.

You drag the work of religion out of the muck, with Christ As leader, O truthful Luther leaning on the right hand of God.

THE YEAR OF THE CONFESSION BEFORE Imperial Cajetan, which is extant in Volume 1. page 207. 1518.

Luther publicly declares Christ in the city of the Emperor Not caring about your looks O severe leader.

THE YEAR OF THE DEBATE at Leipzig. 1519.

Eccius is defeated by the virtue of Just Luther, As he debates on the July day in the city of Leipzig.

YEAR OF THE CONFESSION IN the Senate of Worms. 1521.

Before the foot of the Emperor, he stands before the Powerful nobles, the Neighbor who approaches the bank of the Rhine at Worms.


On account of the rages of Carlstad he runs back To the Saxon homes, And he again snatches the sheep From the cruel throats.

YEAR OF MARRIAGE AND of the farmers' Revolt. 1525.

The Revolt of the Farmer is quelled by powerful iron, Luther enters into the pure promises of marriage.

YEAR OF THE CONVENTION of Marpurg. 1529.

At the Marpurg Feast he harshly treats the enemies of Christ, As all Vienna stands off from the cruel Danube-residents.

YEAR OF THE CONVENTION of Augustanus. 1530.

The confession of faith to all the States of the Empire Is proposed, the joyous glory of Christ returns.

YEAR OF THE DEATH of Luther. 1546.

The light stood in an obscure origin for twice nine purifications, So that, O bright Luther, you would die on your ancestral soil.

These Distichs we (i.e. Pollicarius) changed from some papers which my Friend Johannes Stoltz of Witteberg gave as a gift to M. Wolfgang Stein in 1547.

[Some poems of Johannes Pollicarius follow: a Eulogy of Luther; an Epitaph of Luther; and "On the Execrable and Abominable Papal Blindness, from which God through Luther snatched us" (In Sapphics Stanzas).

Pollicarius, the self-styled Cygnaeus, Swan-like, wrote the Preface (Praefatio) in which he says he collected some poems "in praise of this our greatest Theologian" and "also added his Life, just as I found it written by our Doctor Philipp, along with the Proceedings of Worms" (aliquid Carminis congessi, in laudem huius maximi nostri Theologi. Adieci quoque Vitam eius, sicuti eam reperi perscriptam a D. Philippo nostro, una cum Actis Vuormatiensibus].

The Preface is dated 20 October 1547. Pollicarius signs it the "Priest of the Word of God at Weisenfeld (?)" (M. Ioannes Pollicarius Cygnaeus apud Vueisenfelsenses Verbi Dei Minister).

[Last is a "Poem of Thanks, Because the light of truth long since extinct on earth, God again roused up in this age in Germany through Martin Luther," by Georg Fabricius (1516-1571), a poet, historian, and archaelogist, who was the rector of the FYrstenschule (Prince's School) at Meissen.]


This translation was commissioned by Dr. Steve Sohmer c1995-6. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text for non-commercial purposes. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.


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