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Luther and Lutherdom 

From Original Sources 



Translated from the Second Revised Edition of the German 



Somerseti O. 


The original was published 



and bore the 

" Imprimi permittitur " 



Cons. Eccl. Decan. Eccl. Cath. Mogunt. 

Moguntiae, 14 Maii, 1904 

Episcopus Columbensis 

Copyrighted 1917 


Foreword to the Second Edition 

of the First Half of the First Volume 

Contrary to expectation, I had early to see to the elabora- 
tion of a new edition of the first volume of my work, at a time 
in which I had thought it necessary to be busied with the 
completion of the second volume. Since from the beginning — 
I emphasize this at the outset advisedly, to clip the claws of 
false rumors and to tranquilize certain anxious politicians — 
/ liad no intention of putting forth an "incendiary work" 
among the people, hut rather in plain, unbedecked honesty 
sought to write a hook for the learned, I supposed and said 
openly that it was likely to be a long time before the edition 
was exhausted. The result was to be otherwise. Thanks to 
the equally eager interest with which Catholics and Protestants 
alike hailed my research and its subject, the first edition ran 
out within a month. 

The turn of the controversy for and against my book has 
made a repetition of the preface to the first edition superfluous. 
It is enough for once to have made clear the fact, and from 
the scientific point of view to have entered a protest against 
it, that hitherto, on the Protestant side, methods in handling 
Luther and his historical appearance, and in treating the 
Catholic Church, yea, Christ Himself and Christianity, have 
been entirely diverse. But Protestants are not the first to play 
this game. The Donatists did the same thing, giving St. 
Augustine occasion to say: "The Donatists have Donatus in- 
stead of Christ. If they hear some pagan defaming Christ, 
they probably suffer it more patiently than if they hear him 


defaming Donatus."^ Protestant professors could and can still 
treat of Christ quite according to their pleasure. Unmolested 
they can degrade Him to the level of a mere man. But there 
must be no jolting of Luther. In the measure in which Christ 
is abased, in the same measure is Luther ever exalted and 

It still remains only too true that, on the side of Protes- 
tants, in their instructions and elsewhere. Catholic doctrine 
and establishments are systematically distorted. It was this 
melancholy fact that lent to my pen the sharp tone which was 
taken so ill in my preface. In these prudish times, however, it 
is worth while sparing the weak nerves of many a reader, all 
the more so as the facts anyhow speak loudly enough of them- 
selves. The very reception of my book again confirms, in classic 
fashion, the uncritical, undiscriminating partisanship of by far 
the greater part of our opponents. 

The monstrous uproar, by which they put themselves quite 
out of countenance, the endless abuse and unproved assertions 
with which their press and their backers but ill concealed their 
inner embarrassment and anxiety, the means to which they 
had recourse, and the instincts to which they appealed in their 
readers, illustrate clearly enough how wholly assumptive those 
periodicals and savants, so given to proclaiming the liberty of 
science, can become in such questions. But it does not hurt 
them. Like Luther and his fellows, they can go their own 
gait. They know that the more blindly they rage against my 
book, the more esteemed they stand among their co-religionists. 
Because perpetrated in the warfare against it, the greatest 
blunders^ on their part are overlooked without further ado. 
Their intent to glorify Luther and therefore, by all means, to 
do away with my book, carries of itself the condonation of their 

1 "Donatum Donatistae pro Christo habent SI audiant aliquem paganum 
detrahentem Christo, forsitan patienter ferant, Quam si audiant detrahentem 
Donate." (Sermo 197.) 

2 These include, among other things, the charge brought against me by W. 
Kohler in "Christl. Welt," 1904, No. 10, p. 227, referring to my work Part 1, 
page 311 (where I am alleged to have said), that Luther was repeatedly 
unfaithful to his Kate. The author, moreover, in respect to the manner and 
method of his bringing up such accusations, has fully evidenced the debase- 
ment on which I threw light in my brochure against Seeberg, p. 60 sq. 


unworthy behavior and sets them above the duty of considering 
my rejoinders or explanations. Theirs it is undauntedly to 
return again and again, with ever the same old charges against 

In all the Lutheran high schools indignant voices were 
raised, from all the strongholds of Protestantism rang and 
rings again the warning summons to the defence of the discred- 
ited founder of the creed. Harnack in Berlin, who led the 
array, his colleague Seeberg, who followed him upon the field 
of action, then Haussleiter in Griefswald, Losche in Vienna, 
Walther in Rostock, Kolde and Fester in Erlangen, Kohler in 
Giessen, Kawerau in Breslau, Haussrath in Heidelberg, Ban- 
man in Gottingen — all strove, some more, some less, to do 
what was possible and exerted themselves to kill my book. 
The smaller fry, too, contributed their moderate mite to the 
noble cause. 

And yet the list is not closed. Ministerial Director Dr. 
Althoff said at an evening session of the Prussian House of 
Deputies, April 14, (according to the "Post," No. 175) : "The 
effect of the book has been, that a distinguished Evangelical 
clergjTnan is elaborating a work on this subject." This "dis- 
tinguished Evangelical clergyman" is not to be looked for 
among those just named, for Herr Althoff adds : "Thus the 
arrow flies back upon the archer." No arrow has come flying 
back upon me. Eather must I, with my countryman Andreas 
Hofer, exclaim to those enumerated above: "Oh, how poorly 
you shoot!" The one to speed back the arrow which I let fly 
at Luther has yet to come. I am waiting for him. 

Meetings of protest, with resolutions, also rose up against 
my book. If I was not alone, I always found myself in good 
company, to wit, the Jesuits and Bishop Benzler. I doubt 
much if these meetings will accomplish more than the would-be 
scientific refutations. 

For a generation, at least, there have not been so many 
imbittered opponents taken up with the work of an author, 
searching it with such Argus-eyes to discover weak points^ 
mistakes and blunders — in fact, seeking to annihilate it. Fancy 
the unheard-of thing of a gnat being forthwith turned into an 
elephant to knock a book down and trample it — that is what 


happened to my book on the part of the Protestant savants and 
of the "hack scribblers" of the Protestant press. In conse- 
quence of this, any impartial observer must feel the conviction 
forced upon him that, to Protestants, the appearance of my 
work meant an event. Now, of course, they seek to weaken this 
impression by means of a shameful subterfuge. My work is 
to be offset by the viewpoint of Niedriger — assume that Luther 
and Protestantism are not touched by it. 

Violent attacks on the part of Protestants I expected. Of 
this prospect I never made a secret before the appearance of 
the work. The silence, too, of the accredited representatives 
of Catholic Church history and theology in Germany did not 
strike me unexpectedly. But all the more surprising to me was 
the talk of some Avholly unauthorized gentlemen. I believe that 
any Catholic who knows the Catholic priest, J. Miiller's 
"Keuschheitsideen" and his "Renaissance" (especially 1904, 
p. 96 sqq.), will pardon me if I have nothing further to do 
with him. Neither can his scurrilities against Thomas put me 
on the defensive against a critic who, only a few years ago, in 
his work, "Der Reform katholizismiis die Religion der Zukunft 
fur die Gebildeten alter Bekenntnisse" (1899), p. 77, confound- 
ing an objection with its answer, cites, with fabulous ignorance 
and superficiality, as St. Thomas' own teaching, an objection 
which St. Thomas (1 p., q. 1, a. 2, obj. 1) raises against theology 
as a science. This makes it easily conceivable how, to him, 
Scholasticism stood for the "chief bulwark of the backwardness 
of Catholics." 

There is one point, at all events, which this so-called 
"Reform Milller" possesses in common with several Catholics 
of German university training — an itch for concessions. How 
far, by gradual use, this can lead an immature mind is shown 
with fearful clearness by an article in the review, "Die Fackel" 
(No. 145, Vienna, Oct. 28, 1903), on the Salzburg University 
question. This article is from a pen that openly calls itself 
Catholic and, after the appearance of my work, found it neces- 
sary elsewhere to take a stand against it. The author of the 
article in "Die Fackel" is a genuine product, a child, of this 
modern, eclectic time of ours, which, with sovereign pre- 
eminence derived from its "historical" ornithomancy, believes 


itself competent to sit in judgment on anything and everything, 
even on the relation of man to the Divinity, as if man and not 
God had to determine those i)ositive laAvs. Whoever reads this 
article spuming with phrases, billowing into obscurest notions, 
scintillating with endless fantasies, and indulging in most cut- 
ting charges against the writer's oavh fellow-believers, asks him- 
self, all amazed: "Where, then, do Ave stand? Where are the 
confines at which science ceases to pass for Catholic f" 

Of all the awry judgments in this article, I will quote only 
the most characteristic. According to its author (p. 3), "the 
Catholic element, as well as the Protestant, of the religious 
life of Germanic mid-Europe are equally legitimate." In 
keeping with this, he calls (p. 8), Protestantism and "Cathol- 
icism" "the two Christian religions," therefore two equally 
legitimate members of the one Christendom ! In fact, they are 
"tAvo religious persuasions tvhich, in their deepest being, com- 
plement each other and represent at most two diverse sides of 
Christian life!" Is not this breaking doAvn all dogmatic 
harriers ? Can one say that this savant still stands on Catholic 
ground? Yet Professor Martin Spahn, the author of this 
article, which Avholly denies the Catholic standpoint, got fairer 
treatment in some Catholic papers than I did. Or, rather, the 
article in question was met with a dumfounding silence instead 
of with animadversion calling attention to the religious peril 
to which students of such a professor, who has already given 
the most unequivocal proofs of his attitude, are continually 
exposed. The danger is the greater because, after the appear- 
ance of that article, the author himself was extolled as a "Cath- 
olic savant" and was taken up as a co-worker by Catholic news- 
papers and periodicals. 

This fact proves a kinship in ideas Avith those Catholic 
circles in which Herr Spahn receives homage or favor. In 
September of the past year, sure enough, I found expressed in 
a Catholic newspaper, with which he is closely connected, about 
the same propositions on Protestantism and "Catholicism" as 
those just adduced. In consequence of present university 
education, or to gain substantial, practical advantages, or to 
strengthen civic peace between Catholics and Protestants, or 
on other grounds, a certain trend cannot resist the temptation 


at least to weaken, if not to give up, Catholic principles, and 
to bridge over tlie gap, dogmatic and historical, which must 
constantly separate the Catholic Church from Lutherdom. 
From this standpoint, but particularly from that of Spahn, 
it is naturally quite injudicious and signifies a derailment or 
departure from a historian's objectivity, to say an ill word 
against Luther, to speak of a Lutheran heresy, and to call 
Luther a heresiarch, as I, a Catholic man of letters, do. Be- 
sides, if Protestantism and "Catholicism" are two religious 
persuasions equally warranted, complementing each other in 
their inmost being and representing at most two different sides 
of Christian life, it follows that, if the one side be heretical, 
the other is also, and \dce versa. Therefore, neither the one 
nor the other is heretical. Certainly not. We have here rather 
to do with a mixed marriage, nothing less, in the confused 
brains of certain modern Catholic historians, who "let the two 
Christian religions work upon them" (naturally Protestantism 
in a greater degree). "Catholicism," possessing "an eminently 
feminine character" (Spahn, p. 4), enters into a covenant with 
Protestantism, Avhich complements it and must therefore be 
of an eminently masculine character! This view alone is 
worthy of the modern devotee of historical research ! 

It is by these wholly erroneous and dwindled ideas that 
the entire judgment of Luther and of Protestantism, as well 
as the critique on my book, are consequently influenced. In 
the latter, from this point of view, "subjectivity performs a 
dance disalloAved from the standpoint of scientific method."^ 
From this standpoint, Luther becomes the greatest German of 
his time, as Spahn called him as far back as 1898, and alto- 
gether the greatest of men, because he, yes, he first, as father 
of the "Evangelical Reformation," had rounded out "Cathol- 
icism" and discovered the other hitherto hidden, equally 
warranted side of the one Christianity. Dominated by those 
erroneous ideas, there are those who burst into admiration of 

3 This was written in a higti-soaring article in tlie montlily "Hochland". 
(Jahrg. p. 221) by a young Catholic historian, A. Meister, who outwardly, at 
all events, has not gone the lengths of Spahn. Amid unworthy fulsome 
praises of the by no means objective leader of Protestant historians and 
lugging in by the hair an attack on the historian, E. Michael, Meister speaks 
of my "derailment." 


Luther's greatness and of the mighty advantages for which 
we have to thank Protestantism. Being the historians they 
are, of a one-sided education, without philosophical training, 
to say nothing of theological — for some historians even boast 
of being no theologians — they do not observe to what fallacies 
they commit themselves. Is it possible the "Reformation" is 
good and to be extolled, because it was, for instance, the occa- 
sion of abolishing many prevalent abuses from the Church? 
What is then become of logic? What St. Augustine says of 
the study of the Scriptures, to which Catholics were driven by 
heretics, applies here as well: "Divine Providence permits 
variously erring heretics to arise, so that, Avhen they mock us 
and ask us things we do not know, we may at least shake off 
our indolence and desire to learn to know Holy Writ. Many 
are too lazy to seek, were they not, as it were, awakened from 
sleep by the hard pushing and reviling of the heretics, did they 
not blush for their ignorance and attain to knowledge of the 
danger of their inexperience." {De Gen. cont. Manichaeos, 1, 
N. 2). "By heresies, the sons of the Catholic Church are awak- 
ened from sleep as by thorns, so that they may make progress 
in the knowledge of Holy Writ" (Enarr. in ps. 7, n. 15) . "There 
is much good in the world which would not exist," teaches St. 
Thomas, "were there no evils. There would be no patience of 
the just, for instance, were there no malice of persecutors" 
{Cont. Gent. Ill, c. 71 and 1 p. qu. 22, a. 2, ad. 2). Shall we 
glorify evil, therefore, and extol the "Reformation," because 
they have been the occasion of much good in the Church? 

Moreover, there are often benefits of the "Reformation" 
enumerated about which it is doubtful if they are benefits and 
not rather detriments, or about which it is questionable if they 
are owing to the "Reformation" as such. The post hoc, ergo 
propter hoc argument also plays a great role here. One thing 
is certain — "God, who turns all evils to the advantage of the 
good" (Augustine, Cont. Jul. IV, n. 38), would not have per- 
mitted the great fatality of Protestantism, like every other 
earlier heresy, were He not mighty and good enough to let 
some good arise therefrom for His own (Cf. Augustine, Enchi- 
ridion, c. 11 ) . 


This is my reply to Spahn's critique of my work in tte 
Berlin "Tag," No. 31, of Feb. 24 of this year (1904). From 
the mere fact of its being in a Protestant sheet, it is already 
rather Protestant than Catholic. One sentence in the critique 
is true : "St. Augustine, even in his day, emphasized in heretics 
the note of greatness." This sentence, which Spahn adduces 
against me, he lifts from my work, (Part 11, C. VI) without 
saying a word. Be thivS also my reply to Ministerial Director 
Althoff's observation to the Prussian House of Deputies that, 
"out of the circles of Catholic savants" there appeared against 
my book, "with his contradiction, only one younger, very able 
academician, one not wholly unknown to you, Professor Spahn 
of Strassburg." 

It is a sign of the times that the "Catholic savant," M. 
Spahn, writes in the "Tag" almost more spitefully and un- 
justly, and certainly more one-sidedly, than some of the Protes- 
tant professors already mentioned, namely Kohler of Giessen 
and Kawerau of Breslau. It is a duty of justice on my part 
to mention this here. 

The former, although not less incensed and imbittered 
against me than others, writes : "With sovereign pride ( ?) 
Denifle spreads out before us his loiowledge of medieval schol- 
asticism and mysticism; he often pours out to overflowing a 
flood of citations, even when they are not further necessary to 
the matter in hand. This is conceivable ; herein lies Denifle's 
strength and the weakness of Luther research up to the present. 
Here we can learn from Denifle * * * The problem of Luther 
and the Middle Ages has (hitherto) been energetically raised 
from viewpoints most diverse and in isolated investigations has 
been discussed with success. Nevertheless, Denifle's book shows 
how much there is here still to he done and abashes one by the 
array of his observations." (Keferences follow in a note.) 
"Thanks to his amazing knowledge of medieval literature, he 
succeeds in establishing the medieval original in different 
isolated passages of Luther's, and so iu giving valuable sug- 
gestions to literary criticism. If, as he goes along, he re- 
peatedly exclaims to us Protestants: 'You do not loiow the 
Middle Ages at all,' we are honest enough, while deprecating 
the immoderateness of this controversy, to acknowledge a 


hernal of justification for it. Here indeed has Denifle tendered 
something new." {Die Ghristliche Welt, 1904, No. 9, p. 202.) 
Kohler furthermore concedes a series of propositions, and 
those for the most part extremely important, which are of great 
or fundamental significance in my demonstration against 
Luther, whereof I shall treat in the second half of this volume. 
He substantially accepts my literary critique of the Weimar 
' edition and then observes : "His ( Denifle's ) acute discussion of 
the alleged prelections on the Book of Judges will also, I think, 
be met in the main with approval. He succeeded in making 
the happy discovery that whole passages, taken to be Luther's 
own, were borrowed word for word from Augustine, to a greater 
extent than had hitherto been known ! None too much of the 
'genuine,' indeed, is left over, and whether this little is original 
with Luther appears very doubtful in the face of the arguments 
advanced by Denifle, though these are not all equally con- 
vincing * * * Possibly, as Denifle himself intimates, we 
have before us the revision of the notes of a course of lectures" 
(id., p. 203). 

These latter observations had an influence on me in the 
revision of this second edition. It had been my intention to 
subjoin a detailed amplification of the critical notes on the 
Weimar edition, as an appendix, at the end of the first volume. 
But, as I saw that those laid down in the first edition were 
substantially accepted by one so clever in Luther research as 
Kohler, and since he declares that 'Denifle's book, it is hoped, 
will prove a stimulus to the collaborators of the Weimar edi- 
tion to put forth their best efforts in authenticating citations, 
and the like," all reason for carrying out my intention fell 
away. For, Kohler and others in the field of Luther research 
may believe me when I say that I have written and write 
nothing in my book purposely to offend them. 

In the intention thus formed of entirely leaving out those 
notes in this second edition, I was confirmed by a subsequent 
discussion on the part of one of the collaborators of the Weimar 
edition. Professor Kawerau, in a review of my work {"Theol. 
Studien Und Kritiken," 1904, p. 450 sqq.). Headers of the 
first edition Imow that I often subjected this professor to crit- 
icism. Every one has the right to defend himself against my 


attacks as best h.e can. Kawerau does tMs fairly, and, at th.e 
same time, takes the part of Knaake and Buchwald, wlio had 
been hard pressed by me. Nevertheless he concedes, in the 
main, my critical results as to the Weimar edition — which does 
all honor to himself, his character, and his scientific knowl- 
edge. Besides, he is grateful and just. On page 452, he states 
that there is found scattered throughout the work, "out of 
Denifle's incomparable knowledge of ancient ecclesiastical and 
medieval literature, an abundance of thankworthy notes, in 
which he identifies citations of Luther's not easily discoverable 
or recognizable by others; just as, generally, the profound 
Denifle is revealed on almost every page, making many a valu- 
able contribution to our Luther-researches in particular de- 
tails." "If there is anj^thing about Denifle's book that I gladly 
welcome," he writes on page 460, "it is the service he has 
rendered to Luther-research by the identification of a consider- 
able series of quotations from Augustine, Bede, Bernard, the 
breviary, the liturgy, and so on." In view of such a situation, 
I forego contention with Kawerau about the excuses brought 
forward by him for his mistakes, several of these excuses hold- 
ing quite good, and, in the second impression of this work, my 
critical notes on the Weimar edition are omitted. 

To that same degree of the relative impartiality shown my 
work by Kohler and Kawerau, no other Protestant critic has 
been able to rise, least of all, the one taken under the wing of 
Ministerial Director Althoff and glorified by him — Harnack — 
to whom I shall presently return. But there is one almost in a 
class by himself, with his clamors of distress in a brochure 
published against me : "P Denifle, Unterarchivar des Papstes, 
seine Beschimpfung Luthers und der EvangeliscJten Kirche, 
von Dr. Th. Kolde," 1904, the Protestant church-historian of 
Erlangen. Obviously I cannot afford to give space to many 
details in a preface. But to give a sample of the ignorance, 
rashness, and, at the same time, vainglory, with which some of 
my critics have taken up their task, I will only enumerate the 
blunders crowded within only six sentences upon a single in- 
complete page of the Erlangen University professor's work just 


Kolde takes pains (p. 65 sqq.) to uphold and even to corroborate his 
assertions, which I rejected, about contempt for woman in the Middle Ages. 
For, after adducing (p. 66) from St. Bernard several passages which he mis- 
understands, he goes on: "Why does Denifle hide the same Bernard's long- 
drawn inferences about the curse passing down from Eve upon all married 
women, about the slavish bonds and the intolerable misery of the married 
state, on the strength of which inferences, he seeks to recruit the monastic 
life?" Apart from the point that the passage, read with the context and 
without prejudice, yields a meaning quite different from that put into it by 
Kolde. he, as a church-historian, should have known what Bellarmine and 
Mabillon in their day (the latter in the edition used by Kolde, Migne, Patr. 
t. 154, p. 635) knew, that the work, Vitis Mystica, in which the passage occurs 
(p. 696 sqq.), was not written by St. Bernard at all. Its author was St. Bona- 
venture, a fact Kolde should have learned from the 0pp. S. Bonaventurae 
(Quaracchi) VIII, 159. This puffed-up church-historian would there have 
come to perceive that this work of Bonaventure's was afterwards greatly 
interpolated and extended, and that the passage in question does not even 
belong to Bonaventure, but to a later, unknown author (Ibid. p. 209 sq.) 

The Protestant church-historian continues : "Why is the reader not made 
aware (in Denlfle's work), that Bernard also — and that is everywhere the 
reverse side of the matter — sees in woman, if she is not dedicated to God 
within the shelter of the cloister, only a vehicle of lewdness, and once says: 
'always to live together with a woman and not to know the woman, that I 
hold to be more than to awaken the dead !' " Anyone sees that Kolde wishes 
to produce in the reader the impression of how well read he is in the writings 
of Bernard. Now in which of those writings is the passage quoted by him to 
be found? The church-historian does not know. Well then, Herr Kolde, I 
will tell you; it is found in Sermo 65 in Cant., n. 4. (Migne, Patr. 1, t. 183, 
p. 1091). But then, from what source did Kolde know the passage? With 
an air of superiority he tells me in the note : "I take the passage from one 
likely to be held trustworthy by Denifle, the loell knoic-n Jesuit, Peter de Soto 
(t. 1563) (Metlwdus confessionis, etc., Dil. 1586, p. 101). Herr Church- 
historian, / do not hold the "well known Jesuit, Peter de Soto," trustworthy I 
Why not? Because he is a Jesuit? On the contrary, liecause he is not a 
Jesuit! Any historian even somewhat measurably versed in the Reformation 
epoch, knows something of the well known Dominican, Peter de Soto, who 
really is the author of the work cited by Kolde (V, Quetif-Echard, II, 183, 

But if only Kolde were at least versed in Luther! What, after all, has 
the passage from Bernard to do with the case? It simply contains a maxim 

* In historical matters of this kind, the Erlangen church-historian mani- 
fests fabulous ignorance. Thus, for example, he calls (p. 7) Conrad of 
Marburg my "celebrated confrere of the past", who nevertheless was a secular 
priest, as Kolde, were he not satisfied with Quetif-Echard, 1, 487, might have 
learned from E. Michael, S.J., "Geschichte des deutchen Volkes", H, 210, note 
1, where further authorities are given. 


which is as old as the world's existence and will hold to the world's end: 
In the common run, for a single man to live with a woman is equivalent to 
putting straw and fire together and wishing them not to burn. And who 
says this? Listen, Herr Kolde, it is your father, Luther, who, in 1520, in his 
writing, "An den christl. Adel," explaining the motive of his desire that a 
pastor, who is in need of a housekeeper, should take a woman to wife, says 
that "to leave a man and a woman together, and yet forbid them to fall" is 
nothing else but "laying straw and fire together and forbidding that there 
be either smoking or burning" (Weim., VI, 442). If Bernard, according to 
Kolde's interpretation of the passage cited, "sees in woman only a vehicle of 
lewdness," unless she wishes to be "dedicated to God within the shelter of 
the cloister," Kolde must admit that Luther, too, sees in woman the same 
for a man, unless he marries her. With the bearing of Luther's hypothetical 
proposition on the one foisted by Kolde on St. Bernard, we have here nothing 
to do. But there is one thing true against Kolde, and that is, that the pass- 
age points only to the danger in which the illicit dwelling together of a man 
and a woman involves both parties. Of the "medieval contempt for woman," 
as asserted by Kolde and scored by him in the next sentence, there Is not the 
slightest hint to be found in the passage. If contempt is to be mentioned, it 
is rather charged against man than woman by both Bernard and Luther. 
As a rule, it is the man who, in this case, is weaker than the woman, yields 
to temptation, and causes the woman to fall with him. 

Kolde now goes on (p. 67) with pathos: "Naturally the reader (of 
Denifle) must not learn, either, how Bernard's contemporary, Hildebert of 
Tours (1055-1134), sings of woman as the sum total of all abominations." 
For this, Kolde cites the poem, "Carmen quam periculosa mulierum faniiliar- 
itas" in (Migne, T. 172, p. 1429). SI taculsses! — if thou hadst but kept 
silent ! I shall not speak of the error in the citation, which should be T. 171, 
p. 1428 ; anyone, as a church-historian, nowadays using the poems of Hilde- 
bert of Lavardin according to the old editions, should know that, to keep 
from going astray, he must have to Les Melanges poetiques d'Hilde- 
tert de Lavardin par B. Haur^au, (Paris, 1882). In this work, the poems 
are critically handled, the genuine being separated from the spurious. Natur- 
ally the Erlangen church-historian had not the remotest idea of its existence. 
But he could have found the title of the work cited in my book, page 240, 
note 2, and still oftener in the Inventarium codicum manuscript. CapituU 
Dertusensis conferunt H. Denifle et Aem. Chatelain (Parisiis, 1896), where 
(p. 53 sqq.) we take up several poems and verses of Hildebert, correct them, 
and constantly refer to Haur^au's work. From the latter (p. 104, n. 4), Kolde 
might have ascertained that the carmen, the song, he cited, did not come 
from Hildebert, does not in the least breathe his spirit, and is to be attributed 
to a later author, (not a contemporary of Bernard), "certainement ne sans 
esprit et sans delicatess" — one "certainly born without wit and without 

This lapse, however, is not the worst. Kolde has the courage, or rather 
the barefacedness, to break off the carmen just where it is evident that the 


author of that song speaks of a particular vile woman I' That, of course, 
had to be kept from the reader! Only from the suppressed lines is it first 
apparent that the words of Kolde's quotation, alleged by him to be the 
singing of \yoman in general as the sum total of all abominations, are 
addressed by their author to a particular evil woman, a public harlot, by 
whose wiles he liad earlier been insnared. How shall one stigmatize so 
unbecoming a procedure, particularly in the case of one so puffed up as 
Kolde is? 

It is even more unpardonable that, in the same breath, he repeats his 
method. For he writes immediately afterward : Naturally the reader must 
not learn, either, how Anselm of Canterbury (t. 1109) had already char- 
acterized woman, this dulce malum, this "sweet evil," as a faex Satanae — 
an "offscouring of Satan." Of course, be it remarked aside, this work, to 
which the church-historian refers, is again not of the author to whom he 
ascribes it. From the Hist. Lit. de la France, t. VIII, 421 sqq., IX. 442, he 
could have ascertained that the "Carmen de contemptu mundi," which treats 
of the duties of a Benedictine and the motives persuading him thereto, was 
written, not by Anselm, but by Roger de Caen, monk of Bee. That doesn't 
signfy, the blushing Kolde will retort, it is what is said that counts ! Very 
good. As a matter of fact, of what sort of tvoman does Roger speak in the 
original text which you, Kerr Kolde, quoted? In the passage adduced in 
your note, that is not to be ascertained. One finds too many dashes, blank 
spaces, there. Are these perhaps intended to show, what, of course, is 
withheld from the reader, that your Anselm speaks of an evil seductress? 

5 Kolde quotes from the sources indicated : 

Femina perflda, femina sordida, digna catenis. 
Mens male conscia, mabilis, impia, plena venenis, 
Vipera pessima, fossa novissima, mota lacuna ; 
Omnia suscipis, omnia decipis, omnihus una: 
Horrida noctua, puplica ianua, scmita trita. 
Igne rapaoior, aspide saevior est tua vita. 

Kolde closes here with an "etc." but the Carmen goes on ; 

Credere qui tibi vult, sibi sunt mala, multa peccata. 
O miserabilis, isatiabilis, insatiata! 
Desine scribere, desine mittere carmina Manda. 
Carmina turpia, carmina mollia, vix memoranda. 
Nee tibi mittere, nee tibi scribere disposui me, 
Nee tua jam colo, nee tua jam volo, reddo tibi te. 

And thus the text continues, as anyone may investigate for himself. The 
meaning of the italicized words in the first part ought to be evident. 


That Is just what he does I^ And, naturally, Kolde knows nothing of the 
beautiful and noteworthy letters exchanged between the true Anselm and 

But this unqualifiable procedure has not yet reached Its limit. Kolde 
continues: "It had to be suppressed (by Denifle) that the leading exegete 
of the later Middle Ages, Nicholas de Lyra, (t. 1340), referred to for his 
like views by Johanu V. Paltz, not unknown to Denifle, annotates on Sirach 
(Ecclesiasticus 42, 13 sqq.) the primary authority for Romish contempt of 
woman: "Intimate association (co^iveisatio) with evil men is less dangerous 
than with good women." Is that true? Now what, in fact does Nicholas de 
Lyra say? The text (Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, XLII, 14) is: "For better 
is the iniquity of a man than a woman doing a good turn.'' The words, ietter 
is the iniquity of a man, are annotated : "i. e. less evil" ; the words, a woman 
doing a good turn, are annotated : "namely, to live with such. Hence this 
is referred to what precedes in verse 12 : 'tarry not among women.' For It is 
more dangerous for a man to dioell with a strange ivoman, even though she 
is good, than with an evil man"^. This is the reading both in the printed 
copies and in the manuscripts, as, e. g., the Codex Vat. I, 50, fol. 364 ; 164, 
fol. 44. Consequently Lyra says : "For a man, it is more dangerous to live 
together with, (not merely to be in the company^cojiversaiio — of) a strange, 
even though good woman, than with an evil man. Kolde therefore had again 
the barefacedness to cite against his opponent the gloss of Lyra without 
even having looked it up. More than that, he deceives by slipping in a 
Latin word, ostensibly belonging to the original text ; he sets forth Lyra's 
statement in another wording entirely and in an altered sense! 

6 Kolde cites from Iligne, t. 158, 696 (not 636, as he has it) : 
Femina, dulce malum, mentem robusque virile 
Frangit blanditiis insidiosa suis. 
Femina, fax (Kolde fa ex) Satanae. 

Here Kolde puts . But the author continues: 

gemmis radiantibus auro 
Vestibus, ut possit perdere, compta venit. 
Quod natura sibi sapiens dedit, ilia reformat, 
Quidquid et accepit dedecuisse putat, 
Pungit acu, et fuco liventes reddit ocellos ; 
Sic oculorum, inquit, gratia major erit. 
Roger goes on with his description of how such a woman prinks, seeks to 
beautify her body, and the like and he says : 

Mille modis nostros impugnat femina mentes, 
Et multos illi perdere grande lucrum est. 
The whole refers to the coquettish woman who is not modest and chaste 
(pudica), and seeks to beguile monks. 

' In Sirach, 42, 14 (melior est enim iniquitas viri, quam mulier bene- 
faciens) he annotates, Mulier est iniquitas, viri, i. e. "minus mala" ; Mulier 
benefaciens, sc. ad cohabitandum. Unde istud refertur ad id quod premittitur 
(v. 12) ; in medio mulierum noli commorari. Magis enim periculosum est 
homini cohalitare cum muliere extranea etiam bona, quam cum viro Iniquo. 


I hope the reader now forms the correct, that is an annul- 
ling judgment as to the church-historian, Kolde of Erlangen. 
It is with such dumfounding ignorance that his whole work is 
written. Just a few more examples here. As in his "Martin 
Luther" (I, 52) he does not know the difference between clerics 
and lay-brothers in the religious state, so that he consequently 
describes Luther standing in choir "with the rest of the lay- 
brothers," separated from the fathers, and "by himself quietly 
reciting the prescribed Paters and Aves"'* instead of the brev- 
iary, so, on page 39 of his work, he confounds the sacrament 
of baptism with the baptismal covenant, draws the most re- 
markable conclusions in consequence, and perforce absolutely 
misunderstands the entire doctrine of the "second baptism" 
(a term, I repeat, which St. Thomas did not use) . He is simply 
at sea in the matter. 

In the same place, Kolde tries, among other things, to prove against 
me that, in Luther's time, at the convent of Erfurt, they knew about the 
"second baptism," although I demonstrate by Luther himself that it ivas first 
at another place his attention was called to it by a Franciscan, and to this 
I still hold. Kolde's sole argument against Luther and Usingen is Paltz's 
"Suppl. Celifodinae," Kolde's hobby, in which the subject of second baptism 
occurs. But whether the doctrine became the practice of the convent, or, 
what is here our only concern, if it was known in the novitiate and clerical 
course, Kolde naturally does not prove for us. In a word, on page 38, note 2, 
he cites, out of the work mentioned, a long passage in which Paltz refers to 
the familiar utterances of Bernard and Thomas,^ and which he concludes 
with the words : "The same is evident in autentica de monachis, where it is 
said that entrance into a monastery wipes away every stain"!". On this the 
Erlangen church-historian makes the comment, worthy of himself: "This is 
likely an allusion to a passage {to me unknown), in the Vitae Patrum, but 
not the one which Thomas had in mind, loo. citato. So autentica de monachis 
is to be referred to the Vitae Patrum"! Should not Kolde have surmised 
from the vs-ord autentica with the title, de monachis, that he had to do 
merely with a law book? If he is not as clever as the one on whom he 
wishes to sit In judgment, one who, even though only self-taught in law, 

8 This absurdity was copied from him by A. Berger, "Martin Luther," 1 
(1895), 64, and recently by A. Haussrath, "Martin Luther," 1, 23, although 
G. Oergel, "Vom jungen Luther," 1899, had called attention to the error. 

5 On the occasion of a citation from St. Thomas, Kolde does not even know 
that there can be a "rationabilis opinio". So, by his silence, this church- 
historian asserts that all opinions are unreasonable. 

1" Idem patet in autentica monachis, ubi dicltur, quos ingressus monas- 
terii omnem maculam abstergit. 


had known forthwith that he had to do with the Novellae, why did he not 
seek counsel of one of his learned colleagues at the university? Well, Herr 
Kolde, I will have the goodness to instruct you. The passage occurs in the 
Liber NoveUanim sive Anthenticarum D. Justiniani, Const. V. de Monachis. 
Look it up. You will find, especially after comparison with the Greek text, 
that Paltz, your hobby, did not quote very accurately, and that the passage 
will hardly serve your purpose. 

Not less unhappy is this incompetent university professor in his defense 
of Luther in regard to the sanctity of marriage and the "monastic form of 
absolution" (p. 46 sqq.). In my new edition he can learn more about this 
subject and then in his customary manner dispense his wisdom anew to the 
best advantage. 

But I have already done Herr Kolde too mucli honor. 
Let us therefore close with his chief argument (p. 46), con- 
tending that "monachism, as the state of perfection, is the 
Catholic ideal of life." He writes : "It will have to be ac- 
centuated even more than it was in Luther's words, that 'monks 
and priests are in a better state than common Christians,' for, 
according to the Romish catechism, Romish bishops 'are 
rightly called, not only angels but gods,' and one cannot but 
wonder that it is not required to pay them divine honors as 
well. — " What stuff this man does heap up with his pen! 
Busied all his lifetime with Luther, he is nevertheless so little 
versed in his subject that he does not seem to be aware that his 
father and idol often calls the authorities, the secular superiors 
and judges, ^'dW — gods. To give only a few quotations, in Erl. 
41, 20D, superiors were called "gods," "on account of their office, 
because they sit in God's stead and are His servants." Again, 
in Weim. XXVIII, 612 ; Erl. 64, 19 : "Therefore are judges 
called 'gods,' because they judge and rule in God's stead, after 
God's laAV and word, not after their own arrogance, as Christ 
gives testimony." In the same wise, Erl. 39, 228, especially 229 
sq., 260 sq., where Luther similarly speaks of the authorities 
as "gods." Compare further Weim. XVI, 106; Erl. 35, 130 sq. 
Did Luther for that reason demand divine honors for them? 

On his very title-page and then on p. 22, Kolde complains 
of my "abuse" of Luther and of the "Evangelical Church." But 
that, some years ago, he placed the Catholic Church on about 
the same level as heathenism, and thereby abused it more than 


I did Luther and Lutherdom, does not trouble this gentleman 
in the least." 

The most interesting and, at the same time, the most char- 
acteristic thing in Kolde's pamphlet is its conclusion. Now, 
in Germany there are only two faculties of Protestant theology 
in which the Divinity of Christ is still taught— those of Er- 
langen and Rostock. What is Kolde's attitude to this teaching? 
On my averring in the foreword of the first edition that, in the 
face of the one Christian Church, any other Christian Church, 
the "Evangelical" included, was out of the question, and so too, 
therefore, any sister church, Kolde replied, p. 78, that "the 
Evangelical alone is built on Christ." Now let the following 
be heard : "Our opponent (Denifle) has himself lifted his visor 
and permitted us to look upon his rage-foaming face. — The 
necessity of the Evangelical Alliance and of the banding to- 
gether of the Evangelical Churches (How many, Herr Kolde? 
All built on Christ?) could not better be demonstrated than it 
has been by Denifle's book." And so the "Evangelical" pro- 
fessor, who, as professor of theology at Erlangen, should stand 
for the confession of the God-man, Jesus Christ, ends in the 
Evangelical Alliance,^^ in which only hatred and rage pre- 
vail against the true Christian, i.e., the Catholic Church, and 
the confession just mentioned is a standpoint that has been put 

Walther's counter- work : "Denifle's Luther eine Ausgeburt 
rbmischer Moral" (1904) carries its own condemnation in its 
malicious and stupid title alone, and stands antecedently char- 
acterized as the effort of a lampooning, scurrilous pamphleteer. 

11 "Der Methodismus uiid seine Bekiimpfung" (1886, p. 6). "The opinion 
of all non-partisans runs that the blessing and significance of Methodism for 
England and America cannot be fully expressed, it is an immeasurable one. 
According to human estimation, without it and the movement that went forth 
from it, Ecr.'and's churchdom of State would have declined to the point of 
being completely heathenized, or what in my apprehension makes no great 
difference, it would long ago gone down before Romanism!" Therefore, ac- 
cording to Kolde it makes no great difference if one is a heathen or a Catholic. 
And the same Kolde ("Luther in Worms. Vortrag gehalten zu Wiirzburg am 
6 Marz, 1903." Miinclien, 1903, p. 3) laments "that, however quietly we 
(Protestants) go our way, the old strife is still renewed with oldtime ani- 
mosity," and he avails himself of the opportunity to quote Schiller (Tell) : 
"The godliest man cannot live in peace, if it please not his evil neighbor." 

12 Kolde is even a zealous festal-day orator of the Evangelical Bund ! 


I sliall take notice of it as soon as I come to speak of the Luther- 
dom pamphlets of the time of the Eeformation. Neither need 
I further be occupied here with the incoherence and incon- 
sistency of R. Fester in his "Religionskrieg und GescMchtswis- 
senschaft. Ein Mahnioort an das deutsche Yolk aus Anlass von 
Denifies ^Luther.'" (1904.) Answering Haussleiter's polemic 
articles in the AUgem. Ztg. (1904, n. 4 and 5, now also published 
separately under the title : "Luther im Romischen Urteil. 
Eine Studie. 1904), there appeared, besides myself (in my 
brochure, p. 70 sqq.), Paulus (Wissenschaftl. Beilage zur Oer- 
mania, 1904, n. 10, p. 77 sqq., n. 12, p. 94 sqq. ) . 

On the reception accorded my replication I can also be 
brief, thanks to the conduct of the opponents whom I fended 
off. I had anticipated here taking a stand against the answers 
of the two professors of theology, Harnack and Seeberg. For 
I could not expect that they would lack the courage to take up 
the gauntlet which I had thrown down to them before the 
whole world in a special work — a work in which blunders of the 
worst description in so many passages of their defensive writ- 
ings were evidenced to them as under a spot-light, a work 
which did not merely warm over things already said, but con- 
tained numerous new ideas. The declaration of bankruptcy 
which, at the close of my brochure, I clinched upon Protestant 
Luther-research, especially that of Harnack and Seeberg, now 
counts the more against them. 

There was an answer made, after a fashion, by both gentlemen, of course. 
Harnack, in his "Theolog. Literaturztg.," n. 7, issues tlie following declaration : 
"Denifle has just published a brochure — 'Luther in rationalistischer und 
christUcher Beleiichtung. Principielle Auseinandersetzung mit A. Harnack 
und R. Seelerg.' Inasmuch as therein he has not only not retracted the 
charge he made against me of lying, but by an infamous turn has kept it up 
(p. 46), / am done ivith the gentleman. I will give him an answer to the 
scientific questions which he proposed to me, as soon as he will expressly 
have revoked his accusation." 

"A serious quarrel between two savants draws upon itself the attention 
of the scientific world" — thus was this declaration headlined by numerous 
Protestant papers. Can the quarrel be a serious one when, by so cheap 
a shift, one believes himself able to withdraw from the duty of a savant? 
But for a cause so slight, Herr Professor, you shall not give me the slip. 

When you wrote that down, my most honored Sir, did you not wholly 
forget that you had already written a reply to my book, supposed to contain 
the charge of mendacity against you, and that my brochure is only a rejoinder 


to it? Have you forgotten that you, in your reply, unconditionally proposed 
to keep in vieio a more copious scientific answer to my attacks? I ask you 
wliy did you not there let yourself be frightened away by the charge of 
"mendacity"? For, if your "declaration" had then been of avail in helping 
you out of your embarrassment and in releasing you from an answer, it 
certainly is not so today, now that you have, after all, descended into the 

Do not forget furthermore that, eveii though you feel yourself absolved 
from scientific relations with me on account of my llleged ill manners, you 
owe the public, yourself, and your scientific honor an answer to my weighty 
considerations. But to the memory of Luther, among whose admiring votaries 
you count yourself, you owe it still more, now that you have stepped out 
on the floor, so slippery for you, of the judging of this "great" man — 
(whether to his advantage or harm I leave it to others to decide) ! And 
even if you seek to proscribe my person, how can blame attach to the im- 
personal facts laid down in my brochure? 

Besides, esteemed Herr Professor, where is the "infamous turn" that so 
stirred you up? Let us turn to page 46. To your bungled consequencing, 
which smuggled the word "lie" into my argumentation, i^ i there replied, 
first of all, iu a purely hypothetical form, that, for one still regarding Luther 
as a "reformer," such a lie would no longer be properly a sin. And that is 
surely correct. For, that at least Luther made little account of an untruth, 
you yourself will not be willing to deny, and that, after his apostasy, he 
admits the permissibility of "lies of utility," you are also aware and shall 
presently come to hear more on the subject. And then I asked in my 
replication, after I had again had the opportunity of exposing the precarious 
worth of your demonstrating operations, if I had really inflicted so grave an 
injustice upon you if I entertained "some doubts" as to your frankness? 
I, for my part, feel this to be a mitigation rather than a sharpening of the 
charge alleged to have been hurled against you. And that "some doubt" 
was not out of place I proved directly afterwards by a "false play" in your 

13 As a matter of fact, on p. XXX of the first edition, I do not at all use 
the word "lie"- I ask : "if it was known to him that the expression, splendida 
vitia is not to be found in Augustine, why did he use it in an Augustinian 
expression?" This interrogation contains two equally justified possibilities: 
either it was not known to Harnack, and then he was not honest ; or it was 
known to him, and then he was unmethodical. For which possibility do I 
stand? For neither. I do not decide, I only ask. Harnack himself first hits 
a decision ; he decides for the first possibility in its crassest form, for the 
"lie". The arrow that he shot at me only flies back on himself. It is cer- 
tainly an enigma to me how Ministerial Director Althoff in that evening session 
could have placed enough reliance on Harnack's statement to say : "Had I 
known Denifle, I would not have begged further acquaintance with him after 
his work appeared and after he did not shrink from giving the lie to a man 
of whom science is proud. (Jenaische Ztg., n. 92, of April 30). The 
"Triersche Landeszeitung," n. 93a, of April 23, however, has characterized 
this expression of opinion on the part of the Ministerial Director, as well the 
one on Spahn in quite the right fashion. 


polemics. However anxious I should liave been to learn what you have to 
show against my attaclis and reasoning, and how you counteract the force 
of my argument against your wholly distorted apprehension of Scholasticism, 
especially of St. Thomas, I regret to say, after what I have .set forth, that 
I am not in a position to be able to take anything back. 

Meantime Seeberg also again presented himself to view. This was In 
the second supplement of the "Kreuzzeitung," N, 157 of April 3, in an 
Introduction to an article on "Komish Peace Piping." Not a word had he 
to say of ray oljective refutation of his arguments against me. He speaks 
only of my "well known smirch-work against Luther and Lutherdom" and 
of my not being able "to heap up enough nastiness with which to smut the 
countenance and raiment of the Reformer" ; my work is the "roaring of a 
lion." and I am a "master of vituperation." 

How the eJTCited man In blind rage but smites his own face! Because 
of the frantic tone he has adopted, he has given up every right to complain 
of abuse. Should he hold it against me that I had abused him in my 
replication, the case is nevertheless vastly different. Whilst he pours a 
flood of vituperation upon me and my work, without previously having 
offered any proofs demanded by the discussion objectively, there being there- 
fore nothing to motivate his aluse in any manner whatever, the adverse 
opinion of Seeberg's achievement and powers of achievement in my brochure 
is, I take it. quite naturally the outcome of my antecedent argumentation. 
More than that, if to abuse means the unmasking of an opponent, then I, 
too, certainly did ahuse and propose to abuse still more^*. 

And yet even better intentioned critics than Harnack and 
Seeberg have misunderstood me in so many respects. The com- 
mon reason lies in their mistaking the purpose of my hook. 
Thus I treated Luther's immoderate drinking only incidentally, 
and did not even attach importance to it, as anyone may see in 
my first edition. I "willingly concede that such immoderation 
was in many respects, particularly in Germany, a "weakness of 
that time and partly of an earlier period; but Luther, as the 
"founder of a creed," one allegedly sent by God, and His 
"chosen vessel," ought to have been superior to it. These epi- 
thets just quoted are contradicted by quite other facts than the 
one that, in drinldng, Luther "was a child of his day. Were 
nothing else kno"wn about him than that he used language of 
unexampled smuttiness, as I have sho"WTi in part 11, Chap. V, 

1^ Seeberg's reply ( "Die Neuesten OfCenbarungen des Pater Denifle" ) , in 
"Kreuzzeitung," Nos. 203, 205, first came to my notice as I was at my revi- 
sion. I percieve that its author is beyond being taught and is incorrigible. 
From it there is nothing more to be learned than Luther's principle ( see below 
Chap. VI, H.) : ""Well do I know, when it comes to pen work, how to wriggle 
out (of a difficulty)." But that puts an end to all truth and objectivity! 


§ 2, and that he was the inspirational author of those nine, for 
the most part equally smutty pictures and the composer of the 
verses accompanying them (ahout which all the critics have 
very wisely maintained a discreet silence), this alone had been 
enough for the repudiation of Luther as a "reformer," "man of 
God," and the like, by any sensible man. 

To obviate further misconstruction, it will be useful briefly 
and candidly to set forth the process of my research and the 
formation of my judgment of Luther. 

After I had reached the point mentioned at the end and in 
the summing up of my introduction, it was my chief aim to 
take up, in the most objective manner possible, and to present 
the true, sound teaching of the Church before Luther's time as 
compared with Luthe^^s presentations of that same teaching. 
It was thus that I first hit on Luther's mendaciousness, which, 
as I then learned, pursuing my course farther, plays so great a 
part in his exposition of Catholic teaching, and is one of the 
keys to an understanding of the man." It was his treatise 
on the vows, my first reading, that first gave me the impression 
described, and as I read farther, I was the more confirmed 
therein. It was a good hit in several respects. The very 
polemics against my work have done more than anything else 
to make it plain that Protestant theologians up to the present 
hold to the standpoint of the later malevolent Luther. It mat- 
ters not that the utterances of the latter contradict those of the 
earlier Luther. It is assumed beforehand that what he says is 
right. For this reason there is no understanding ( among them) 
of perfection and the state of perfection, of the vows, of the 

15 The matter here in hand is Lutlier's own practice. In the course of my 
work I saw that, in his commentary on Romans (1515-1516), lie had already 
made use of the "lie of necessity" in favor of his view, inasmuch as he falsi- 
fied passages from St. Augustine, as I showed in my first edition and shall 
further show in the second part of this edition. In theory Luther, in 1517, 
still held a white lie or a lie of necessity as not permissable and as a detesta- 
ble sin, as is shown in an essay, "Luther und die Liige," by N. Paulus ("Wis- 
senschaftl. Beilage zur Germania," 1904, n. 18). After his apostasy Luther, 
also in theory, stood for the permissibility of a lie of necessity, at least from 
1524 on, as Paulus verifies by evidences from Luther's writings. We are also 
well aware that, as early as 1520, he holds "everything permissible against 
the cunning and wickedness of popedom, for the salvation of souls," and "for 
the weal of his church, even a good stout lie." See below, section II, chap. 
II, page 465. 


Catholic ideal of life. Collectively and individually they have 
no idea of the essential point from which one must judge the 
old doctrine and maxims on entrance into an order, taking 
vows, and on the so-called "second baptism" — the point, 
namely, of a complete oblation of self to God. How could it be 
otherwise when this was the case with the "Reformer" himself? 
Had he had such an idea and had he actually realized such com- 
plete oblation of himself to God, there loould have been no 
Luther, in the modern sense, and no Lutherdom. 

One has still to hear that the cowl has made the monk, 
"else why the variety of religious habits?" — just as if a military 
costume makes a soldier, because it is found in so many chang- 
ing styles. The worst achievement in this respect comes from 
one of the most sensible of my opponents, W. Kohler (loc. cit., 
p. 208.) On my observing that the principal thing about re- 
ligious profession is the complete interior self-oblation, he an- 
SAvers: "Really only this? Why any need at all, then, of a 
religious habit? Why is it the greatest wrong voluntarily to 
abandon it? Is not the case rather this: Thanks to the ex- 
piatory virtue of monasticism, it (profession) acquires a kind 
of sacramental character and that, as in all the Catholic sacra- 
m.ents, attaches to the institution as such, independently of the 
personal oblation!" And is therefore an opus operatum! This 
nonsense and this invective against the Catholic Church the 
university professor very naively bases on the fact that lay 
people have been buried in the monastic habit.^* We shall 

18 This one instance characterizes the whole man. No longer do we 
marvel at his expatiating on the "inexorability of the monastic vows," and 
the "coercion of the vows," at his taking the "practice" of some few indi- 
viduals as the effect of a theory (as was the case in Lutherdom; at his try- 
ing to make us believe, with his citation (p. 200) from the Kirchen-Postille 
of 1.521, that Luther later still, as a rule, distinguished between perfection and 
the state of perfection, apart from the fact, that he (Kohler) wholly misses 
he meaning of the expression "to strive after perfection". But enough for 
here. These articles of Kohler's evidence the same superficiality as that with 
which at times he worked in in his otherwise appreciable book, "Luther und 
die Kirchengeschichte, I." Thus (p. 267) he seeks in vain in Tauler's ser- 
mons a passage quoted by Luther as Tauler's, and on the other hand, neglects 
to look up the booklet of 118 pages, Theologia Ductsch, edited by Luther as 
coming from Tauler. Here the passage occurs word for word, twice, in the 
text (Ed. I'feifCer, 188.5, p. 30). With the same superficiality he speaks (247) 
on hell and purgatory, and (p. 227) on Luther's expression "Thomist" as a 
"compiler," etc. 


also see in part second of this volume how Kohler, to save 
Luther, tones down and alters his utterances. 

But the treatise on the vows makes the best introduction 
to my work. The reason of this is discussed in the opening 
chapters of the second section of this volume, where I have also 
more clearly shown the connection than it appears in the first 
edition. This connection throughout, up into the second vol- 
ume, is based on Luther's charges of justification by works, 
and service by works ; for, at bottom, it is from this calumny, or, 
if you will, from this false conception, that everything with 
Luther takes its beginning. 

In my work, therefore, there is no intent of a Vita or life 
of Luther. I am no Luther biographer. In the face of renewed 
imputations to the contrary, I should like again and finally to 
have this strongly emphasized. Neither would it as yet be 
possible to write such a life. Up to the present, the history of 
Luther's life before his apostasy is largely built up on his later 
records. These must first be critically tested, and how much 
of them is useless dross there is, as yet, absolutely no knowing. 
In my first edition, I brought out repeated reminders that 
Luther's life in his Order, as he later depicts it, and his avowals 
concerning his vow, his penitential works, his starting-point, 
etc., belong, for the most part, to the domain of fable. The 
proof is not simple and demands a testing of Luther's state- 
ments and their coherence with his earlier days. It requires 
more extended research. In this, I think, is the strength of my 
work to be recognized. 

Even more do the erroneous assertions and awry judgments 
of Protestant theologians and Luther-researchers demand dif- 
fuse discussions, by which the thread of our account will be 
broken. Possibly these may seem annoying and superfluous to 
the uninitiated, but there is no other course open in a scientific 
work. Along these lines of discussion there is little, pitifully 
little, offered, for instance, in the two histories of dogma by 
Harnack and Seeberg ; yet they are not thereby deterred from 
sitting in judgment on it all with the air of experts. 

Nothing lay farther from me than the presumptuous in- 
tention of treating all that in any way had to do with the rise 
of Protestantism, or even of adducing all the Catholic witnesses 


of earlier date, all the pertinent evidences out of Luther'a 
works. How many volumes I should have to write! It has 
been said I am only a scholastic, not a historian. To this I 
assert that, in the discussions in the first volume with respect to 
Luther, I naturally had to come forward for the most part as 
a theologian, and the historian had accordingly to stand back. 
My proof of Luther's being in contradiction Avith earlier Church 
doctrine simply staggered the Protestant theologians, suddenly 
discovering to them, as it did, a terra incognita}'' Now 
they come and say that Denifle treats only one tendency (or 
current of events), that there were other tendencies as well. 
There were others, to be sure. So far as the contents of this 
first part are to be considered, those tendencies were the prac- 
tice of evil or simple, ignorant religious. Aside from that, how- 
ever, the later Luther, in his presentation of Church doctrine, is 
in contradiction, not only Avith it but Avith his earlier appre- 
hension of it, and it surely had not changed Avithin some few 
years. But to this point, as Avell, Luther-researchers had 
hitherto hardly given a thought. 

It has also been said that, in my work, Luther has not 
been caught in historical setting. I dispute that absolutely. I 
have apprehended Luther, as he must be apprehended in this 
volume, in the setting of contemporary and earlier theology, 
upon the ground of the institutes of his Order. The investi- 
gation of other and further problems belongs to the following 
volume, AA'here the rise of Ltithcrdom is treated, but not to the 
theme of the first volume. Just as little, for the same reason, 
need there here be mention of Luther's talents and a number of 
good natural traits, Avhich I also understand very well and 
knoAV hoAV to value. But if one like the Protestant-Society 
member. Professor Hausrath, goes so far, in his militant, most 
inept introduction to his Luther biography, p. XIV, as to de- 

1' This is especially apparet in the counterwritings of Harnack, Seeberg 
and Kohler, and more recently in Baiimann's "Denifles Luther und Luthertum 
vom allgemein wissenschaftlichen Standpunkt aus" (Langensalza, 1904). As 
in the first edition, so in the new I shall close the first volume with some side- 
lights on Harnack's Thomistic knowledge and shall extend the lighting up 
process to achievements along the same line by Baumann, Seeberg, and others. 
Several discussions, whose absence in this part the reader will notice, are re- 
served for the close of the volume. 


mand that, in a volume chiefly dealing with the psychological 
development of Luther's inner life, I take up the persecution of 
heretics by the Inquisition — goes so far as to make it a charge 
against me that I have left untouched the endeavors of my con- 
freres "to commit people to prison, to drown them, to burn 
them, to tear their tongues out, to brand them, to leave them 
kneeling in the glowing ashes of their burnt-up Bibles," why, he 
wholly forfeits every claim to be taken either scientifically or 
seriously. To stimulate Catholics and Protestants to a further 
pursuit of the course I have blazed and, with renewed zeal 
and unclouded vision, to bestow attention upon the questions 
already touched upon, is of itself an undertaking worthy of 
a reward. Here there would still be so much to do. 

As to the difference between this edition and the first, in 
essentials they have both remained the same. But instead of 
the critical notes on the Weimar edition, about which I have 
already spoken, there is a chapter on Luther's views in respect 
to the religious state during his own religious life. The brief 
notices in the first edition on Luther's earlier penitential 
works have likewise grown into an extended chapter. Besides, 
in this edition, I have brought matters that belonged together 
into greater unity ; I have added to the number of citations and 
proofs, struck out the superfluous, amplified some parts, and 
improved others, not to the harm of the whole. On the con- 
trary, indeed, Luther in the new edition appears even more 
condemnable than he did in the corresponding parts of the old. 
In conclusion, I thank all my friends — and they are not 
few — who have encouraged and supported me by their prayers, 
words, and contributions of materials. I can assure them that 
I will stick to my part as long as God will give me health and 

Eome, 30 AprU, 1904. P. Heinrich Denifle, O. P. 



(Translated by Rev. Albert Reinhabt, O. P.) 

The genesis of this work, of which the first volume is hereby published, 
has been given In the introduction, and needs, therefore, no further con- 

My preparation for the work fell into a time in which, on the part of 
Protestant theologians and pastors, a bitter warfare against the Catholic 
Church had been inaugurated. I almost believed myself to have been rele- 
gated to that period of time in which Luther stigimatizes the Pope as the 
worst of scoundrels, worse than Attila, Antiochus, or any other tyrant, worse 
even than Judas Iscariot — a time in which this same Luther brought every 
charge of crime and villainy against any and all members of the Papal Curia, 
irrespective of persons. During the last few years the condition of affairs 
has been such that it must appear to every loyal son of Mother Church that 
he is living in the time of the Protestant pamphleteers of the sixteenth 
century, who served alone the purpose of railing against the Church and 
her institutions, of casting ridicule upon her and seducing their readers 
away from Rome. At the present time this same purpose is being served 
by the Evangelical Union, by an association of evangelizers, by strolling 
preachers with a full purse, by the press and multiplied leaflets — by these 
factors conjointly has the "Los-von-Rom" (Away from Rome) movement 
been called into being. The Protestant theologians are In the main the 
spiritual instigators of this strife, while many Protestant professors of other 
branches of science, and many Protestant laymen, be it said to their credit, 
are maintaining an attitude of unmistakable aloofness. 

I say that in the main the Protestant theologians are the spiritual In- 
stigators, for they began the fight, while not infrequently Catholics were 
drawn into the fray, and were made the luckless scapegoats. Nevertheless, 
the aforesaid Protestants have the audacity to lay the blame of the whole 
affair at the feet of the Catholics, and to charge them with having disturbed 
religious peace. It is always the same old story. Even Luther, when he 
was blamed by those dreamers, Carlstad, Zwlngle and Oekolampadlus, for 
the disagreement In the Lutheran camp touching the doctrine of Communion, 
lamented : "It is with us as with the lamb which went for drink with a 
wolf. The wolf stood at the stream quite above the lamb. The wolf com- 
plained to the lamb that he was beclouding the water. The lamb replied: 
'How Is this possible, since you are above me and are drinking from the 
stream before it flows to me? It is you who are disturbing the water.' 
In short, the lamb had to submit to the unjust complaint of the wolf. Even 


so is it with my dreamers. They have started the conflagration — In fact 
they boast of having done so as a benefit to mankind, and now they wish to 
shunt the blame for disagreement upon our shoulders. Who asked Carlstad 
to begin? Who bade Zwingle and Oekolampadius write? Did they not do 
so of their own volition? We would gladly have preserved peace, but they 
will not admit this. And now the fault is ours ! That is the way." 

Catholics may make this same reply to the Protestant Instigators, and 
with more justification than that which warranted Luther to complain of 
his fanatics and dreamers. These instigators wish to pose as the innocent 
ones, the mild, unoffending ones, when as a matter of fact it was they who 
troubled the stream, and provoked the quarrel by frequently flinging the 
gauntlet at the feet especially of Catholic theologians. They, who do not 
even stand on the ground of positive Christianity, do most insolently repre- 
sent Catholic teaching of dogmatic and moral character, especially that of 
justification, of the Sacrament of Penance and of the morality of the Catholic 
Church, as being essentially antichristian, whereas on the other hand they 
applaud Luther as the great Reformer, who being himself of Christlike 
character reestablished Christianity as a religion, wrested Germany from 
Catholic dominion, and thereby effected an emancipation of enormous and 
measureless significance. 

The manifestation of this temper, so hostile and unpleasing, induced 
me to widen the scope and purpose of my original plan, and to subject not 
only Luther but occasionally also the most influential Protestant theologians 
to a searching criticism. I have never been able to go about on tiptoe ; I 
have never been taught this method of locomotion, and I shall not learn It 
now, for I am too old to learn any new tricks. Besides, it serves no purpose, 
but is really productive of harm. There need be no misconception on this 
point. Then, too, since the days of my childhood it has been impressed 
upon me that candor and sincerity must be the guiding principles of my 
dealings with my fellow man. In the past thirty years I have in divers 
fields disputed many a palm, and I believe I may say that my opponents 
will agree in this, that they always know where I stand and that they get 
invariably the expression of my unqualified sincerity without the slightest 
dissimulation or pretense. I take this to be worth something. If I recognize 
a thing as a lie, I call it a lie ; if I discover rascality, deceit or dishonesty 
anywhere, I call them precisely by those names. If I am confronted by ignor- 
ance, I simply do not call it anything else. And so in every point. 

I fall to see why Luther should be accorded a different method of treat- 
ment. If any one tells me that this is reviling Luther, I will make the 
reply that in this entire work I have written nothing about Luther which 
is not undeniably authenticated, or which does not rest upon his own utter- 
ances, or conduct, and flow therefrom with an Iron and inevitable logic. If 
thereby he appears In a most unfavorable light, the fault is not mine but 
Luther's. He has reviled and disgraced himself. And if the effort should 
be made — as Indeed it has been — to prove that Luther was the founder of a 
new religion, he Is thereby subjected to an insult than which there could 
be none greater. The Christian religion was established fifteen hundred 


years before Luther. Jesus Christ, the Founder of this religion, promised 
to support it for all time — not for fifteen hundred years only. He builded 
it upon Peter, and made the promise that the gates of hell should not pre- 
vail against it, and He bequeathed to it His own teaching as a rich legacy. 
Now, if Luther be the founder of a religion, certainly it is not the Christian 
religion he founded. Now, tell me, who is it that is offering to insult Luther? 
Why, to be sure, the Protestants themselves, at least the liberal Protestant 
theologians. Positively they are permitted to impugn the early Christian 
dogmas, to repudiate the fundamental principles of Christianity, and to 
declare that the belief in the Divinity of Christ and the Trinity has become 
obsolete and brushed aside like so many nursery tales or childish fables. 
And all this is actually done by them in the pulpit and in their published 

But the unforgivable sin is to dare to touch Luther's personality. The 
Protestants, however, place Luther above Christ, nay even above God ; the 
salvation of the world is attributed to Luther and not to Christ, and the 
one organization in the world of real worth is said to be Protestantism, 
Luther's work, and not Christianity, the work of Christ. 

Who is it that insults Luther in this fashion? Precisely the most cele- 
brated Protestant theologians — or are they so hopelessly obtuse that they 
cannot see that all the elements of an insult are found in their extravagant 
claims for Luther, especially since he himself protested against it all, and 
called it blasphemous, and a species of idolatry? But if they insist that 
Luther's emancipation of man from all ecclesiastical authority necessarily 
brought all these things in its train, I will concede the point ; but then, 
manifestly, Luther, who rarely foresaw the consequences of his acts, has in 
this case stultified himself egregiously — but the fault is his and not mine. 

And again, if these same theologians make the excuse that they regard 
Luther as the founder of a religion only in so far as he eliminated from 
the Church the scandals and abuses, i will answer : Vtinam. But unfortu- 
nately the only thing he accomplished — as I shall show exhaustively in the 
second volume — was to fill the measure of degeneracy, and to complete the 
infamy of moral degeneracy and decay. Moreover, even though the motive 
of Luther had been purely to eliminate from the Church her scandals and 
abuses, it would have been unwarranted in him to pour out the child along 
with the bath ; for even Gerson, writing one hundred years before Luther 
to the heretics of his time, says : "They remind me of a foolish physician, 
who in his efforts to cure his patient of disease, robs him of life." This 
same Gerson was in 1521 declared by Melanchthon to be "a great man in 
all things." 

And so it happened that in these efforts to exterminate existing evils 
other errors sprang into being. We shall hear Luther repeatedly deliver 
himself of this opinion, that a thing should not be destroyed because it is not 
free from abuses. Otherwise it would become necessary to kill all the women 
and throw out all the wine. Therefore Werstemius, a contemporary of 
Luther, wrote in 1528: "The unfortunate ones fail to see that if the Pope 
should commit an act that is wrong, this does not impugn the sacraments, the 


faith or established usage." He also says : '-The same holds of the unworthy- 
lives of certain cardinals, bishops, canonists, vicars and monks. If these be 
guilty of irregularities, it does not justify any Protestant, nor even Luther 
himself, to utter a syllable of protest. INIuch less to abuse, therefore, the 
whole Church." 

By destroying the unity of the Church, they give the lie in the throat to 
Christ, as well as to St. Paul, and become themselves the originators of con- 
fusion, error, tumult and the desecration of the saints. "Error and sus- 
picion are rampant everywhere." 

Luther himself was at one time of this opinion, for as far as we can 
trace him back, as I have repeatedly shown in the course of this work, he 
manifests a spirit of hostility to the abuses in the Church, and to the self- 
righteousness, singularity and superstition in religious Orders, and as well 
to the despicable rivalry existing between some of these Orders. But until 
1519 it did not occur to him that he should destroy the unity of the Church, 
as I shall show in the second volume of this work. If Luther had set his 
face only against the abuses which were prevalent in the Church, the result 
would not have been an open rupture, any more than his attack on the real 
or imaginary abuses of indulgences cau.sed him to separate himself from 
communion with the Church ; for in this encounter his opponents were the 
same as in subsequent ones. But that which caused his separation was his 
antiscriptural doctrine of justification, and his stubborn insistence that it 
was altogether impossible for any one to resist the lusts of the flesh. This 
unresistance runs all through his doctrine, and is practically the funda- 
mental principle of it all. To a man of Luther's character and temperament 
his apostasy from the one true Church was inevitable ; it came, and Luther 
separated from the one true Church — the Christian Church. He cast aside all 
authority, and as a logical consequence there came about that state of affairs 
which in 1519 he deplored as a necessary result, "as many churches as there 
were heads." He and his were at an end with the one Church, and so are 
they to-day. There can be no thought of a Christian Church with them, or 
for that matter of any Church, much less of a sister Church to the Catholic, 
which is the one and only Christian Church. Now, then, who has defamed 
Luther? Has he not done so himself? I am merely reporting his conduct 
and his doctrine. 

Possibly I may be charged with having disturbed the religious peace. 
Who has disturbed the peace? Is it not the Protestant theologians and 
pastors, especially the liberal element, who, in fact, are no longer standing 
on Christian ground, but who are continually challenging the Catholics to a 
conflict. They are continually flinging pitch at the Catholic Church; they 
charge her with immorality and degeneracy, and continually parade and 
emphasize Luther's speeches against the Church. They speak with ready 
tongue, and boldly distort Catholic doctrine in their pulpits, In pamphlets and 
tracts, in catechetical instruction and in their Sunday-schools. Now, if there 
be one who, as a Catholic scholar and in all candor and sincerity, critically 
proves their statements and then rejects them ; if he, having carefully ex- 
amined all the old and new sources, makes a psychological study and a true 


and accurate presentation of this same Luther, whom it has been the fashion 
to paint in glowing colors, is this, I ask you, a disturbance of the peace? 
Does the religious peace become disturbed only when a Catholic scholar, in 
defence of Mother Church, attacks Protestantism and the founder thereof? 
Does the religious peace suffer no disturbance when the Catholic Church is 
attacked and openly insulted, trodden under foot, and blows upon blows 
fairly rained down upon her? 

Professor W. Herrmann, of Marburg, fairly alive with prejudice, calls the 
morality of the Catholic Church "a degenerated Christianity," and states 
that she sets a premium on being conscienceless, that she leads millions of 
people into moral ruin, that it will be impossible for her to lift herself out 
of the marsh and find her way back to Christ. Harnack pushes his cynicism 
to the extent that, without any attempt at proof, he accuses the Jesuits of 
having converted all the mortal sins into venial ; that they are continually 
teaching persons how to wallow in the mire of filth, and how in the con- 
fessional to wipe out sin by sin ; he sees in their comprehensive and ex- 
haustive manuals of ethics only monsters of iniquity, and instructors in vile 
practices the mere description of which must call forth cries of disgust, etc. 
And, of course, all this is no disturbance of religious peace ! But when I 
turn aside all these and other unfounded reproaches, and upon the authority 
of undeniable and authentic sources fix them upon Luther and his work, 
when I discover the ignorance of Protestant theologians and their sinister 
motives, I am immediately accused of being a disturber of the peace. Now, 
then, I ask, who began the disturbance? With Luther, I reply — not we! 

It is an ill omen for Protestantism that to-day the cause of Luther and 
his work is espoused precisely by those who are no longer standing on Chris- 
tian ground, and who perhaps were never more than half-hearted Christians. 
On the other hand, it is a testimony of the truth of a Church that she Is at- 
tacked everywhere, and this at the present time is the experience of the 
Catholic Church. St. Augustine says : "If the heretics disagree among 
themselves, they invariably agree in their opposition to unity. Heretics, 
Jews, Pagans, and Neo-pagans are all united against unity." How fully this 
statement finds verification in our own time ! Everywhere a stand is being 
taken against the Church, which like Jesus Christ, her Divine Founder, has 
become a sign of contradiction. And what will they accomplish by their 
being leagued against unity? They wish to set it aside, to destroy it abso- 
lutely, and in this attempt they betray the fact that they are enemies of 
Christ. According to St. Augustine : "Christ became Incarnate to draw all 
things to Himself. But you come to destroy." Tou are, therefore, opposed 
to Christ — you are Antichrist. There is a constant repetition of that which 
became manifest four hundred years ago, when Luther and his followers de- 
serted the one Church : a protest against unity, a protest against religious 
and ecclesiastical unity, a protest against that unity of which religious 
peace was born. And as if to prove to all the world that this Lutheranism 
which was protesting so against unity had really separated itself from the 
one Church, it became a party (one can hardly call it a Church) in which 
countless sects mutually hostile to each other sprang into being. But these 


sects in their united opposition to the Catholic Church witnessed to the 
truth of the words of St. Augustine quoted above. Protestantism, whether 
considered as a party or a Cliurch, is congenitally a disturber of the peace. 
The Catholic Church is the same since as before Protestantism, not as a party, 
but as unity itself. Christ did not found her as a party, but as unity, as the 
one true Church destined to bring all nations to unity in the one faith, the 
one doctrine, the one divine service, the one religion of Christ, under the one 
authority of Christ and His Vicar on earth, in order that all nations might 
enjoy that peace on earth which is centered in unity, and might in the end 
come to the one everlasting happiness in heaven. 

Whoever separates from this unity, namely, the Catholic Church, or 
resists being received into her, stands as party against her, not as party 
against party, nor as unity against unity, but as a party against heaven- 
sent and divinely ordained unity. It is not, therefore, a matter of Catholicism 
against Protestantism, or of one party against anotlier, or of two different 
conceptions of one and the same thing, as in the fable of "The Three Rings," 
but it is simply a matter of the Catholic Church, of Catholic unity, against 

Just as in the beginning not the Church, not unity, but Luther and his 
followers — Protestantism considered as a party — not only disturbed but abso- 
lutely destroyed in Germany all religious peace, so to-day a great portion 
of the Protestant theologians and preachers are working the same havoc, one 
might say, professionally. It is done by traveling vicars (who have others 
at their back) who carry this politico-religious strife into the adjoining 
states. Is it possible that they wish to proclaim to all the world the fact 
that they are the harbingers of Protestantism, which was born into the 
world as a disturber of peace? 

On the contrary, the Catholic Church, the concrete expression of unity, 
carries within herself essentially the element of conservativeness. She 
teaches her members, in their intercourse and dealings with those of other 
creeds, to exercise tolerance and Christian charity — not to judge, despise or 
condemn any person. She impresses upon them the fact that obedience to 
civil authority is a most holy and sacred obligation, and in the discharge of 
this obligation they must not stray a single hair from unity, nor neglect to 
render to God all that is God's. 

To be tolerant does not mean to be a lukewarm Catholic, such a Catholic 
as refrains from making an open confession of his faith, lest by so doing he 
offend or irritate the Protestants, and therefore hesitates to say openly: "I 
am a Catholic, I am a child of the Catholic Church, the Church of Christ." To 
be tolerant does not mean to repress and suppress one's religious confession, 
or to recognize all creeds as equal merely because the Government may say 
they are so. Least of all, to be tolerant does not mean »o accept in silence 
the defamation and misrepresentation of Catholic doctrine. Catholics do not 
become intolerant, disturbers of the peace, who insist upon and defend the 
unity of their Church. As a matter of fact, they are merely defending them- 
selves, and indeed they are under the most sacred obligation to defend their 
Church against the frightful misrepresentations of Protestants; should they 


fail in this tliey would be nothing short of cowards and traitors to their 
Holy Mother Church. Even though Protestants did not make the open at- 
tacks wliich have been the vogue in recent years, they would nevertlieless be 
consistently and systematically disturbers of the religious peace. From 
generation to generation they sow the seeds of discord by the text-books and 
the instructions given in their schools. Thus the child in the very dawn 
of its education becomes inoculated with prejudice against the Catholic 
Church. The child, naturally credulous, does not hear the true teaching 
and history of the Catholic Church, but instead is filled with detestable fictions 
and villainous misrepresentations, and this fact will be borne out by any one 
who has conversed with Protestants, or taken the trouble to look into their 

The Catholic Church would be perfectly justified if she made a protest 
and demanded that Catholic doctrine, if it be at all presented in Protestant 
schools, be truthfully presented and not misrepresented ; that it be given 
to the children without bias or prejudice, so that their minds may be left 
open and free to the truth. 

But if such a protest were ever made, how the Catholics would be de- 
nounced as intolerant fanatics and disturbers of the peace ! The whole 
world would be of one mind in this, that such a demand were impossible and 

Why? Is it unreasonable to demand that the truth be taught in 
the schools? Possibly, in the case in point. For if Catholic history and 
Catholic doctrine were truthfully presented, it would be quite as much a 
menace to Lutheranism as the revelation of the true character and doctrine 
of Luther himself. To be sure, both in the high and in the low places all 
hands are busy trying to avert this catastrophe, the collapse of Lutheranism. 
Nevertheless they are sowing the wind, and they must inevitably reap the 

I wish to say further to the Protestant theologians that I am not the 
chosen spokesman of any body of men. I am writing from my own convic- 
tions, and from a motive absolutely pure. I am not writing for applause or 
for an encomium in any historical year book. I have written solely for the 
sake of truth, and if but one of the many Protestant theologians will have 
become more considerate and prudent by reading this work, I shall not have 
failed of my purpose. For any human weakness which in making citations 
or comments may have crept into my work, I tender my humblest apologies. 
God is my witness that I intended to speak the truth and the truth only, 
and to make an accurate and unimpeachable presentation of the subject- 
matter. Since the true Luther cannot be presented without the scurrility in 
his speeches and writings which was a characteristic part of him, I had to 
make this presentation, unpleasant though it was, part of the undertaking. As 
a result, the book now being given to the public is not intended for the young. 
The fact is, indeed, a sad commentary upon Luther as he really was. 


May God in His infinite mercy deign to bless this my work, and may He 
open the eyes of at least those Protestants who are of honest mind and 
sincere purpose. Blay he cause them to see Luther and Lutheranism as 
they really were, and thus lead them back to unity, to the Catholic Church, so 
that in the words of Christ there may be but one shepherd and one fold. 

Vienna, Feast of the Holy Rosary, Oct. 4, 1904. 



means the "Commentarius D. M. Lutheri in epistolam Pauli ad Romanes ex 
autographo descriptus," in the Codex Palat, lat. 1 1826 of the Vatican 
Library. This Important commentary dates from 1515-1516 and will be pub- 
lished, as has been repeatedly announced, In the Weimar edition by Prof. 
Ficker of Strasburg, who first called attention to it. 

The CODEX PALAT. LAT. 1825 contains Luther's commentary on 
Hebrews, 1517, also on the first epistle of John, etc., as is always indicated 
In the text below. 

WEIM. means the Weimar edition, a complete critical edition of Luther's 
works (1883-1903). With some interruptions, the publication reaches 1529. 
Up to the present there have appeared volumes 1-9; 11-20; 23-30; 32-34; 
36-37 : 

ERL. means the Erlangen edition of the German works, which includes 
67 volumes. I cite volumes 1-15 in this second edition. If, exceptionally, 
other further volumes are cited, I always state the fact. 

This edition also includes, in part, the 28 small volumes of Opera 
exegetica latina, the Commentarius in ep. ad Galatas, ed. Irmischer (3 vols.), 
and 7 small volumes of Opera varii argumenti. 

DE WETTE="Dr. Martin Luther's Briefe, Sendschrelben, und Bedenken 
mit Supplement von Leideman," 6 vols. (1825-1856), i.e. Luther's letters, cir- 
culars, and considerations, etc. 

ENDERS^"Dr. Martin Luther's Briefwechsel (i.e. correspondence) In 
der Erlanger-Frankfort-Calwe^ Ausgabe" (1884-1903), of which 10 volumes 
have appeared, reaching July 17, 1536. For later letters De Wette must be 
used. De Wette is also the only one to give the German letters. 

Other titles are given as they are used in the course of the work. 


Contents p^oe 

Foreword to the Second Edition V 

Foreword to the First Edition XXXI 

Explanation of Some Abbreviations XXIX 

Contents XLI 

Introduction L 


Ceiticai Examination of Peotestant Luthee-Reseabchers and 

Theologians 29 


Lttthee's Teeatise and Docteine on the Monastic Vows, by Way 

OF Inteoduction 31 

CHAPTER I. — Beief Review of Luthee's Uttebances in Respect 
TO the Religious State Cubing His Own Life as a Re- 
ligious 32 

Luther's then views, which are greatly at variance with those 
formed later. Never opposed to the essential idea of the religious 
state. Expresses himself on the reception of a novice from 
another order, a good intention being presupposed. Sends a fel- 
low religious, (G. Zwilling), studying at Wittenberg, to Erfurt, 
there to learn to linow convent life better. Luther himself at 
Wittenberg almost wholly absorbed in official duties and studies, 
so that he rarely has time to recite his canonical hours (office) 
and to celebrate mass. Yet he did not then contemn the religious 
life, and looked upon the vows as self-evidently licit, provided 
they were taken in the right manner (out of love for God and 
with a free will). Not that a man enter an order out of despair, 
thinljing that only there is salvation to be attained. The con- 
tempt widely shown for the religious state should never be per- 
mitted to deter one from entering; never was there a better time 
to become a member of an order. On the other hand Luther 
warmly inveighs against the idiosyncrasies and self will of 
some religious as contrary to obedience, but declares a violation 
of the vow of chastity to be a very great sacrilege. He calls the 
evangelical counsels certain means conducing to easier fulfil- 
ment of the commandments. For these reasons, an admirer, 
(Konrad Pellican), as late as 1520, hails him as the most quali- 
fied advocate of the religious life. His hatred of the Church, 
whose most powerful auxiliaries the religious were, first be- 
trayed him into his warfare against the orders and vows. 

CHAPTER II. — St. Bernaed's Alleged Repudiation of the Vows 

AND of the Monastic Life 43 

To prove that the monastic vows contradict the teaching of 
Christ, he distorts two sayings of St, Bernard. He asserts that 



St. Bernard, once lying at the point of death, confessed only 
this : "I have lost my time, for I have lived an evil life." 
By these words he reprobated his whole monastic life and hung 
his frock on a peg. The passage identified ; it simply proves to 
be the humble confession of a contrite soul face to face with 
God. Stich a confession genuinely Catholic ; authorities quoted. 
Further argument. After those utterances St. Bernard still 
lauded the religious state and founded monasteries. 
CHAPTER III. — SuPERioEs Alleged to be Able to Dispense fkom 
Everything. Luthee's Assertion that he vowed the Whole 

Rule 53 

But St. Bernard teaches just the opposite. The other asser- 
tion that they vow the whole rule rests simply on distortion and 
perversion ; they really vow to live "according to the rule." 
Proof of this in the practice of the several orders. As the rule 
holds, so do the statutes of the different orders. By reason of 
his assertion Luther appears in a very dubious light. 
CHAPTER IV. — Object of the Year of Probation According to 

Luther 62 

This alleged to be to try one's self if one can live chastely. 
A declaration of Pope Innocent III to the contrary. So also the 
practice of the orders. 
CHAPTER V. — The Vows Alleged to Lead Away from Christ ; 

THE Orders to Give a Leader Other than Christ 68 

This assertion is contradicted by Luther's own earlier utter- 
ances. Also by the practice of his order. Therefore Luther's 
later assertion is wholly without foundation. On that account 
Staupitz, his superior, otherwise so favorably inclined, justly re- 
bukes him. Elsewhere Luther himself emphatically maintains 
that a whole cause must not be rejected on account of individual 
abuses. Just as he failed to hit the mark in censuring his own 
Order, so also did he miss it in the case of the others. Espe- 
cially the Franciscan. 
CHAPTER VI. — Luther's Sophisms and Monstrosities of Opinion 
in Respect to the Monastic Vows, Especially the Vow of 

Chastity. His Trickery and Incitation to Mendacity 78 

A. He deceives his readers on the end of the religious state 

and of the voivs 78 

As certain as it is, according to him, that religious seek 
their salvation by their works and vows, but not by faith. 
So false is it in fact, even though Luther researchers try to 
come forward in behalf of their hero. These defenders did 
not at all observe his false play. Although Luther, according 
to his own statement, was uncertain with what disposition he 
took his vows, he nevertheless affects to know hovif the many 
commonly take them, namely, so that the vows shall take the 



place of justifying faith, which, however, does not at all enter 
into consideration. He asserts that in every vow and in every 
order, faith and charity are equally excluded. This assertion 
critically examined. 

B. Luther's Contradictions and Sophisms in Respect to the 
Counsels 86 

The counsels concern chastity. More light on the sub- 
ject. Luther fails to take heed that, vowing something in 
obedience to a counsel, one is afterwards bound to fulfil his 
sacred promise. Luther must have known that, and did not 
know it after entering his Order, especially after his profession. 
Pertinent observations from Barth. von Usingen and from 
Saints Augustine and Bernard. 

C. Luther a Leader into Hypocrisy and Lying 95 

His advice on celibacy to candidates about to be ordained 
sub-deacons. His urgency in behalf of sacerdotal marriage is 
too mucli for even the Bohemian Brethren. His attempts to 
catch regulars and secular priests alike by his teaching. 

D. The Votv of Chastity and Conjugal Chastity as Against 
"ImpossiMlity" 99 

According to Luther a vow no longer binds just as soon 
as its fulfilment is made Impossible. He draws no distinction 
whatever between impossibility arising from external force and 
impo.ssibility culpably occasioned within one's self. He seeks 
to beguile monks and nuns into the latter state. He thereby 
digs the grave not only of the vow of chastity but of conjugal 
chastity as well. The reason of this was simply his empiric 
principle: "concupiscence is wholly irresistible." 

E. The Open Door to Impossibility 106 

Heedlessness and neglect of communion with God, which 
were particularly Luther's case. Luther and by far the 
greater part of his younger adherents given to immoderate 

F. Luther Scoffs at Prayer in Violent Temptatirin 113 

According to him, whoso would pray to God to escape from 
the lust of the flesh is a blockhead. Luther places the satisfy- 
ing of fleshly lust on a like level with the heroism of the 
apostles and martyrs. He and his fellow apostates, in respect 
to warfare against the flesh, are like cowardly soldiers. St. 
Augustine on the difference, in respect to marriage, between 
being free or bound by a vow to the contrary. Luther's per- 
version of the Apostolic maxim : "It is better to marry than 
to burn," "melius est nubere quam uri." He parries the "pa- 
pistical" admonition to beg the help of God's grace against 
temptation, with the dilemina : "What if God did not wish 



to be prayed to? Or, if one prays to Him, what if He does 
not wisli to liear?" 
<?. The Duping of Nuns ly Luther 121 

Taking tliem away from tlieir convents was to be con- 
sidered, but they were first to be duped by writings. It was 
to be assumed, of course, that nuns were only unwillingly 
chaste and made shift to do without a man. Women were to 
be used either for marriage or for prostitution. Daily temp- 
tations are a sure sign that God has not given and does not 
wish to give the noble gift of chastity. Prayer, fasting, and 
self-chasti.sement, in which the "Papists" discern sanctity are 
a sanctity "all of which at once even a dog or a sow can 
practice daily." 
I£. Luther's Relation to Polygamy. "Conscience Advice," Dis- 
pensation, and Lying. "Conjugal Concuiine" 127 

By his teaching on the impossibility of continency either 
in celibacy or in marriage, he paves the way to the sanction 
of a bigamic marriage, at least in the case of the Landgrave 
Philip von Hessen. In union with Melanchton and Bucer, 
Luther acts the spiritual adviser, with counsel pertinent to the 
matter in hand. On account of the sensation caused by the 
bigamic marriage, the Landgrave is recommended to deny it, 
but secretly he may keep the trull — "Metze" — as a "conjugal 
concubine." In principle, Luther had already enunciated these 
tenets after his interior apostasy from the Church. They 
only prove his bent and readiness with regard to lying, cun- 
ning, and deception. 

/. Luther's Buffoonery 139 

Rebuked by Melanchton. Is evidenced especially in his 
distortions and misinterpretation of names and designations. 

CHAPTER VII. — Fundamentals of the Catholic Doctrine of 

Oheistian Peefection and the Ideal of Life 146 

Contrary to Catholic teaching, Luther, after his apostasy, 
makes no distinction, as a rule, between the state of perfection 
and perfection itself, or he explains them falsely. Views of the 
doctors of the Church especially up to Thomas Aquinas. St. 
John Chrysostom, the Synod of Aix-la-Chapelle, Peter Damian, 
Cassian, the rule of St. Augustine, of St. Benedict, of St. Ber- 
nard, Bruno von Asti, Richard of St. Victor, Ruppert von Deutz 
on perfection in general and life's ideal in particular — Saints 
Elizabeth and Hedwig. 

CHAPTER VIII. — Doctrine or St. Thomas Aquinas and Others 


A. From Thomas Aquinas to the German Mystics 151 

St. Thomas likewise teaches that the ideal of life consists 
in that which even here on earth unites us with God, and 



that is charity. The commandment of loving God is not con- 
fined within limits ; it is not as if a certain measure of love 
satisfies the law and as if a measure greater than is required 
by the law fulfils the counsels. The counsels are a help to 
the hetter and more perfect fulfilment of the law. They are 
therefore only the instruments of perfction, and the religious 
state is a state of perfection only in the sense that it imposes 
an obligation of striving after perfection. The same is taught 
by Albertus Magnus, Bonaventure, David of Augsburg, God- 
frey de Fontaine, Henry of Ghent, Henry of Friemar. 

B. The German Mystics Compared With Luther 165 

Tauler, Luther's favorite author, propounds absolutely no 
other doctrine on the religious state than that of St. Thomas. 
He reprehends those religious who are such only in outward 
appearance and admonishes them not to be guided by tills or 
that one, but above all to heed what their own vocation is. 
Christian life in the world is just as much based on a voca- 
tion from God as life in an order. A similar strain of teach- 
ing is found in Henry Suso and Runsbroek, as well as in the 
book of the Following of Christ. 

C. Succeeding Doctors Down to Luther 175 

Gerhard Groote, Henry von Coesfeld, Peter d'Ailli, John 
Gerson, Matthew Grabow, Denis the Carthusian, St. Antoninus, 
Peter Du Mas, Guy Juveneaux, Charles Fernand, John Raulin, 
Mark von Weida, Geiler von Kaysersberg, Gabriel Biel, Bar- 
tholomew von Usingen, Kaspar Schatzgeyer, John Dietenberger, 
Jodok Clichtove, St. Ignatius Loyola, all these know only one 
ideal of life, the one common to all men. The opinion of the 
last named in particular finds expression in his Spiritual Exer- 
cises. He knew nothing about "habit and tonsure," being the 
only means of salvation, therefore did not even prescribe a 
distinctive garb for his Order. General result. 
CHAPTER IX. — Luther's Sophisms and Distoetions in Respect 

TO Cheistian Pebfection 199 

In the most important concern of life, salvation, he often 
conducts himself like the opponent in the philosophical or theo- 
logical disputations of the schools — thus in the following propo- 
sitions : 

A. Monastic Yows Have Been Divided Into Essential and Ac- 
cidental 200 

B. The Christian State of Life Is Divided iy Writers Into the 
Perfect and the Imperfect 203 

No approved teacher in the Catholic Church achieved this 
division. The state of perfection (the religious state) cannot 
be set in opposition to the lay state as a state of imperfection. 
The question turns on a difference of degree and not on oppo- 



Sites. Luther's censures based on the idea that what is better 
known and admitted makes anytlilng set in comparison or con- 
trast become evil. There is but one sole perfection of the 
Christian life and all must strive for it. 
C. In the Catholic Church, They See in Chastity the Highest 
Perfection. Consequences. The earlier Luther Against the 

Later 210 

St. Augustine even in his day said : "Better humble mar- 
riage than proud virginity." Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure 
express themselves in similar terms. It is unjustly that 
Luther charges the corruption of a few to the whole state of 
life. This procedure he himself condemned in his earlier days. 
CHAPTER X. — Melanchton and the "Augustana" on the Re- 
ligious State. Newer Pkotestant Theologians 215 

A. Melanchton and the Augustana 215 

Melanchton blindly follows the hatred-breathing Luther in 
his exposition of the vows and the religious state. He even goes 
farther in his Loci communes, and has also worked his ignor- 
ance into the famous creed of Protestantism. Critique of the 
same, especially of Chapter 27. 

B. Newer Protestant Theologians 224 

Ritschl's idea of monasticism. The Christian ideal of life 
according to Seeberg. Harnack's views. Critique of the same. 

C. Harnack's Errors in Respect to the Ideal of Life in the 
Different Epochs of the Religious Orders 229 

His mistake concerning the Cluniacs and "their" Pope 
(Gregory VII) — concerning St. Francis of Assisi — concerning 
the mendicant orders' mysticism begetting a certainty of sal- 
vation, concerning the Jesuits. 
CHAPTER XI — Litthek on "Monastic Baptism." Thomas Aquinas 

ITS Alleged Inventor 242 

According to Luther, entrance into an order was universally 
made equivalent to baptism. Critique. Effect of the complete 
oblation of self to God. Of this Luther never speaks. Critique 
of his appeal to an epistolary utterance of a runaway nun. Of 
his appeal to a passage in the sermon of a Dominican. Refu- 
tation of the assertion that Thomas Aquinas made, and was the 
first to make, entrance into an order equivalent to baptism. 
CHAPTER XII. — Catholic "Monastic Baptism." According to 
Lutheran Exposition, an Apostasy from the Baptism of 

Chbist 255 

Luther saddles a wholly erroneous notion upon "monastic 
baptism" in order to have ground for the charge that it Is an 
apostasy from the baptism of Christ. Critique of the charge — 
of various declarations of Luther on his intention when he took 
his vows. 


CHAPTER XIII. — Luther's Lie, that Maeeiage is Condemned by 

THE Pope as Sinful. His Coebupting Peinciples on Maeeiage 261 

A. Marriage Alleged to he Forbidden iy the Pope, hut Not Con- 
demned 262 

B. Marriage Alleged to he Condemned hy the Pope as a Sin- 
ful, Vuchaste State 264 

Luther's sophism that a religious by his vow of chastity 
renounces marriage as uncliastity. Critique of this contra- 
diction. To recognize something is higher and better does not 
mean reprobating tlie high and tlie good ; against Ziegler and 
Seeberg; reference to Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Thomas. 
By reason of the declaration of the Savior and of St. Paul, 
virginity has ever been held to be higher and more fit for the 
service of God. Luther's sophism that the Catholic Church 
holds the married state to be impure and sin, because she for- 
bids priests to marry. 

C. Luther's Lies in Respect to His Earlier Vieics on Marriage. "273 

His statement that he had been most surprised at Bona- 
venture's view that it was no sin if a man sought a woman in 
marriage — that as a young boy he had imagined one could not 
think of married life without sin. On the other hand, as monk 
and professor, before his apostasy, he had developed very beau- 
tiful and sound principles on marriage. Along with the Cath- 
olic Church, he had then recognized the threefold good of mar- 

D. The Practice and Tradition of the Church Refute the Calum- 
nies Leveled hy Luther Against Marriage 279 

Marriage instituted in paradise. The ritual of a nuptial 
mass. Pertinent sayings from preachers like Berthold of 
Kegensburg, Peregrinus, and many others. Passages from prac- 
tical handbooks and German sermon collections. Utterances of 
Pope Pius II and Cardinal Nicholas von Eues — of the great 
monks, Bernard and Basil. 

E. It Is Precisely According to Luther's Principles That the 
Marriage State Is Sinful and Illicit 289 

This is evidenced by his utterances on the conjugal obli- 
gation. The same alleged to be in itself as much sin as 
harlotry is, only not imputed by God. 

F. Luther's Wholly Material, Sensual Conception of Marriage; 
Kolde's Calumniations of the Catholic Doctrine 295 

Luther alleges that of necessity must man cleave to woman 
and woman to man. Luther strips matrimony of its sacra- 
mental character and degrades it to an outward, bodily matter. 
According to Kolde, the Reformers had the lack, "which, of 
course, was an inheritance from Catholicism," of a full insight 
into the true moral principle of marriage. That the Reformers, 



to help the male element out of distress of conscience, as- 
signed to the female the role of concubine, was only an "echo 
of the medieval contempt for woman." Refutation of this 
G. Contempt for Woman and the Demoralization of Female 

youth a Sequel of Luther's Principles 303 

It begins with the degradation of the Blessed among 
women and with the role, foisted upon woman, of being an 
instrument for the satisfaction of the "irresistible" sexual pas- 
sion of man. Thus were womanly modesty and morals worthy 
of honor lost. The Reformers themselves complain of the 
prevalent moral corruption. 
H. The Lewd and Adulterous Life, the Contempt of the Marriage 
State at That Time, Are Consequences of Luther's Course 

and teachings 307 

It is in vain that he disclaims the responsibility. For the 
reason that he trod his celibacy, the vow he had once sworn to 
God, under foot, marriages also came to be regarded as torture 
chambers, and the marriage vow counted for nothing. Light 
thrown on some marriages by Lutheran preachers of that time ; 
exchange of women. Luther's levity. The prevalent drunken- 
ness of the day as one of the causes of the extensive prostitu- 
tion and adultery. Luther's doctrine on faith also contributed 
to adultery. In like manner, his hatred of the Church actuated 
him to do the opposite of what the Church laws prescribed in 
regard to marriage and celibacy. As a sequel, not only con- 
tinency but the virtue of chastity could not but meet with 
contempt. All fear of God, too, had to cease in the hearts 
of the married. Luther's rejection of the marriage impedi- 
I. How Conditions Were Bettered. The Sard Naturally Cath- 
olic, not Lutheran 325 

Interposition of the secalar authority. Unconscious ap- 
proach of the more serious theologians to Catholic principles 
and doctrine on marriage. 
CHAPTER XIV. — Retkospect and Summing up. Luthek's Debased 
Stand in His Judgment of and Opposition to the Religious 

State and its Members 327 

Luther's distortion of Catholic teaching on the counsels and 
vows and his endeavors to bring them into contempt. His treat- 
ise on the vows and the verification of the saying : "Every apos- 
tate is a slanderer of his Order." 

A. Luther's Wanton Extravagance and Vulgarity in His Judg- 
ment of Religious and Priests 33O 

His explanation of "monk" and "nun." Thenceforth priests 
were only to be called "Shavelings." He married only to vex 


the (Jiigber) clergy, and he looked forward to vexing them 
eveft more. 

£. (Aitjier'a Course to Mgve Religiqui to Apostatize 334 

He fttta|ii§ l»is end by falsifications and contradictions, 
by cunning and sophisms. As late as 1516, however, the re- 
ligious state, according to his admission, was able to afford real 
contentment and peace of soul. 

C. Luther's Tactics to Estrange the People From the Religious 340 

He represents monks as gluttons, guzzlers, rakes, and 
loafers. On other occasions, however, he assails their "holir 
ness-by-works,'' and their excessively strict life, by which, 
he says, they only bring damnation npon tjien^selves. 

D. JjUther's Calumny in Respect to the Monastic Form of All- 
solution ._ . 351 

Alleging that monks were absolved from their sins only on 
the ground of their works, he adduces a form of absolution 
which really is not gucb at all, and he suppresses the true 
form. Accusations against the barefooters. Luther himself 
retained the Catholic form of absolution. 

E. The Big Rogue Condemns the Little One. Luther's Detest- 
able Devices-^..- 358 

He attacks the life of religious on a point in which he and 
hjs followers (particularly of his own order) had come to 
the very worst pass themselves. Luther's teaching on the im- 
possibility of resisting carnal lust was the prime drawing 
fopce — tp divert attention from it, he directs the gaze of the 
public towards the wrongdoings of the clergy, secular and 
regular. Defamations employed by him and his adherents to 
gain theip end. Pamphlets, lampoons. Caricatures (pope-ass, 
monk's calf), 

F. huther's Roguery and Deadly Hatred of the Monasteries and 
Religious 374 

His contradictory attitudes in at one time attacking their 
evil life and admitting their right doctrine, but at another time 
in being willing to shut his eyes to their evil living if they 
would but teach right doctrine. At one time he begins an agi- 
tation against the clergy, secular and regular, and again he ad- 
monishes them to have charity. His fundamental view after 
his apostasy is that all monasteries and cathedrals should be 
completely annihilated. Still he assumes that he bears the 
"Papists" no ill will. His courage rises on account of the 
behaviour of the bishops. Transition. 

The Sta^tinq Point in Lxtthee's Development. His New Gospel. 384 
Connection with the first section ; in consequence of Luther's 
teaching on justification and the forgiveness of sin by faith alone, 



Luther was obliged to reject not only the entire Christian life 
in general but also and above all the religious life as based on 
justification and merit on account of worlds. Justification by 
works and self-achievements were Luther's hobby. Hov? did he 
come by his doctrine? Protestant solutions of the question. 
CHAPTER I. — Pbeliminaby Inquibt into Luthee's Immodekate 
Self-Chastisements befoee his "Turn About," in obdeb to 

Pbopitiate the Steen Judge 387 

Luther's later admissions on his own "overdone" asceticism 
In his religious life and the erroneous object he had had in it. 

A. Luther's Utterances on His Monastic Self-Chastisings in the 

Light of the Austerity of His Order 388 

He claims to have practised his mortifications twenty 
years, another time he says fifteen. The time could have been 
at most ten years, but was more likely only five. His alleged 
endurance of cold and frost, observance and night vigils. 
"Rigorous" fasting — pertinent mitigations of the constitutions 
by Staupitz. 

B. Views of Catholic Reaches Down to Luther's Time on Self- 
Chastisements and Discretion 398 

None of them aware that mortifications were practised to 
propitiate the stern judge, but all take the object to be (accord- 
ing to the purport of the word itself) the mortification (or 
sub-dual) of the flesh; they require above all things discretion. 
The wise preceptor, Cassian — Saints Basil, Jerome, Benedict, 
Peter Chrysologus, Hugo of St. Victor, Bernard. The Car- 
thusian Order — William of St. Thierry, Thomas Aquinas and 
his recommendation of discretion, David of Augsburg and Bona- 
venture. Observance in the Order of Augustinian Hermits. 
The German mystics and their recommendation of "discretion." 
Gerson and the little book, the Following of Christ — Gerhard 
von ZUtphen. Raymund Jordanis (Ignotus) and St. Lawrence 
Justiniani. St. Ignatius, Raulin, and the admonitions of med- 
ieval preachers. An echo from the popular poetry of the 
middle ages. A saying of Hugo of St. Cher. The sound doc- 
trine of the Ambrosiasts was taken over into the Glosses ; 
also that of Peter Lombard and of the recognized authority 
down to Luther's time, Nicholas de Lyra. 

C. Luther Before 1530 on Self-Chastisement and Discretion 415 

Is in agreement with the authorities In respect to the 
object of mortifications and discretion. Proof from a sermon 
preached by him before 1519. An admission by him in March 
of the following year. His stand for the relative necessity 
of fasting and mortification; important note. An interesting 
utterance of his as late as four or five years after his apostasy. 



He recommends fasting, yet it is not to be practised out of 
obedience to tlie Church, but as one thinks best for himself. 

D. The Later Luther in, Contradiction With the Earlier and 

With the Doctrine of the Order and of the Church 420 

Luther researchers have made a failure of their test of the 
later utterances of Luther. Examination of this test ; the first 
five years. His novice-master required no unreasonable, im- 
moderate strictness. Luther himself was careful to practise 
outvpard obedience, even though violently assailed by self-will 
within. Besides, his patron, Staupitz, released him from vari- 
ous menial services ; it is not possible that he imposed immod- 
erate penances on Luther. Luther himself writes, 1509, that 
he was getting on well. Why is it that he expresses himself 
to the contrary only after 1530? 

E. Solution of the Question 430 

According to Luther's statement, 1533, the outer conven- 
tual practices and mortifications were supposed to have the 
object of enabling one straightway to find Christ and reach 
heaven. To become a monkish saint, as he expressed himself 
a year or so later, he applied himself to them most diligently. 
Against such a caricature of a monkish saint, a Christian 
teacher had protested as much as a thousand years earlier. 
If Luther made himself such a saint, it was only out of knav- 
ery. Only a second similar comedy is his late and ultimate 
recognition that Romans 1,17 is not to be understood of God's 
recognition that Romans 1, 17 is not to be understood of God's 
retributive justice, but of the passive, by which He justifies 
us by faith ; connection with the previous assertion. Neverthe- 
less he had always even in his earlier days expressed himself 
in this sense. Luther's later utterances belong to the chapter 
on "lies of convenience," the lawfulness of which he defends. 
Consequences for Luther biographers. 
CHAPTER II. — Pbeliminaby Inqxjiby into the Doctbine or the 
Chuech in heb Pkayebs on a Meeciful God and His Geace 

AS against otjb Poweelessness 441 

Proof chiefly from the missal, breviary, and Ordinarium of 
the Order of Hermits — books of which Luther had formerly 
made use ; they scarcely ever mention the stern judge, but con- 
tinually refer to God's mercy. Prominence constantly given to 
our own helplessness. God, Christ, and the Cross, the salvation 
and hope of the world. The true God says: "I desire not the 
death of the wicked, etc." The later Luther recoils upon him- 
self. Glories of 'God's grace. The Church our mother-hen, 
we her brood — the merit of Jesus Christ the sole ground of 
our salvation in life and in death. Luther speaks on the verdict. 


For years it was one of my added tasks, besides my 
labors on the University of Paris and the destruction of the 
churches and monasteries of France during the hundred 
years' -war, to sift out original materials for a study on the 
decline of the secular and regular clergy in the fifteenth 
century. In these, as in all my previous researches, there was 
no thought farther from my mind than that of Luther and 
Lutherdom. My interest was without bias and centered 
solely on the study of the two tendencies in evidence from 
the fourteenth century, at least in France and Germany — 
one of decline and fall in a great part of the secular and 
regular clergy, the other of a movement of moral renewal and 
reawakening in the remaining part. But it was especially 
the former to which my attention was directed. Accordingly 
I resumed my researches, but only those which, later inter- 
rupted, had been devoted some twenty years before to the re- 
form of the Dominican Order in the fifteenth century. 

The farther I pursued the course of the downward trend, 
the more forcibly was I moved to ask in what its precise char- 
acter consisted and how it first declared itself. The answer, 
once the elements common to both tendencies were found, 
was not hard. Both those movements of downfall and of re- 
newal are bound up in our nature, in our baser and in our 
higher part, the antagonism between which St. Paul, in his 
day, described in his Epistle to the Eomans. For, just as in 
individuals, so does this struggle rage in the whole of hu- 

The characteristic note of the decline was to let one's 
self go, a shrinking from all effort, and the actual avowal : "I 
cannot resist." The law was felt to be a burden and a bar- 


rier; above all, the commandment, "non concupisces" — thou 
shalt not covet — seemed impossible to fulfill, and men acted 
accordingly. These principles found expression less in theory 
than in practice. Anyone of this tendency unresistingly gave 
way to his corrupted nature, particularly in the case of the 
commandment just cited, spite of his vows, spite of his sworn 
fidelity to God and his Church. Yet this was not in response 
to a party cry, not out of defiance of the teaching of Christ 
and of the Church, nor by reason of a theory, as with the 
Brethren of the Free Spirit, but out of weakness, in conse- 
quence of occasions not shunned, out of a lack of practical 
Christianity, and by force of habit which had come to be 
second nature. Many a one rallied but often only to relapse. 
In this tendency, self-subdual, self-command, self-discipline 
were almost meaningless words. In the fifteenth century, as 
before it, one finds here and there, now greater now lesser 
ecclesiastical associations, the greater part of many a diocese, 
and not rarely their shepherds included, revealing the marks 

The supporters of the other tendency corresponding to 
man's higher part, are those circles of the clergy, secular and 
regular, who, true to their calling and living in the following 
of Christ, longed to realize a reform of Christianity and 
sought by word, writings and example, at times with all their 
might, to check the decline. And they succeeded here and 
there, but not in general ; on the contrary, the stream against 
which they set themselves took its course undisturbed and 
in many cases but spread the more, so that not once only 
I asked myself: "Can the evil make further headway? 
Where is the end to be?" Still I had to admit to myself that 
the measure of the decline, in the form in which I had it be- 
fore my eyes, was not yet filled. Matters could even become 
worse. Only after the rejection of everything, when every 
dike and restraint has been broken through, and conscience, 

1 An exhaustive account Is to be looked for in its proper place in the 
second volume of this work. In respect to Rhenish dioceses in the first 
half of the XIV cent. cfr. now Sauerland in Urkunden und Regesten zur 
Geschichte der Rheinlande aus dem Vat. Archiv. (Bonn. 1902), I, pp. XVI- 
XIX. See also Landmann, Das Predigtwesen in Westfalen in der letzten 
Zeit des Mittelalters (1900-), p. 193 sqq. 


blunted to the utmost, no longer recognizes evil as such but 
rather lauds it as good, then do we stand at the close of 
the development, then is hope of renewal and reform cut off. 

As a matter of fact, this, at least in the fifteenth century, 
was not yet the case. The evil priest and religious was still 
outwardly in accord with ecclesiastical authority. Of a 
breach on principle there was no question. If France largely, 
even as late as the sixteenth century, rose against the Pope, 
that was less to be freed from the highest ecclesiastical au- 
thority than to find it. Moreover my research did not trouble 
about the politics of the different countries. However much 
an evil priest or religious of that period might neglect to say 
mass, or celebrated it thoughtlessly and unworthily, he did 
not discard it. That did not enter his mind, however guilty 
he may have been of abuse of the sacred function. If he did 
not recite his office, he was nevertheless generally aware that 
he was grievously sinning against a grave obligation. Did 
he keep a concubine or several of them, in behalf of whom 
and their children he made considerate provision in his will 
or otherwise, he was often enough cumbered with scruples of 
conscience. He knew that the vow he made to God was no 
trick of the devil, rather that overstepping it was a sacrilege. 

Of not a few, one reads that they rallied and broke 
off their illicit relation; but oftener, it must be admitted, 
the next occasion brought them to their downfall again. 
"Within me," writes one of these unhappy priests to his 
brother, who was a monk,^ "a constant conflict rages. I 
often resolve to mend my course, but when I get home and 
wife and children come to meet me, my love for them asserts 
itself more mightily than my love for God, and to overcome 
myself becomes impossible to me." Betterment nevertheless 
was never absolutely excluded, for where there is remorse 
of conscience, there is still hope. If a man in this con- 
dition went to confession, it did not, of course, do him any 
good, unless he earnestly resolved to avoid the occasion of 
his sin and to sever his sinful bond; but he was well aware 
that he himself was the culpable one, and he threw no stone 

2 In Cod. lat. Mon. 3332, fol. 1, in Rlezler, Geschichte Bayerns, III, 
844, to be found In the prologue of the printed "Lavacrum Conscientiae." 


at confession. He did not regard his condition as one of serv- 
ing God, but as a life of sin before God and men. He per- 
formed few or no good works, not on principle, or as if these 
were useless to salvation, but rather out of weakness, habit, 
carelessness. The real ground of his conduct was always his 
corrupt nature, to which he gave the reins. Worse than all 
this was the evil example, the benefice hunting, and the neg- 
lect of the care of souls and of instruction. 

Nevertheless this condition was not the fullness of wick- 
edness, although it was far from edifying. It was not a hope- 
less state. It was not believed to be such at the time; for, 
why was there a general clamor for reform, even on the part 
of the fallen clergy, secular and regular, if reform was not 
held to be possible?' The newly arisen religious congrega- 
tions as well as members of the old orders and some bishops, 
from the first decades of the fifteenth century, actually res- 
cued a number of those who had fallen, and even whole so- 
cieties, from the downward sweep to ruin, recalling them to 
peace with God and with their conscience. 

But that was not stemming the tide of the movement. 
"What it lost in one place, as described, it gained in another. 
Such is the picture we have of it at the end of the fifteenth, 
and at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The satires 
of the Italian and German humanists on the degenerate 
clergy of the time did harm instead of good. They did not 
contribute the least towards reform. In their lives the most 
of those writers were themselves even more caught up by 
the movement towards moral decline. It was different, on 
the other hand, with a number of the French humanists, 
like Guy Jouveneaux, Charles Fernand, Jean Raulin. They 
did not the less regret the decline and write against it, but, 
not rarely, they chose a new state of life, the religious state, 
and there effecting their own regeneration, exerted an in- 
fluence upon their contemporaries in and out of their order. 

In the first two decades of the sixteenth century, matters 
had come to such an evil pass in Germany that, in a book, 
"Onus Ecclesiae," bearing the name of Berthold Von Chiem- 

^Of. Job. Rider, De reformatlone religiosorum liber, Parisiis, Jean 
Petit, 1512, II, 9, fol. 53. 


see, there was a complaint that read: "Our whole inclina- 
tion runs to vanity; whatever evil comes to a man's mind, he 
dares perpetrate it Avith impunity" — (c. 40, n. 2) : "tota nostra 
inclinatio ad vanitatem tendit; quidquid mali unicuique in 
mentem. venerit, hoc impune perpetrare audet." The author 
complains that the Church is deformed in her members and 
that clergy and people in Germany are evil, and he fears a 
judgment of God. (Ibid. n. 1 and 3.) That does not say, of 
course that all are bad. Other observers of the time, Geiler 
of Kaisersberg (Cf. L. Dacheux, Un reformateur catholique 
k la fin du XV si^cle, Jean Geiler de Kaysersberg, 1876, p. 
141, sq.), and Wimpfeling (Diatriba lacobi Wimphelingii 
Seletstatini, Hagenaw 1514, c. 11, fol. 9b; Eiegger, "Amoeni- 
tates literarii," Friburg, 1775, p. 280; 364), find in some 
dioceses in Germany, along with the evil, which they frankly 
disclose, not a few exceptions among the clergy and people,* 
as formerly Gerson had already done at the beginning of the 
fifteenth century in France.' Even in the worst period, im- 
partial eye-witnesses point to extant good." But the movement 
of decline was strong, and the book just mentioned speaks 
about it. Those of the clergy belonging to it were largely no 
longer conscious of their state, of their duties, of their task. 
There was a complete lack among them of asceticism and 
moral discipline. In a word, the inner spirit of the move- 
ment and they themselves permitted the worst to be feared. 
Luther, in 1516, a year and a half before the indulgence 
controversy, and so, at a time in which the thought of apos- 
tasy from the Church was quite alien to him, wrote about the 

*A general description of the good and evil at the close of the middle 
ages is given by L. Pastor in Janssens Geschich. des deutschen Volkes, I, 
17 and 18. Ed. (1897) pp. 674-754. 

= 0pp. Gerson., Antwerpiae 1706, II, 632, 634. 

8 Thus e. g., the serious Ehrfurt Augustinian, Bartholomew v. Usingen, 
replying to the calumnies of the preachers, drev7 attention to the many 
good secular priests and the numerous religious then living there. "Ecce 
quot sunt honesti viri sacerdotes per ambo hujus oppidi collegia ecclesi- 
astica, quot denique per parochias et coenobia, quos nebulones isti pessimi 
pessime diffamant, nugacissime conspurcant. Taceo virgines vestales, quas 
moniales vocamus, quae omnes virulentiae et petulantiae censuraeque lin- 
guarum istorum subjici cernuntur." Libellus F. Barthol. de Usingen, De 
merito bonorum operum. Erphurdie 1525, fol, J6. Cf. Paulus, Der Augus- 
tiner Barthol. v. Usingen, p. 58. 


priests and religious in Germany, but, it must be admitted, 
in his pessimism, generalizingly and with exaggeration: "If 
coercion were removed from each and every one, and it were 
left to his choice to observe the fasts, and to carry out his 
prayers, church duties, and divine service, if all this were left 
to his conscience and only the love of God were to be the 
motive of his doing, I believe that, within a year, all the 
churches and altars would be empty. If a mandate were to 
be issued that no priest, except voluntarily, need be wifeless, 
tonsured, and dressed in ecclesiastical garb, and that none 
were obliged to the canonical hours, how many, think you, 
would you still find who would choose the life in which they 
now live? Theirs is a forced service and they seek their 
liberty, when their flesh covets it. I fear that nowadays we 
are all going to perdition.'" 

Only from four to five years later, these words were rea- 
lized in a great number of these priests. From the beginning 
of the third decade of the sixteenth century, the movement of 
decline, at least in Germany, began to part into two 
branches; the one still bore the character of the decadent 
society of the fifteenth century, the other, far stronger, more 
resembles a sewer or a quagmire than a movement, and pre- 
sents a new, peculiar physiognomy. Thenceforward one 
meets troops of runaway religious, and fallen priests at every 
crook and turn. As though in response to some shibboleth, 
they threw overboard everything that up to then had been 
sacred to Christians and themselves. They violated the fidel- 
ity they had sworn to God and His Church, abandoned mon- 
asteries, churches and altars. They vied with each other in 
bringing contempt upon the Mother- Church, the mass, the 
breviary, the confessional, in a word, upon every church 
institution. In sermons, derisive songs, and lampoons, they 
poured their ridicule upon the monks and priests who had 
remained faithful, and assaulted them on the streets and in 
the very churches themselves. In discourses and writings 
they reviled the Pope as Aoiti-christ, and bishops and aU 
serving the Church, as rascals of the devil. 

The vows which they had solemnly promised before God, 

7 Epistle to the Romans, fol. 276b. 


they take to amount to a denial of Christ, wiles of the 
devil, opposed to the Gospel, and therefore they cried down 
as apostates those religious that remained true to God/ The 
concubinage of priests and religious is not characterized as 
concubinage by them, but is rather lauded as valid wedlock 
before God, because nature demands the cohabitation of man 
and woman. Marriage of the clergy, marriage of monks — 
that was the magic expression that was to enable them to 
continue concubinage, though it was held in universal and 
especially popular odium. Marriage sounds better than con- 
cubinage, and therefore it was their concern "that it should 
never involve infamy or danger, but be praiseworthy and 
honorable before the world."* Their supreme maxim runs 
that the instinct of nature is irresistible, it must be gratified. 
Not only is all this a matter of practice, as in the case of the 
concubinaries of the preceding century, or of the other 
groups, but it is preached in sermons and set up as a doc- 

"Scandal be pished!" is now the word; "necessity Imows 
no law and gives no scandal."" "By the vow of chastity, 
man denies that he is a man," is the exhortation given to one 
to lead him to violate his vow. "Cheer up and go at it ! Keep 
God before your eyes, be steady in your faith and turn your 
back to the world with its jolting and scratching and rumb- 
ling! Neither hear nor see how Sodom and Gomorrha sink 
behind us or what becomes of them!"" They are not Sodom, 
but such as are scandalized at their breaking the vows. In 
a blasphemous manner, the very words of the Apostle" are 
applied in favor of the violation of the vow of chastity. "Re- 
ceive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith:^^ In an 
accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation 
have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time, be- 
hold now is the day of salvation."" "It is only a matter of 

sWeim. VIII, 604. 
sWeim. XII, 242. 
ifWeim. XI, 400. 

11 Weim. XII, 243 sq. 

12 2 Cor. 6, 1. 2. 

13 Is. 49, 8. 
"Weim. XII, 244. 


a little hour's shame; thereafter come none but years of 
honor. May Christ give His grace, that these words by His 
Spirit may have life and strength in your heart,"" i. e., to 
stimulate you to break your vow. These are challenges and 
doctrines, not of a concubinary of the old tendency, (he did 
not go to such lengths, in spite of his evil practices) ; they 
rather breathe the spirit of the Brethren of the Free Spirit, 
which such deeply degenerated priests and monks of the 
third decade of the sixteenth century had made their own. 
To such people, the consummated deed was equivalent to a 
dispensation from all vows and promises to God. "One finds 
many a devout pastor," we hear this company declaring," 
"whom none can blame otherwise than that he is weak and 
came to shame with a woman. Yet these two are so disposed 
in the depth of their heart that they would willingly remain 
with each other always, in true conjugal fidelity, if they could 
only do it with a good conscience, even though they would 
have to bear the opprobrium of it publicly. Surely these two 
before God are wedded. If they have quieted their con- 
science, let the pastor take her as his lawful wife, keep her, 
and otherwise live like an honest man, whether the Pope 
will or no that it is contrary to law of spirit or of flesh. As 
soon as one begins the married state against the Pope's 
law, it is all over with that law and it holds no longer; for 
God's commandment, which commands that none can separate 
man and wife, goes far above the Pope's commandment. 
Christ has made us free from all laws, if these are against 
the commandment of God." 

This is the philosophy of the flesh, which has no regard 
for conclusions. Complete emancipation of the flesh is the 
motto of this new group of beings. We have reached the cul- 
mination of the wickedness of the decadent part of the clergy, 
which, like a stream, rolled out of the fifteenth into the six- 
teenth century. We have come to the evil at its worst, which 
the quagmire branch of that stream represents. 

15 De Wette, II, 640. The one who wrote this made the contemptu- 
ous observation only a few years before : "Neiulones proverbio dicunt : 
'Tis an evil hour that is on" — "es 1st umb eine bose stund zu tun." Weim. 
VI, 120, 2, ad an. 1520. 

16 Weim. VI, 442 sq. 


As a matter of fact, can one go farther than that mendi- 
cant monk who, in the beginning of the third decade of the 
sixteenth preached: "As little as it is in my power to cease 
to be a male, so little does it rest with me to be without a 
wife I"" The same monk had once at the altar solemnly taken 
the vow of continence; "but," he continues in his sermon,^' 
"the vow of no monk is of any account before God; priests, 
monks, nuns, are even bound in duty to abandon their vows, 
if they find that they are potent to engender and increase 
God's creatures." It is then, he says repeatedly, that they 
pass from the state of unchastity into that of chastity. To 
wive priests and monks, then, in spite of their vows, was 
looked upon as a work pleasing to God. Could matters have 
become any worse? How favorably, from among these priests 
and religious, does that concubinary stand forth, whose com- 
plaint we heard above, that, unfortunately, he preferred the 
love of the creature to the love of God. Now, for the sake 
of the gratification of the sensual instinct, the very violation 
of the fidelity sworn to God is glorified as an act of divine 

We see a multitude of religious throwing off every check 
and every restraint. Unbounded license is their watch-word. 
Nothing lay farther from them than mortification. "The sub- 
dual of the flesh and tinder of their sins," writes Werstem- 
ius, "they leave to the women."" The vow of chastity seemed 
not only intolerable to them but a downright trick of Satan. 
"He who vows chastity does just the same as one who vows 
adultery or other things forbidden by God,"^° was the saying. 
"The body demands a woman and has need of the same."^^ 
"Chastity is not in our power. All are created for marriage. 
God does not permit that one be alone."^^ In their very 
catechisms "for children and the simple minded," they set 

"Brl. 20, 58. 

18 Ibid. p. 59. 

I'Joannis Werstemii Dalamensis * * * De Purgatorio et aliis qui- 
busdam axiomatis Disputatio longe elegantissima. Coloniae 1528. Fol. 
Diijb; "Isti ut rectius expeditiusque serviant Evangelic, ut toti sint in 
spiritu, carnem suam domandam committunt mulierculis." 

20 Weim. XII, 242. 

21 De Wette, II, 639. 

22 De Wette, II, 637 sq. 


down the teaching that, "by the sixth commandment, the 
vow of all unconjugal chastity is condemned and leave is 
given, and even the command, to all poor consciences in 
bondage, deceived by their monastic vows, to pass from their 
unchaste state (thus was the religious state designated) into 
wedded life."^' And so was the exhortation given: "Dare 
it cheerfully; come out of the wicked and unchristian state 
into the blessed state of marriage ; there will God let Himself 
be found merciful."" 

How did they come to such shocking doctrines? They 
surely did not always teach them? Certainly not. But any- 
one who had already been in the practical movement of de- 
cline — and the main group of the new tendency and view of 
life originated from it— had had a good novitiate to begin 
with. There was need only of a leap or two in advance to 
get into the new current, to be wholly swept into its moral 
quagmire. "Those who belong to this rabble," wrote the 
doughty Franciscan, Augustine Von Alfeld, in 1524, "are full 
mornings and evenings, and little sober meantime, and they 
wallow lilce swine iu lewdness. The ones who were of the 
same pack and of our number, have now absolutely all, God 
be praised, got out of the benefices and monasteries."^^ "God 
has cleaned His threshing floor and winnowed the chaff from 
the wheat," writes shortly afterward the Cistercian, Wolf- 
gang Mayer. ^* With the old concubinary as with the new, 
the maxim of life was the same : Concupiscence cannot be 
dominated, one cannot resist his nature. The old concubi- 
nary, therefore, presently found himself at home in the new 
society. There was no need of his exerting himself to get 
rid of everything. It cost him no pains to let himself go as 
far as the domaiu of corrupted nature reaches. To some 
this was already the object of their desire, and many another 
had only been waiting for a favorable occasion, for patterns 
and examples, which now confronted him in unqualified 

"Erl. 21, 71. 

2* De Wette, II, 675. 

25 Lemmens, Pater Augustin von Alfred, Freiburg 1899, p. 72. 

28 Votorum Monast. Tutor, in Cod. 1. Men. 2886, fol. 35b. 


Meantime there were discovered in that miry branch of 
obduracy and degenerate Christianity elements — they denote 
the second group — ^which formerly were carried along by the 
current of reform. What about these? How did they get 
into the contrary movement, into the branch most diametri- 
cally opposed to reform? The manner of it is the same old 
story. First, it was by carelessness, especially in dangerous 
occasions; in the end, they fell. Concurrently they gave up 
practical Christianity by degrees. They neglected commun- 
ion with God. Prayer, whether liturgical or ordinary — 
meditation had become altogether a thing of the past — and 
confession as well, were a torture to them. And so because 
they Avere powerless and unsupported, they finally fell into 
the lowest part, to speak with Tauler, and they had nothing 
to sustain them against the other temptations assailing 
them at the time, or against the doubts of faith that 
pressed upon them in so desolate a state of soul. Luther 
himself, as early as 1515, had given warning and had fore- 
told them their condition in the words: "If a young person 
no longer has devotion and fervor to God, but gives himself 
a free rein, without caring about God, I hardly believe that 
he is chaste. For, since it is necessary that either the flesh 
or the spirit live, it is also necessary that either the flesh or 
the spirit burn. And there is no more certain victory over 
the flesh than flight and aversion of the heart in devotion. 
For, whilst the spirit is fervent, the flesh will soon die away 
and grow cool, and vice versa.'"'' A golden rule, worthy of a 
father of the Church, a voice that came echoing across from 
the opposite movement of regeneration. But it was no longer 
understood in the least by the profligate priests and monks. 
If one recalled to their minds that they had been able to be 
continent ten and fifteen years and more, and therefore it 
was their own fault that they now felt continency to be 

2T Epistle to the Romans, fol. 93 : Quaecumque persona iuvenis non 
habet devotlonem et igniculum ad Deum, sed Ilbere incedit, sine cura Del, 
vix credo, quod sit casta. Quia cum sit necesse carnem aut spiritum vivere, 
necesse et etiam aut carnem aut spiritum ardere. Bt nulla est potior 
victoria carnalls, quam fuga et averslo cordis per devotlonem eorum. Quia 
fervescente spiritu mox tepescit et frigescit caro, et econtra. 


sometMng impossible,^' and they ought again to h.ave recourse 
to prayer, that world power, begging God's grace, they would 
laugh, while saying : "Pulchre, beautiful ! And what if it is 
not God's will to be prayed to for that? Or what if one 
prays to Him, He does not hearken to the prayer ?"^° They 
even went so far as to assume an air of deep moral earnest- 
ness by disposing of the reference to prayer with the excla- 
mation: "That is the way to jest in matters so serious!"^" 
But as Luther put it," it is easy knowing the rogue who can- 
not hide his knavery. 

It is no wonder, then, that to such as these the lust of 
the flesh, caused by their lack of communion with God, gave 
them much ado. As their spokesman exclaims: "I am in- 
flamed with carnal pleasure, while I ought to be fervent in 
spirit. I am on fire with the great flame of my unbridled 
flesh and sit here in leisure and laziness, neglecting prayer."^'^ 
Some time later, we naturally hear a still more shameless 
admission, which we do not wish to cite a second time.^^ 
Such contemporaries as had their eyes open grasped the con- 
ditions of that time quite correctly. "How many of the 
pious runaway monks and nuns has Your Excellency found," 
writes one prince to another, "who have not become common 
whores and rascals?"" It was these people who read in their 
fleshly lust a God-given sign by which they were called to 
marriage,^^ while at the same time, umnindful of their solemn 
promise made to God, they misused the saying of St. Paul: 

28 Thus, e. g. Barth. de Usingen wrote to an apostate fellow member of 
his Order, John Lang, with whom he had lived in the same monastery: "Sed 
quero a te, si tibi possibilis fuit continentia carnis ad quindecim annos 
in monasterio, cur jam tibi impossibilis sit facta nisi tua culpa?" De falsis 
prophetls * * * Erphurdie, 1525, fol. H. 

28Weim. VIII, 631. 

so Weim. VIII, 631 : "Iste est modus ludendi in rebus tam seriis." 

SI Erl. 43, 335. 

32Enders, III, 189. 

33 Ibid. V, 222. 

3* Letter of Duke Georg of Saxony to Landgrave Philip of Hessen, 11 
March, 1525, in Briefe Georgs. Zeitschr. f. hist. Theol. 1849, p. 175. 

35 Der Briefwechsel des Justus Jonas, ed. Kawerau ; I, 77, is written 
by this priest and professor to John Lang, Nov. 1521 : "Dici nequit quam 
me hie exagitet tentatio carnis. Nescio an Dominus vocet ad ducendam 
uxorem. Hactenus quid carnis ignes sint, nescivi, ut in aurem tibi dicam, 
nam serio cupio ut pro me ardentissime ores * * * Dominus servabit, spero, 


"It is better to marry than to burn.'"* Even as late as 
March, 1520, the words of Luther still rang forth to them: 
"The strongest weapon is prayer and God's word; to wit, 
let a man, when his evil desire stirs, fly to prayer, beseech 
God's grace and help, read and meditate the gospel, and be- 
hold therein Christ's sufferings."" On this latter point, he 
had written in 1519 : "If unchastity and desire assail you, 
remember how bitterly Christ's tender flesh is scourged, 
transpierced, and bruised."^^ 

Those wholly degenerated priests and religious had now 
sunk too deep to be impressed by any such counsels, as, for 
example, in the fifteenth century, John Busch had converted 
not a few concubinaries by his admonitions to them to be 
zealous for prayer and seriously to enter into themselves. 
But the reform movement in the sixteenth century accom- 
plished incomparably more with that group of evil ecclesias- 
tics that had not given in to self-induration. These did not 
fetch up in the quagmire state, but in a renewal of spirit, 
which, with its way first paved by the Council of Trent and 
continued by new associations, was effectuated in a countless 
number. Not in all, it is true; for, along with the good, 
there were always bad, and sometimes very bad priests in the 
Church, as there will always be to the end, who in nothing 
were behind the old concubinaries, and sometimes the new.^° 
But this was not in consequence of the teaching of their 
leaders, as in the case of the latter. With these the course 
ran counter to their faith. 

Quod in me peccatore misserimo plantavit * * ♦ concerpe literas et 
perde." A few weeks later he wrote to the same, after mentioning that a 
number of priests had married: "Quid mihi faciendum putas? — quod tamen 
mi frater celabis — diaboli casses et catenas, quibus non in secretis cubiculis, 
nocturnis illusionibus, cogitationibus spurcissimis captives et saucios duxit, 
perrumpere et turn in aliis tum forsan etiam in me ostendere, quam cupiam 
extinctam diabolicam hypocrisin? Tu era Dominum, ut det sacerdotibus 
uxores Christianas." I, 83. 

38 1 Cor. 7, 9. 

3'W^elm. VI, 209. 

88Weim II, 141. 

88 Attention is here advisedly directed to A. Kluckhohn, "Urkundllche 
Beitrage zur Geschichte der Kirchlichen Zustande, insbesondere des sittlichen 
Lebens der Katholischen Geistlichen in der Diocese Konstanz wahrend des 16. 
Jahrhunderts" In Zeitschrlft f. Kirchengesch, XVI, 590 sqq. Kluckhohn'a 
conclusions are founded on prejudice. 


In the new order, tlie worst representative, writing to 
an archbishop to urge him to marry, rose to words that would 
have made even the greatest profligate of the fifteenth cen- 
tury shake his head: "It is terrible, if a man were to be 
found at death without a wife, at least, if he had not had an 
earnest intention and purpose of entering upon marriage. 
For, what will he answer, if God asks him: 'I made you a 
man, who should not be alone but should have a Avife. Where 
is your wife?' "*° "Behold, how the devil swindles and hum- 
bugs you, teaching you so preposterous a thing !"*^ might well 
an old concubinary have exclaimed to him. Besides, up to 
that time there had only a baptism of desire been spoken 
of; now the plan of things is to be enlarged with a '^marriage 
of desire." This is quite logical. In the practice of that 
school, the saying of Holy Writ, "The just man lives by 
faith,"*^ has apparently the hidden sense, "the just man lives 
with a wife," for, "it is not God's will that there be any living 
outside of marriage." "Of necessity must a man cleave to a 
wife and a wife to a man, unless God work a wonder."*^ 

Matters came to so scandalous a pass that those elements 
of the party — the third group — who, led astray by the delu- 
sive notion that their leader would effect the long desired re- 
form and the correction of abuses, had suffered themselves 
at first to be swei)t along by the current, now gradually came 
to know they were in a Sodom and therefore, in great part, 
they abandoned the movement, either to go back to the 
Mother-Church or to pursue a way of their OAvn. Others 
however — they are the fourth category — the rationalists and 
free-thinkers, mostly laics, persevered in their class, despite 
the dissolute phenomena described. To be out of the Church, 
they were willing to let everything, more or less, be included 
in the bargain. They were even the authors of the creed- 
forms of the party. 

Nevertheless those runaway monks and fallen priests, 
who had annihilated their own and other's decency, modesty, 
and honor, had the effrontery to come forward as preachers 

*o De Wette, II, 676. 
*iErl. 25, 371. 
"Kom. I, 17. 
*3 Weim. XII, 113 sq. 


of morality, even to call themselves the Evangelicals and, by 
their malevolent exaggeration of the evil condition of the 
Church, to cover their own infamy. Luther himself, some 
years earlier, had already said: "Heretics cannot themselves 
appear good unless they depict the Church as evil, false, and 
mendacious. They alone wish to be esteemed as the good, 
but the Church must be made to appear evil in every re- 
spect."" "They close their eyes to the good," said St. Augus- 
tine*^ in his day, "and exaggerate only the evil, real or imag- 
ined." And with it all they adopted, as usual, a dissolute 
fashion such as had never in earlier days been seen, not even 
in the most demoralized period of the schism — a fashion that 
was in vogue perhaps only among the lowest dregs of the 
people. Their conversation as well became like a sewer. I 
will spare the reader any examples. In the course of this 
work there will often enough be occasion to speak of them. 

In all truth, Luther was right when he concluded his 
opinion of the priests and monks of his time with the words : 
"I fear Ave are all going to perdition." He knew whither 
their instincts were tending. He had reason to fear that the 
current of decline, or its greater part, had sooner or later 
to empty into a deep sewer. There was no more rescue 
then, for, "the wicked man, when he is come into the depth 
of sins, contemneth."*" Should ever a religious sin out of 
contempt, such is the teaching of St. Thomas, he becomes the 
very worst and most incorrigible at the same time.*' 

What would Luther have said, if, in 1516, he had fore- 
seen what came to pass only a few years later — those wholly 
debased priests and religious, as if their own infidelity to 
God were not enough, co-operating with laics in tearing con- 
secrated virgins from their cloisters, after they had first cor- 
rupted them with their surreptitious writings, and simply 
forcing them into the violation of their vows and into mar- 

<* Dictata in Psalterium. Weim. Ill, 445. Cf. also IV, 363. 

*= Enarr. in Ps. 99, n. 12. He speaks of those who are in the religious 
state: "Qui vituperare volunt, tarn Invido animo et perverso vituperant, ut 
claudant oculos adversus bona, et sola mala quae ibi vel sunt vel putantur 

"Proverbs, 18, 3. 

*^ 2. 2. qu. 186. a. 10, ad 3 : "Beligiosus peccans ex contemptu fit pessimus, 
et maxime IncorrlgiblUs." Cf. S. Bernardus, De praecepto et dlspens., c. 8. 


riage? How lie would have inveiglied against tliem as lecter- 
ous lieathens, barbarians, because anything like their conduct 
had till then been known only of the barbarians. It may 
occasionally have happened in the fifteenth century, as Nider 
informs us, that concubinaries, from their pulpits, exalted 
the married state above that of virginity, and kept many a 
maiden from entering the convent. That nuns were dishon- 
ored Avithin their convent walls had no doubt occurred more 
than once. But to ravish them from their convents, at times 
even crowds of them, was an achievement reserved to the con- 
cubinaries of the third decade of the sixteenth century. They 
glorified the nuns' violation of their vows and forsaldng their 
convents as nothing less than a divine action, for out of their 
midst came the book: "The Eeason and a Reply, Why 
Maidens May With Godliness Forsake Their Convents."*' 
It was for their own wiving that they wanted inviolate vir- 
gins. They believed they could find them in convents of 
women, although publicly they spoke all evil of them. Once 
the deed was done, they perpetrated the unheard of; they 
began a kind of traffic in profaned nuns, and did nothing 
less than put them up for sale. "Nine have come to us," 
writes one of the fallen priests to another; "they are beauti- 
ful, genteel, and all of the nobility, and among them I find 
not one half-centenarian. The oldest, my dear brother, I 
have set aside for you to be your partner in marriage. But 
if you desire a younger, you shall have your choice of the 
most beautiful ones."*° This is not unlikely the acme of the 
movement of decline and fall. 

If, for the sake of carnal lust, the monastic vows were 
thus treated, and the violation of them was set forth as a 
work pleasing to God, it is evident that the storm would 
also put the indissolubility of marriage to the test and that 
adultery would no longer be considered a sin and a shame. 
And so it proved. Gates and doors were thrown open to 
adulterers, so that, as early as 1525, the complaint which 
was directed to the spokesman of that debased crowd, is 

*8 Ursache und Antwort, dass Jungfrauen Kloster gottlich verlassen 
mSgen," Weim. XI, 394 sqq. 

*BThus Amsdorf cited by Kolde, Analecta Lutherana (1883) p. 442. 


urged upon one's ears : "When did ever more adulteries take 
place than since you wrote? If a woman cannot get preg- 
nant by her husband, she is to go to another and breed off- 
spring, which the husband would have to feed. And the same 
was done by the man in his turn.'"" One of the fallen crowd 
himself uttered a cry of distress to a fellow apostate: "By 
the immortal God, what whoredom and adulteries we have to 
witness together !"" The new teachers likewise carried on as 
madly as possible — did it in their very sermons. In one of 
these, the spokesman instructs his hearers on the married life 
as follows : "One easily finds a stiff-necked woman, who carries 
her head high, and though her husband should ten times fall 
into unchastity, she raises no question about it. Then it is 
time for the husband to say to her: 'If you don't want to, 
another does;' if the wife is unwilling, let the servant-girl 
come. If the wife is then still unwilling, have done with 
her; let an Esther be given you and Vashti go her way."^^ 
Quite logical : marriage under some conditions demands con- 
tinency no less than does the religious state. The underlying 
Epicurean principle of this tendency was, that continency 
was an impossible requirement, that there is no resisting 
the instinct of passion, and that resistance is even a kind 
of revolt against the disposition of God. Is it any wonder 
that precisely the one who had flung all these doctrines 
broadcast upon the world, after a few years, reviewing his 
whole society, had to admit that "libidinousness cannot be 

50 Letter of Duke George of Saxony, Enders, V, 289, and its note, 13, 
where the authority for the words addressed to the spokesman is cited. 

=1 Billicanus to Urban Rhegius, in Rass, Convertitentibilder, I, 56. Even 
a Nikolaus Manuel, about 1528, had to confess: 

"Vil gitigkeit und huerery 

Grosz schand und laster, biiebery 
Fressen, sufen und gotteslesterung 

Tribend ietzund alt und iung." 

Ehebruch ist ietzund so gemein 
Niemants sins wibs gelebt allein." 

In J. Baechtold, Nlklaus Manuel (1878). p. 245, (line 255-262). 
"Erl. 20, 72. 


cured by anything, not even by marriage ; for the greater part 
of tbe married live in adultery"?" 

From sucb a state of affairs, it was only a step farther 
to polygamy. Several of these apostles of the flesh did go 
to that length, inasmuch as, faithful to their principles, they 
allowed, at times, two and three wives. Some, indeed, of 
these fallen priests and monks themselves had several women 
at the same time. Later it was their own leader who ac- 
counted polygamy among the ultimate and highest things of 
Christian liberty; he would not forbid "that one take more 
wives than one, for," he says, "it is not contrary to Holy 
Writ." "Only to avoid scandal and for the sake of decency 
one should not do it."" 

After these apostles of the flesh had wallowed to their 
satisfaction in the slime of sensuality, then it was that they 
seemed to themselves to be the worthiest of forgiveness of 
sins. For sins were not to be little things or mere gewgaws, 
but good big round affairs. And how was forgiveness to be 
obtained? In confession? Oh no! The meaning of Catho- 
lic confession, contrition, purpose of amendment, and pen- 
ance had been lost upon the holders of such views. To them 
confession was a torture even greater than prayer. They 
had found a simpler means of seeing clearly through every 
obstacle — simple fiducial reliance upon Christ. "Is that not 
good tidings," their father taught, "if one is full of sins and 

^2 The passage is offensive and therefore, in tlie German, I do not give it 
in full. It is to be found in 0pp. Eseg. lat, I, 212, in Genes, c. 3, 7. In 
1536, the Reformer taught the following: "An non sentiemus tandem, quam 
foeda et horribilis res sit peccatum? Si quidem sola libido nuUo remedio 
potest curari, ne quidem conjugio, quod divinitus inflrmae naturae pro 
remedio ordinatum est. Major enim pars conjugatorum vivit in adulteriis, 
et canit de conjuge notum versiculum : nee tecum possum vivere, nee sine te. 
Haec horribilis turpltudo oritur ex honestissima et praestantissima parte 
corporis nostri. Praestantissimam appello propter opus generationis, quod 
praestantissimum est, si quidem conservat speciem. Per peccatum itaque 
utilissima membra turpissima facta sunt." With this cf. out of the year 
153.5, in c. 5 ad Gal III, 11 (Ed. Irmischer) : "Quisquis hie (loquar jam cum 
piis conjugibus utriusque sesus) diligenter exploret seipsum, turn proculdubio 
inveniet sibi magis placere formam seu mores alterius uxoris quam suae 
(et econtra). Concessam mulierem fastidit, negatam amat." Therefore 
even the "Pii"? 

5* M. Lenz. Briefwechsel Landgraf Philipp's des Groszmiitigen von 
Hessen mit Bucer, I, 342. sq. Note p. farther down. 


the gospel comes and says: 'only have confidence and be- 
lieve / and tliy sins are tlien all forgiven tliee? With this 
stop pulled out, the sins are already forgiven, there is no 
longer need of waiting.'"' 

The concubinaries of the fifteenth century had not pulled 
out this stop. The word of that same man had not yet forced 
its way to them : "Be a sinner and sin stoutly, but trust in 
Christ much more firmly, and rejoice in Him who is a con- 
queror of sin, of death, and of the world. Do not by any 
means imagine that this life is an abode of justice; sin must 
and will be. Let it suffice thee that thou acknowledgest the 
Lamb which bears the sins of the world ; then can sin not tear 
thee from Him, even shouldst thou practice whoredom a 
thousand times a day or deal just as many death blows.'"® 
Had the concubinaries of the fifteenth century heard this 
utterance, I believe that their iniquity would have reached 
its full measure then instead of in the sixteenth century. If 
religion dwindles down to mere trust, and if the ethical 
task, the moral striving, of the individual is neglected, or 
rather forbidden, the result can be only the ruin of all mor- 

What, indeed, could give greater encouragement to one 
to sin stoutly, to persevere unscrupulously in concubinage, 
that is, in wild wedlock, and thus finally to go down into 
the abyss beyond redemption, than the teaching: Why seek- 
est thou to exert thyself? It is not in thy power to fulfill 
the command: thou shalt not covet; in thy stead Christ has 
already fulfilled it as He has the rest of the commandments. 
If thou place thy trust in Him, all thy sins pass over upon 
Him. He is then truly the Lamb which beareth the sins of 
the world. Thou bearest them no longer. "Christ became 
the cover-shame of us all."" "The game is already won; 
Christ, the victor, has achieved all, so that it is not for us to 
add anything thereto, either to blot out sin, or to smite the 
devil, or to vanquish death; all these have already been 
brought under ;"^' for, "who believes that Christ has taken 

55ErI. 18, 260. 
58 Enders, III, 208. 
5'De Wette, II, 639. 
58Brl. 50, 151 sq. 


away sin, lie is witliout sin like Christ.'"' "True piety, that 
avails before God, consists in alien works, not in one's own."°° 
Is not this truly a laying waste of religion and of the sim- 
plest morality, to use the words of Harnack;" a religion 
which conduces to moral beggary and rags, to avail myself 
of an expression by W. Hermanns, Professor at Marburg,^^ 
or rather is it not moral raggedness itself? Who will be sur- 
prised, then, if these so-called Evangelical teachers and 
preachers pointed to activity in good works as a pretence of 
holiness, and, gradually, as a hindrance to everlasting blessed- 
ness? If they preached that "to sleep and do nothing is the 
work of a Christian,"^^ if they made a mockery of all pious 
priests, religious, and lay-people, and stopped not at con- 
demning them, only because they wrought good works, could 
these preceptors still be called even "mongrel Christians?""* 
No, for that would still have been their encomium, that they 
were the refuse of humanity. It was not possible to go 
any farther. 

The crown upon all, however, is the fact that these crea- 
tures eventually came to pose as saints, worthy of occupying 
the places of Saints Peter and Paul in heaven. The con- 
cubinaries of the fifteenth century, far from honoring them- 
selves as saints, were conscious of their sins and of their 
guilt, Itnowing there was no prospect of heaven as a reward 
in their case. The far bolder kindred spirits of the sixteenth 
century, on the other hand, spite of the fact that they also 
confessed themselves sinners, but on other grounds of course, 
taught through the mouth of the principal of their school"' 
that "we are all saints, and cursed be he who does not call 
himself a saint and glorify himself as such. Such glorying 
is not pride, but humility and thankfulness. For, provided 
thou believest these words: 'I ascend to my Father and to 
your Father,' thou art just as much a saint as St. Peter and 

59Erl. 11, 218. 
6» Erl. 15, 60. 

81 Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschlchte, 3 Ed., Ill, p. 528, note. 
02 Romische und Evangelische Sittllchkeit, 2 Ed. 1901, p. 50. 
esweim. IX 407. 

«* One of Harnack's favorite expressions, e.g., op. cit., p. 537, note 2, 
Das Monchtnm, seine Ideale und seine Geschichte. 5 ed., p. 16. 
»= Erl. 17, 96 sqq. 


all the other saints. Eeason : Christ surely will not lie when 
he says : "and to your Father and God." In this "your," 
those profligate priests and monks felt themselves included. 
The temerity of their view, to be sure, was not lost upon 
them. The passage quoted continues: "I am still studying 
the question, for it is hard that a sinner should say: 'I 
have a seat in heaven near St. Peter.' " But the conclusion 
reads: "For all that, we must praise and glorify this sanc- 
tity. Then it will mean the golden brotherhood.""* 

In a word, the entire concubinage of the fifteenth cen- 
tury and its congeneric continuation in the sixteenth, with 
all its abominations, pale before the doings and the teachings 
of the fallen priests and monks who, in the third decade of 
the sixteenth century, had branched off from the old move- 
ment. "Monasticism now truly lies stretched out on the 
ground" writes Erasmus, who certainly was not less than 
edified by the earlier condition, "but if the monks had only 
put off their vices with their cowls f" * * * "it seems to 
me there is a new kind of monks arising, much more wicked 
than the former, bad as these were. It is folly to substitute 
evil for evil, but it is madness to exchange the bad for even 
worse."*' This, according to Luther, is what heretics do gen- 
erally. "They exchange the evils in the Church for others 
greater. Often we are unwilling to tolerate a trivial evil 
and we provoke a greater one."*^ Like many others, Pirk- 
heimer, who once had even joined the movement, wrote shortly 
before his death : "We hoped that Eomish knavery, the same 
as the rascality of the monks and priests, would be cor- 
rected; but, as is to be perceived, the matter has become 
worse to such a degree that the Evangelical knaves make the 
other knaves pious,"*" that is, the others still appear pious 
in comparison with the new unbridled preachers of liberty. 
But did not the father of the new movement himself acknowl- 

68 Ibid. 

87 Letter of the year 1529, in 0pp. Erasmi, Lugd. Batav. 1706, t. x. 1579. 

88 "Heretici mutant mala ecclesia maioribus malis ; sepe malum parvum 
ferre nolumus et maius provocamus, sicut vitare cliaribdim, etc." Thiele, 
Luther's Sprichwortersammlung, (p. 24, 410). 

89 Letter of Wlllibald Pirliheimer, 1527, in Heumann, Documenta literaria, 
Altdorfii, 1758, p. 59. 


edge tliat "our (people) are now seven times worse than they 
ever were before. We steal, lie, cheat, cram, and swill and 
commit all manner of vices.'"" "We Germans are now the 
laughing-stock and the shame of all the countries, they hold 
us as shameful, nasty swine."" The same one that said this 
regrets to have been born a German, to have written and 
spoken German, and longs to fly from there, that he may not 
witness God's judgment breaking over Germany." 

Finally, there is this also, in which the new current is 
distinguished from the old — its elements were united among 
themselves, they formed an exclusive, and therefore a so much 
the more dangerous society, whose members were dominated 
by the same ideas. Then it was necessary that this society 
should also have borne a name — anonymous societies were un- 
known in those days. What was the name of the association 
of fallen priests and religious, into which the stream of 
decline and moral corruption emptied? In the beginning, it 
was the Luther sect, the Lutherans," and soon Lutherism or 
Lutherdom. Luther sect? Lutherdom? Impossible! A 
Luther sect, a Lutherdom without Luther is inconceivable. 
This great mendicant friar and savant, whom we heard, in 
1515 and 1516, expressing principles sprung from the con- 
trary movement of reform which had accompanied the evil 
branch into the sixteenth century — ^he surely could not give 
his name to such a crew! 

And yet so it was. He was the precentor in that so- 
ciety. To his parole it firmly pinned itself. It set up those 
doctrines, which seemed, indeed, to snatch its members from 
the current of decline, but only to bear them into irretriev- 
able ruin. Luther, wrote Schenkfeld to the Duke of Liegnitz, 
has let loose a lot of mad, insane fellows, who lay in chains. 
It would have been better for them as well as for the common 
good, had he let them stay in chains, since now, in their 

'"Erl. 36, 411. 

"Erl. 8, 295. 

TzErl. 20, 43. 

" Thus from as early as 1519, In the tract : ArticuU per fratres Minores 
de observantia propositi reverendissimo Episcopo Brandenburgen. contra 
Lutheranos. * * * Prater Bernhardus Dappen, Ord. Minorum. This 
tract of six pages Is of the year 1519. 


madness, they have done more harm than they did before 
or could do.'* In regard to his first runaway confreres and 
own messmates, Luther himself had to confess as early as 
1522 : "I see that many of our monks have abandoned the 
monastery for no other reason than that for which they 
entered, for the sake of their belly and of carnal liberty, 
and through them Satan will cause a great stink against the 
good odor of our word.'"^ But nevertheless he accepted them 
as his first apostles. 

Yes, truly, Luther's teachings were their inspiration. 
They lived, acted, and preached in accordance with them. 
Luther was the author of the above assembled texts for the 
violation of the vows, the wiving of priests and monks. 
He put the words on the prohibition of the vow of chastity 
into the large catechism. He set up the principle that God 
imposed an impossible thing upon us, that the (sexual) 
instinct of nature cannot be resisted, that it must be satis- 
fied. He depicted himself as burning with carnal concupis- 
cence, although some years before he had condemned it 
and discovered its genesis in the lack of communion with 
God ; he admitted that his own fervor of spirit was decreasing 
and that he was neglecting prayer. As his teachings were 
depopulating the monasteries, so he himself furnished the 
incentive to the abduction of the consecrated virgias, the 
perpetrator being called by him a "blessed robber," and com- 
pared with Christ, who robbed the prince of the world of 
what was his." He took one of the abducted nuns, put up 
for sale, as a witness of his gospel, as his concubine, and 
called her his wife. He severed the bonds of marriage and 
destroyed its indissolubility by his theory, which in practice 
found expression in the whoredoms and adulteries so bit- 
terly complained of. He did not forbid the taking of several 

''* In Weyermann, Neue hist, biograph. artist. Nachricliten von Gelehr- 
ten Kiinstlern * * * aus der vorm. Reichstadt tJlm. 1829, p. 519 seq. 

" Bnders, III, 323, of Mch. 28, 1522. 

■^8 Weira. IX, 394 sq. The rape and abduction of the consecrated nuns 
was carried out by the burgher Koppe in the night of Holy Saturday, 1523. 
Luther carried his blasphemy so far, that he wrote to the abductor: "Like 
Christ you have also led these poor souls out of the prison of human tyranny 
at just the appropriate time of Easter, when Christ led captive the captivity 
of His own." 


wives and declared that polygamy was not strictly opposed 
to the word of God." As a panacea for all sin, he prescribed 
only trust in Christ's forgiveness, without requiring love. 
He condemned the contrition, confession, and penance of the 
Catholic Church, reviled the Pope as Anti-christ, rejected the 
priesthood, the mass, the religious state and every good 
work. It was his teaching that good works, even at their best, 
are sins, and even that a just man sins in all good works. 
As he had imposed sin upon Christ, so also did he put the 
fulfillment of our prayers upon Him. And with all of that, 
he extols himself as a saint, and presumes, if he did not do 
so, he would be blaspheming Christ. If ever a doctrine had 
to lead to the acme of wickedness, it was such a one as this. 
It is not to be wondered at, that more than elsewhere, this 
became manifest to all eyes at Wittenberg, Luther's residence. 
As early as 1524, a former Wittenberg student, the Eotten- 
burg German grammarian, Valentine Ickelsamer, wrote to 
Luther : "What Rome had to hear for a long time, we say of 
you : 'The nearer to Wittenberg, the worse the Chris- 
tians.' '"' Luther's teaching brought the current of decline 
down to a state which he himself recognized and openly pro- 
claimed to be far worse than that under the Papacy. Of this 
he could make no concealment, for the facts spoke too loudly, 
no matter what ridiculous pretensions he might allege in ex- 
planation or extenuation of them. 

Not once merely,^' but often he says that his Lutherans 
were seven times worse than before. "There was indeed one 
devil driven out of us, but now seven of them more wicked 

'^Thus as early as the beginning of 1.524 (Enders IV, 283) and in 1527. 
"It is not forMdden tiiat a man miglit liave no more than one wife; I could 
not at present prohibit it, but I would not wish to advise it." (Weim. XXIV, 
305.) Similarly in 1528, 0pp. var. arg., IV, 368, and later. Finally he also 
advised it. See below, I Book, section 1, in the sixth chapter (on Philip 
of Hesse's bigamic marriage). In this case, Luther and his associates were 
in accord with the Old Testament ; but when the Old Testament annoyed 
them, it was despised, Moses was even stoned, but of this there will be more 
in the course of our work. 

'8 Klag Etlicher Briider an alle Christen. Bl. A4 ; and in Jager, Andreas 
Bodenstein von Karlstadt (1856) p. 488. Further details will be given below. 

79 See above p. 22, notes 70, 71, 72. Of. besides the close of the first 


have gone into us."*° Even in 1523, lie had to acknowledge 
that he and his followers were become worse than they had 
been formerly/^ This he later repeats. "The world by this 
teaching becomes only the worse, the longer it exists; that is 
the work and business of the malign devil. As one sees, the 
people are more avaricious, less merciful, more immodest, 
bolder and worse than before under the Papacy."^^ He per- 
ceived that "wickedness and wanton license are increasing 
with excessive swiftness," and this indeed, "in all states," so 
that "the people are all becoming devils," but he meant knav- 
ish, "only to spite our teaching!"*^ "Avarice, usury, im- 
modesty, gluttony, cursing, lying, cheating are abroad in all 
their might,"" yes, more than of old under the Papacy; such 
disordered conduct on the part of almost everybody, causes 
gossip about the gospel and the preachers, it being said: "if 
this teaching were right, the people would be more devout."*' 
"Therefore it is that every one now complains that the gospel 
causes much unrest, bickering and disordered conduct, and, 
since it has come up, everything is worse than ever before," 
etc.*° Despite his assurance that his teaching was the genu- 
ine gospel, he still had to acknowledge that "the people op- 
posed it so shamefully that the more it is preached, the worse 
they become and the weaker our faith is."*' He and his fol- 
lowers with their preaching, he says, cannot do so much as 
make a single home pious f^ on the contrary, "if one had now 
to baptize the adults and the old, I think it probable that not 
a tenth of them would let themselves be baptized."*^ 

soErl. 36, 411. 

siWeim XI, 190. 

82Erl. 1, 14. 

83 Erl. 45, 198 sq. Note the further course of this work. 

8^ Or. as he says Erl. 3, 132 sq. : "Anger, Impatience, avarice, care of the 
belly, concupiscence, immodesty, hatred and solicitude for other vices are 
great, abominable mortal sins, which are everywhere abroad in the world with 
might and increasing rampantly." 

85 Erl. 1, 192. Also 0pp. Exeg. lat, V, 37. 

86 Erl. 43, 63. 

8' Erl. 17, 235 sq. 

88 Erl. 3, 141. 

89 Erl. 23, 163 sq. in the year 1530, therefore at the time of the drawing 
up of the creed (Bekenntnisschrift). 


Apart from Erasmus and Pirkheimer,"" others no, less 
impartial than Luther also pronounced the same judgment. 
The blustering apostate Franciscan, Henry Von Kettenbach, 
in 1525, preached: "Many people now act as if all sins and 
wickedness were permitted, as if there were no hell, no devil, 
no God, and they are more evil than they have ever been, and 
still wish to be good Evangelicals.""^ Another fallen Fran- 
ciscan, Eberlin Von Gtinzburg wrote similarly that the Evan- 
gelicals, in their riotous living, since they became free from 
the Pope, were become "doubly worse than the Papists, yes, 
worse than Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom.""^ If, according to the 
admission of Luther himself and his followers the moral con- 
dition of Lutheranism was far worse than that under the 
Papacy, the blacker the epoch before Luther is painted, the 
blacker must Lutherdom appear. 

The condition was indeed such that, as early as 1527, 
Luther expressed a doubt whether he would have begun, had 
he foreseen all the great scandals and disorders."^" "Yes, who 
would have wanted to begin preaching," said he eleven years 
later, "had we known beforehand that so much misfortune, 
factiousness, scandal, calumny, ingratitude and wickedness 
were to follow. But now that we are in it, we have to pay 
for it.""" 

His complaints refer to Germany, which, however has de- 
clined into this sad state in consequence "of his evangel." 
Apostasy from Church and Pope led the Germans only into a 
cumulation of sins and into carnal license. "We Germans," 
writes Luther in 1532, "sin and are the servants of sin ; we live 
in carnal lusts and stoutly use our license up over our ears. 
We wish to do what we like and what does the devil a service, 
and we wish to be free to do only just what we want. Few are 
they who remember the true problem of how they may be free 
from sin. They are well content to have been rid of the 
Pope, officials, and from other laws, but they do not think 

»°See above p. (19). 

»iN. Paulus, in Kaspar Schatzgeyer (1898) p. 56, Note, 1. 
»2A. Riggenbach, Joh. Eberlin v. GUnzburg (1874) p. 242. Otlier quo- 
tations occur in tlie course of the work. 
02a weim. XX, 674. 
93 Erl. 50, 74. 


on how they may serve Christ and become free from sin. 
Therefore will it come to pass that we shall not stay in the 
house, as servants do not stay in always, but we shall have 
to be cast out and lose again the gospel and liberty.'"* It is 
no wonder, then, that the Eeformer regretted ha^ong been 
born a German and lamented: "Should one now depict Ger- 
many, he would have to paint her like a sow.'"'^ He has now 
himself reached a sense of the corruption and, had his all too 
weak better self got the upper hand, he would yet have "coun- 
seled and helped that the Pope, with all his abominations, 
might come to be over us again."'^ He could now experience 
in his own life what he had once said : "When the great and 
the best begin to fall, they afterwards become the worst.""^ 

Luther, in fact, was not always thus. He was not only 
gifted, in many respects very gifted, but, at one time, he had 
the moral renewal of the Church at heart. He belonged to 
the reform party, even though it was not as Gerson did a 
century before. He followed the current which had been 
opposed to the one upon which he now set the seal of con- 
summation. Like many of his contemporaries, he had lived 
as an upright religious; at least there was a time in which 
he displayed moral earnestness. It is certain that he re- 
gretted the downward moving tendency, that he preached 
against it and, to speak in his own language, he "called a 
spade a spade" — nahm "Kein Blatt fur's Maul."^^ For, in that 
period of his life, Luther was the last one, using his expres- 
son again, "to let cobwebs grow over his mouth."^^ He spared 
no one, either high or low, in that current. How, then, did 
he get into the counter-flowing waters? How did he happen 
to become the formal inspirer and spiritus rector of the worst 
arm of that current? The solution of this problem, which is 

** Erl. 48, 389. Even In 1529, he had voiced similar sentiments. "No 
one fears God, everything is mischievous * * * Each one lives according 
to his will, cheats and swindles the other," etc. Erl. 36, 300. 

»5Erl. 8, 294. 

88 Erl. 20, 43. 

»'Erl. 8, 293. 

S8 Erl. 43, 9 and often. 

M Erl. 42, 238. 


• « 

also at the same time to explain, verify, and throw a stronger 
light upon what has already been said, will appear in the 
course of this work. 

As is evident from the foregoing, I did not, in my re- 
searches, first meet Luther in his individual figure, in his own 
proper appearance as such, but in the Lutherdom named af- 
ter him. That was quite in keeping with the course of my 
investigation, which, starting from the decline of a portion 
of the secular and regular clergy of the fifteenth century, 
aimed to follow their fall to its conclusion. That object at- 
tained, the question — at what point did Luther and the move- 
ment underlying my research meet? — naturally occurred to 
me earlier than the other of Luther's individual development, 
about which in the beginning I had not thought at all. After 
I had discovered Luther in the midst of that company of the 
third decade, I could no longer keep out of his way, and I 
undertook to study him himself from that time back to his 
first studies, to the beginning of his first professional activity. 
It was only then, by way of checking my results, that I first 
entered upon the reversed course and followed him, year by 
year, in the process of the unfolding of his being. My chief 
aim was centered on ascertaining that point from which 
Luther is to fee understood, to find that unknown thing that 
slowly pushed him off into the current of decline, and finally 
made him the creator and the spokesman of that company 
which represented the decline in its full measure. In this 
wise, no doubt, we can be certain of the approval of that 
modern school which, in the face of environing social tenden- 
cies, whose agents and symptoms individualities are, pushes 
single personages into the background. The milieu in which 
Luther was finally found was not only created by him, but it 
also exercised a reacting influence upon him. 

For the Luther study, my sources were only Luther's 
writings. In the beginning, I made no use of the expositions 
of Luther's life and teachings. These I took up only after 
my own results were firmly established. 

The plan of the work, which did not seem clear to some, 
has been appended in analytical detail to the preface above. 



Critical Examination of Protestant 

Luther-Researchers and 



Section First 

LuTHER^s Treatise and Doctrine on the Monastic Vows 
By way of Introduction. 

Of enormous significance is that book of Luther's wMch 
dispeopled the monasteries of Germany, which Luther himself 
regarded as his best and as unrefuted, Melanchthon as a highly 
learned work, namely, "De votis monasticis Iitdicium — " "Opin- 
ion on the Monastic Vows," of the end of 1521. It had been pre- 
ceded in September, October, by themes or theses on the same 
subject (Weim. VIII, 323 sqq.), and by a sermon (Erl. 10, 332 
sqq. ) . In the Lutheran "Church," this book or opinion enjoyed 
an authority that raised it far above a mere private work. Ac- 
cording to Kawerau, it belongs, in contents and successful re- 
sult, to the most important writings that proceeded from 
Luther's pen. It forms the basis of Luther's discussions else- 
where on the same subject. Melanchthon himself, Lang, Linck, 
and others made use of it and took excerpts from it. In the very 
beginning, it was twice translated into German, by Justus 
Jonas and Leo Jud. Kawerau undertook, in collaboration 
with Licentiate and Instructor in Theology N. Mtiller, to re- 
edit the work in the eighth volume, pp. 573-669, of the critical 
complete edition. Few of Luther's other writings offered an 
editor the wide field this one did, in which to prove what he 
could accomplish. Its publication did not even expose him to 
the danger of getting out something long knovsoi and hackneyed, 
for, in respect to this writing, Protestant theologians and 
Luther biographers had not as yet achieved anything scientific. 
On the contrary, up to the present day, they blindly and a 
priori accept what Luther there lays down. They note no fal- 
lacy, no error, rather do they discover in it "a theologically 
acute conception." What Luther sets forth as Catholic doc- 
trine, is such to them. The conclusions he then draws there- 
from, are likewise theirs. 

It was the conscientious duty of a critical editor to achieve 
more in this writing of Luther's than in others, and here and 


there to call attention to Luther's tactics, that his readers' eyes 
might be opened. Did Kawerau do this? In the introduction, 
to be sure, he did good work bibliographically. In the work 
itself, too, he displays an endeavor to do justice to scientific 
requirements. But it is immediately observed that this latter 
takes place only where it Avas easy. The thing that is there 
looked for in vain is precisely the chief thing, namely, meeting 
the requirements mentioned above. 

It "vvas not on these grounds alone, however, that 1 placed 
this writing of Luther's at the head of my work. There is no 
other that better fulfills the purpose of introducing the reader 
to Luther's character, to his tactics and methods towards the 
Church, particularly if the questions connected with and in- 
volved in that writing are treated at the same time. To insure 
getting bearings, and to put into a clearer light the contrast 
between later and earlier, I will give as five chapters, Luther's 
utterances on the religious state prior to his apostasy, before 
he composed his "Opinion on the Monastic Vows." 


Brief Review of Luther's Utterances in Respect to the 
Religious State During His Own Life as a Religious. 

Accounts of Luther's earlier religious life are most meagre. 
If I wished to rely upon those sources which Luther biographers 
have hitherto put forward wholly without criticism, namely 
upon Luther's sayings and utterances after his apostasy, but 
especially after 1530, and also upon his later table-talk, I could, 
of course, serve up many a little story. We should get the pic- 
ture of a monk unhappy in the "horrors of monastic life," who 
was able, day and night, only to howl and to despair, who stood 
in fear before God and Christ, and even fled from before them, 
and the like. But in the first edition of this volume, I already 
mentioned repeatedly' that Luther had made a romance of his 
earlier religious life. The incidental discussions in this volume 
ought to constitute the basis of, or the passageway to, the proof 
of my assertion, so that the proper corroboration of it may 

iPp. 258, 373 sqq., 389, 393, sqq., 410, note 1, 414, note 2, 671 sq., 725, 
758, sq., 381, and preface, p. XVI. 


follow in the concluding section of the first book. In this 
chapter I take as my support Luther's contemporaneous testi- 
monies, without, however, overstepping the limits of a review. 

In his Dictata on the psalms, of the years 1513 to 1515, 
he frequently speaks his mind on evil, self-willed religious, who 
stand upon their "regulations," to speak with Tauler; he con- 
demns the mutual quarreling of the orders, etc., but he is never 
against the essence of the religious state. In relation to mon- 
asticism, he pursues the same course as with regard to the 
Church. He laments and condemns the evil life of ecclesiasti- 
cal superiors, of the hierarchy; but at the same time there is 
hardly another who so stood for ecclesiastical obedience as he 
did. In like manner, he rebuked evil superiors and subjects in 
the monasteries ; but he absolutely insists that subjects cherish 
obedience, without Which there is no salvation; that they 
subordinate their private exercises to those which are general 
and monastic, i.e., prescribed by the statutes, or to obedience. 
With him it is a supreme rule that "no one is just save the 
obedient one,"^ and he continually vociferates against self-will. 

2 Weim. IV, 405 ; "Justitia est solum humilis obedientia. Quare 
iudicium ad superiores, iustitia ad inferiores pertlnet. NulUis enim est 
Justus nisi oiediens. Sed superior non tenetur obedire, ergo nee iustus 
esse quoad inferiorem. Inferior tenetur autem obedire et per consequens 
iustus erit. Tu ergo iustitiam vis statuere in superior! et iudicium in in- 
feriori, scilicet ut tibi obediant, non tu illis. Igitur si Superiores sunt 
iniusti, hoc sunt suo superiori. Quid ad te? Tu subesto et sine te in 
ludiclo regere. Numquid quia llli iniusti sunt et inobedientes suo superiori, 
scilicet Christo, ideo et tu quoque iniustes fles non obediendo tuo superiori? 
Igitur vera differentia iustitie et iudicii est haec ; quod iustitia pertlnet ad in- 
feriorem vel in quantum inferiorem, quia est humilitas, obedentia, et resignata 
sunjectio proprie voluntatis superiori ; iudicium autem pertlnet ad superi- 
orem vel in quantum superiorem, quia est exeraptio legis et castigatio 
malorum ac praesidentia Inferiorum. Unde et apostolus Ro. 6 dicit eum 
iustificatum, qui mortuus est peccato. Et spiritus est iustus, quando caro 
ab eo iudicatur et subiicitur in omnem obedientiam, ut nihil voluntati et 
concupiscentils relinquatur. Quod autem dixi 'inquantum superiorem et 
inferiorem,' id est, quia medii prelati, sicut sunt omnes preter Christum, 
sunt simul superiores et inferiores. Igitur inferiorum non est expostulare 
iustitiam superiorum, quia hoc est eorum iudicium sibi rapere. Ipsorum 
est enim iustitiam expostulare inferiorum. Et horura est suscipere iudicium 
et obedire els, per quod fit in pace correctio malorum. Obedientia enim 
tollit omne malum pacifice et pacificum sinit esse regentem. Idem facit 
humilitas, quae est nihil aliud nisi obedientia et tota iustitia. Quia total- 
iter ex alterius iudicio pendet, nihil habet suae voluntatis aut sensus, sed 
omnia vilificat sua et prefert atque magnificat aliena, scilicet superioris." 


On this theme one could compile a book from his Dictata, for, 
everywhere in Weim. Ill and IV, one hits upon greater or 
lesser passages evidencing what has been said.^ 

In the meantime he had not yet, at that period, discovered 
the gospel. This took place only after 1515, as appears from 
the next section. Nevertheless, even in this new epoch, he de- 
veloped no new principles with regard to the religious state ; on 
the contrary, those we have seen were emphasized only in a 
more manifold way. On June 22, 1516, he wrote to a prior of 
his Order, regarding the reception of a novice out of another 
order, that one might not thwart the latter's salutary inten- 
tion; on the contrary, it should be furthered and pushed, pro- 
vided that the case was one with, and in, God. Such a case 
occurs, "not if one accedes to the opinion and good intention 
of every one, but if one holds to the prescribed law, the ordi- 
nances of superiors, and the regulations of the Fathers, without 
which one may in vain promise himself progress and salvation, 
however good his intention may be."* Let it be considered 
that, on this particular point, there was not once question of 
the rule, ( the Eule of St. Augustine contains no provision perti- 
nent to the matter), but of something less important, the stat- 
utes and regulations of the Order.^ 

In what high esteem the latter were held, as well as the 
rites and practices of the Order generally, i. e. religious observ- 
ance, (to say nothing of the vows), is proved by the following 
fact. Gabriel Zwilling, a fellow member of the Order and a 
subject of Luther's at Wittenberg, was registered as an Augus- 
tinian in the university of that place as early as the summer 
semester of 1512.' After five years, i.e. in 1517, (March), by 
command of Vicar Staupitz, Luther sent him to the monastery 
at Erfurt. Why? Because, though living five years at Witten- 
berg with other brethren under Luther as his superior, he had 
"not yet seen and learned the rite and the practices of the 

3Cf. Ill, 18, sq., 91; IV, 64, 68, 75, 83, 306, 384, 403, 406 sq. 

*Enders, I, 42. 

= Both the general ancient statutes of the Hermits of St. Augustine, 
and those of Staupitz, of the year 1504 treat of the case in Chap. XVI. 

^ Forstemann, Album Academlae Vitebergen. (Lipsiae 1841), p. 41: 
"Fr. Gabriel Zwilling August." 


Order. It will do him good," Luther thinks, "to conduct him- 
self in all things in a conventual manner.'" 

This important passage shows one thing, at all events, that, 
at Wittenberg, where Luther lived from 1508 to the fall of 1509, 
and from the fall of 1511 through further years, no religious 
discipline prevailed, a fact that has hitherto been overlooked. 
It shows further that the brethren did not even live conventu- 
aliter in all respects, otherwise there had been no need of send- 
ing Zwilling to Erfurt. This explains much to us in the life of 
Luther and of his Wittenberg associates, particularly of the 
later assailant of the monasteries, Zwilling. His like were 
later the first ones who threw off the habit, assailed the mon- 
asteries, profaned the altars, etc. The younger religious en- 
joyed too much liberty at Wittenberg. They became little by 
little disaccustomed to the religious life, and gradually lost the 
spirit of the Order and of prayer. Of their asceticism we pre- 
fer to make no mention. And all this, too, befell many an 
older member of the Order at Wittenberg. 

As early as 1509, in his first stay at Wittenberg, Luther 
became wholly engrossed in duties and studies.' But in the 
fall of 1516, he wrote to Lang at Erfurt : "I ought to have two 
secretaries, for / hardly do anything the livelong day hut write 
letters. For that reason I do not know if I am not always re- 
peating the same thing. I am (besides) conventual and table 
preacher. Every day I am desired to preach in the parish 
church. I am regent of studies, vicar of the district, and 
therefore eleven times prior. (Luther had eleven convents 
under him). I am in charge of the fisheries at Leitzkau, at- 
torney in the proceedings concerning the Herzberg parish 
church, lector (in the divinity school) on St. Paul, and collec- 
tor of the psalter. Seldom does full time remain for my re- 
citing the hours (of the divine office) and for celebrating mass. 
Besides, there are my own temptations of the flesh, the world, 

^ Enders, I, 88 : "Placult et expedit ei, ut conventualiter per omnia 
se gerat. Scis enlm, (the addressee is Prior Lang), quod necduni ritus 
et mores ordinis viderit aut didicerit." 

8 Enders, L 5. 


and the devil."" The lack of monastic discipline at Wittenberg 
contributed its share towards this sad state, which did not per- 
mit him to reach either himself or God in prayer. Things 
naturally became worse and worse, and then had their proper 
culmination when he was precipitated into the thick of the 
combat. It was there that the ill consequences of the neglect of 
God's service stood revealed before all eyes. The case of the 
rest of his Wittenberger brethren was the same.^° 

At that time, nevertheless, Luther was anything but one 
who despised the religious life. On the contrary, it is evident 
from the letters adduced above on the laws of his Order, that 
he was zealous for their strict observance, which also appears 
from his other letters of the same time.^^ One can justify the 
assertion, indeed, that Luther then treated the decrees and 
statutes (not dogmas) of the Church and of the Popes more 
harshly than he did the statutes of the Order.^^ 

8 The underlined words read : "Raro mihi integrum tempus est horas 
persolvendi et celebraudi." Tliis important passage, which gives us so 
mucli insight into Luther's inner life and discloses much, is translated by 
the "Nestor of Luther research," J. Kostlin, as follows : "Seldom have 
I the time to celebrate my hours properly" (Martin Luther, 3 ed., I, 133; 
5, under the care of Kawerau, p. 125, 142. He found nothing to comment 
on in the notes.) So inexperienced are so many Protestant theologians in the 
usage of church language ! Since the XV century at least, the simple word, 
"celebrare," has had the meaning that it still has to-day, namely "to 
celebrate or read mass." In that sense Luther also uses it in Dictata 
super Psalt., Weim. Ill, 362 : "pejus mane orant et celebrant.", where he 
speaks principally of priests ; so also in his gloss on the Epistle to the 
Romans, fol. 67b : "sacriflco, celebro", occur in respect to the mass. The 
same meaning is given to the word by, e.g. Wimpheling (Gravamina 
germanicae nationis, etc. in Riegger, Amoenitates lit. Friburg. p. 510) : 
"sacrificare sive celebrare", thus Geiler v. Kaisersberg, Nav. Fat. turb 
LXXII, (alternately missam legunt and celeirant) : Thus also a century 
earlier Gerson, De preparatione ad missam. opp. Ill, 326, etc. 

^^ St. Bonaventure in his day had written : "in omni religione, ubi 
devotionis fervor tepuerit, etiam aliarum virtutum machina incipit deficere 
et propinquare ruinae" Opp. ed. Quaracchi, t. VIII, 135, n. 10. 

11 Cf. Enders, 1, 52, 53, 56, 57, 67, 99. Here and there he also enjoins 
good training of young religious. 

12 After setting up an overdrawn notion of Christian liberty in the 
Epistle to the Romans, fol. 273, and before (spite of the fact that in con- 
tradistinction to the Plcards, he exacted obedience to the commands of the 
Church), he pleads, fol. 275, for the abolishment of fast days and a 
diminution of the feasts, "quia populus rudis ea consciencla observat ilia, 
ut sine lis salutem esse non credat." Then he continues, "Sic etlam 


It is no wonder, then, that he accepted the permissibility 
of the vows as self-evident, provided that the solemn promise 
was made in the right way. He writes in the same year ( 1516 ) , 
that, spite of the liberty attained through Christ, "it is allowed 
every one, out of love of God, to bind himself to this or that fey 
a vow." And he exclaims : "Who is so foolish as to deny that! 
any one is free to resign his liberty to the discretion of another/ 
and to give himself captive, etc.?" But this may be done "only! 
out of love and with that faith by which one believes he is act-j 
ing, not out of a necessity of salvation, but out of free will and)) 
a feeling of liberty." On the other hand, as he says, the priests, 
religious, and lay people as well, commonly sin, who neglect 
charity and what is necessary to salvation.^^ 

If here Luther again shows himself pessimistic" and ac- 
customed to generalize, he is still not in error in respect to the 
essence of the matter. He continu es to l ay down the love j>t- 
Gqd asjthe obj ect of all vo^^^SaThe^ finds no difficulty in a vow 
in itself. He does not bluster as if it were against faith, or 
against the first commandment, and so on. Had this been his 
opinion, he would have been obliged to dissuade everybody 
from becoming a member of a religious order, for a religious 
without vows is unthinkable. But what do we hear from 
Luther's own lips ? A page later, he raises the question : "7s 
it good, then, to 'become a religious now?" And he replies: 

utile esset, tottim pene decretum purgare et mutare, ac pampas, Immo 
magis oeremonias orationum ornatuumque diminuere, quia haec crescunt in 
dies, et ita crescunt, ut sub illis decrescat fides et charitas, et nutriatur 
avaritla, superbia, vana gloria, immo quod pejus est, quod illis homines 
sperant salvari, nihil solliciti de interne homlne." How little he himself 
was concerned about his inner man, we have just seen. But it lay in 
Luther's character always to see the harm wrought in others but not in 

13 Epistle to the Eomans fol. 274b : Quamquam haec omnia sint nunc 
Uberrima, taraen ex amore Dei licet unicuique se voto astringere ad hoc 
vel illud ; ac si lam non ex lege nova astrictus est ad ilia, sed ex voto, 
quod ex amore Dei super seipsum protulit. Nam quis tam insipiens est, 
qui neget, posse unumquemque suam libertatem pro obsequio alterius resig- 
nare, et se servum et captivum dare (ms. ac captivare) vel ad hunc 
locum, vel tali die, vel tali opere? Verum si ex charitate id fuerit factum 
et ea fide, ut credat, se non necessitate salutis id facere, sed spontanea 
voluntate et affectu libertatis. Omnia itaque sunt libera, sed per votum 
ex charitate offeribilia * * *" 

1* See above pp. 5-6. 


"If thou believest thou canst not find salvation otherwise than 
by becoming a religious, do not enter. For thus the proverb is 
true: 'despair makes the monk,' yea, not the monk hut the 
devil." A good monk does he become "who will be such out of 
love, who, namely, contemplating his grievous sins and desiring 
again to do something great for his God out of love, voluntarily 
resigns his liberty, puts on this foolish habit, and subjects him- 
self to abject offices."^^ 

Once more, then, we have heard Luther lauding the re- 
ligious life in itself, and stating the object with which one 
should lay hold on the religious state and all that it offers — 
the love of God. But there is one thing that strikes us as 
strange — Luther's continually coming back to the warning that 
one should not purposely choose the religious life as if other- 
wise there were no salvation, which would be equivalent to 
becoming a monk out of despair. One is almost inclined to 
draw the conclusion that Luther himself entered the Order 
despairing of otherwise finding salvation, and that, as later 
was his wont, he charged his manner of action upon all. This 
would accord with the point to be treated in the second sec- 
tion, that Luther, in his life following thereupon, had as- 
spired to justice before God through his OAvn endeavors until 
about 1515, when his justice by works collapsed. But of this 
in its place. Let us rather stick to Luther's utterances on the 
religious state. 

We hear him, in connection with the passage just cited, 
giving out the extraordinary statement: "I believe that, in 
two hundred years, it has never been better to become a re- 
ligious than just now," when members of the religious orders, 
because they are an object of contempt to the world and even 
to the bishops and priests, stand nearer the cross. "Having, 
as it were, obtained their wish, religious ought to rejoice if 

1° Ibid. fol. 275: "An ergo bonum nunc rellgiosum fieri? Respondeo; 
Si aliter salutem te habere non pntas, nisi religiosus flas, ne ingrediaris. 
Sic enim verum est proverbium : Desperatio facit monachum, immo non 
monachum, sed diabolum. Nee enim unquam bonus monachus erit, qui 
ex desperatione eiusmodi monachus, sed, qui ex charitate, scilicet, qui 
gravia sua peccata videns, et Deo suo rursum aliquid magnum ex amore 
facere voleng, voluntarie resignat libertatem suam, et induit habitum istum 
stultum, et abiectis sese subiicit officiis." 


ttey are despised for the vow which, they assumed for God. 
That is why they wear a foolish habit. But many, wearing 
only the semblance of religious, comport themselves other- 
wise. But I know that, if they had charity, they would he 
the most happy, more blessed than those who were hermits," 

And yet these brilliant utterances occur in that time in 
which Luther already "felt himself wholly re-born" and had 
imagined that "he had passed open gates into paradise;" in 
which he had already given expression to the principle that 
concupiscence is wholly unconquerable, and to others in 
agreement with it, the impossibility of fulfilling God's com- 
mandments, the bondage of the will, justification by faith 
alone, without works, and so on. The fact lies heavier in the 
balance than if we find Luther happy in the first years of his 
religious life,^^ and only a few years later hear him^^ describ- 
ing the excellence of the religious life to his master Bartholo- 
mew, to strengthen him in his chosen calling as an Augustin- 
ian. "The door in St. Paul" had not yet been opened to him 
at that time as it was in 1515 and 1516. 

In his commentary on the Epistle to the Komans, even 
more almost than in his Dictata, he declared against singu- 
laritates, he opposed the self-willed, opiniosos, capitosos, 

^^ Ibid. fol. 275b : "Quamobrem credo, nunc melius esse religiosum fieri, 
quam in ducentis annis fuit, ratione tali videlicet, quod hucusque Monachi 
recesserunt a cruce, et fuit gloriosum esse religiosum. Nunc rursus in- 
cipiunt displicere hominibus, etiam qui boni sunt, propter habitum stultum. 
Hoc enim est religiosum esse, mundo odiosum esse et stultum. Bt qui hinc 
sese ex charitate submittit, optime facit. Ego enim non terreor, quod epis- 
copi persequuntur et sacerdotes nos, quia sic debet fieri. Tantum hoc mihi 
displicet, quod occasionem malam hinc (his ms. huic) damus displicentiae. 
Ceterum quibus non est data occasio, et fastldiunt monachos, nescientes 
quare, optimi sunt fautores, quos in toto mundo habent rellgiosi. Deberent 
enim guadere rellgiosi, tanquam voti sui compotes, si in suo isto voto pro 
Deo assumpto despicerentur, confunderenturque. Quia ad hoc habent 
habitum stultum, ut omnes alliciant ad sui contemptum. Sed nunc aliter 
agunt multi (ms. multo) habentes speciem solam religiosorum. Sed ego 
scio foeUcissinios eos, si charitatem haierent, et ieatiores, quam qui in 
heremo fuerunt : quia sunt cruci et ignominiae quotidianae expositi. Nunc 
vero nullum est genus arrogantius, proh dolor ! 

IT Enders, I, 1 sq. ; 6. 

IS As Usingen himself relates, In Paulus, Der Augustlner Barth. Arnold! 
V. Usingen, p. 17. 


cervicosos, durae cervices, and waxed warm in behalf of obedi- 
ence, which he himself is at pains to practice, as shall be 
shown in the proper place in the course of this work. Let us 
rather turn back to his judgments on the religious state. 

Although, iu 1518, touching on the celibacy of priests, he 
expressly adds that it is a matter of ecclesiastical rather than 
of divine institution, he nevertheless condemns the sin against 
it as a sacrilege, but on the part of religious, as a most griev- 
ous sacrilege, "since they have freely consecrated themselves 
to God, and again withdraw themselves from Him."^^ 

In 1519 and at the beginning of 1520, he already arraigns 
the Church, in respect to the celibacy of priests,^" on account 
of the ill state of affairs prevailing in all directions in con- 
sequence of it, but not a syllable of censure slips from his pen 
so far as the monastic vows are concerned.^^ He is opposed 
only if priests and religious observed ceremonial actions, and 
even chastity and poverty, in order to be justified and good 
through them. "He who would do so with this intention, is 
godless and denies Christ, since he, already justified, should use 
those means to purge the flesh and the old man, so that faith 
in Christ may grow and may alone reign in him and he may '^ 
thus become the Kingdom of God. Therefore he will do those 
things joyously, not that he may deserve much, but that he 
may be purified."" Luther here speaks, as he had already 

19 Decern praecepta, Welm. I, 489 : "sacrilegium est, ubi iam non 
tantum castitas polluitur, sed etiam quae Deo soli fuit oblata, tollitur et 
sanctum prophanatur. Verum hoc ex institutione ecclesiae magis quam ex 
Deo est in sacerdotibus : sed in religiosis gravisslmum est, quia sponte 
sese consecraverunt domino et sese subtrahunt rursum." Of. 483, 21. 

2° First revision of the Epistle to the Galatians, Weim. II, 616. In 
Feb. 1520 (Weim. VI, 147), Luther pleads for the marriage of priests, 
but is silent about the marriage of monks. 

21 This he himself says in A. Lauterbach's Tagebuch auf das Jahr 
1538. (Ed. Seidemann) p. 12: "De monachis nunquam cogitavi, quia sub 
veto erant, sed tantum de pastoribus, qui non possunt oeconomiam servare 
sine conjuge." 

22 Weim. II, p. 562 sq. : "Ita sacerdos et religiosus, si opera ceremonl- 
arum, immo castitatis et paupertatis fecerit, quod in illis justiflcari et 
bonus fieri velit, impius est et Christum negat, cum illis, jam justificatus 
fide, uti debeat ad purgandam carnem et veterem hominem, ut fides in 
Christo crescat et sola in ipso regnet et sic flat regnum Dei. Ideo hilariter 
ea faciet, non ut multa mereatur sed ut purificetur. At, hui, quantus nunc 
in gregibus istis morbus est, qui et summo taedio nee nisi pro hac vita 


done earlier, against excrescences and evil faint-hearted 
priests and religious, altliougli his tone has become sharper. 
One wonders all the more that his general arraignment of 
"monastic baptism" has not yet appeared in his plans. In 
that same year, 1519, he speaks more openly and violently 
about the liberty of the Christian man,^^ than he did in his 
commentary on Romans. From the end of 1518, he had re- 
garded the Pope as Anti-christ.^* He spoke thenceforward 
only of human institutions, recognized only three sacra- 
ments," and had taken the first step towards setting up a uni- 
versal priesthood.^^ Yet he still viewed the religious life with 
its vows, which is supposed to have been such a torment to 
him, as the shortest way to win the works of baptism. 

Luther, in fact, only two years before writing his book 
"On the Vows", namely 1519, had preached : "Each one must 
test himself as to the state in which he may best destroy sin 
and combat nature. It is true, then, that there is no higher, 
better, greater vow than the baptismal vow ; for what can one 
vow beyond expelling sin, dying, hating this life, and becom- 
ing saintly? But, apart from this vow, one may bind himself 
to a state that will be a convenience and a furtherance to him 
in fulfilling his baptism. Like when two journey to the one 
city, one may take the foot-path, the other the highway, as 
seems best to him. He who binds himself to the married 
state walks in the cares and sufferings of that state, 
wherein he has burdened his nature, that it may be ha- 
bituated to love and sufferance, avoid sin, and prepare so 
much the better for death, which he might not so well be 
able to do out of that state. But he who seeks greater suf- 
fering and wishes shortly by much exercise to prepare him- 
self for death, and desires soon to attain to the works of 
his baptism, let him hind himself to chastity or to a re- 
ligious order; for a religious state, if it stands right, shall 

religiosl et sacerdotes sunt, ne pilum quidem videntes, quid sint, quid 
faciant, quid quaerant." Thus in the exposition of the Epistle to the 

23 Ibid. p. 478, 479 ("Veritas Evangelii est scire quod omnia lieent") 572. 

2*Enders, I, 316. 

25 VV^eim. II, 713 sqq., Enders, II, 278. 

29 Enders, loc. cit. p. 279. 


be of suffering and torment, that he may have more exercise 
of his baptism than in the married state, and that, by such 
torment, he may soon accustom himself to receive death joy- 
ously, and thus (soon) attain the end of his baptism."" 

In accord with this, Luther the same year calls the coun- 
sels "certain means to the easier fulfillment of the command- 
ments; a virgin, a widow, a celibate fulfill the commandment 
'thou shalt not covet,' more easily than one who is married, 
who already yields somewhat to concupiscence." Another 
time the same year, he similarly, here and there, calls the coun- 
sels "certain ways and shorter ways of more easily and hap- 
pily fulfilling the commandments of God.""^ Whether and to 
what extent Luther here spoke with theological exactness, I 
will investigate in chapter eight (A). It is enough now that 
two years before his conflict against the counsels and vows, 
he recognized their full right. 

In these passages, Luther expresses the idea that there 
are various ways and one objective point, various means and 
one end. Among the shortest and best ways and means, he 
counts the religious state, especially the vow of chastity. And 
how much Luther had already given up in that year ! He was 
standing on the threshold of apostasy from the Church. But 
he had not yet sacrificed the religious life. In 1520, the year 
of his apostasy, after he was in the clutches of the syphilitic 
Hutten and of the incendiary Sickengen, then it was he first 
gradually went into the warfare against the orders. Spite of 
this, however, Luther, in the beginning of this year, was hailed 
by his zealous admirer, the learned Franciscan, Konrad Pelican 
of Basel (who had then already thrice read Luther's exposi- 
tion of the Epistle to the Galatians ) , as the most proper advo- 
cate and defender of the religious life and of the monks 
against the censures of certain Erasmians, who were inflam- 
ing a fearful hatred against the members of the religious 

27 Weim. II, 736. Abuse and pessimism are naturally not lacking. 

28Enders, II, 40; Weim. II, 644. 

2' Enders II, 357 sq. Under Pelikan's supervision, the works of Luther 
were at that time reprinted. He had even collected them himself and 
edited them In one volume. Cf. the "Hauschronik Konrad Pelikans von 
Rufach," German by Th. Vulpinus (Strassburg 1892), p. 76, sq. 


In all his religious life, indeed, Luther never spoke a syl- 
lable against true monasticism. He himself had to acknowl- 
edge this later, and for that reason took himself, as he said, 
"by the nose." Even after his "turn about," he, according to 
his own acknowledgment, would have deemed one "who would 
have taught that monkery and nunnishness were idolatry, and 
the mass a veritable abomination," as worthy of being burned, 
if he would not have helped burn him as a heretic/" It was 
hatred of the Church, whose most powerful auxiliaries the re- 
ligious orders were, but whom he now needed ; it was his reso- 
lution never again to be reconciled with the Church that first 
drove him into the warfare against the orders and the vows. 

It was a difficult matter. "A powerful conspiracy be- 
tween Philip ( Melanchthon ) and me," he wrote from the 
Wartburg, Nov. 1, 1521, "is being levelled against the vows of 
religious and priests, to do away with and to nullify them." 
By that time, nothing sounded more hateful in his ears than 
the words nun, monk, and priest.^^ The strife first hit at 
celibacy, which just before he had so extolled. He wishes to 
make it free, he writes, "as the Gospel demands ; but how I am 
to succeed, I do not yet sufficiently know."^^ 


St. Bernard's Alleged Eepxjdiation of the Vows and the 

Monastic Life. 

In his writing on the monastic vows, Luther wishes to 
prove that they are null and void and contradict the teaching 
of Christ and His Gospel. In his judgment they are heathen- 
ish, Jewish, blasphemous, founded on lies, erroneous, devilish, 
hypocritical; members of religious orders can therefore, with 
a good conscience, abandon their monasteries and marry. But 
how prove that? A difficult undertaking! Luther, however, 
knew how to manage it. Not the least of his expedients were 
two sayings, (particularly one), of St. Bernard, one of the 
greatest stars in the firmament of the monastic life, known to 

3»Erl. 25, 320. 

"Bnders, III, 241. 

32 Ibid. p. 219, of Aug. 15, 1521. 


and revered by all. This great saint, who renewed monastic- 
ism and founded so many monasteries, who is even glorified as 
the founder of an order, was constrained to furnish the proof 
that the vows taken by religious are worthless, and that the 
religious life is a lost life in respect to the gaining of heaven. 
In the face of death, it was alleged, he had revoked his vows, 
and thus escaped everlasting perdition. 

For, in the work mentioned, Luther wrote: "As Bernard 
was once sick unto death, he had no other confession than 
this: 'I have lost my time, because I have lived ruinously.'' 
But one thing consoles me, thou dost not despise a contrite 
and humbled spirit.' " And elsewhere : "Christ possesses the 
Kingdom of heaven by a twofold right, first because He is the 
Son and secondly because He suffered. He had no need of 
this second merit, but he gave it to me and to all who believe." 
Luther then makes the practical application that Bernard 
therefore "put his trust only in Christ and not in his own 
works ; he did not extol himself for his vows of poverty, chas- 
tity, and obedience; on the contrary, he called his life with 
those vows a ruined life, 'perditam vitam' and in this faith 
he was preserved and justified with all the saints. Believest 
thou he lied or said only in jest that his life was lost? * * • 
If then thou hearest it preached that the vows and life of re- 
ligious are rejected and wholly worthless to justification and 
salvation, who will still take vows, who will still persevere in 
a vow?" And so he goes on. In the two next pages, Luther 
repeatedly reverts to Bernard's saying, in order to pronounce 
the cited judgment on the religious vows. Then afterwards:'* 
"Did not Bernard by this confession nullify his vows and turn 
back to Christ?" 

The two passages, as is clear to anyone, are a formal chal- 
lenge to an editor to authenticate them. The sense ascribed 
by Luther to the first, that Bernard on his death-bed had re- 
voked his vows, because they were godless, is simply horrible. 
Did Luther correctly cite it? What is the context of the pas- 
sage? From what time does it date? What is its true sense? 

33 weim. VIII, 601. "Nihil allud (Bernhardus) sonuit quam confes- 
slonem huiusmodi : Tempus meum perdldi, perdite vlxi." 
31 Ibid. p. 658. 


All this demands the more research because Luther attaches 
the greatest importance to the passages, especially the first. 
As we shall presently see, there are hardly any others so often 
adduced in Luther's works as these. 

Kawerau had the good will to authenticate the passages, 
and he found the second one, which was an easy thing to do. 
For Luther says, Bernard's utterances were given as he was 
sick unto death. Kawerau naturally referred to one of the 
Lives; and he likewise found the second one in Vita 8. Bern- 
hardi auctore Alano.^^ He even cites another edition of St. 
Bernard and the Legenda aurea. Had he only given us, in- 
stead of this overabundance of citations, the saying of St. 
Bernard, at least with its context ! As Bernard, grievously ill 
but not at the end of his life, was molested by the evil enemy, 
he fearlessly responded by pointing to the merits of Christ — 
just as, in Luther's time, priests were exhorted to direct the 
attention of the dying : "8i occurrerit tibi diabolus, ei semper 
oppone merita passionis Christi." — "If the devil should come 
in thy way, always oppose to him the merits of the passion of 
Christ."^* Kawerau would even like to have the reader believe 
that the first, most important passage also occurs in Alanus; 
for, instead of admitting that he did not find it, he continues : 
"Luther often and with satisfaction refers to these utterances 
of Bernard's, cf. Erl. Edit. Vol. 45, p. 148 sq., 'as it is my 
wont often to use the example of Saint Bernard.' Cf, also 
above (VIII) p. 450 and 528." And that is all? The last 
page-number should really be canceled, for there there is only 
a translation of p. 450. And so there is neither the quotation 
of the expression nor even an approximately sufficient citation 
of the instances of it in Luther ! Kohler likewise busies him- 
self with the utterance, but is no more successful than 
Kawerau, though he cites six instances of it in Luther. There 
are really only two, however, for two do not belong here and 
two of them are translations of the Latin text." Schafer did 

35MIgne, Patr. I, t. 185, p. 491. 

5" Sacerdotale ad consuetudinem s. Romanae Ecclesiae aliarumque 
ecclesiarum. Edited and amplified by Albertus Castellanus, O. P. Venetils, 
1564, fol. 114. 

37 Luther und die Kirchengeschichte, 1, 321. 


not at all understand the first utterance, attaches no value to 
it apparently, since he adduces the passage from Table-talk 
(!), Erl. 61,443, as follows: "Perdite vixi * * * but 
Thou, dear Lord Jesus Christ, thou hast a twofold right," etc., 
which is the second utterance in strongly interpolated ampli- 
fication, and its source is given as Legenda aurea CXV ! Then 
five quotations are added from other works of Luther.^^ 

First of all I will here present a collection of the passages 
from Luther's writings which contain St. Bernard's words. 
This collection was gleaned in readings of the work, and while 
certainly not complete, nevertheless offers incomparably more 
than the citations of the Protestant Luther researchers and 
proves in any case of what great moment those words were 
to Luther. 

Luther first speaks of the matter in the year 1518, Weim. 
1, 323, 15, and 534 ; in both instances Luther adduces only the 
first utterance, but even that early Luther already said that 
Bernard, "cum aliquando mori se crederet," or "agonisans," 
exclaimed : "Perdidi tempus » * * perdite vixi." So 
also in VIII, 450 and 658. But on page 601, both expressions, 
though still separate, are cited in juxtaposition. From that 
on, both sayings appear frequently united, dating from the 
same time, in which, namely, Bernard was, or thought himself, 
dying. I cite them first as they occur serially in the Erl. edi- 
tion: 6,251,259; 9,240 sq., 17, 31; 31,287 ("Even St. Bernard, 
the most devout monk, when he had long lived in monastic 
baptism^" and was sick unto death, had to despair of all his 
monkery, etc."), 291 sq., 321 (alluded to) ; 36,8; 41,309; 43, 
353 sq. (here, after quoting the first saying, Luther asks: 
"How now, dear St. Bernard ! Surely all your life you w^ere a 
devout monk! Is not chastity, obedience, your preaching, 
fasting, prayer, an excellent thing? No, he says, it is all lost 
and belongs to the devil") ; 45, 148 sq., 166 sq. (very extended), 
355 sq., 364; 46,245,377 (after both expressions: "now he falls 
out of the monk, order, cowl, and the rules upon Christ") ; 47, 
37 sq. ("O St. Bernard, it was time to turn back;" "he hung 
up his cowl on the wall"), 39; 0pp. Exeg. lat. 19,52, in G*l. 

s8 Luther als Kirchenhlstoriker, p. 444. 

38 On "monastic bai^tism," see below, farther on. 


Ed. Irmisclier, II, 284; Weim. XX., 624,672; 746, 13 (with the 
last passage cf. Luther's Enarr. in can. epist priorem Joannis 
anno 1527 die 19 Augusti inchoata) f" Weim. XXVII, 335. 
Even in his book De servo arhitrio (0pp. lat. var. arg., 7, 
166), the first utterance had to do service, this time to prove 
that the saints forget their liberum, arbitrium — free will — and 
only invoke the grace of God. In general he cites the expres- 
sion, Perdite vixi, but in his distorted rendering. Erl. 25,335; 
0pp. Exeg. lat. 4,301; in Gal., I, 14, etc. 

Now when did the first expression, precisely the weighti- 
est, escape from Bernard's lips? Where is it to be found? 
There is one thing I can assure Messrs. Kawerau, Schafer, 
Kohler and their colleagues, and that is that a Franciscan on 
the Bonaventure edition, a Dominican on that of St. Thomas, 
the Jesuit Father Braunsberger as editor of the Canisius 
letters, Gietl as the publisher of Roland's Summa, the latest 
publishers of the Tridentine Acts, and many another scholar 
would not have rested until they had found the passage. 

Where then is the saying to be found: "Tempus perdidi, 
perdite vixi" — "I have lost time, I have lived ruinously"? 
It occurs in Sermo 20 in Cant.,*^ and that in the very beginning 
n. 1. St. Bernard sets out by saying that man should live 
for Christ. God created everything for his sake. Fear God 
and keep his commandments, for this is all man (Eccle. 12, 
13 ) . He then continues : "Inclina tibi, deus, modicum id 
quod me dignatus es esse, atque de mea misera vita suscipe, 
obsecro, residuum annorum meorum : pro his vero ( annis ) 
quos vivendo perdidi, quia perdite vixi, cor contritum et 
humiliatum, deus, nan despicias. Dies mei sicut umbra de- 
clinaverunt et praeterierunt sine fructu. Impossibile est, ut 

*" Cod. Pal. lat. 1825, fol. 147 : "Omnes enlm sic docuerunt, nos Christi 
sanguine mundarl a peccatis : super hoc fundamentum quod retinuerunt, 
aedificarunt stipulas, traditiones et regulas suas. Sed dies probavit tandem 
hoc aedificium ; in agone enim mortis, qui verus Ignis est, periit haec 
fiducia traditionum, et la solam miserlcordlam se relecerunt, sicut sanctus 
Bernhardus clamavit, se mlsere perdidisse vitam, quam totam vlgllUs, 
lelunils, et omnl genere superstitiosorum operum misere transegerat. Er- 
exit autem se fiducia meriti Christi, quam aiebat duplici lure habere reg- 
num, primum est del filium naturalem, secundo, ex merlto passlonis, quam 
passionem pro peccatorlbus liberandls sublerat." 

^iMigne, Patr. 1, t. 183, p. 867. 


revocem; placeat ut recogitem tibi eos in amaritudine animae 
meae." — "Do thou, God, incline unto Thee that little thing 
that Thou hast deigned me to be; and of my pitiable life 
receive, I beseech Thee, the rest of my years; but for those 
years which I have lost in living, because I lived ruinously, 
do not, God, despise a contrite and humbled heart. My 
days have declined like a shadow and have passed without 
fruit. It is impossible for me to recall them. May it please 
Thee that I recall them to Thee in the bitterness of my soul." 
The reader sees, first, that St. Bernard spoke the words, not 
in his mortal illness nor when he believed himself dying, but 
in one of his sermons on the Canticle of Canticles, which, with 
interruptions, he preached serially to his brethren. And what 
is the purport of the words, now found in their right setting 
in the context? That Avhich Luther observed in them in 1518, 
when his vision was clearer and he was not yet filled with 
implacable hatred of the Church — the humble acknowledgment 
of a contrite soul in the presence of God. Luther says (Weim. 
I., 323) : "I know that my whole life is worthy of condem- 
nation, if it will be judged; but God has commanded me to 
trust, not in my life but in His mercy, as he says, 'Be of good 
heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.' " He then adduces 
Bernard's saying and concludes : "Thus will the fear of judg- 
ment humble thee, but hope in mercy will lift the humbled up." 
By 1521, however, he taxed the religious with the blas- 
phemy which we hear from his lips in 1527: they made the 
rule the foundation without regard to the sole foundation, 
Jesus Christ.*^ One Avould have to oppose them with the con- 
clusion : "If nothing is justified before God except by the blood 
of Christ, it follows that the statutes of Popes and the rules 
of the Fathers are a snare" ;*^ for "the rule is good, it is true, 
but it did not shed blood for me."** Now just as the monas- 
teries could be razed to the ground on account of this blas- 
phemy, of this denial of Christ,*" so should each individual, 
before his soul leaves his body, have to execrate his whole 

*2Weini. XX, 624. 

«3Ibl(l. p. 622. 

** Ibid. p. 624. 

*'Cod. Vat. Pal. lat. 1825, fol. 148. 


religious life with all its rules, exercises, etc., if he wishes at 
all to be saved and to go to heaven. As we shall see in the 
next chapters, Luther intentionally passes over in silence the 
fact that the foundation of the religious state and of all rules, 
and in general of all exercises, is Jesus Christ, and that, ac- 
cording to Catholic teaching, all good works are pleasing to 
God only in so far as they are done in the power of Him who 
became the atonement for our sins, namely, Jesus Christ.** 

To every Catholic, therefore, there is something akin to 
the self-evident in what an older contemporary of Luther, the 
Spanish Benedictine, Abbot Garcia de Cisneros, teaches the 
young religious: "Invoke the mercy of our Kedeemer and 
set between thyself and God His precious death and His 
passion, by saying: 'O Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner, 
through the holy passion of Thy most beloved Son, who was 
sacrificed for me on the Cross,' " etc.*^ This it is that the 
Catholic Church has repeatedly expressed and still expresses 
in the second part of the Litany of the Saints, which is no- 
where else so often recited as in the monasteries. The well- 
known historian, Theodoric Engelhus, who is said to have died 
in Wittenberg itself, in 1434, naturally knows, in his "Laien- 
regel" ( Rule for Lay People ), no better prayer for laics in the 
presence of death than : "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living 
God, set Thy agony. Thy cross, and Thy death between Thy 
judgment and my soul."** To a Protestant who blindly ac- 
cepts Luther's hideous calumny that Catholics desire "by good 
works to be their own justifier and redeemer,"*" it certainly 
sounds strange, even if he hears that the Church, at the time 
of Luther and of his Order, as in this day, prays in the eighth 
responsory of the Office of the Dead: "O Lord, judge me not 
according to my works, for I have done nothing worthy in 
Thy sight; therefore I beseech Thy majesty to blot out my 

*° On this, see below, Chap. 12. 

*' I use the later Latin edition : Exercitatorlum vltae spiritualis, In- 
golstadil, 1591, in the second part of the volume p. 430. The first Spanish 
edition, with the title, "Ejercitatorlo espiritual," was printed in 1500. 

** In K. Langenberg, Quellen u. Forsch. zur Gesch, der deutschen Mys- 
tik. 1902, p. 83. 

*»Weim. XXVII, 443. 


wickedness."^" He will scarcely believe that, in conformity 
with, the Sacerdotale ad consuetudinam 8. Rom. Ecclesiae,^^ 
the priest is to exhort one dying: "If the Lord God wishes 
to judge thee according to thy sins, say to Him : 'Lord, I place 
the death of my Lord Jesus Christ between me and Thy judg- 
ment, and, although I have deserved death by my sins, never- 
theless I set the merit of His passion in the place of the merit 
which I, poor sinner, should have, but have not. Into Thy 
hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.' " 

If a layman, who, like priests and religious, is bound to 
keep the commandments of God, exclaims with St. Bernard: 
"I have led a damnable life," does he thereby hang the com- 
mandments of God on a peg, or revoke and condemn them? 
He condemns himself for not having lived according to them. 
And if a religious, who besides is bound to keep the vows 
which he made to God, says the same, does he thereby revoke 
and condemn the vows? On the contrary, he condemns him- 
self for not having kept them as he should have done. He 
confesses that he had borne the name of monk without right. 
To this the holy abbot Anthony bears witness. Eeturning 
to his brethren from the death-bed of Paul, whose holy life he 
had seen, he cried out: "Vae mihi peccatori, qui falsum 
monachi nomen fero"" — "Woe to me a sinner, who bears 
falsely the name of monk!" This is a self -judgment, a judg- 
ment, not upon the duties imposed or undertaken, but upon 
that Avhich does not correspond with those duties. Therefore 

5" So also the breviary of the Augustinlan Hermits. I use Cod. Vat. 
lat. 3515 of the XV century, fol. 431b. 

" Fol. 114 and 114b. See above p. 45, note 36. 

52 Vita S. Pauli, 0pp. Hieronymi, Migne, Patr. I, t. 23. p. 27, n. 13. The 
Bernardine confession in the moment in which he believed himself near 
death, and my explanation as contrasted with Luther's distortion are beau- 
tifully illustrated by the Admonitio morienti of Anselm of Canterbury, who 
died some decades previous to the time of Bernard's preaching the sermon 
referred to. The dying monk is to be asked : "Gaudes quod morieris in hab- 
itu monachico?" He is to respond : "Qaudeo." "Fateris te tarn male vixisse, 
ut meritis tuis poena aeterna debeatur?" "Fateor." "Poenitet te hoc?" 
"Habes voluntatem emendandi, si spatium haberes?" * * * "Credis te 
non posse nisi per mortem .lesu Christi salvari"? * * * "Age ergo, dura 
superest in te anima ; in hac sola morte (Christi) totam fiduciam tuam con- 
stitue, in nulla alia re fiduciam habeas," etc. Migne, Patr. 1, T. 158, 685. Cf. 
also A. Franz. Das Rituale von St. Florian aus dem 12 Jahrh. (1904), p. 199. 


does St. Bernard write on another occasion: "God loves the 
soul which judges itself in His presence ceaselessly and without 
deceit. If we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged by- 
God.'"'^ On this point there is surely no further Avord to be 

But when did St. Bernard utter the first, most important 
saying? When did he preach sermon the twentieth on the 
Canticles? He began this series of sermons in 1135. The 
fii'st twenty-three were finished by 1137, that is, before his 
third journey to Italy in February, 1137.^* Sermon twenty 
was preached, then, about 1136 or 1137, consequently sixteen 
years before Bernard's death. Now, did he, after this sermon 
twenty, cease to found monasteries? We heard the Eeformer 
say that, by the words, "perdite vixi," Bernard condemned 
and revoked his religious vows, forsook monkery, and hung 
his habit up on a peg. On the contrary, we see rather, that 
in each succeeding year after his return from Italy in the 
summer of 1138, new monastic foundations were springing 
up under his direction.^^ To several abbots of the new mon- 
asteries Bernard wrote letters, as, e. g. as early as 1138-1139 
to the new abbot of Dunes ( Ep. 324 ) . Concerning the monas- 
tery Mellifont, which was occupied in 1142 by brethren drawn 
from Clairvaux,^" Bernard directed the following words to 
Bishop Malachias : "Ego seminavi, rigate vos, et deus incre- 
mentum dabit," — "I have planted, do you water, and God will 

5 3 Mlgne, I. c, t. 183, p. 47. In his Sermo SO in Cant. (Migne, 1. c, 
p. 936, n. 6, 7) St Bernard excellently sets forth, on the one hand, the re- 
lation of his religious life to his earlier life in the world, and then his 
sorrow on account of his life in the religious state, particularly after he 
had to accept the dignity of Abbot, the office of superior, because he was 
then exposed to many dangers, and his time for prayer was shortened. He 
deplores his aridity and again offers up to God, as a sacrifice, his contrite 
heart. This is just the opposite of Luther's falsification. 

=*Cf. the Maurists in Migne, t. 183, p. 782; Hist. litt. de la France, 
XIII, 187; Hist. litt. de S. Bernard et de Pierre le V6n6rable, Paris, 1773, 
p. 349, 354; E. Vacandard, Vie de S. Bernard de Clairvaux, Paris 1895, I, 
471, and note, 1. The former says that Bernard preached Sermo 2Ji twice, 
1137 and 1138. 

56 See list in Migne, 1. c, p. 1084, n. 2. But preferably Janauschek, 
Orlg. Cisterc. (at the close Arbor genealogica abbatiarum Cisterciens. ) 
and Vacandard, 1. c, II, 393 sqq. 

5« See Janauschek, loo. cit., p. 70. 


give the increase" (Ep. 356). In 1142-1143, he recommends 
the brethren to the same with the utmost solicitude : "Nequa- 
quam * » * circa eos sollicitudo et diligentia tepescat, et 
pereat, quod plantavit dextera tua ♦ • ♦ Bene proficit 
domus * » • Multa adhuc opus est vigilantia, tanquam in 
loco novo, et in terra tam insueta, imo et inexperta monasticae 
religionis." — "By no means let solicitude and diligence in their 
behalf grow tepid; let not what your right hand planted per- 
ish * * • The house is getting along well • * * There is still 
need of much vigilance, the place being new and unused to, in- 
deed, without experience of, the religious life." He urges more 
care about the statutes of the Order, that the bishop endeavor 
to procure the uplift of the house, and concludes: "Hind 
quoque paternitati vestrae suggerimus, ut viris religiosis et 
quos speratis utiles esse fore monasterio, persuadeatis qua- 
tenus ad corum Ordinem veniant" (Ep. 357). — "This we 
would also suggest to your Eeverence, that you persuade re- 
ligious men, whom you hope to be useful to the monastery, 
to enter the Order" (Ep. 357). But enough of this. 

In the immediately succeeding sermons on the Canticle of 
Canticles, Bernard likewise expatiates with praise on the vows 
and the happiness of the religious state. To mention only a 
few, how zealous he is, in Sermo 30, for obedience, poverty, 
chastity, for mortification, for the true idea of a monk.'' In 
Sermo 6Jf in Cant. N. 2, he tells of a monk, with whom once all 
Avas well, but who gradually gave way to the seductive 
thoughts that he was able, and it was better and more useful, 
t^ impart the spiritual good he was enjoying in the monastery 
to others at home. "And what more? He left, and the un- 
happy man went to his ruin, non tam exul ad patriam, quam 
canis reversus ad vomitum. Et se perdidit infeliw, et suorum 
acquisivit neminem." — "Not so much an exile returning to his 
fatherland as a dog to his vomit. The unhappy man went to 
his ruin and gained none of his people." According to St. 
Bernard, therefore, he who abandons his Order returns to 
that from which he had departed and goes to ruin, whilst, ac- 
cording to Luther, this is the fate of one who becomes and 

"Mlgne, t. 182, p. 936 n. 10, 11, 12. 


remains a monk.'* In Sermo 48 St. Bernard speaks on inno- 
centia, in Sermo 11 on the good of obedience, in Sermo 1ft on 
the rule of St. Benedict. And elsewhere we find the same: 
as in Sermo 37, De Deversis, which was probably composed 
after his journey to Rome. How he extols therein monastic 
chastity : "Quis enim coeliben vitam, vitam coelestem et angel- 
icam dicere vereatur?" He exhorts the brethren to its ob- 
servance and speaks the animating words : "Quomodo non jam 
non estis sicut angeli dei in coelo, a nuptiis penitus absti- 
nentes?" etc.'* After 1137, namely, about 1141 or 1142, he 
composed the most celebrated treatise on the religious state, 
De praecepto et dispensatione, which belongs to the most beau- 
tiful and the most instructive works ever written on the relig- 
ious life. The monastic discipline, he says therein among 
other things,"" has merited the prerogative of being caUed a 
second baptism, because of its perfect contempt of the world, 
and because of the special excellence of the spiritual life, 
which surpasses all other modes of life. And those who pro- 
fess it make themselves unlike themselves, but like unto the 

In what a deceptive light does not Luther begin to appear 
to us? Apart from misleading his readers in respect to the 
period of time from which both utterances should date, he, 
(and, following him, his partisans )°^ contrary to his better 
knowledge, gave to the first saying a sense which above all 

^^ "Ad vomitum gentilem redire." Weim. VIII. 600,7. 

5'Migne 1. c, p. 641, n. 5. 

60 C. 17, n. 54, (Migne, t. 182, p. 889). I shall resume this subject 

61 A clear exposition of the whole treatise may be found in Hist. litt. 
de S. Bernard et de Pierre V^n^rable. Paris 1773, p. 240-255. On second 
baptism, see below chapters 11, 12. 

62 Joh. Bugenhagen Pomeranus, e.g. writes in "Von dem ehelichen 
stande der Bischoffe und Diaken an Harm Wolffgang Reyssenbusch (Wit- 
tenberg, 1525) leaf O liij'': "We read of several, among whom is St. 
Bernard too, who, at the end of their life, condemned all human justice 
and the hard heavy labor of human ordinances, which they had had some 
years before, and openly confessed that they should be saved only by God's 
mercy, through the blood of Jesus Christ." 


others St. Bernard held in abhorrence. And Luther did that 
solely to attain his end."^ 


Superiors Alleged to be Able to Dispense ebom Every- 
thing. LuTHBB^s Assertion that He Vowed the 
Whole Rule. 

As we are occupied with St. Bernard, let us further 
follow Luther as his interpreter, and the editor Kawerau. 
Luther writes VIII, 633 sq. : "It is the unanimous view, duly 
approved by St. Bernard in the book, De praecepto et dis- 
pensatione, that all the parts of the rule are in the hands of 
the superior, who can dispense his subjects from them, not 
only when there is question of something impossible or where 
there is danger in delay, but also when it is convenient; 
sometimes these parts of the rule depend only on the dis- 
cretion of the superior." From these premises, Luther draws 
the conclusion that the sense of the monastic vow is : "I vow 
to keep this rule according to the discretion of the super- 
ior,"^* but the superior can dispense in all and from all vows, 
therefore also from the vow of chastity, the more so because 
stronger grounds urge it, whereas it is precisely the vow of 
chastity that is represented as nondispensable. Thus the whole 
monastic institution becomes uncertain and dangerous, and if 
the sense of the monastic vow is not the one just given, then all 
monasteries are damned, and there was never a monk in ex- 

Now, let us first view the premises which Luther pre- 
tends to have set up according to general agreement and the 
teaching of St. Bernard. Is it true that St. Bernard teaches 

83 It is all the more significant that Seeberg (Neue Preuss. Zeitung, 
1903, nr. 569) seeks to excuse Luther from my charge by remarking that 
Luther had probably read Bernard's utterance only once, had "inadvert- 
ently" misinterpreted it and ascribed it to Bernard before death. The 
question of a lie is not considered at all. But how did it happen that, 
lefore his fall, Luther did quite correctly interpret the saying, as we have 
seen? We know why Seeberg passed this over in silence. 

64 "Voveo banc regulam servare ad arbitrium praesidentis." In the 
well known earlier sermon, Luther utilizes this passage, but does not name 
St. Bernard as authority. Brl. 10, 453. 


that all the parts of the rule are in the hand of the superior? 
One Tvould judge so, for would not the setting up of this 
assertion otherwise give evidence of the highest degree of 
deceptive arbitrariness, since Luther even cites the writing 
in which St. Bernard is supposed to teach this? But never- 
theless one would judge wrongly. In the writing named, 
Bernard teaches the very opposite of what Luther made him 
say. St. Bernard says: "In great part the regular tradition 
is subject, if not to the will, certainly to the discretion of 
him who is at the head. But you say: 'What then remains 
to necessity' (i. e. not committed to the discretion of super- 
iors) ! Listen, a very great deal. In the first place, what- 
ever there is of spiritual things handed doion by the rule, is 
by no means left in the hand of the abbot.""^ For one thing, 
therefore, Bernard does not say, as Luther alleges he did, 
that all parts of the rule are in the hands of the superior, 
but a great part. But, he continues, and this is definite, in 
respect to the spiritual handed down in the rule the superior 
has no power whatever. Instead of wasting words on 
Luther's procedure, I permit myself to ask only one question 
of the Protestant Luther researchers : What kind of religious 
were those who forthwith and without scruple accepted 
Luther's amplifications and interpretations of Bernard's 
teaching, as presented here and in the discussion of the 
Perdite vixi? Were they not already rotten fruit, ripe for 
their fall? 

But what does Kawerau say? This time he found the 
passage, for Luther cited the book. He adduces it without 
comment in the note, but only the beginning of it. The con- 
tinuation, which gives complete evidence contrary to Luther's 
exposition, he omitted, the part namely, that the spiritual is 
not within the power of the abbot! Is such a procedure 

85 Liber de praecepto et dispensatione, c. 4, n. 9 : "Patet quod magna 
ex parte regularis traditio subest ejus qui praeest, etsi non voluntati, 
certe discretioni. Sed dicitis: Quid ergo relinquitur necessitati? Audite, 
quam plurimum. Prima quidem, quidquid de spiritualiius in ipsa Regula 
traditum est, in manu ablatis nequaquam relinquitur." 


honorable and unbiased ?^^ If that is not partisan bias, there 
is nothing that deserves to be so characterized. 

But Luther also draws from Bernard's passage, whicli he 
falsified, the conclusion that one vows to keep the rule 
according to the discretion of the superior. The true Ber- 
nard, of course, concludes differently: "I promise • * * 
obedience according to the rule of St. Benedict, therefore 
not according to the will or discretion of the superior."^'' 
This, then, is a conclusion diametrically opposed to that of 
Luther. Does Kawerau note it? Not in the least. 

Still Luther also says on this passage: "I vow this rule," 
"voveo banc regulam," and he also repeats this elsewhere.*^ 
There is a pregnant passage soon found thereon, Weim, VIII, 
637, 26 : "Nunc monasticos conveniamus. Non possunt 
negare, quin voveant totam suam regulam, non solani casti- 
tatem, quod et tota sub verbo 'vovete' comprehenditur ; quare 
necesse est, ut et tota sub verbo 'reddite' comprehendatur." — 
"Let us now question the monasteries. They cannot deny 
having vowed the whole rule and not chastity alone, because 

^" In this Kawerau by no means stands alone. One meets the same 
manner of workmanship in many another Protestant theologian. Only one 
Instance here. Ph. Schaff, Gesch. der alten Kirche, (Leipslg, 1867) cites, 
for his assertion that Augustine did not accept the real presence : De pecc. 
mer. ac rem. 1, II, 26 (n. 42) : "quamvis non sit corpus Christi (italics by 
Schaff) sanctum est tamen, quoniam sacramentum est." Who will still 
doubt that Augustine denies the real presence? But how does the case 
stand? Schaff tore the passage from its context, mutilated it and did not 
observe that Augustine was not speaking of the Eucharistlc, but of blessed 
bread, the so-called Eulogia, which the catechumens used to receive. In 
its context the passage reads : "Non uniusmodi est sanctificatio : nam et 
catehumenos sec. quendam modum suura per signum Christi et oratiouem 
manus impositionis puto sanctificari, et quod accipiunt, quamvis non sit 
corpus Christi, sanctum est tamen," etc. Similarly, though somewhat 
mere cautiously, H. Schmid Lehrh. d. Dogmengesch., 2 Ed., p. 109, note 
3 (of. Gams in Hist.-pol Blatter, 61, Bd., p. 958 sqq.). Isn't it capital? 
The passage is really evidence for Augustine's faith in the real presence, 
especially when it is compared with his tr. 11 in Joann. Evang., n 4: "Nes- 
ciunt catechuraeni, quid accipiant christiani." The catechumens, he says 
in Sermo 132, n. 1, should hasten to baptism, In order to be able to re- 
ceive the Eucharist. Similarly Enarr, in Ps. 109, n. 17 : tr. 96 in Joann. 
Evang., n. 3. 

87 "Non ergo secundum volumtatem praepositi." De praecepto et dis- 
pens. c. 4, n. 10. 

68 e.g. Erl. 10, 452 sqq. 


the Avhole rule is included in the word "vovete" ; hence neces- 
sarily the whole rule is also included in the word "reddite." 
Luther here proves himself guilty of even greater trickery 
than he had manifested in respect to St. Bernard. For there 
is here no question of a strange book, but of his own rule 
which once he himself had kept, of his own form of vows 
which he had once pronounced, and had so often heard on 
the part of others during the solemnities of their religious 
profession, and which was found in print in the constitutions 
of the Order, publicly read during the year, and in those 
written by Staupitz. And how does the form read, by means 
of which he had vowed the rule? "Ego f rater • * * pro- 
mitto obedientiam ♦ * * vivere sine proprio et in castitate 
secundum regulam beati Augustini usque ad mortem" ;°* — 
"I, Brother N. N. * * * promise obedience • * * and to 
live without possessions and in chastity according to the rule 
of St. Augustine, until death." Therefore Luther and his 
confreres did not vow the rule, but to live in conformity with 
the rule or according to the rule, that is, as St. Thomas 
teaches : "He who professes the rule does not vow to observe 
all the things which are in the rule, but he vows the regular 
life which consists essentially in the three mentioned vows. 
He does not vow the rule, but to live according to the rule, 
that is he avows he will strive so to live, that he will shape 
his conduct in conformity with the rule as according to a 
kind of examplar."" 

Luther's assertion sounds too incredible. Perhaps he 
means, after all, other orders and not his own? Not so, for 

«» Thus the ancient, general manuscript rescensions of the Constitutions 
of the Eremites, everywhere, c. 18: Bibl. Angelica in Rome, n. 770; Rheims, 
n. 709 ; Verdun, n. 41 ; in the edition Venetiis, 1508, also c. 18, fol. 23 ; in the 
Constitutions for Germany by Staupitz (1504) the same, c. 18. 

'0 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 9, ad 1 : "lUe qui profitetur regulam, non vovet ser- 
vare omnia, quae sunt in regula, sed vovet regnlarem vitam, quae 
essentialiter consistit in tribus praedictis * » * profitentur, non 
quidem regulam, sed vivere secundam regulam, i. e., tendere ad 
hoc, ut aliquis mores sues informet secundum regulam sicut secundum 
quoddam exemplar." That only the three vows are included in the Prae- 
eeptum, was the understanding in Luther's order. "De omnibus aliis prae- 
ter haec tria," writes Luther's famous confrere, Jordan of Saxony, about 
the middle of the fourteenth century, "non veniunt sub praecepto, nisi 
mediante praelato." Vitae Fratrum, Romae, 1587, p. 125 sq. 


on page 633, 4, he removes every doubt by writing : "Behold, 
I vowed the whole rule of St. Augustine :" — "Ecce ego vovi 
totam Augustini regulam!" Naturally, this suggesting the 
sense that he had vowed every sentence, every admonition, 
it was easy for Luther to expose the peril of it all. In the 
rule of St. Augustine, there is a regulation, for instance, 
"Nee eant ad balnea sive quocunque ire necesse fuerit minus 
quam duo vel tres," — "Nor shall less than two or three go to 
the baths or wherever else it may be necessary to go." There- 
fore if I, as Eremite, do not walk accompanied by others, I 
have broken the vow, for, "hoc vovi usque ad mortem ser- 
vare," ut expresse hahet forma voti." — "For I vowed to ob- 
serve this until death, as the form of the vow expressly has 
it." That, then, is contained in the form of the vow! To 
what length has Luther gone ! To what depths had he al- 
ready fallen, that he did not shrink from wholly distorting 
the words which once he had himself spoken before God and 
which are in the published constitutions, so that precisely 
that untrue meaning Avhich he now needed was displayed, 
but which, at his profession with all his confreres, he would 
rightly have repudiated as wholly contrary to the form. And 
what kind of monks were his associates, who allowed them- 
selves to be tricked by such distortions and who followed 
him in his apostasy? Did they not already belong to that 
stream of decline, described in the introduction? 

Luther's account does not apply to the other best known 
orders of that time either. The Dominicans took their vow 
"according to the rule," like Luther and his confreres. The 
Benedictines and the Cluniacs^^ did the same, and St. Ber- 
nard expressly says, in the treatise above cited by Luther, in 
the very same chapter, indeed, in respect to Benedict's rule:" 
"Promitto, non quidem Regulam, sed ohedientiam secundum 
Kegulam, S. Benedict!," — "I promise, not the rule indeed, but 
obedience according to the rule of St. Benedict." And pres- 

'1 So also Erl. 10, 452 : "St. Augustine puts in his rule that his breth- 
ren shall not go alone, but two by two ; I vowed that until death." 

^2 See on this, Mabillon, Regula S. Benedict!, in Migne, Patrol. 1., t. 
66, p. 820. Bernardi I abbatis Casinens., Speculum monachorum, Ed. Wal- 
ter, Friburgi 1901, p. 5. 

'3 De praecepto et dlspens., c. 4, n. 10. 


ently'* lie acknowledges what was the common understanding 
about profession among all the monks of his time: "No one 
vows the rule when he makes profession, but, quite definitely, 
that he will adjust his manner of living according to, or in 
conformity with, the rule. It is not a violation of the vow, 
therefore, if one does not fulfill the rule to a hair." To the 
Benedictines and Cluniacs in well ordered monasteries of 
praiseworthy customs, St. Bernard allows much freedom in 
respect to the rule, although his Cistercians strive to follow 
the rule to the letter,'^ not in consequence of the vow, or as 
if they had vowed the rule, but contrary to the customs.'^ The 
Canons Eegular, as in general all who followed the rule of 
St. Augustine, took their vows, like the orders mentioned, 
"secundum Kegulam."" Of the orders that can here be taken 
into consideration, Luther's statement would have applica- 
tion only to the Franciscans, had not St. Francis precluded 
that by an uncommon brevity and an insignificant number 
of ordinances, as well as and particularly by the distinction 
between monitiones and praecepta, which was expressly em- 
phasized by Gregory IX as early as 1230, and clearly ex- 
plained by St. Bonaventure.'^ In their form of profession. 

''* Ibid., c. 16, n. 47. Bernhard I, Abbot of Monte Cassino, who, in 
Speculum monaohorum (Ed. Walter), p. 117, adduces both passages of St. 
Bernard, concludes: "Ex his igitur dico quod in aliis, quae in professione 
non exprimuntur, monachus sequitur regulam ut magistram docentem et 
ad rectitudlnem et salubria monentem et utllia consulentem, non ut iuben- 
tem, mandantem vel praecipientem." Cf. also p. 119. Henry of Ghent did 
not fully understand this. 

^5 De praecepto et dispensatlone, c. 16, n. 46, 47, 49. 

'^ See on this, Berli&re : Les origines de Citeaux et I'ordre b^n^dictin 
au Xlie si^cle, (Louvain, 1901), p. 15, 199. 

'^ Congregations also, as e.g., that of Windesheim : ego fr. promitto deo 
auxiliante perpetuam continentiam, carentiam proprii et obedientiam tibi, 
pater prior * * * secundum regulam b. Augustini et secundum con- 
stitutiones capituli nostri generalis. Ms. in the Seminary library of Mainz 
3a pars, c. 2. In the same manner, e.g. the Servites, who also expressly 
said: "Vivere secundum regulam S. Augustini." Monum. Ord. Serv. S. 
Mariae, ed. Morini et Soulier, I, 42. 

^SExpositio super Reg. fr. Min., c. 1: "Vovent igitur Fratres totam 
Regulam secundum inteutionem mandatoris, partim ad observantiam, ut 
praeceptorie imposita, partim ad reverentiam et approbationem illorum, 
quae non tam praeceptorie imponuntur, quam meritorie propronuntur tali 
statui specialiter aemulanda. * * * Ex his ergo patet error dicentium, 
quod voventes hanc Regulam vovent etiam omnia praeceptorie, quae in ipsa 


the Carthusians mention nothing, but to this day it is their 
understanding that they vow, not the rule, but to live accord- 
ing to the rule. 

If this is the case, then, what shall we say of the editor, 
Kawerau, Avho offers not one little word of comment on the 
passages under consideration, to advise the reader of 
Luther's deceit? 

In like manner, Luther in other writings further de- 
ceives his readers in respect to constitutions, that is, statutes 
— a thing that has not surprised any Protestant Luther re- 
searcher either. Repeatedly does Luther complain later 
that, in the Popedom, there was nothing but intimidating 
consciences. Had he, as a monk, gone out of his cell without 
his scapular, for instance, he would have thought that he 
had committed a deadly sin; for a monk durst not go out 
without his scapular.^" In the constitutions of Staupitz, it 
does indeed say, c. 24 : "Let no brother leave his cell without 
a scapular." Is Luther right then? By no means. In the 
very prologue, on the first page of the Constitutions, every 
prop is removed from Luther's later propounded scruple. 
There one reads: "For the sake of peace and the unity of 
the Order, it is our will and we declare that our constitu- 
tions do not bind us under fault but under penalty, except 
in the case of a precept or on account of contempt."*" This is 
excellently explained not only by St. Thomas,'^ but also by 

Regula contlnentur, hoc enim est contra Regulam manifeste, quae expresse 
dlstinguit monitiones a praeceptis." 0pp. S. Bonaventurae (ed. Quaracchl) 
t. VIII, 394, n. 3. In the appended notes there are other references. 

"Cf. 44, 347; 48, 203; Tischr. ed. Forstemann, III, p. 239. 

80 Thus In all the recensions ; "* * ♦ volumus et declaramus, ut 
constitutiones nostrae non obligent nos ad culpam, sed ad penam, nisi 
propter preceptum vel contemptum." The prologue, with the words ad- 
duced, as in great part the constitutions generally, are taljen from the 
constitutions of the Dominicans, about which more below. 

81 S. Thomas 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 9 : "Si quaellbet transgressio eorum, 
quae In regula contlnentur, religiosum obligaret ad peccatum mortale, 
status religionis esset periculoslssimus propter multltudlnem observant- 
iarum. Non ergo quaellbet transgressio eorum, quae in regula contlnentur, 
est peccatum mortale." And ad 1 : "* * * transgressio talis vel omissio 
ex suo genere non obligat ad culpam, neque mortalem neque venlalera, 
sed solum ad poenam taxatam sustinendam, quia per hunc modum ad talia 
observanda obligantur, qui tamen possent veniallter vel mortaliter peccate 
ex negligentia, vel libidine, seu contemptu." 


th.e religious preceptor of the Eremites, Aegydius of Eome.*^ 
The latter calms his brethren with the words : "Subordinates 
can suificiently form their conscience from the fact that what 
is forbidden in the constitutions, if it is not evil in itself, 
binds under punishment, not under fault, except if they do 
it out of contempt."*^ Will Protestants say that Luther was 
unacquainted both with these evidences and with his con- 
stitutions? What an ignoramus they will then brand him! 
No, no, the case is otherwise. After his apostasy, Luther 
was a different man from the one he had been before. This 
is the chief explanation. After his apostasy, when he enter- 
tained only mockery and derision for the Church, he went on 
to make her responsible for mortal sins of a wholly different 
complexion. In 1531, he Avrites among other things, about 
the Pope and Papists : "It Avere too bad that such mad cattle 
and dirty hogs should smell these muscats, to say nothing of 
eating and enjoying them. Let them teach and believe that, 

if one f into his surplice, it is a mortal sin, and he who 

has an e at the altar is one damned. Or, to come to 

their high articles as well, he who rinses his mouth with 
water and swallows a drop, may not say mass that day; he 
who forgets and leaves his mouth open, so that a gnat flies 
down his throat, cannot receive the sacrament that day, and 
innumerable similar grand, excellent, high articles, upon 
which their sow-church is founded."^* 

But let us turn back to Luther's writing "On the Vows." 
Every unprejudiced reader must perceive that here the Ee- 
former appears in a very dubious light. Protestants can no 
longer use their favorite expressions that Luther had now 
attained deeper, clearer knowledge, that he came to recognize 
the vows as contrary to scripture. No, we are here dealing 
with facts. From 1505 on, that is, from the time in which 
Luther entered the Order and lived as a religious, the Con- 
stitutions of the Hermits embodied the same text and the 
same meaning as at the time in which he wrote his book on 

82Quol. 6tum, quaest. 21: "Utrum religiosus frangens silentium, cum 
agat contra constitutiones, peccet mortaliter." 
83 Ibid. 
8* Erl. 25, 75. 


the vows. Wliat does lie do? He changes the text and, first 
of all, precisely at the passage which is decisive for the en- 
tire succeeding life of the religious concerned, the words, 
namely, by which religious profession is made. The change 
is this, that the sense becomes other than that which the 
Constitutions, or Luther himself once, had intended. Deeper 
knowledge of the passage? But why, then, did Luther 
change the text? To make the passage yield his a priori 
intended meaning, he was constrained to change the form 
itself, for it does not admit the meaning he had in view. It 
was only after his falsification that he could write as an 
Augustinian Hermit: "See, I vowed the whole rule of St. 
Augustine, in which he commands that I shall not walk 
alone. I vowed that until death. Now if I am captured and 
forced to be alone, what becomes of my vow? Sooner must 
I let myself be killed than be alone. But how, if they would 
not kill me, but keep me alone by force? My vow must then 
be broken, or must virtually include the added clause: 'I 
vow to keep the rule in this or that matter, so far as it is 
possible for me to do so.' " In like manner, he said, he had 
vowed to pray at certain times, to wear clothes, and the like. 
But if he were taken sick, how then fulfill the "Vovete et 
reddite," — "vow and keep your vow?" Such was the case with 
all the rest.*^ 

Expositions and conclusions like these, all built up ex- 
clusively on the falsified form of profession, but, in the light 
of the true form, being de subjecto non supponete, i. e., weak 
figments of the brain, make an impression upon Protestants, 
and they note nothing unusual about them. Why? Because 
they disdain to draw Catholic teaching from its genuine 
fountainhead and prefer without further ado to put their 
faith in Luther's assertions, which they will subject to no 
test whatever. 

Object of the Year of Probation According to Luthee. 
That is not the only time, however, that Luther in this 

85 Weim. VIII, 633 ; Erl. 10, 452. Cf. besides Chapter 6 below. 


writing deceives his readers about rule and constitutions. 
He also states therein that, in the orders, a beginner in the 
religious life is given a year's probation before taking vows. 
"If this year served the beginner to deliberate upon and to 
make trial of the customs, food, clothing, and other matters 
touching the body, one could praise it. But this year of 
probation serves the one who is to bind himself by vow, to 
put himself to the test whether he can live chaste. But what 
folly is equal to this, if the essential nature of the institute 
is considered? Chastity is not measured (as it ought to be), 
according to the capability of the spirit, but according to the 
number of days, and he who lives chaste a year is declared 
fit to live chaste his whole life," and so on.^'' Does Luther 
here speak truth, or is not what he says much rather the 
opposite? Let us see. 

Innocent III, in his day, had already summarized the 
tradition on the year of probation in the words that it was 
sanctioned by the Fathers in the interest not only of the 
newly entered, who should make trial of the severities of the 
monastery, but also of the monastery, which can test the 
aspirant's morals during that time.^' And so there is noth- 
ing of a trial of chastity! But possibly the orders departed 
from this rule. Let us consider them. 

It is not demanded of Luther that he be acquainted with 
the practices of other orders. His case depends primarily 
on the constitutions of his own Order, and precisely on those 
according to which he himself lived and carried out his year 
of probation, those of Staupitz of the year 1504.^^ By way 

86Weim. VIII, 659, 38. 

8' Decretal, de regular. Ill, 31, 16. 

88 The constitutions of Staupitz were Issued for the Vicariate, not for 
the related Provinces in Germany. Correcting my assertion in the first 
edition, I observe that the Convent of Erfurt, in which Luther lived the 
time of his Novitiate and as a cleric, belonged to the Vicariate but not to 
the Province. Meanwhile the Province probably also made use of the Con- 
stitutions of Staupitz, primarily, since observance in the Monasteries 
of the Province proceeded from the Superiors of the Vicariate, those 
Monasteries as a consequence, with a view to observance, always remained 
in dependence upon the Vicar Generals, who also at times undertook the 
visitation of them ; and then, because there were scarcely any copies of the 
old general constitutions at hand, they existing only in manuscript, and 
those of Staupitz were the first to appear in print. Naturally they were 


of comparison, however, I also adduce the older ones, for 
that was taken from them. 

What the purpose of the year's probation was, we may 
come to learn in the fifteenth chapter about the reception of 
an individual into the Order. This chapter begins somewhat 
like chapter 58 of the rule of St. Benedict:'" "If anyone, 
whoever he may be, asks for admission into our Order, it 
shall not forthwith be granted to him, but much rather shall 
his mind be tested, if it be of God." This then is the facuUas 
spiritus, which, according to Luther, ought to be tried, a 
thing, however, that he missed in the orders. If the postu- 
lant or postulants are firm in their resolve, the superior then, 
after some days, proposes to them in chapter the questions 
to be answered, if they are free, unmarried, not bound to 
any service, did not belong to any other Order, and had no 
debts. If all is found in order, the prior then sets forth to 
them the strictness of the Order in all its details, among 
them the items missed by Luther, mode of life, food, cloth- 
ing. On that Avhich he alleges as the object of the year's 
probation of that time and condemns, the trial of chastity, 
one finds not the least word, although obedience and poverty 
are spoken of. After the prior has set forth the austerities 
of the Order to those about to be invested with the habit, 
and after these have declared themselves ready to submit to 
them, the prior says : "We accept you on probation for a 
year, as the custom is,""° that is, impliedly: "You and we 

«oon in demand, the more so because they were arranged for Germany, 
(vithout, however, varying in their principal features from the old constl- 
cutlons. They were received as a benefit, for Ignorance of customs and 
asages was great among tlie Augustinian Hermits. Gabriel, Provincial of 
the Venetian Province, writes in the dedication of the first impression of 
the general constitutions (Venetils 1508) to the General Aegydius of VI- 
terbo : "Ego interim, ut allquld pro virill mea operls afCeram, tanquam 
vetulae mlnutum, veteres nostras institutiones neglectas antea et vix a 
nostris hominibus scitas offero." For sometimes a whole Province, to say 
nothing of each monastery, did not possess a single manuscript copy, 
(which can be shown to have occurred even In the time of printed ones). 

8° Noviter veniens quis ad conversionem non el facills tribuatur In- 
gressus, sed sicut ait Apostolus : probate spiritus, si ex Deo sunt. Migne, 
(Patr.) 1., t. 66, p. 803. 

'° Prior exponat eis asperltatera ordinls, sell, abdlcationem proprie vol- 
untatis, vllitatem clborum, asperltatem vestlum, vigllias nocturnas, labores 


through the year will make trial whether you are capable of 
subjecting yourselves to the rule and the practices of the 
Order." They are then forthwith committed to the novice- 
master for instruction, whose duty it is for the year to con- 
duct them in the way of God, that is, upon the path of 
virtue, and to teach them the rule, the constitutions or 
statutes, in which the religious life and its austerities are 
set forth in detail, and the customs and practices of the 
Order. They themselves have often to read the constitutions 
that they may know under what law they are to serve as 
combatants, in the event of their binding themselves to the 
Order by vow."^ The year of probation has begun. In it, 
"they on the one side are to learn to know the strictness of 
the Order, and, on the other side, the brethren as well are 
to become acquainted with their morals.""^ 

The seventeenth chapter treats of the instruction during 
the year of probation. In the old or general constitutions, 
mention is made that the novice should be instructed, among 
other things, to flee the love of pleasure, because it imperils 
chastity. Staupitz, or some other earlier, suppressed even 
the last clause.^^ In these constitutions, according to which 

diurnos, macerationem carnis, opprobrium paupertatis, ruborem mendicl 
tatis, lassitudinem ieiunii, tedium claustrl, et his similis. Et de omnibus 
his voluntatem eorum exquirat. Si responderint se velle cum dei adjutoi'lo 
omnia ilia servare, in quantum humana fragilitas permiserit, dicat eis, : 
accipiemus vos ad probationis annum, sicut mos est fieri. 

81 Prior tradat eos sub obedientia magistri, qui Ipsos in via del dirlgat 
et doceat de regula, de coastitutionlbus, de officio, de cantu, de morlbus, 
de slgnis, ac alils Ordinls observantlls. Legatque ipsls Maglster eorum, 
aut Ipslmet sive qullibet eorum per se regulam et constltutlones seorsum 
ab allls pluries in anno, ut dlscant, si se Ordinl professlonls voto astrlnx- 
erlnt, sub qua lege milltare debebunt. The general constitutions show only 
a few unimportant variants. 

82 In chapter 16, De tempore et qualltate eorum qui ad Ordinem re- 
clpiuntur, there is a passage in the old or general constitutions : "Novltius 
a die ingresslonis sue ad nos ad annum et diem In probatlone maneblt, ut 
asperltatem vite seu Ordinia et Fratres mores experlantur illius." Staupitz 
omits the words, "ut asperltatem * * * iiUus," but only on account of 
their frequent repetition. They recur even before the Investiture and even 

83 The old constitutions (In Bibl. Angelica In Reims, Verdun, which 
were cited above, p. 52) have it: "Delicias fugiat, quia castltas perlcll- 
tatur in illls." The clause beginning with "quia" to the end is omitted 
by Staupitz. 


Luther later lived, every allusion to chastity was avoided, 
even where mention of it occurs incidentally. 

At the close of the year of probation, if the novice were 
admitted to profession, i. e., to the act of taking the vows, 
the prior said to him before all the brethren : "Dear Brother, 
see, the j^ear of probation is finished, in which you have ex- 
perienced and tried the entire severity of our Order; for you 
lived with us as one of us in all things except our councils." 
Nothing else? Not, as one would have to suppose, according 
to Luther: "Dear Brother, the year of probation is finished, 
in which you have tried, if you could live chastely!" Not a 
whit of this. Rather does the prior continue to admonish 
the novices to decide, after so protracted a deliberation, 
whether or no they wish wholly to dedicate themselves to 
God and to the Order." 

But perhaps Luther's animadversion fits other orders? 
I find none, either the ancient monastic orders"^ or the men- 
dicants, as, for example, the Dominicans'"^ and the Francis- 
cans.'' In all of them the year of probation serves the 
novice, on the one hand, as a means of experiencing the dis- 
cipline of the Order, and at the same time, on the other hand, 
it serves the convent as a means of trying the novices. In 
the Benedictine and Dominican orders, chastity is not men- 
tioned at all in the form of profession, in which only obed- 
ience is vowed. Moreover Luther quite trips himself. Were 
the object of the year of probation in the religious orders 

8* Constit. Staupitii, c. 18, and Holstenius Codex regularium (1759), 
add. 34, p. 2, 4: "Care frater, ecce tempus probationis tue completum est, 
In quo asperitatem Ordinis nostrl expertus es ; fecisti namque in omnibus 
nobiscum sicut unus ex nobis, preterquam in conciliis. Nunc ergo e duobus 
oportet te eligere unum, sive a nobis discedere, vel seculo huic renunciare 
teque totum deo primum et dehinc Ordini nostro dedicare atque oi^erre, 
adjecto quod, postquam sic te obtuleris, de sub iugo obedientie collum tuum 
quacumque ex causa excutere non licebit, quod sub tam morosa deliber- 
atione, cum recusare libere posses, sponte suscipere voluisti." 

85 See Mabillon on the Rule of Saint Benedict, in Migne, t. 66, p. 805 
sqq. See the Abbot Bernhard's "Speculum monachorum," p. 127 sqq. 

8s See Denifle-Ehrle, Archiv fiir Litteratur — und Kirchengesch. des Mit- 
telalters, I, 202, c. 15; V, 542, note 1. 

"'St. Bonaventure on Reg. Fr. Min. (0pp. VIII, p. 401, n. 12, Ed. 
Quaracchi) says: "In quo anno possunt experiri afflictiones frigoris et 
caloris." Others explain the matter in a similar manner. 


exclusively a test of chastity, the purpose of entering the 
orders would have been just chastity. But against this 
Luther himself protests in the same treatise, page 651, 21 : 
"No one," he says, "becomes a monk on account of chastity.""* 
Finally Luther is worsted by the escaped nun, Florentina 
von Neu-Helfta, who, in an account of her life accompanied 
by a preface of Luther himself, 1524, declares the purpose of 
the year of probation to have been, "that we might learn the 
manner of the religious life, and that the others might try 
us, if we were qualified for the Order.""'' And this was the 
opinion of the theologians."" 

The religious life and the austerities of the Order serve, 
of course, to preserve the virtue of chastity, as they do in 
general to overcome vice and evil habits. As St. Thomas 
teaches, many austerities, such as night-vigils, fasts, separa- 
tion from the life of the world, are introduced into the orders 
"that men may be the more removed from vice.""^ Luther 
himself, at the beginning of the year 1520, still said: "Gorg- 
ing, swilling, much sleeping, loafing and idling are arms of 
unchastity, by which chastity is dexterously overcome. On 
the other hand, St. PauP"^ calls fasting, vigils, and labors, a 
divine armor, by which unchastity is subdued.'""' 


The Vovt^s Alleged to Lead Away from Christ, the Orders 
TO Give a Leader Other Than Christ. 

It is incredible what means Luther employs to estrange 
souls from the orders. Nothing deters him, not even the 
danger that the constitutions of his own Order and his earlier 

88 Nemo propter castitatem induit monachum. 

ssWeim. XV, 90, 22. 

!<"> I mention here only one of the least suspected, namely, Henry of 
Ghent, who, In Quol. XIII qu. 15, gives only the "experientia onerum re- 
Ugkmis" as the purpose of the year of probation. And concerning the one 
year, he writes: "Praesumendum est, quod cuilibet habentl usum rationis 
tantum temporis sufBciat ad capiendum experientiam duritiae et status 
cuiusllbet religionis." 

101 Contra retrahentes a religionis ingressu, c. 6. Cf. also below, note 106, 
the first prayer from the constitution of Staupitz. 

102 Bom. 13, 12 seq. 

loaweim. VI. 268 seq. Cf. also p. 245 seq. 


course may give him tKe lie, just as if he were a m.oderii 
Protestant who had never heard of such things. In the very 
beginning of his treatise, he represents to religious that it "was 
not St. Paul's wish to be imitated as Paul, but that Christ 
should be imitated in him. "Be folloAvers of me, as I also 
am a follower of Christ," Luther then continues: "Certainly 
there is no other leader given us than He of whom the Father 
says : 'hear ye him.' By this word Christ was appointed as 
the leader for all. All others were subjected to him and 
placed after him. He who followeth me, he says, walketh not 
in darlmess. I am the light of the world. No one cometh 
to the Father except through me. I am the way, the truth, 
and the life." From this Luther draws the conclusion that 
all rules, statutes, orders, in a word, everything that stands 
apart from or above Christ, is condemned. He who says : I 
am the way, cannot suffer that any other way apart from 
him be taken ; he, of whom it was said : hear ye him, cannot 
tolerate any other leader or master. But what do the mem- 
bers of orders do?^"* He ansAvers : "They are no longer 
called Christians or sons of God, but Benedictines, Domini- 
cans, AugTistinians : these and their Fathers they laud above 
Christ.""^ Luther thus places the members of religious 
orders in the same relation to Christ in which a great part of 
the Protestants of today are found. Protestant means more 
to them than Christian. They even ask: "Dare we still re- 
main Christians?" They never entertain the slightest doubt 
as to whether they may remain Protestant. 

Is Luther nevertheless right? Did his constitutions, 
which he had so often to read during his novitiate or later, 
instruct him, when he took the habit and made his profes- 
sion, that he was thenceforward to receive a leader other 
than Christ, a leader who would show him a new way, which 
however does not lead to Christ? Just the contrary. He 
could read this every day in his constitutions, in the very 
ones, indeed, of Staupitz. After being admitted to the habit 
and at the beginning of his year's probation, he had heard the 
prior praying over him as he knelt : "Lord Jesus Christ, our 

i»*Weim. VIII 578. 
105 Ibid. p. 618. 


leader and our strength, we humbly pray thee to separate 

thy servants from carnal conversation and from the 

uncleanness of earthly actions by holiness infused in them 
from on high, and pour forth into them the grace by which 
they may persevere in thee, etc.""° After his profession, when 
he had pronounced the vows, Luther knelt again and the prior 
prayed over him: "Know, Lord Jesus Christ, thy servant 
among thy sheep, that he may know thee and, denying him- 
self, may not follow a strange shepherd, nor hear the voice of 
strangers, but thine, who sayest: 'who serveth me, let him 
follow me.' " And now, if Jesus Christ is the leader, whose 
voice Luther was to hear in the future, what is the business 
of the new father, St. Augustine? For Luther is an Augustin- 
ian. Another prayer of the prior, heard by Luther as he 
knelt on the same occasion, tells us: "O God, who didst re- 
call our holy father, Augustine, from the darlaiess,of the 
gentiles, and madest him, after spurning the world, to fight 
for thee alone, we beseech thee to grant to this thy servant, 
hastening under his teaching to thine, constancy to persevere 
and perfect victory unto the end, through Jesus Christ our 

^0° Staupitz' Konstitutionen der Eremiten— Kongregation Deutsch- 
lands, c. 15 : "Domine Jesu Christe, dux et fortitudo nostra, humiliter 
petimus, ut famulos tuos, quos sancte compunctionis ardore a ceterorum 
hominum proposlto separasti, etlam a coversatlone carnali, et ab immun- 
ditia terrenorum actuum infusa eis coelitus sanctitate discernas, et gra- 
tiam, qua in te perseverent, infunda, ut protectionis tue muniti presidiis, 
quod te donante affectant, opere impleant, et sancte conversationis execu- 
tores effect! ad ea, que perseverantibus in te promlttere dignatus es, bona 
pertingant. Qui vivis, etc." In the old general constitutions, these and 
the following prayers are wanting. It is not likely they were inserted by 
Staupitz, but most probably they date from an old custom of the Order in 

10' Staupitz' Konstitutionen der Eremiten-Kongregation, c. 18 : "Ag- 
nosce Domine Jesu Christe famulum tuum inter oves tuas, ut ipse te agno- 
scat et se abnegando alienum pastorem non sequatur, nee audiat vocem 
alienorum, sed tuam, qui dicis : qui mihi ministrat, me sequatur." — "Deus, 
qui b. patrem nostrum Augustinum de tenebris gentium revocasti, spretoque 
mundo tibi soli militare fecisti, tribue quesumum huic famulo tuo, sui 
eius magisterio ad tuum festinanti, et perseverandi constantiam et per- 
fectam usque in finem vietorlam. Per Christum Dom. nostrum." The 
first prayer is taken from the "Pontificale Romanum," which I shall pres- 
ently cite. 


Wondrously beautiful! The leader is Jesus Christ, who 
is to be heard. He is the shepherd and supreme master. The 
laws of the religious founder have only the one object of enab- 
ling one to hasten the more unhindered to Him who is the 
Way, the Truth, and the Life. Far from drawing his sons 
away from Christ and the gospel by his laws, the religious 
founder desires only the more to straiten the union of the 
soul of his son with Christ. He does not tear him from 
Christ. It is precisely by his rule and statutes that he gets 
him to bow under Christ's yoke, as the prior on the same 
occasion prayed over the kneeling Luther. Vows and laws 
are not an end, but means to an end, and this end is Christ 
and His Kingdom.^"' Therefore the religious founders could 
say in the words of St. Paul, which Luther approved: "Be 
ye followers of me, as I am of Christ." "Clarane et certa 
sunt haec satisf" questions Luther in his treatise (630,10). 
And I, too, now ask: Is not what has been said fully clear 
and certain? Is it not clear that Luther's reproaches, at least 
in respect to the Order under consideration, his own, are "de 
subiecto non supponente," devoid of all grounds? At his 
admission to the habit and at his profession, he heard, and in 
the constitutions he read, that Christ is the Shepherd, but 
he one of his sheep, to be led to him by the rule and the laws 
of St. Augustine. As a consequence Luther took his vows 
with faith in Jesus Christ.^"^ Yet, after a few years, he asserted 
that by the rules and laws, in a word, by reason of the Order, 

108 Ibid. "Deus cuius charitatis ardore succensus hie famulus tuus, 
stabilitatem suam tibi in liac congregatione promittendo, tuo iugo collum 
submittit," the first prayer began immediately. And the second : "Omni- 
potens sepiterne deus, qui sub b. Augustino magno patre in ecclesia tua 
sancta grandem flliorum exercitum contra invisibiles hostes adunasti, frat- 
rem nostrum recenter colhim tuo iugo sut) tanti patris militia suppoiientem 
amove spiritus s. accende, ut per o'bedentiam, paupertatem et castitatem, quam 
modo professus est, ita militando tiM regi regum presentis vite stadium 
percurrere valeat, ut remunerationis eterne coronam devicto triumphatoque 
mundo cum pompls suis de donante percipiat." 

los It is little discriminating on the part of Kolde, in Die deutsche 
Augustiner Kongregation, p. 21, sqq., when he describes the reception 
to the habit and profession according to Staupitz's constitutions, to sup- 
press all these prayers, and on p. 25 to adduce only one, which, however, 
does not belong here, the prayer on the feast of St. Augustine: "Adesto 
supplicationibus nostris, omnipotens Deus, et quibus flduciam sperandae 


Christ was crowded out, that those rules were against faith, 
and the vows were not taken with faith in Jesus Christ (591 

"To become a monk," he is not ashamed to write, "means 
to fall away from the faith, to deny Christ, to turn Jew, and 
to revert to the vomit of heathenism" (600). To become a 
monk means to wish to deal Avith God loithout the mediator, 
Jesus Christ, a thing that is not God's way at all,"° he preached 
in 1523, and often besides, whether in these or in other 
terms; for instance, "an ordinary man cries out: 'Crucified 
Savior, have mercy on me,' while tlie monks do not know that 
Christ is the head." The reason wby the white and gray 
habits originated is, that "it was desired to establish some- 
thing holier than Christ." Then it was said: "That is the 
way of salvation!" The monks taught that "their life was 
better than the blood of Christ!""' 

It is only now that one comprehends Staupitz, who, as 
Vicar of the Congregation of Hermits in 1501, got out those 
constitutions with which we were just occupied and according 
to which Luther lived. For a long time he kept with Luther 
through thick and thin. On one point they suddenly came to 
a separation. After Luther had published and spread his 
treatise on the vows, and Staupitz had read the teachings and 
the censures mentioned above, the latter after a long silence 
wrote to Luther, 1524 : "Pardon me if sometimes I do not 
catch your idea * * » What has made the monastic habit, 
which the majority are wearing with a holy faith in Christ, so 
odious to your nose? In almost all human practices there are 
unfortunately abuses, and those are rare who in all things 
employ faith as a chalk-line, but there are some who do. On 
account of the casual evil found in individual instances, one 
should not therefore condemn the essential whole. You and 
yours reject all vows without distinction, in the fewest cases, 

pietatis indulges intercedente B. Augustino * * * consuetae misericor- 
diae tribue benignus efCectum." Possibly on account of the trust in God 
and His mercy expressed therein, Kolde finds the passage "characteristic." 

"oWeim. XI, 190. 

1" Ibid. XX, 613, 615, 623, the year 1527. 


possibly in but one, with reason.'"" One appreciates the com- 
plaint of Staupitz. No one in the congregation understood 
better than he the essential character of the Order, the mean- 
ing of the vows, the sense of the constitutions designed for his 
congregation, the above cited prayers, as the right interpreta- 
tion of all this. Luther's distortion therefore" could have at- 
tracted no one's attention more than his. Yet Staupitz showed 
consideration for him as a friend. He did not come straight 
out with his thoughts, but wrote the above complaining words, 
which at the same time are a friendly admonition and imply 
chiding wonder why Luther condemns what is good in itself 
and what he had admitted to be good. He could no longer 
comprehend him. 

Abuses are not denied by Staupitz, nor do I deny them. 
But is a thing itself to be rejected on account of the abuses 
that may and do occur? What does Luther himself say about 
abuses precisely at that time, if it serves his purpose? The 
same that Staupitz holds up to him. Luther preaches against 
Carlstadt: "If we were to reject everything that men abuse, 
Avhat sort of play should we get up? There are many people 
who adore the sun, the moon, the stars; should we therefore 
set to and cast the stars from the heavens, and tumble down 
the sun and the moon? Yes, we shall likely let that alone. 
Wine and women bring many to misery and heartache, make 
fools and insane people of many others; shall we therefore 
empty out the wine and destroy the women? Not so. Gold 
and silver, money and goods breed much evil among folks; 
shall we therefore throw all such things away? No, truly !"^^' 
In 1524,"* he repeats this about wine and women against the 
people of Orlamiinde. Another time he adduces the proverb: 
"Just where God builds a church, there the devil comes and 

112 The Latin text in Kolde, "Die deutsche Augustiner Kongregation," 
p. 447, is as follows, witli my punctuation : "Vota passim omnia abiicitis, 
in paucissimis, forte uno dumtaxat fundati." Kolde translates, p. 343: 
"Die Geliibde verwerft ihr allmahlich alle, bei den wenigsten vielleiclit 
mit einigem Grund." ! This last letter of Staupitz to Luther Kolde put 
completely out of its context. 

113 Erl. 28, p. 230 (of the year 1522; these sermons are based in their 
form on notes). Cf. also, ibid, p. 309. 

ii^Weim. XV 345. 


builds an adjacent chapel, yes, countless numbers of tbem.""^ 
"Abusus," be says later, "non tollit substantiam, immo con- 
firmat substantiam" — Abuse does not do away with the sub- 
stance, rather does it confirm it."° Abuse creeps even into the 
gospel and baptism. Must one therefore reject both? Let 
Luther answer : "Just as the gospel is not false and wrong, 
although some misuse it, so also is baptism neither false nor 
wrong although some receive it without faith, or so administer 
it, or otherwise abuse it.'"" "Gold is none the less gold, al- 
though a wench carry it in sin and shame.""' But why does 
this hold everywhere, save only in respect to monasticism? 
Why does he write, for example, 1530, to Spalatin: "The 
Mass and monasticism are already condemned on account of 
abuse, and may not therefore be tolerated to come to life 
again."^" Apart from his hatred of the Church, his vow of 
chastity was oppressing him from 1519, and his confession 
about the lusts of his unbridled flesh, cited in the introduc- 
tion above,"" dates precisely from the year 1521, in which he 
wrote his treatise on the vows. Luther became the spokes- 
man of that society whose supreme principle it was that 
natural instinct cannot be resisted, that it must be satis- 

But do Luther's censures count against other orders? 
St. Benedict begins the prologue of his rule : "Hear, my son, 
the commands of the master; incline thy spiritual ear and 
willingly take the admonition of the Godfearing father and 
fulfill it in deed, that by the labor of obedience, thou mayest 
again come back to Him from Whom by the idleness of dis- 
obedience thou didst withdraw thyself. My word, then, is 
addressed to thee, who, after the renouncement of thy own 
desires, dost take to thyself the strongest and most noble 

"SErl. 39, p. 283. 

"8 Erl. 26, p. 275. 

117 Erl. 30, p. 369. St. Thomas in his day had already said, 2,2, q. 
189, a.2 ad.3 : "Si aliquis voti transgressor gravius ruat, hoc non derogat 
bonitati voti, sicut nee derogat bonitati baptismi, quod aliqui post baptis- 
mum gravius peccant." 

"8 Grosser Katechismus, Erl. 21, 138. 

"SEnders, VII, 142. 

12" See above p. 12. 


weapons of obedience, in order to serve Christ, the true 
King, as a combatant in the future.'"^'^ This is the same, 
then, that we have already learned from the Constitution of 
the Order of Hermits. The rule of St. Augustine, according 
to which so many orders, and Luther himself lived, contains 
as its first words the admonition to the brethren : "Before all 
things, dearest brothers, let God be loved and then your neigh- 
bor, for those are the commandments that have chiefly been 
given us." Admirable! The highest end of the Order, there- 
fore, is the fulfillment of the commandment of love of God and 
of neighbor. All laws, all vows, all practices have no other 
object than to be appropriate means of attaining to perfection 
of the love of God and of neighbor."^ Not away from Christ 
do they lead, as Luther traduces, but even nearer to him, and 
through him to the Father. "Lord Jesus," is the prayer at 
the reception to the habit, "Thou who art the way, without 
which one cannot come to the Father, lead this thy servant 
upon the way of regular discipline; Know him as one of thy 
sheep," etc.^^^ 

If these things are thus — and they will be found developed 
in the succeeding chapters — one no longer wonders that Luther 
was in a condition to distort other rules as well. In the same 
treatise, page 579, 26, he writes, indeed, that St. Francis had 
most wisely said his rule was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A 
few lines farther down, however, he reproaches him for having 

121 Migne, Patr. 1, t. 66, p. 215. See also below, chap. 7. 

122 See below, chapters 7 and 8, in which this point against Luther 
and the Protestants is especially treated according to Catholic teaching. 

123 The "Pontiflcalis Liber" (Eomae 1485): "De monacho faciendo," 
(i. e., of him who is elected abbot of canons regular but is not yet a monk, 
which will be treated p. 95) contains p. 58, among the prayers recited 
by the Bishop before the monastic habit is conferred, the following: 
Domine Jesu Christe, qui es via, sine qua nemo venlt ad Patrem, quesimus 
clementiam tuam, ut hunc famulum tuum a carnalibus desideriis abstractum 
per iter disciplinae regularis deducas. Bt qui peccatores vocare dignatus 
es dicens : Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis et onerati estis, et ego vos 
reflciam : presta, ut hec vox invitationis tue ita in eo couvalescat, quat- 
enus peccatorum onera deponens, et quam dulcis es gustans, tua refec- 
tione sustentari mereatur. Et sicut attestari de tuis ovibus dignatus es : 
Agnosce eum inter oves tuas, ut ipse te agnoscat et alienum non sequatur 
sed te, neque audiat vocem aliorum, sed tua qua dicis, qui mihi ministrat 
me sequatur." The last sentence was used as an independent prayer in 
the constitutions of Staupitz. See above p. 69, note 107. 


said it. And why? On the alleged ground that the Gospel 
permits both chastity and the rest of the practices, which the 
Franciscans with incredible hypocrisy observe, to be free. 
Then comes the real censure against Francis. Luther asks: 
Why did he make the Gospel, common to all, the particular rule 
of the few? That, he asserts, is equivalent to making the 
schismatic and the singular of what Christ wanted to be catho- 
lic. And a Minorite, when he vows his rule, does not promise 
anything he has not already vowed in baptism, namely, the 
Gospel. After unsuccessful side attacks on the distinction be- 
tween commandments and counsels and on papal tyranny, he 
concludes : "Thou seest, therefore, that it is proved that Fran- 
cis as a man was in error when he made his rule. For, what 
else is the purport of : 'the rule of the Friars Minor is the Gos- 
pel,' but the idea that only the Friars Minor are Christians? 
If the Gospel is their property, there are no Christians except 
the Friars Minor ; and yet the Gospel belongs without doubt to 
the whole Christian people and to them alone. Francis was 
also deceived in teaching — assuming that he taught — the doc- 
trine to vow again what he and all the rest had already vowed 
in baptism, namely, the Gospel most common to all.""* 

These discussions of Luther's are their own judgment just 
as soon as one learns to know the true wording of the rule. 
Is it true, then, that Francis calls his rule the Gospel? Not 
in the least. His second rule begins : "The rule and the life 
of the Friars Minor is this, namely to observe the holy Gospel 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience, without posses- 
sions, and in chastity.""^ Luther suppressed the determining 

12* "Quid enim est dicere : Regula Fratrum Minorum est evangelium, 
quam statuere solos Fratres Minores esse christianos?" 

125 "Begula et vita Fratrum Minorum haec est, scilicet domini nostri 
Jesu Christi sanctum evangelium olservare, vivendo in obedientia, sine 
proprio et castitate." See besides the edition of the rule according to the 
mss. in Opuscula S. P. Francisci Assis., Quaracchi, 1904 p. 63. It is no 
wonder that in the first rule, there is nothing about the observance of the 
Gospel (Ibid. p. 25), because that Is understood as a matter of course, 
which would not be the case were the rule to be the Gospel Itself. With 
the second rule, the rule of St. Clara is also in accord, "La Regie de 
L'Ordre de Sainte Claire," Bruges, Desclee, 1892, p. 12. This is naturally 
the opinion of the old expositors of the rule, e.g., of St. Bonaventure. 
"Eorum igitur haec est, scilicet domini nostri Jesu Christi sanctum evan- 
gelium observare. Hoc idcirco dicitur, quia tota regulae substantia de 


verb, "observare." In consequence of this omission, be, to at- 
tain bis end, let St. Francis say that his rule is the Gospel. 
This is the same kind of falsification of which be was guilty 
in respect to his OAvn Order's form of profession, as we saw 
above, when be said be bad vowed the rule, instead of saying 
that be bad vowed to live according to the rule. 

We heard above Luther's censure that the orders go a way 
other than that which Christ taught in His Gospel. Now sud- 
denly he runs into a rule of the strongest order of that time, 
whose supreme law is to observe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
That law leads to Christ as straight as the straigbtest line. 
That could not be left so. For, after his apostasy, it was bis 
thesis, designed to make an impression, that rule took the place 
of Gospel, the religious founders, the place of Christ. Luther 
was resourceful. According to him, Francis said his rule was 
the Gospel, and so it had to be put.^^° It is only now that 
Luther's censure can be urged that Francis and bis brethren 
are schismatics. That was the most in any case that he could 
do with Francis. But in this connection Luther assuredly was 
little aware that it was be himself who, by his rules, had 
brought about the schism, and bad done that with which he bad 

fonte trahitur evangelicae puritatis," etc. (0pp. S. Bonaventurae, ed. 
Quaracchi, VIII, p. 393). Hugo von Digne comments on the adduced 
words of the rule: "Beatissimus regulae conditor * *= * professionem 
STiam in evangelii observatione constituit." (Firmamenta trium ord., Paris, 
1512, 4ta pars, fol. 34b). John Peckara : "Regula siquidem et vita Frat- 
rum Minorum hec est, currere in odorem unguentorum sponsi, evangelium 
domini nostri Jesu Christi observare," etc. (ibid. fol. 113). Even the 
extravagant author of the "Conformitates," Bartholomeus de Pisis, says 
only: "Regula est in sancto evangelic fundata," (ibid. fol. 55b). But 
every rule must be that. In conformity with this, Francis admonishes the 
Brethren at the close of the rule as follows ; "* * * ut semper sub- 
diti et subiecti * * * stabiles in flde catholica, paupertatem, et humill- 
tatem et sanctum evangelium, quod firmiter promisimus otservetnus. 

126 This serves again as a means of discovering what company Luther 
was keeping. The apostate Franciscan, Eberlin von Gunzburg, who gave 
the advice to tear down the Ulm cathedral, fully accepts Luther's thesis in 
"Wider die falsch scheynende gaystlichen under dem christlichen hauffen 
genant Barfuser," etc., 1524, although he knew the rule very well. 
Against him wrote the Franciscan Provincial, Kasper Schatzgeyer in "De 
vita Christiana, "in the 'prima impostura'." Asserunt Minoritae quod eorum 
regula sit purum evangelium." He replied: "Hoc falsum est; asserunt 
tamen regulam suam in evangelic esse fundatam, sicut quaelibet bona in 
christianismo regula." 


unjustly charged St. Francis. Luther would have had much to 
do, indeed, had he always realized in thought that the censures 
he hurled against others hit himself. 

Luther, moreover, could have and should have known that 
St. Francis by no means stood alone on the matter of gospel 
observance. Centuries before him, the patriarch of the monks 
of the West, St. Benedict, in the prologue of his rule, addressed 
a monition to the Brethren : "Our loins girded with faith and 
the observance of good actions, let us keep to His ways upon 
the pathway of the Gospel, that we may deserve to see in His 
Kingdom Him who has called us."^" Furthermore the rule 
of St. Benedict is largely composed of passages from the Gos- 
pel. And all orders spoke of Evangelical counsels, because 
they are contained and given in the Gospel. 

In his subsequent writings and sermons, Luther repeats 
nothing so frequently, in all possible keys, as that the members 
of the religious orders put their founders in the place of Grod 
and of Christ, that every order has carved itself a God accord- 
ing to its own pattern, that the Augustinian clothed Him with 
the Augustinian habit, the Franciscan with his robe, and so on. 
Only Lutherans are Christians, least of all are monks such. 
They denied Christ. By reason of their clothes, their shaved 
heads, their particular eating and drinking, they held them- 
selves much holier than other Christians. "But I would rather 
advise you," the Eeformer then admonishes, with the smutti- 
ness peculiarly his own, "to drink Malmsey and to believe only 
in Christ, and to let the monk guzzle water or his own urine, 
if he does not believe in Christ.'"^' But to whom does Luther's 
blame apply? Only to himself. He had then already set him- 
self up as the highest authority and demanded unconditional 
faith. It was enough that he spoke for the others to speak 
after him; enough that he did this or that, the others did 

^27 Succinctis ergo fide vel observantla bonorum actuum lumbis nostris. 
per ducatum Evangelii pergamus itinera eius, ut mereamur eum, qui nos 
vocavit, in regno suo videre." Mlgne, 1. c. p. 217. 

"8Erl. 47, 315. 



Luther's Sophisms and Monstrosities of Opinion in Respect 
TO THE Monastic Vows, Especially the Vow of Chastity. 
His Trickery and Incitation to Mendacity. 

A. Luther Deceives His Readers on the End op the 
Religious State and op the Vows. 

Luther's chief tactics in his warfare against the Church 
and her ordinances consisted in his setting up an anti-christian 
proposition, falsely ascribed to the Church, as one of his prem- 
ises, which were in need of further proof. This premise, or 
these premises, he accordingly set forth with such audacity'^^ 
that both his readers and his hearers were constrained to sup- 
press all rising doubt as to the truth. The conclusion rightly 
drawn therefrom, the conclusion that Luther sought, was nat- 
urally the more speedily accepted. 

A wholly similar procedure marked him as early as 1521, 
in respect to the monastic vows. He writes, VIII, 595, 28: 
"Were one to ask all those who take vows in the monasteries 
why they did so, one would find them all in the godless delu- 
sion of believing that they had lost their baptismal grace and 
of now wishing, by laying hold on the plank of penance, to 
escape shipwreck. Therefore they had to seek the life to 
which one binds himself by vow, not only to become good an3 
to blot out sin, but also to do penance in overmeasure and to 
become better than the rest of Christians. That they seek all 
this in their works and vows, but not in faith, is quite certain 
{certissimum est); testimony thereof is the word they say: 
'if I were neither seeking nor finding that, what should I be 
seeking in the monastery? What should I be doing here?' 
For, if they knew that only by faith does one receive and realize 
that, they would forthwith reply: 'Wherefore take vows and 
become a monk?' " 

"8 Thus, in 1525, he counseled the Priest Spalatln, who had taken 
unto himself a wife: "Contemne eos (who were censuring him for marry- 
ing) fortiter ac responde eis sermone magniflco in hunc fere modura : et 
te quoque conjugium amplexum esse, ut testatum faceres Deo et hominibus, 
maxime illis ipsis, te non consentire in illorum sceleratum, impurum, im- 
pium et diabolicae ecclesiae coelibatum sive potius Sodomam igni et sul- 
phurl coelestl devotam ac propediem devorandam," etc. Enders, V, 280. 


Is this, tliat Luther here says, true? It is a distortion of 
the truth. He employs it to attain his own end, to make it be- 
lieved that a man enters a monastery, dons the habit and takes 
the vows to be certain of the forgiveness of his sins and of 
heaven, or that a religious desires, without having God in 
view, to be just and to be saved only by those works. There- 
fore, he concludes, the orders are against faith}^" "The monks 
fancy they can be neither saved nor justified because they are 
'baptized and Christians, but only because they belong to an 
order of this or that founder, in whose name they trust, just 
as if they had suffered shipwreck of their baptism and faith.""^ 
Even in the vows of those "who become ecclesiastics in the best 
manner," (to say nothing of the "mad great crowds"), the 
meaning is: "Behold, God, / voio to thee to be no Christian 
all my life, / revoke the vows of my baptism; I will make thee 
a better vow now and keep it apart from Christ : in my own 
being and works." And now for the indignation — "Is not 
that a horrible, monstrous vow?""^ Of celibacy especially, he 
wrote about the same time: "To vow virginity, celibacy, the 
order, and every vow is without faith. Such a sacrilegious, 
godless, idolatrous vow is made to the devils."'^^^ 

That such condemuable perversions could make an im- 
pression upon those religious who apostatized to Luther will 
not surprise one who knows that they already belonged to the 
movement of downfall. Kolde likewise blindly accepts the ut- 
terances of the later concerning the earlier Luther. "How 
many who, for the sake of their salvation, entered the monas- 

130 "Interrogemus nunc omnes votaries istos, quo opinione voveant, et 
Invenies eos hac opinione impia possesses, quod arbitrentiir gratiam bap- 
tism! irritam factam et iam secunda tabula poenitentlae naufragium evad- 
endum esse, ideo querendum per votivum Vivendi genus non solum, ut boni 
fiant et peccata deleant, sed abundantius poeniteant et ceteris christianis 
meliores fiant," etc. Here he makes it wholly certain that all took their 
vows in this belief. A few months before he said, on the contrary : 
"Probabile est, non fuisse voturos, si seissent nee iustitiam nee salutem per 
vota contingere." Weim. VIII, 325 n. 43. 

"iibid. p. 618. 

"2Erl. 10, 345 sq. 

133 Weim, VIII, 324, n. 32 sq. The meaning is: "I vow to thee, O 
God, a sacrilegious godlessness throughout all my life" (n. 34) ! And En- 
ders, III, 224: "Ecce Deus, ego tibi voveo impietatem et idolatriam tota 
vita !" 


tery, were thenceforward in peace. Their monk's habit was a 
guarantee to them of the state of sanctity. Not so with Luther. 
If he heard it said that, as a monk, he was leading a life which 
went far beyond satisfying the demands of the commandments, 
his conscience bore witness to him that it was not so. He 
would have to characterize it as presumption were he to wish 
of himself that he perfectly fulfilled even a single one of God's 
commandments: The sanctity and justice, that were present 
to his mind, he wished now ( at his entrance ) to achieve by the 
very means of monasticism.'^^^* 

Protestant theologians are unwilling to acknowledge that, 
after his apostasy, as Luther falsified Catholic teaching in 
general, so also did he falsify it in respect to the command- 
ments, the counsels, and the vows. He pushed the purpose of 
the religious life and of the vows into a sphere wholly different 
from that which they had hitherto occupied. According to 
Catholic doctrine, is the purpose of the religious life the for- 
giveness of sins and justification? Who ever intended, by tak- 
ing the vows, to abjure Christ and to revoke his baptismal 
promises? This question deserves no answer whatever. Who 
taught, what Luther censures the Church for, that after sin 
there is but one way of doing penance, namely, entering a mon- 
astery and binding one's self by vows ?"^ Who has said: "If 
in the monastery, I did not seek the blotting out of my sins, 
and to be better than the rest of Christians, why should I have 
gone into it?" Luther, taken to task about this, would have 
had to blush and as usual, would have been compelled to answer 
with abuse and insults. For, in his wily manner, he had in- 
vested the vows and monastic exercises with qualities which 
they had never possessed, and which neither the Church nor 
any religious founder, nor any Christian doctor had ever as- 
cribed to them. He alone raised up the vows with those quali- 
ties to be the purpose of an order ! As, from that on, he blared 
it forth in every key that, by the vows, one fell from Christ, 

13* Martin Luther, I. p. 56. 

135 This continued to be Luther's view. Hence, he says a few years 
later, 1524, Weim. XIV, 62, 5: "Hanc sententiam arripuerunt omnes 
homines: semuel lapsus es, hales adhuc viam elabendi, scilicet introitum 
coenobii." See below, chapter 12, further matter on the so-called "mon- 
astic baptism." 


from God, from faith, so there is nothing more often heard 
from his mouth than that, by their vows, by their exercises, in 
a word by their own achievements, the monks sought to attain 
justification, to deserve heaven, and to reach salvation. For 
all of this, indeed, their monk's habit alone, according to him, 
was sufficient. "When monks and nuns come to their high 
idolatry, they think to themselves : 'We have taken the three 
vows, poverty, chastity and obedience,' and they have their 
order, rule, statutes. These their works, which they do herein, 
are their idol. For they abandon God, fear Him not, need not 
His grace and gifts, namely the foregiveness of sins; rather do 
they come trolling along and wish to be saved by their order, 
their cowls, and their tonsures, and thereby to attain to the 
forgiveness of their sins. And thereby they become faithless, 
fall from His grace and mercy, which was to justify them and 
out of favor to forgive them their sins. But they have no need 
of that. Their state, their cowl, and idolatry will serve the 
purpose. That means despising God, fearing Him not, and set- 
ting up another."'^^ This makes it possible to understand 
Luther's saying: "These two things are not compatible, if I 
were to say: 'I believe that Jesus Christ is true God and I 
shall be saved by Him,' and if then I were also to profess that 
the Pope is right when he preaches about cowls and ton- 
sures,"^" namely, as Luther imputes to him, that the latter 
also lead to salvation.^^^ 

Before Luther wrote his book on the vows, he reflected how 
he could best attain his object. Finally he hit on the follow- 
ing syllogism, which contains a comprehensive summing up of 
his teaching on the vows and which he hoped would bring him 
the fulfillment of his wish : "He who takes a vow in a spirit 
incompatible with Gospel liberty, is to be freed from his vow, 

136 Erl. 36, 269 sq. 

"'Erl. 47, 48. In the year 1537. 

138 Luther's audacity carries him to the length of writing : "If one 
were to take away from the books of the Pope and of the monks the 
pieces telling him 'one ought to be saved by pilgrimages, vows, masses, 
purgatory, and other vows,' one would find little else therein." And he 
fills the measure with the words: "And the Holy Father, the Pope, in- 
stituted it all and confirmed it by bulls, and has made Christ and all his 
saints only angry judges. If one were to take this away from the books 
of the Pope, he would have neither skin nor hair left." Erl. 47, 45. 


and let his vow be anathema; but he who takes a vow in order 
to seek and gain justification and salvation by it, is such a one; 
therefore, etc." He talies the major proposition as one con- 
ceded and does not prove it. His proof of the minor proposi- 
tion is this: "As the great mass took their vows rather gen- 
erally in this spirit, it is evident that their vows are godless, 
sacrilegious, and opposed to the Gospel. Such vows are there- 
fore wholly to be torn to shreds and anathematized."^^® 

And so we see what the foundations of Luther's reform 
look like ! The knave knew well that, if he stuck to the truth, 
to the propositions of Catholic doctrine and the monastic con- 
stitutions, he would have played a losing game. In his stand 
against them, he appealed to what an outsider was wholly un- 
able to control in an individual case, namely, the practice of 
the many. The reader was simply compelled to take Luther's 
assertion on faith. Or did Luther, who appealed to it, subject 
it to any control ? But, according to his otsti statement, he was 
uncertain as to the spirit in which he himself took his vows.^^" 
How could he know the mind of the individuals of the great 
crowd? If he was uncertain as to his inner intention, the 
others could likewise say the same of their interior disposition. 
"But if they do not know themselves," questions St. Augustine 
even in his day, "how wilt thou know them?""^ As a matter 
of fact Luther confesses this is impossible, when he writes in 
the same letter: "Now, to others (apart from certain of his 
Galatians already mentioned), no rule can here be given, to 

139 Luther to Melanchthon, Sept. 9, 1521 : Quicunque vovit animo con- 
trario evangelicae libertati liberandus est, et anathema sit eius votum ; 
at qui vovit animo salutis aut iustitae quaerendae per votum, est eiusmodi : 
ergo, etc. Cum autem vulgus voventium ferme hoc animo voveat, mani- 
festum est eorum vota esse impia, sacrilega, ideoque prorsus rescindenda 
et in anathema ponenda." Enders, III, 224. 

1*" In the same letter given in Enders III, 225 ; * * * "quamquam 
Incertus sim, quo animo voverim." If he thereupon says he was at that 
time more raptus than tractus, that would apply had the matter been his 
reception to the habit and not his profession, for which he had had a 
year's preparation. Still there may be truth in what Luther said, insofar 
as out of despair he deemed he could not obtain salvation otherwise than 
as a religious. 

1^1 Enarr. in Ps. 99, n. 11 : "Qui intraturi sunt, ipsi se non noverunt ; 
quanto minus tu? * * * Quomodo ergo cognoscis eum qui sibi ipse 
adhuc ignotus?" 


learn who have taken vows in this sacrilegious spirit, but it 
must be left to their conscience, as must be the case in every 
other good work. Who, except the spirit of man himself which 
is in him, can know with what mind he took a vow or per- 
formed a good work?""' ' These words refer to the many. But 
thus, with his own hand, he overthrows the assertion of his 
minor premise, which in any event he had already seen fit dif- 
fidently to modify with his "onines fere," "almost all." About 
the same time, he still writes; "It is to be feared that ia these 
times of unbelief, hardly one of a thousand takes a vow 
rightly.""^ Some two months later, it is a case of "certissi- 
mum" with him, "quite certain.""* How is that? Had he in 
the meantime instituted research — he, who then was alone in 
the Wartburg far from the great crowd? Truly, some two 
years thereafter, he makes the assertion that in the whole 
world {in toto orhe) the religious took their vows to be justi- 
fied and to have their sins blotted out. Naturally those are 
alleged to be evil, godless vows, against faith in God, Who 
alone is justice and Who takes away the sins of the world."^ 

In accordance with this, are all judged at profession to 
have the servile conscience, with which, as he writes in 1521, 
they take their vows, "in the hope of pleasing God with them, 
and of being justified and saved," so that the vow is to take the 
place of justifying faith, of which they have no thought?"' Are 
the vows therefore supposed to have had the value to the re- 
ligious of a post-baptismal substitute for the sacrament of 
penance, of a gateway through which one gets to reconciliation? 
But how was it everywhere the prevailing practice in all orders 

"2 Enders, I.e.: "Porro alils (alias?) nulla regula hie dare potest, 
qua sciamus, qui hoc animo sacrilege voverint. * * * Quis enim praeter 
spiritum hominis qui est in ipso nosse possit, quo animo vovet aut facit 
opus suum?" 

"3 Weim. VIII, 325 n. 42. 

1** Several years later he even writes in plain words that he had 
to vow to fall away from Christ, and to set himself up in Christ's place. See 
below, chapter 12. 

"svs^eim. XIV, 710 sq. in 1525. 

1^6 Enders III, 224 ; "* * * ut sperent sese per votum deo placi- 
turos, justos et salvos fieri. Quid alioquin, Inquiunt, facerem in monasterio? 
* * * vovent sese bonos fore per opera ilia, ne cogitata semel fide 


then, as it is to this day, to purify the heart by contrition and 
confession before taking the vows, in order to go up to that 
important act fully reconciled with God? This is so certain 
that even those who spoke of a so-called "monastic baptism," 
(see Chapter 11), i.e., being cleansed by the vows as in baptism, 
in consequence of complete oblation to God, understood this 
generally to mean a remission of the punishment due to sin, 
but not the sin itself. Sins, says the author of the widely pub- 
lished "Lavacrum conscientiae" (perhaps the Carthusian 
Jacobus de Clusa), are remitted only by true contrition and 
sincere confession."^ 

On this subject Luther carried his opinions to a ridiculous 
extreme. Even in his themata he writes : "Like faith, so also 
is love excluded from every vow and from every order," (for 
this reason alone they are condemnable), "for, as we may not 
act against faith, neither may we act against charity. Vows, 
therefore, statutes, and the rule hinder thee from serving thy 
neighbor." And now, from these distorted premises, the in- 
tended conclusion: "Therefore tear up these bands as Sam- 
son did the hempen cords of the Philistines.""^ "What is the 
rule of St. Augustine?" he cries out another time. "In no rule 
have I ever seen that faith is a subject treated. The monas- 

1*' Lavacrum conscientiae, c. 10 : "Bernhardus in tractatu de dispen- 
satione et precepto dlcit, professionem sancte religionis esse secundum bap- 
tisma, et eandem gratiam consequuntur religlonem probatum et observant- 
iam ingredientes quam consequuntur baptizati baptisraate salutis, quoad 
dimissionem omnis pene pro peccatis, culpa vero dimittitur per contri- 
tionem veram et sufflcientem et confessionem pure factam uni confessori, 
qui habet talem auctoritatem eundem absolvere ab omnibus peccatis suis, 
et ab omni vinculo excommunicationis et irregularitatis. Sic enim bene 
absoluto et integraliter ex post relinquitur solummodo solutio pene, que 
totaliter tollitur per confessionem sancte religionis, etiamsi esset pena 
mille annorum ; non autem ingressus religionis peecata, sed solum con- 
fessio et absolutio sufEciens tollit." This vi'ork attained an uncommonly 
wide circulation. Hain cites no less than nine editions up to 1500 (Nr. 
9955, 9963), and the one I use, (out of Pal. IV, 781 of the Vatican 
Library) is not included in them. Later there were also such editions, 
as Coloniae 1506; Argentinae 1515. As early as 1465 there was a Germafl 
translation made, (Reinigungsbad fiir das Gewlssen der Priester), mentioned 
in Wiirttemb. Vierteljahrsheften fiir Landesgesch., 9 Jahrg. 1900, p. 345. 
There is no reference here, however, to the Latin original, vi'hich was 
cited in a work as early as the "Reformatorium vitae morumque et honest- 
atis clericorum (Basileae 1494), tr. 1, pars. 2a, c. 11. 

1*8 Weim. VIII, 328, n. 116 sqq. 


teries, then, are to be either extirpated or reformed, so that 
they may become schools ia which faith shall be taught.""" 
"When will it ever be said among religious, too, that they have 
been reminded of Christian faith and love?""" In his rage 
against the Church and the religious state, Luther no longer 
saw that it is precisely against himself that his objection counts- 
Is it true that charity is excluded from the religious vow? 
There is indeed no mention of it in the form of profession. But 
why not? Simply because charity, according to Christian, that 
is. Catholic teaching, constitutes the fundamental duty of 
every single Christian and the highest end of Christian life. As 
shall later be discussed more fully, the very essence of Chris- 
tian perfection consists in charity. This charity is not a 
counsel or rather none of the three counsels, upon which the 
vows of religious are founded. For that reason it is not men- 
tioned in the form of profession. But the purpose of the vow 
is to remove the obstacles standing in the way of the freer and 
easier activity of charity. By charity, however, we understand 
the love of God as well as of neighbor. If Luther even at that 
time understood charity to mean only the love of one's neigh- 
bor (as will further be shown in the course of this volume), 
his charge against the religious orders recoils only upon him- 
self, who excluded the love of God from divine service. 

Why, moreover, is there no mention made in the rules of 
justifying faith? Why is there no allusion to it in the vows? 
Because they presuppose it and it is not the task and purpose 
of the religious state to justify one entering religion. Luther's 
indignation is without ground, when he flippantly says "I 
would stick Augustine into his rule, if he so set it up that he 
might thereby be saved." On the other hand, what he there 
applies to Catholics fits his own scurrilities : "Oh what a poor, 
miserable, inconstant thing that is ; it is idle lying and human 
dreams F'^'^^ 

Why did Luther write at that time, in which he bore at 
least the outward semblance of a good religious, 1513-1515, 
that, among other things, by the words "portae," "gates," in 

i^oWeim. XX, 775, in the year 1527. 
isoWeim. XV, 93, in the year 1524. 
151 Erl. 14, 305. 


psalm 147, the sacraments, especially baptism and penance, 
were understood,"^ though he uttered not a word about the 
vows? Why, in those years in Avhich he had already framed 
his doctrine on sin and justification, 1515-1516, did he never 
say : "When I took the vows, I was of the opinion that my sins 
were blotted out"? Why did he then say: "After I had re- 
pented and confessed, I believed myself safe and better than 
others"? Why, in conformity with his teaching, does he tax 
Catholics with being in error with their delusion that, by con- 
fession, their sins are blotted out?"^ Why is he silent about the 
vows? He knew well that one does not ordinarily enter an 
order on the ground that it is not presumed possible else- 
where to find salvation. One ought to bind one's self by vow 
out of love, but not be motived by the idea that the religious 
life is necessary to salvation."* On the other hand, it is not 
to be denied, certainly, that, for many a one, because of the 
dangers insuperable to him, because of evil occasions in the 
world, it is almost necessary to enter an order, but only to 
avoid the dangers of sin ; for, even in this case, the vows are not 
employed as a substitute for the sacraments or to be justified. 

B. Luther's Contradictions and Sophisms 
IN Respect to the Counsels. 

It was precisely in respect to the Evangelical counsels that 
Luther, in his book on the vows, rendered himself guilty of 
the greatest contradictions and sophisms. Never in his life a 
theologically trained and disciplined scholar, he exceeded all 
bounds and bearing after his apostasy. Moreover, he knew 
that his victims, whether those already apostatized or the dis- 
solute monks in the monasteries, were concerned not in contra- 
dictions or sophisms but rather in having the rejection of all 
restraints and their wiving made plausible. Luther himself, 

i52Weim. IV, 456, 25. 

153 These passages from his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans 
will be further discussed in the second section. The sources, therefore, 
are not cited here. 

154 In Rom. fol. 274b sq. See above p. 38. 


■who was burning with carnal lust^^^ during the composition 
of his book at the Wartburg, no longer observed his contra- 
dictions and sophisms. His avowal in the year of his wiving 
is derived from his own experience: "When a man gets into 
sexual lust, he forgets everything — law, nature, scripture, 
books, God, and His commandments. There is then simply 
nothing other than the seeking to satisfy evil desire."^'^ It 
was for this reason that Gerson wrote quite correctly: "As 
there is no affection more vehement than lewd desire, so there 
is none more pernicious in leading astray and teaching 
error.'"" In addition to this, Luther's case was one of faith- 
less character and hatred of the Church. 

In the year 1519, he had said: "Neither Christ nor the 
apostles wanted to command chastity, (i.e. virginity or celi- 
bacy), and yet they counseled the same and left it to each 
one's discretion to try himself: If he cannot be continent, 
let him marry; if with God's grace he can keep it, chastity is 
better.""' At the end of 1521, attacking the vows, he was 
well aware that with such principles he would be defeating 
himself. Accordingly he undertook to prove that there was 
nothing in the counsels. Naturally he fell from contradic- 
tion into contradiction, from one sophism into another. He 
works himself into a passion, throughout his book, chiefly 
against the vow of continency, alleging that it is turned into 
a commandment of God, a thing enough of itself to make a 
case of assailing the Gospel. 

Very fine and great in promise is the very beginijing of 
Luther's Avork. In the inscription to his father he writes : 

15^ See above p. 12. Idleness and concupiscence went hand in hand. 
"Ego hie otiosissimus et negotiosissimuc sum," he wrote on July 10, 1521, 
to Spalatin (Enders, III, 171). The wiving of priests was already a pleasure 
to him. (Ibid. 163, 164 sq.). On July 13, he wrote to Melanchthon: "Ego 
hie insensatus et induratus sedeo in otio, proh dolor, parvum orans, nihil 
gemens pro ecclesia del, quin carnis meae indomitae uror magnis ignibus, 
Summa: qui fervere spiritu debeo, ferveo came Wbkline, plgritia, otio, 
somnolentia." (Ibid. 189.) "Orate pro me, quaeso vos, peccatis enini im- 
mergor in hac soUtudine." (Ibid. 193.) 

i56Weim. XVI, 512, in the year 1525. 

157 De examinatione doctrinarum, in 0pp. I, 19 : "Sicut nulla affectio 
est vehementior quam luxuriosa libido, sic ad errandum falsumque docen- 
dum nulla perniciosior." 

158 Sermon on the married state, Welm, II, 168. 


"Since in the Scriptures virginity is not praised it 

is adorned with praises only as with alien feathers, which be- 
long to marital chastity."^"' A few lines later, the same 
Luther writes: "Virginity and chastity are worthy of 
praise."^^" But does this stand written in the Scriptures? 
Even so, for "Christ pointed out and praised virginity and 
celibacy."^^^ The Cistercian abbot, Wolfgang Mayer, cries out 
with reason: "What do I hear? Virginity is praised in 
Scripture and is not praised?""^ But this contradiction is 
not all. 

In the same book Luther writes : "Christ did not counsel 
virginity and celibacy, rather did He deter from it, when he 
said to the eunuch : he that can take, let him take it. Not 
all men take this Avord. Are not these the words of one dis- 
suading and deterring? For he invites no one and calls no 
one, he merely shows.""^ And so there is no counsel? God 
forbid ! According to Luther there is a counsel. What is it? 
The counsel of continency, "for there is no other."^"* Is 
celibacy therefore counseled in the scriptures? Not at all, for 
Luther writes : "Paul to be sure said : "I give counsel;" but 
neither does he write, on the contrary, he rather deters and 
advises against it when he says : "Every one hath his proper 
gift from God."^^' In accordance with this new logic, then, 
"I give counsel," means "I deter, I advise against," just as if 

^ssweim. VIII, 575, 7: "Cum virginitas (continentia) in scripturis 
non laudetur, sed tamen probetur, praeconiis coniugalis castitatis ceu 
alienls plumis vestitur ab istis, qui ad pericula salutis animas prompti 
sunt inflammare." 

18° Ibid, line 18 ; "Virginitas et castltas laudendae sunt." 

i«i Ibid. 583, 30. "Monstravit solum et laudavit." 

182 Votorum monosticorum tutor (on which see chapter 7) in cod. lat. 
Monac, 2886, c. 5, fol. 13b: "Quid hoc audio? Laudatur et non laudatur 
in scripturis virginitas?" 

163 VIII, 583, 30: "Chrlstus (virginitatem et coelibatum) plane non 
consuluit, sed potius deterrult * * * dum memoratis eunuchis dixit: 
qui potest capere, capiat ; et iterum : non omnes capiunt hoc verbum. 
Nonne haec verba sunt potius avocantis et deterrentis? Neminem enim 
invitat et vocat, sed ostendit solum." 

18* Consilium illud continentiae — neque est ullum aliud consilium — est 
infra praeceptum suum" ; 585, 5. 

165 "Paulus tamen dixit : 'consilium do,' sed nee ipse invitat, quin 
magis deterret et avocat, dum dixit: unusquisque proprium donum habet 
a deo" ; 583, 34. 


the words, "I give you this gift," were not those of a donor, 
but of one deterring ?^^' Truly, such is the significance of 
Luther's words. And yet not altogether so, either, but "I do 
not dissuade, I leave it undetermined."^" At last we know: 
"I give counsel" means "I do not give counsel, I leave it unde- 

This is also the logic of Kawerau, for again he finds noth- 
ing to note or to call attention to, by so much as a syllable, 
on Luther's sophisms in his almost symbolic book of Luther- 
anism. It is enough for him to dismiss with a sneer the writ- 
ings of Dietenberger and Schatzgeyer against Luther, whose 
Catholic opponent, Wolfgang Mayer, objects with reason:^"' 
"Are not 'he counsels' and 'he does not counsel' contra- 
dictory? Further, if Christ praised virginity, how did he dis- 
suade, how did he deter from it? If Paul did 'not counsel,' 
why does he say: 'I give counsel?' Why does he say: 'I 
would that all men were even as myself? 'It is good for a 
man so to be' (i.e. in virginity, 1 Cor. 7,26), and 'he that 
giveth not his virgin in marriage doth better' (than he that 
giveth her in marriage, V, 38 ) ? If the Apostle does not thus 
counsel continency, I do not know what it is to give counsel. 
If the Apostle does not dissuade (in Luther's sense), how 
does he counsel against, dissuade, and deter from? Or if 
Paul does not dissuade from celibacy, with what temerity 
does Luther, exalting himself above the Apostle, presume to 
dissuade from it?" 

The matter is of itself so clear that even Luther has some- 
times to bear witness to the truth, though at the same time he 
is always falsifying Catholic teaching. "Christ and Paul 

i«8 S. ludoci CUchtovei, Antilutherus (Coloniae 1525), fol. 156b. 

167 "Neque suadet neque dissuadet, sed in medio relinquit, Weim. 583, 

"8 Tutor fol. 14: "Pugnantne inter se, consulult et non consuluit? 
Denique si Cliristus virginitatem laudavit, quomodo ab ipso avocavit et 
deterruit? Etsi solum monstravit, quomodo etiam laudavit? Similiter 
* * * si non suadet Paulus, ut quid dicit, consilium do? et: bonum 
est homini sic esse; et: qui non elocat virginem suum nuptum, melius 
facit. Si istis apostolus castitatem non consulit et suadet, nescio tandem 
quid consulere sit: Si vero non dissuadet, quomodo igitur avocat et de- 
terret apostolus? Aut si non dissuadet Paulus coelibatum, qua tandem 
temerltate Lutherus apostolo se maiorem faciens sic dissuadere praesumit?" 


praise celibacy, not because those who have it are perfect 
above others in chastity, or do not covet against the com- 
mandment, but because, freer from the cark and cares of the 
flesh, which Paul ascribes to the married state, they can the 
more easily and freely attend to the word and the faith, day 
and night, whilst, on the contrary, a married man, as such, 
and because of children, the family, and the other things of 
this world, is withheld from them and is divided among many 
affairs not consonant with the Word.'"^' Hahemus reum con- 
fitentem — the guilty one confesses. Why, then, did not Luther 
and his followers retain celibacy, that they might the more 
easily and freely announce the Gospel, which, as they said, 
had lain hidden aAvay in darkness over a thousand years? 
Luther trips himself at every turn. Scripture is too openly 
known against him. To keep up an appearance of being in 
the right, however, he deceives his readers by asserting that 
among Catholics it is desired to he saved hy chastity, so that 
all must choose it; among them, it is not a matter of "more 
free and easy," or, as he shortly thereafter writes, "of living 
more happily.""" How grievously this charge is a spurning 
of the truth will appear more freely later. 

The charm of our theme grows apace. Luther, the Re- 
former, writes : "If celibacy is an Evangelical counsel, what 
sort of madness is it to vow it, so that, outgospeling the 
Gospel, you make the strictest commandment out of the coun- 
sel? For thus you live superior to, aye, against the Gospel, 
because you no longer have the counsel. If you obey the 
Gospel, celibacy must be free: if it is not free to you, then 
you do not obey the Gospel, for it is impossible for the coun- 
sel to become a commandment. It is equally impossible that 
your vow is a counsel. Chastity that is vowed is diametri- 

le^Weim. VII, 585. See besides chap. 13, below. 

170 VIII, 585. Christ Is here said to praise those who have made 
eunuchs of themselves for the Kingdom of Heaven, "noii autem sic prop- 
ter regnum coelorum, ut per castltatem salvi ilant, (this he says against 
the Catholics), alioquin omnes oporteret castrari, cum sola fides salvos 
facial, sed propter Evangelium quod vocat 'regnum coelorum' qui praedi- 
cando et propagando per populos ille felicius servit, qui &ya.iuii et sine 
cura aliorum ' coelebs vivit." To other matters here written by Luther, I 
shall return as occasion demands. 


cally opposed to the Gospel.""^ But wliere is the proof from 
Holy Writ or a proof from the Gospel that the voto of chastity 
is diametrically opposed to the Gospel? For everything with- 
out exception, Luther demands scriptural proof from his op- 
ponents; where is such proof for his assertion? The Keformer 
"was not even able, as he generally is otherwise, to adduce a 
garbled or falsely interpreted text. Nor could he get one. In 
all the many passages in which man is admonished to fulfil 
the vows he has made to God, their permissibility is presup- 
posed. Is the vow of chastity the sole exception? But where? 
Where are the Scripture passages to that effect? 

That, however, is the least of the difficulty. Luther and 
his fellows made themselves guilty of a glaring sophism on 
this subject. A counsel certainly is no commandment, on the 
contrary, every one is free to follow a counsel or not to follow 
it. One cannot say to another: "You must follow it," or 
"You ought to follow," but only "You may follow it." No 
one, then, is constrained to take the vow of continency. He 
is free, precisely because the case is one of counsel, not of 
commandment. But after he has freely taken a vow to ob- 
serve the counsel, he is bound to keep his vow. For God has 
given the commandment : "Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your 
God"^" — an expression which, in this or in some other form, 
is repeated untold times in Holy Writ;"^ for, "it is much 
better not to vow, than after a vow not to perform the things 
promised;""* "it is ruin to a man * ♦ • after vows to 

i"Weim. VIII, 584, 2. 

"2Ps. 75, 15. 

"^ One needs but consult a concordance for "vota and vovere." A 
number went so far, however, that gradually they eliminated the idea of 
"votum" and "vovere," from the Sacred Scriptures. This is done e. g., 
by the apostate Franciscan, Konrad Pellikan in Psalteriiim Davidis Cun- 
radi Pelicani opera elaloratum, Argentorati 1527, Fol. 38 on Ps. 21 (22) : 
"vota mea reddam" he interprets : Praedicationem et laudem nominis tui 
reddam. Fol. 116 on Ps. 65 (66) : "Eeddam tibi vota mea," has for him 
the force of: devotion! satisfaciam, quam proposui mihi. Then "quae 
promiserunt labia mea" : gratias agam omnibus modis, quibus id tibi 
placere cognovero. Fol. 139 in Ps. 75 (76) : "Vovete et reddite," he par- 
phrases : pro tanta liberatione coelitus data gratias agite deo votis, de- 
votione, hostiis et solemni ritu offerant munera terribili. 

i^Eccle. 5, 4. 


retract.''"' In 1518, Luther's own language was still clearly 
to the same effect: "In religious, the violation of a vow is 
the gravest sacrilege; for freely did they consecrate them- 
selves to God, and now they again Avithdraw themselves from 
Him.""* The reason of this is, that it is commanded to ful- 
fill vows, whilst one is only counseled and not obliged to take 

The Gospel as well as the monks leave celibacy wholly 
free; but a vow of celibacy once taken is no longer free. It 
is then a twofold matter — celibacy and the vow of the same. 
The counsel lastingly continues to be a counsel. He who 
makes religious profession binds himself always to observe the 
counsel. He does not therefore make a commandment of the 
counsel. His act is a freely assumed obligation by vow of 
living conformably to the counsel until death. 

Luther knew all this of course; knew it from the time of 
his profession. In all the recensions of the Augustinian Con- 
stitutions, it stands written, and Luther read a hundred 
times, that, immediately iefore profession, the prior shall say, 
among other things, to the novice, who has already finished 
his year of probation: "You have now to choose one of two 
things, either to depart from us or to renounce the world and 
wholly consecrate yourself, first to God and then to the 
Order; for^ let it be well observed, once you have so offered 
yourself, it is no longer permitted you, on any grounds, to 
shake off the yoke of obedience, which it was your desire, 
after so protracted a deliberation, freely to take upon your- 
self, although you were quite free to reject it.""' If the 
novice replies that he wishes thus to consecrate himself to 
God and to the Order, only then can he make his profession. 
After it, the prior then says to him that he must keep what 

1T5 Proverbs, 20, 25. 

i'6 De decern praeceptis, Weim. I, 489. See above p. 40. 

1^' Thus in "Compend theol." among the 0pp. Gerson, I 244 : "Con- 
silium per se nunquam obligat. * * * Aliquid vovere est tantum con- 
silii nee quamquam obligat, nullus enim contra voluntatem suam obligatur 
ad vovendura. Sed qui voverit, obligatur necessario ad reddendum, et hoc 
ideo est, quia reddere votum est praecepti, sed vovere est consllii." 

I's See the Latin text from the passage from the 18th chapter of the 
Constitutions, p. 64, above, note 94. 


he has promised : "for now, in Adrtue of his vow, he is hound to 
observe what he had freely performed for God in the year of 
the novitiate." Before profession, he was quite free to leave. 
If he was unAvilling to submit to what was contained in the 
form of profession, the prior was to say to him: "Brother, 
your ways do not accord with ours. Take what is yours and 
depart from us free.""" Such was the understanding of this 
matter in the Augustinian Order in Germany. Bartholomew 
Von TJsingen, to whom Luther had so commended the religi- 
ous state, later recalled this understanding to his apostate 
brother's memory, when he wrote : "He who vows chastity 
or something else, does not make a commandment of what is 
left free, but he freely subjects himself to God's command- 
ment to fulfill Avhat he has vowed and promised : To this 
commandment one may freely subject one's self, for it is good 
and laAvful to be continent, and the vow includes a matter 
good and lawful, possible and not of commandment," etc."" 

St. Augustine in his day already teaches that those who 
have freely chosen continency have made it a necessity, so 

I's In the same chapter one reads : "Suscepto Igitur ab omnibus osculo 
pads novicius factus professus ad inssum prioris in loco, quem assignaverlt 
sibi, sedebit, quem exliortabitur ipse prior, ut intente reddat deo quod 
vovit, caste vivendo, mente et corpore, nilill possidendo proprii actu vel 
voluntate, obediendo superiori sine murmure vel contradictione, et mores, 
quos in probatione didicit novicius, non negligat observare professus, quia 
quod deo, in probatione irapendebat ex lihito, (impression of 1508: de- 
bit© ! ) , nunc reddere tenetur ex voto. * * * gi vero ipse novicius tali- 
ter profiteri noluerit * * * dicat ei prior : Frater mi, mores tui non 
concordant cum moribus nostris, tolle quod tuum est, et egredere libere 
a notis." (In Staupitz, instead of "et egredere," etc.: "et vade.") 

18" Libellus de falsis prophetis * * * Erphurdiae, 1.525, Leaf 43 : "Dico vo- 
ventem castitatem, vel aliam rem quampiam, non facere praeceptum ex eo quod 
Deus dedit liberum, sed subjicit se libere praeeepto dei de reddendis votis et 
promissis, quando deus praecepit vota reddi * * * cui praeeepto potest 
se libere subjicere homo, cum bonum et licitum sit continere ; votum autem 
cadit super re bona et licita, possibili et non praecepta. Hlnc est quod 
vovere nostrum est, et votum continentiae adjutorio dei bene servare pos- 
simus. Quare stultum est dicere, quod liceat monacho vel moniali dare 
manus conjugio, quia libere cesserunt jurl suo, offerendo illud per votum 
deo, Et quid faclt ad scopum rei de qua agis, quod Abram, Isaac, et Jacob 
placuerunt deo in conjugio? Scilicet quis vituperat conjugium aut quia de- 
trahit illi?" Cf. with this Schatzgeyer, "Keplica contra periculosa scripta" 
(1522), Leaf, cij, where the Franciscan says the same as the Augustinian 


that they may no longer depart from it without condemna- 
tion."' From the midst of his monastic life, St. Bernard 
wrote: "The rule of St. Benedict is held out to all, but im- 
posed upon none. It is useful, if it is devoutly assumed and 
kept; it does no harm, if one does not accept it. But if one 
freely accepts and promises to observe that which previously 
was free, he himself then changes the free iato the necessary, 
and he is no longer free to leave that which before he was 
free not to take upon himself. Therefore he must of necessity 
keep that which he has freely taken upon himself, since, ac- 
cording to the word of Scripture, it is necessary to fulfill that 
which one has uttered with his lips.'"" It is not Catholic 
teaching but Luther's, that is diametrically opposed to the 
Scriptures. His conclusions are only the sophisms of a man 
whom God reprehends, as he did the whore in Jeremias : 
"Thou hast broken my yoke, thou hast burst my bonds, and 
thou saidst: I will not serve.""' As every one must con- 
clude from the rite in the Augustinian Order, just cited, it 
lay in Luther's free choice to take upon himself the yoke of 
the voAvs, or before profession to depart. But once he had 
taken the yoke upon himself, it was no longer permitted him 
to shake it off. God did not require Luther to become a 
religious, but once he had freely become one and had sworn 
to be faithful to God in the fulfillment of the three vows taken 
by him, expressly until death too, God did require him to 
carry out his promise. By his profession, Luther himself 
turned his earlier freedom into a necessity. And from two 
to three years previously, he was still well aware of this. 

181 "uii qui earn (continentiam) voluntate delegerunt fecerunt earn 
esse necessitatis, quoniam jam sine damnatione ab ilia deviare non pos- 
sunt." De Conjug. adulter. I.2.C. 19, n.20. 

182 De praec. et dispens., c. 1, n. 2 : "Regula S. Benedict! omni homini 
proponitur, imponitur nulli. Prodest, si devote susipitur et tenetur, non 
tamen, si non suscipitur obest. * * * Attamen hoc ipsura quod dico 
voluntarium si quis ex porpria voluntate semel admiserit et promiserit dein- 
ceps tenendum, profecto in necessarium sibl Ipse convertit (voluntarium) 
nee jam liberum habet dimittere, quod ante tamen non suscipere llberum 
habuit. Ideoque quod ex voluntate suscepit, ex necessitate tenebit, quia 
omnino necesse est eum reddere vota sua, quae distinierunt labia sua (Ps. 
65, 13, 14), et ex ore suo aut condemnarl jam aut justificari." 

i83jerem. 2, 20. 


These are principles that had obtained from time im- 
memorial and were always being proclaimed anew,"* for, as 
long as the orders lasted, there were ever fallen monks of ill 
repute Avho needed the admonition. 

C. Luther a Leader into Hypocrisy and Lying. 

Luther does not stop at sophistry. The Reformer be- 
trays his followers into becoming hypocrites. He counsels 
restrictio mentalis in its worst sense of dissimulation, in 
which he himself was a master. 

As early as August, 1520, he advises those about to be 
ordained subdeacons by the bishop, in no manner to promise 
him that they will observe chastity. Rather were they to re- 
tort that he had no power to demand such a vow, that it was 
devilish tyranny to desire any such thing. "But if one must, 
or if he (the subdeacon) wants to say, as a number do: 
quantum fragilitas humana permittit — as much as human 
frailty permits — let each one interpret"^ or construe these 

^s^Petnis Bles. ep. 131 (Migne Patr. 1, 207, p. 388): "Quandoque in 
arbitrio fuit jugum domini non recipere, semel autem susceptum non lice- 
bat abjicere. Deus ergo nunc exegit oblatum, qui non exegerat offeren- 
dum, voluntas in necessitatem translata est, et vinculo professionis arctaris 
reddere vota, quae distinxerunt labia tua." In like manner St. Bonaven- 
ture (Opp. t. VIII, 134, n. 7) : "Quaedam ex voto proprio proveniunt ut 
ea, ad quae nemo cogitur; sed qui ea sponte voverit, iam velut ex prae- 
cepto Dei compellitur observare, ut continentia religiosorum et abdicatio 
proprii in monasterio." 

^85 Inasmuch as Luther uses the word "deute" (interpret, construe) 
he makes the admission that the proper meaning of the then much abused 
form "quantum fragilitas humana permittit," is not the one put forward 
by himself. One learns the true sense of the form, if one knows where it 
occurs. Here one may not, with Kawerau (VIII, 314 and note), think 
of the words which at an ordination to the diaconate, the archdeacon, 
presenting the subdeacons, gives in response to the Bishop's question': 
Scisne illos dignos esse? namely, "Quantum humana fragilitas nosse sinit, 
et scio et testificor illos dignos esse ad hujus onus officii" (Pontiflcale Rom). 
There is no question here of a vow or of a promise or of a resolution on 
the part of the one to be ordained or clothed with the religious habit, but 
of the knowledge of the archdeacon, whether he deems them worthy. It 
will be far more serviceable to view the fifteenth chapter of the Augustin- 
lan Constitutions. There one reads that the prior shall hold up the aus- 
terities of the order to the one to be received to the habit and ascertain 
his will, whether he is willing to submit to them In future. "Si responderit 
se velle cum del adjutorio cuncta servare, inquantum humana fragilitas 
servare potest," (Staupltz) : {inquantum, hum,ana fragilitas permiserit), 
then he is to be admitted. We approach nearer, if we look up the rubric 


words into a free negative, i.e. : non promitto castitatem (I do 
not promise chastity), for fragilitas humana non permittit 
caste vivere (human frailty does not permit one to live 
chastely), but only angelic strength and heavenly power, so 
that he preserve a free conscience without any vow what- 
ever.'"^" In this advice, Luther is plainly a leader into 
"simulatio," dissimulation. In ordinations to subdeaconship, 
the bishop tells the candidate, who, as he is expressly re- 
minded, was free to take or not to take the yoke upon him- 

"De monacho faciendo ex electo secularl" in the older Pontificalis Liber, 
e.g., in the oldest printed copy (impressus Rome, opera. * * * Mag. 
Stephani Plannck, clerici Patavien. diocesis MCCCCLXXXV, fol. 58; other 
editions: Venetiis 1510, fol. 43; Lugdini 1542, fol. 66; Venet. 1561, fol. 
51 ; manuscript copies of the XIV and XV centuries in Martine, De anti- 
quis eccl. ritibus, II, Venetiis 1788, 1, 2, c. 2, p. 166, ordo VII) ; there fol. 
60b, is found the form of profession of one selected as a lay-man to be 
abbot: * * * "Promitto etiam sibi (monasterii praelato) et conventui 
eiusdem monasterii praesenti et future, me perpctuani servaturum contineii- 
tiam, quantum humana fragilitas permiserit." That the interpretation of 
Luther is excluded is already proved by the promise of the "perpetua con- 
tinentia." What then, is the purport of the clause? It Is what St. Ber- 
nard writes, de praec. et dispens., c. 13, n. 32 : Nemo, si caute profitetur, 
pollicetur se ultra in nullo transgressurura hoc est jam non peccaturum. 
Alioquin aut periurat qui ita iurat aut sanctior est qui ait : in multis 
offendimus omnes (Jacob 3,2) Cf. also n. 34. This, in respect to the words 
in the Augustinian Constitutions, is clear, "I desire to do all, but, con- 
scious of my human weakness, I cannot promise that, some one time or 
another I shall not offend against obedience, against fraternal charity 
etc." Against these offences says St. Bernard, loc. cit., there is the remedy 
of correction and penance; for these offences do not occur out of contempt 
of the commandment or of the means of salvation, and they are therefore 
not against the vow either. This holds also in the case of the clause in 
the form of profession cited above, which moreover, so far as I know, is 
not found in any order. But to take a wife was excluded for good ; 
that is of the essence of "perpetua continentia." It is nevertheless a con- 
sequence of human weakness, that one is not always as vigilant and as 
perfect In thoughts, words and desires as is required for the preservation 
of "perpetua continentia." In view of one's human weakness, it is im- 
possible herein to promise the highest perfection. In this case, the slight- 
est false step would be a perjury. One promises the highest possible per- 
fection, namely "Quantum humana fragilitas permittit." The interpreta- 
tion and construction of Luther, Melanchthon, Carlstadt, Zwingli, Bugen- 
hagen and other associates was to be only a cover-shame of vice just 
like their interpretation of St. Paul's "Melius est nubere quam uri." 

186 An den christl. Adel, Weim VI, 441 sq. 


self, that in future lie must observe continency.^^^ Luther 
teaches him to reply interiorly to the bishop's words : I do 
not promise this. I do not vow chastity. That is the con- 
struction to be interiorly put upon the words, expressed or 
understood by him, "as much as human frailty permits," for, 
says Luther, this frailty does not permit chaste living. The 
bishop and the surrounding onlookers suppose that the candi- 
date takes upon himself the obligation of continency, but he 
himself consciously disavows it in his heart! Outwardly he 
assumes an attitude which is different from that within him. 
He deceives the whole world. 

Luther's insistence on wedlock for priests, and that by all 
means, proved to be too much for even the Bohemian Breth- 
ren, and he was constrained to put a good face on hearing 
some harsh truths from them. "A priest," they wrote in 
1523-1524, "by free compact at his ordination, has pledged 
himself to serve Christ and the Church until death. But 
hoAV can one who has freely dedicated himself to the service 
of Christ and has taken the voav and is therefore no longer 
free, dedicate himself to the married state, Avhen even dea- 
cons, who serve the priests, * * » are not free to con- 
tract marriage? » * * Besides there are the exceedingly 
great distractions of the married state and the care of pleas- 
ing the wife and of providing for the necessities of life, for 
the children, the home, and various needs, as the Apostle has 
declared, and the truth proved by experience, how it went 
Avith them and their children, who were ordained as married 
men. Moreover he, who as priest, is in danger on account of 
passion, has other remedial means besides marriage at his dis- 
posal, as labor and discipline, shunning the occasions, mastery 
of the senses, and so on. For there are but few who in mar- 
riage live for Christ and please God, so that they would not 

187 The Bishop say to those receiving subdeaconship : "Iterum atque 
iterum considerare debetis attente, quod onus hodie ultro appetitis. Hac- 
tenus enim liberi estis, licetque vobis pro arbitrio ad saecularia vota 
transire; quod si hunc ordinem susceperitis, amplius non licebit a propo- 
sito resilire, sed deo, cui servire regnare est, perpetuo famulari et castita- 
tem illo adjuvante servare oporteMt. * * * Proinde dum tempus est, 
cogitate, et si in sancto proposito perseverare placet, in nomine domini 
hue accedite." 


deserve greater damnation tlian if they were single." Life 
in the liberty of the flesh is asserted to be a poor basis at 
the time of withdrawing from Babylon, and so on. Marriage 
makes no one happy, for "in it there are many hindrances to 
salvation and causes that lead astray from the same."^** 

In 1521, Luther sought also by his teaching to catch the 
members of the religious orders as well as the secular priests. 
Every vow, he writes in his book on the monastic vows, is 
taken only conditionally, that is, on the assumption that its 
fuliillment is possible, so that one is free as soon as its im- 
possibility becomes apparent. But this holds more in respect 
to chastity than to the other vows, "because the impossibility 
is more evident in the case of chastity than in any other." 
Therefore, "before God the form of the vow seems to be this: 
I promise chastity as long as it is possible, so that, if I can 
no longer observe it, I shall be free to marry."^'" This, then 
appears to be the form of the vow before God (of course the 
vow taken by Luther too), which, as everywhere, ran: "I 
promise obedience * * * to live without possessions and in 
chastity ( continency ) , until death." I solemnly promise be- 
fore God and the Church that "I will be continent until 
death," and the meaning of these words is to be: I will be 
continent, until I feel myself constrained to marry! It is not 
another but Luther who drives the monks into hypocrisy, into 
lying, into deception. One thing is said with the lips, another 
is meant in the heart within. Those who will learn at the 
end of this chapter how according to Luther, a secret "yes" 
may be, aye, must be an open "no," and that it doesn't signify if 
one compasses a good strong lie for something better and for 
the sake of the Christian Church, will grasp these aberra- 
tions of Luther's just cited. But how does Luther prove his 

188 See the Bohemian document in A. Gindely, Geschichte der bohm- 
ischen Briider, I, (18.57), p. 503. Of. ibid. p. 189 sq. 

188 Weim. VIII, 630 : "Probatur omne votum fieri conditionaliter et 
semper exceptam intelligi impossibilitatem." 683: "SI in uUa parte regu- 
lae Impossibilitas locum habere debet, merlto praeceteris in castitate locum 
habeblt; si In castitate locum non habet, multo minus in caeteris locum 
habere debeblt." 632 sq. : "Videtur ergo forme voti apud deum sic ha- 
bere: voveo castitatem, quamdlu possibills fuerit, si autem servare nequi- 
ero, ut liceat nubere." Brl. 10, 553 (in the sermon) : "There is no man 
ever believed or considered this point otherwise." 


thesis? We knoAV in part from the third chapter, where we 
set forth his sophisms, insofar as they were based upon a 
falsification of the form of profession."" But there is more 
sophistry, and it is peculiarly his own. These further 
sophisms are founded on the parity of all vows and on the 
impossibility of keeping that of chastity. It will be worth 
while to let them detain us somewhat. 

D. The Vow of Chastity and Conjugal Chastity 
AS Against "Impossibility." 

"A vow," writes Luther, "even if it is right and good in 
itself, ceases to be a vow before God and no longer binds, as 
soon as its fulfillment is made impossible. You have promised, 
for example, to make a pilgrimage to Compostella. On your way, 
if you are detained, be it by death, by want, or by a sickness, 
yoiar vow is left off without scruple. And thus it is proved that 
every vow is made only under a condition and always implies 
the saving clause : 'except when it is impossible.' " The Re- 
former is so charmed with his sophism that he exclaims: "Is 
that wholly clear and certain?" And he continues: "What 
is said of one vow is said of all. For all, great and little, 
temporal and eternal, are equally included in the command- 
ment: vow ye and pay ye. Now if impossibility is excluded 
from any one vow, even the least, it must likewise be excluded 
from every one, even the greatest. If, therefore, you vow 
celibacy and afterwards feel that it is impossible, should you 
not be free to marry, inasmuch as you construe your vow as 

In the first place I hold it superfluous to observe that 
neither Luther nor any one of his then contemporaneous mem- 
bers of the religious orders took the monastic vows condi- 
tionally or in the sense which Luther here indicates. All 
took them usque ad mortem — ^until death. It would have been 
no gain to them to have suisequently construed them as 
Luther proposes, even supposing that he was ia the right 
with his construction. It was always a violation of their 

i^o See above, p. 54 sq. 
"iWeim. VIII, 630. 


VOWS, the greatest sacrilege, as Lutlier, in 1518, still rightly 
stigmatized it. But how about Luther's construction and the 
comparison drawn by him? This we shall examine more 

Luther writes, then, that every vow, even that of celibacy, 
no longer binds, as soon as the impossibility of further observ- 
ing it comes up. He sets up a comparison in the vow of a 
pilgrimage to Compostella. But the result rests only upon a 
sophistical conclusion. Of what kind was the impossibility 
which frustrated the fulfillment of the vow of the pilgrim to 
Compostella, or (to show Luther's further comparisons),"^ 
which prevented the Apostles Peter and Paul and the mar- 
tyrs, as they lay captives in prison, from fulfilling the com- 
mandment of the love of their neighbor? It was a sheer ex- 
ternal, enforced impossibility, which is not subject to our con- 
trol. The impossilDility, which Luther advances in the case 
of keeping the vow of chastity, is an interior one, guilty on its 
own account. It does not come suddenly. There is a path- 
way to it, often a long one. In 1521, Luther no longer speaks of 
the pathway, but only of its end, the condition of "uri," the 
burning lust of the flesh. A scripture catch-word was speedily 
found: melius est nubere quam uri — it is better to marry 
than to burn."^ Luther was never at a loss for a construc- 
tion. In this he was a master. 

Who is at fault in such a condition? Only the one con- 
cerned. He had not always been in it. Luther and all his 
folloAvers would have had to admit that of themselves. They 
reached the "uri" gradually, because, through their own fault, 
they did not resist the temptations and the desires of the 
flesh, because they themselves went headlong into the danger, 
and did not employ the means of withholding their consent. 

i''^ On this Luther writes ibid : "Ipse divlna mandata cum sint citra 
omnem controversiam immutabilia, tamen quod opera externa exceptam 
habent impossibilitatem. Neque enim damnabis S. Petrum, quod vinctus 
ab Herode non praedicavit, non servivit proximo suo, sicut habet prae- 
ceptum charitatis, sed beata impossibilitas eum excusat. Nee Paulum facies 
reum omissae charitatis, quod saepius voluit venire ad Romanes, et tamen 
prohibebatur * * * (nee) et martyres in carceribus impios dicemus, 
nisi opera omittere potuerunt, impossibilitate urgente. See besides farther 
below p. 114, on acount of prayer. 

193 1, Cor. 7, 9. 


as was their duty. To be attacked by the flesh, and by carnal 
desire, and to feel these desires is, according to the universal 
teaching of the Church, the Fathers, and the Scholastics, no 
sin; for desires and the carnal instincts of nature are not sin. 
Sin is begotten only after a determination of the will, when 
one succumbs to the attaclc or to the temptation, that is, con- 
sents to the desires."* It is only then that the condition of 
"uri" is brought about."" Luther himself admitted this in 
1523 : "There is no doubt that those who have the grace of 
chastity nevertheless at times feci, and are attacked by evil 
desire; but it is a passing over, therefore not a burning."^''^ 
The latter, he teaches, is wherever there is no desire nor love 
for chastity,^*' and he reckons carnal concupiscence among 
the great abominable sins, just the same as lewdness."' 

The sympathetic Reformer saw into all this. He wanted 
"to hasten to the assistance of monks and nuns, so greatly did 
he pity the state of these poor people, "pollutionibus et ure- 
dinibus vexatorum juvenum et puellarum."^^^ He wished to 

1'* Cf. original sin as treated in the course of this work. Here we 
give only a few typical references : St. Thomas teaches Q.4 de male, a. 
2 ad 10: "Concupiscentia secundum quod est aliquid peccati originalis, non 
nominat necessitatem consentiendi motibus concupiscentiae inordinatis, sed 
nominat necessitatem sentiendi." Long before, Saint Augustine, from ex- 
perience, taught the same in many passages. One citation may suffice; 
Sermo 128, c. 10, n. 12 : "Facite quod potestis, quod ait ipse apostolus : 
non regnet peccato in vestro mortali corpore ad obediendum desideriis eius. 
* * * Mala desideria surgunt, sed noli oiedire. Arma te, sume instru- 
menta bellorum. * * * Quid est, non regnet? Id est, ad obediendum 
desideriis eius. Si coeperitis obedire, regnat. Et quid est oiedire, nisi ut 
exhiieatis membra vestra arma iniquitatis peccato?" 

195 Thus e.g. Haymo says, in epist. 1 ad Cor. 7, 9 : "Uri est proprio 
calore corporis cogente libldinem explere et quocumque modo nefas perpe- 
trare." Lombard Collect, in ep. 1, ad Cor., 1. c. : "uri enim est desideriis 
agi vel Vinci." Saint Thomas Aquinas, ibid., lect. la: "uri, 1. e., concupis- 
centia superari." Dietenberger in Luther's time. Contra temerarium M. 
Lutheri de votis monasticis indicium libri duo (Coloniae) 1525 fol. 238: 
"uri est desideriis agi et vinci. Cum enim voluntas calori carnis consentit, 
uritur. Qui concupiscentia impugnatur calescit quidem, sed non uritur." 

"8Weim. XII, 115. 

18' Ibid. : "To burn is the lust of the flesh, which does not cease with 
raging, and the daily propension to woman or to man, which is everywhere 
where there is no desire nor love for chastity," etc. 

188 Erl. 3, 132. Indeed, even in the year of his death, 1546, Erl. 16, 

is^Enders, III, 207, Aug. 1521. 


free them from tliat condition.^™ Quite right. But how? By 
a yet greater sin, inasmuch as he immediately says: Now 
have you reached the condition that makes it impossible for 
you to be further continent. Therefore your vow no longer 
binds you. "Take unto yourself a wife and it will be easy 
for you to fulfill the law of chastity;"^" carnal commerce with 
your wife is your remedy, your liberation! Such is the 
meaning of all Luther's discussions. The sympathetic Re- 
former drives out one devil by the power of another. 

If only the devil had at least been driven out! After 
their wiving, the same condition was even more repeated 
among the "liberated" ones than before they entered wed- 
lock. "The satisfying of carnal lust," writes Luther himself 
in 1514, "does not extinguish, but only inflames concupiscence 
the more."^"^ The apostate priests and religious, who had so 
wantonly joked away the grace of God given them to keep 
their everlasting vow, could lay no claim to the grace of ob- 
serving "conjugal" fidelity and chastity. After his apostasy, 
Luther was reduced to the very need of confessing, with re- 
gard to even the people in the world accepting his teachings, 
that voluptuousness cannot be cured, not even hy marriage, for 
the greater part of those married, he alleged, were living in 
adultery; even "pious" husbands wearied of their wives and 
loved another forbidden.^"' This was all the more the case of 
those priests who had violated their fidelity. Czecanovius, that 
is, the convert Staprylus, knows that the "marriages" of the 
Lutheran ministers do not extinguish voluptuousness in 
them."* Luther himself had his own experience of this some 

200 Thus he writes Nov. 11th of the same year, ibid. p. 247 : "Jam 
enim et religiosorum vota aggredi status et adoloscentes liberare ex Isto 
inferno coelibatus uredine et fluxibus immundissimi et damnatissimi. 
Partim haec tentatus, partim indignatus scribo." 

2»iWeim. VIII, 632. 

202Weim. Ill, 486. 

203 See above p. 17 sq. As early as 1522, Schatzgeyer, against Luther's 
alleged "impossibility" in the celibate state, drew attention to and clearly 
exposed the "impossibility" in no less a degree in the married state. Re- 
plica contra periculosa scripta, etc. Fol. giij. 

2f< De corruptis moribus utriusque partis, pontiflciorum videl. et evan- 
gelicorum. (p. 1 and a.), fol. f iij : "Coniugium in Lutheranis sacerdotibus 
non restinguere vagas libidines." On Czecanovius, see Paulus in "Katho- 
lik" 1895, I, 574, 1898, I, 192. 


months after his wiving. For how else had it been possible 
for him, expounding the sixth commandment, "thou shalt not 
commit adultery," to write: God, in this commandment, 
spares not a single one. God has not the trust that there is 
one husband who would rest content with his wife. If not 
openly, nevertheless all, he himself included, ("wir") are 
adulterers at heart; only external circumstances hinder them 
from becoming so openly as well. This nature is implanted 
in all human beings.^"' * * « -^g ^.^^^ ^^^ understand him, 
when he writes that same year : "You cannot vow chastity, for 
then you would have had it pre-vdously; but you never have it; 
therefore the vow of chastity is null and void, just as if you 
wanted to vow to be neither a man nor a woman.'""^ 

Among those misled by Luther into apostasy, all this 
was only too true, and the evidence of it came out especially 
when his teaching had become flesh and blood of them, par- 
ticularly the fallen priests and monks. 

Staphylus, just quoted, writes (under the name Sylvester 
Czecanovius ) , about 1562, in regard to the marriage of the 
Protestant preachers, that if these could not more readily 
conceal their shame than the Catholic prelates, upon whom 
the eyes of all are turned, whilst the former are not consid- 
ered, the married state of the majority of the preachers would 
soon prove more shamefully besmirched than the celibacy of 
the priests. Only a matter of two years before, on a journey 

2<"Weim. XVI, 511, Nov. 5, 1525; the text runs: "Great and fine Is 
the honor God adjudges the world, namely, of being a stable full of 
adulterers and adulteresses. God well deserved it of us, that we should 
become His enemy, because He so dishonors, mocks, and vilifies us, and 
besides, excepts no one, not even our monies, though tliey have vowed 
chastity again. Now thou seest that God has no trust in us, that there 
would be one husband who would be content with his wife (and vice 
versa). * * * God spares none, calls us all together in this com- 
mandment, adulterers and adulteresses, * * * rebukes us all, without 
exception, for being whoremongers, although we are not openly so tefore 
the world, yet we are so at heart and where we had the convenience, 
time and place, and opportunity we would all 6e faithless to marriage. 
This nature is implanted in all mankind ; no one is excepted, be it man or 
woman, old or young; all of them together are lying sick in this hospital. 
And this contagion does not hang on us like a red coat, which we could 
doff or leave off, but we have it from our mother's womb ; it has perme- 
ated us through skin and flesh, bone and marrow, and in every vein. 

208Weim. XIV, 711. 


through Thuringia, he had met some Lutheran ecclesiastical 
visitors at Reuburg. In the acts of their visitations, he had 
found recorded more numerous and shameful transgressions 
and adulteries on the part of married Evangelical ])reachers, 
than all the deeds of whorishness that could ever be found 
among Catholics Avithin so small a region. The divorces now 
taking place among the Evangelicals he reported to be in- 
numerable. In a general way, from the distorted interpreta- 
tion of the Pauline dictum : "it is better to nuirry than to 
burn," much evil had already resulted, and there Avas the 
worst in prospect for the immediate future.^"' What this au- 
thor says is confirmed by others, wholly apart from Wicel, 
who by many may be considered partisan in his judgment. 

By his advice of a violation of the vows and counseling 
the remedial agency of "marriage," Luther did not drive out 
the devil from among the fallen monks and priests; on the 
contrary, this devil became only the more battened and bare- 
faced, and on this i)oint there even grew up a tradition among 
the preachers' fraternity. Luther, who Avas never at a loss 
for explanations, evasions, and excuses, however rash, and 
who Avas an adept at veering his cart ;ibout for the time being, 
derived adultery from the inheritance left us by Adam! But 
is this true in the sense in Avliich he understands it? Is it 

207 Sylvester Czecanovlus De corruptls morlbus iitrlusque pnrtls, pontl- 
flclorum videlicet et eviuiKC'llconim (see p. 102) mid DiillliiKi'i', I'lc refonim- 
tioii. II, 440, note 20. The clininielei- Frribirii (In Meckelberj,', Die 
KonlKsberger CUronlken, 1805 p. Iffi) narrates: "At tlie time In which 
the Gospel was first preached (l.')2r) sqq.) hereabouts (In Ordenalande 
Preussen) there was great wife and hu.sband Inklnpc, the women especially 
desiring a priest or a monk. For these then still had In the heglnnlni; 
money from (votive) masses, hence (he crowding nronnd (hem. Onc(> (he 
money was gone and spent, they parted again, going their ways, Just as 
previously they had rushed together. There was not a single day that 
monks, priests and nuns, and other maids too, were not married, and 
every day there was feasting at (hose occasions." Krasmns, In his time, 
to mention no others, writes In the year 1520: "Nunc clrcumsplce mlhl 
sodalltatam Istam evangelleam quot hahet adulteros, quot temulentos, quot 
aleatores, quot decoctores, quot allls vltlls Infames * * * Clrcumsplce 
num castlora slnt coram conlugia, quam allorum, quos ducunt pro elhnlcis? 
Agnoscls opinlor, qnas hlc fahulas tibl possim roferre si llbeat. Nequo 
enim est, ut notlsslma rcferam, quae vel maglstratns vol plebea 
reclamante aut connlvente maglstratu publlcltus deslgnavlt." Opp. t. X. 
(Lugd. Batav. 1700), p. 1570. 


true tliat every one, at least at heart, is an adulterer, al- 
though, because hindered, he does not fulfill the outward act 
of adultery? In this case the life of man would become a life 
of dogs. 

Concupiscence cannot possibly he subdued: that, as I 
shall show in the next section, was the starting-point for 
Luther's "turn about" from and after 1515. This tells and 
explains the whole story. He gradually got into a condition 
in which there was no longer any idea whatever of fighting 
or resisting carnal temptations and desires, or of subduing 
the flesh. Consent at once followed at the heels of every 
rising lust.^"* Luther gradually thought, spoke, and wrote 
under the stress and impulse of evil desire, from which there 
then sprang such written productions as one can bring him- 
self to disclose in the case of only the most degenerate, and 
then but seldom. Only a month after the above utterance 
on adulterers, he wrote to a priest and friend, like himself 
but recently wived, the hapless Spalatin, whom he had mis- 
led: "Saluta tuam conjugem suavissime, verum ut id tum 
facias, cum in thoro suavissimis amplexibus et osculis Cathar- 
inam tenueris, ac sic cogitaveris: en hunc hominem, optimam 
creaturulam Dei mei, donavit mihi Christus, sit illi laus et 
gloria. Ego quoque, cum divinavero diem, qua has accep- 
eris, ea nocte simili opere meam (Catharinam) amabo in tui 
memoriam, et tibi par pari referam."^"^ 

What can Luther adduce in exculpation of himself? 
That which he adduces in respect to the state of depraved 
monies in the monasteries and in respect to the impossibility 
of celibacy: "Who does not know," he writes, "that that in- 
nate and inner tyrant in our members is no more in our 
power and control than the evil will of a tyrant without? 
Indeed, you can soothe the latter with flattering words and 
incline him to your view, but by no pains, to say nothing of 

208 At times and later, e.g. 1532, and in some isolated instances earlier, 
Luther, It is true, demands of other husbands, at least, that they should 
resist the lust and desire of another woman. For Christ says plainly : "If 
thou lookest upon a woman to lust after her, thou hast already committed 
adultery with her within thy heart." Erl. 43, 108 sqq. 

208 Letter of Dec. 6, 1525. Enders. V, 279. Aurifaber and after him 
De Wette omitted the passage from "Ego quoque" on, likely as smutty. 


■words, can you subdue the inner tyrant. What about St. 
Paul? Was he not possessed of a full, efficacious will, when 
he said : 'The good which I will I do not, but the evil which 
I will not, that I do?'"" Why does he not do what he ac- 
knowledges he fully wills? What becomes of what you said 
— the inner hindrance is not opposed to and does not make 
impossible, Avhat the full will has directed? The flesh lusts 
against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; these are 
contrary one to another, so that you do not the things that 
you would.""^ 

But is this something new said by Luther, that we of our- 
selves cannot conquer the inner tyrant? Did it become 
known only then that we cannot fulfil our vows by our own 
powers? "Let no one presume," writes St. Augustine, "that 
by his own powers he can pay what he has vowed. He who 
exhorts you to the vow, He it is who helps you to pay it.""^ 
God Himself and His grace assist us to fulfil what we of our- 
selves are unable to do. God does not abandon us. Was not 
Luther himself constrained to confess, (albeit when he was 
embarrassed by Philip of Hesse's desiring a second wife) : 
"I hardly believe that a Christian is so forsaken of God as to 
he unahle to remain continent.''^" How, then, can we be as- 
sured of God's assistance? By an aid of world-wide power, 
by prayer. 
E. Pathway to "Impossibility" — Carelessness^ Neglect 
OF Communion With God, Intemperance. 
"As I knew," says Solomon, "that I could not otherwise 
be continent, except God gave it, * * * I went to the Lord 
and besought him.""* The Church opposes a spiritual to the 

sioRom. 7, 19. 

211 Weim. VIII, 631. The concluding scriptural passage is taken from 
Gal. 5, 17. 

212 Enarr. in Ps. 131, n. 3 : "Nemo praesumat viribus suis reddere, 
quod voverit; qui te hortatur ut voveas, ipse adjuvat ut reddas." This 
is also beautifully expressed in Sacramentarium Leonianum (ed. Oh. Lett. 
Feltoe, Cambridge, 1896), p. 1.39; "Respice Domine propitius super has 
famulas tuas, ut virginitatis sanctae propositum, quod te inspirante sus- 
cipiant, te gubernante custodiant." 

213 In Lenz. Briefwechsel Landgraf Philipps V. Hessen mit Bucer, I, 
343, note. 

2" Wisdom, 8, 21. 


carnal "uri." "Burn, O Lord, with the fire of the Holy- 
Ghost, our reins and our heart, that we may serve thee with 
a chaste body and please with a clean heart," is the prayer in 
the "Missa in tentatione carnis."^^^ Our Saviour Himself 
counsels watching and constant prayer as a means of not suc- 
cumbing to temptation.^^* Indeed, Luther a short time before 
knew this well too. As the strongest weapon against evil 
desire, he recommends "prayer, contemplation of the Passion 
of Jesus Christ, as well as the word of God,'"" and a few 
years earlier he holds up watching and fervor of spirit as an 
unfailing remedy against carnal lust."^ I have said that he 
then still knew this, but not that he still put it into practice. 
From and after 1516, on his own confession, he seldom found 
time to acquit himself of the prescribed prayers, the hours, 
and to celebrate Mass. What he acknowledged in 1520 was 
even then already verified of himself : "I know that I do not 
live according to what I teach."^^° He did not himself fol- 
low what he taught others. Luther was anything but a spir- 
itual man, a man of prayer, to say nothing at all of his not 
being a mystic. Like so many others of his fellows, e.g., Pel- 
likan, he was wholly absorbed in his scientific and other labors 
and occupations, as has already been briefly indicated 
above.^^" His interior communion with God, never profound, 
came little by little to cease entirely. His heart grew cold. 

He was well aware that this is the usual pathway of such 
as are on the declivitous track. As late as 1517, he wrote: 
"Since we are in the midst of enemies, constantly lured by 
innumerable enticements, hindered by cares, and taken up by 
occupations, by all of which we are withdrawn from purity 
of heart, there is therefore but this one thing left for us, 

215 xjre igne S. Spiritus renes nostros et cor nostrum domine, ut tibi 
casto corpore, serviamus, et mundo corde placeamus." This prayer, in 
Luther's time was also found in the missal of his order, and in his brevi- 
ary as well, in the latter case as a prayer after the Litany of All Saints. 

218 Mark, 14, 38: "Vigilate et orate ne intretis in tentationem." Luke 
21, 36: "Vigilate itaque, omni tempore orantes." 

217 See above, p. 12 sq., and Weim. I, 488. 

218 Above p. 11. 

219 "Scio quod non vivo, quae doceo" Enders, II, 312. Senaca, De vita 
beata, c. 18: "Aliter loqueris, aliter vivis." 

220 Above, p. 35. 


that "with all zeal we admonish ourselves and arouse the 
sluggish spirit by the word of God, meditating, reading, and 
hearing it assiduously," and so on. If this is not done, it 
is his opinion that the necessary consequence is sloth and 
lukewarmness of spirit, "the most dangerous of all dangers," 
and finally disgust.^^^ This was evidenced precisely in Luther 
himself. On Feb. 20, 1519, he already complains to his Vicar, 
Staupitz : "I am a man exposed to and carried away, hy 
company, tippling, carnal excitement, negligence, and other 
bothers, besides those which weigh upon me on account of 
my of&ce."^^^ 

In January of the same year, the state of his soul in 
these respects was disclosed in even more glaring colors. 
Preaching on the married state, he said: "It is a shameful 
attack (on chastity and virginity). / have known it well. 
I imagine you ought also to loiow it. Oh I know it well, 
when the devil comes and excites the flesh and sets it on 
fire. Therefore let one bethink himself well beforehand and 
prove himself, Avhether he can live in chastity, for when the 
fire is burning, / knoio well how it is, and the attack comes, 
the eye is already blind," and so on. "I have not so much 
of myself, that I can keep continent." Some have written 
whole books, how to be continent, and how there is something 
unclean and filthy about a woman, and that Ovid's "De rem- 
edio amoris" may be beneficial, though, in truth, the reading 
of it only stimulates one the more. "When the attack comes 
and the flesh is on fire, you are already blind, even though 

221 Commentary on Hebrews, c. 3, fol. 91 : "Sed adhortamini vos- 
metipsos per etc. (3, 13). Quum simus in medio inimicorum et assidue 
alliciamur innumeris illecebris, impediamur curis, occupemur negotiis, per 
quae omnia retraliimur a puritate cordis, idcirco, id unum nobis reliquum 
est, ut omni studio nos ipsos exliortemur, ut velut pigritantem spiritum 
excitemus verbo dei, meditando, legendo, audiendo illud assidue, sicut liic 
monet apostolus, sicut et de S. Cecilia legitur, quod evangelium Christi 
assidue gerebat in pectore, et nee diebus nee noctibus ab oratione et 
coUoquiis divinis vacabat (3 Eesponsorium in the office of matins of her 
feast). Quod nisi fieret, certl multitudine primarum rerum tandum obtru- 
derent et obruerent nos accidia et tepiditas (Ms. trepiditas) spiritus, 
omnium periculorum periculosissimum" etc. 

222 Enders. I, 431 : "Homo sum expositus et Involutus societati, crapu- 
lae, titellationi, negligentiae aliisque molestiis, praeter ea quae ex officio 
me premunt." 


the woman is not of the more beautiful sort. One would do 
well to take dung and use it as an extinguisher, if he had 
no water."^^' It was but a step from that to the condition 
in which Luther found himself in 1521 and became quite 
blind with carnal lust. 

In this particular respect, Luther followed the same path- 
way that Avas trodden from time immemorial, and is still kept, 
by those monks or religious who finally violate the fidelity 
they had sworn to God and who wive. It is the pathway 
once described by St. Bernard : first carelessness, and neglect 
of prayer, in consequence of which that coldness within ; grace 
diminishes, and with it, by reason of that coldness, cheerful- 
ness of spirit; the power of judgment is drowsed; the exer- 
cises of the order which before seemed easy, become unbear- 
able; voluptuousness lures and is pleasing; what is right is 
thrown by and proscribed; the fear of God is abandoned. 
"Finally a free hand is given to shamelessness, and that rash, 
that shameful, that most foul leap is taken full of ignominy 
and confusion, from on high into the abyss, from the pave- 
ment into the dung-heap, from the throne into the sewer, from 
heaven into the mud, from the cloister into the world, from 
paradise into hell."^'* 

There was still a further nutrient of carnal lust in Luther 
and in by far the greater part of his younger adherents, and 
that was drunkenness, intemperance. To conquer this 
alone, there is need of effort, supported by prayer and God's 
help, no less than for victory over the inner tyrant. What 
is the state of one in whom both are coupled? "Be not drunk 

223 weim. IX, 213, 215. The sermon, as is known, was printed with- 
out Luther's knowledge and against his will. See his letter in Enders, 
II, 12 and 16, note 33. It occasioned offence. Thus e.g. one who wor- 
shipped Luther, Ch. Scheurl, wrote April 10, 1519 to Amsdorf: "Legimus 
multa Martiniana, quae amicissimis plus probantur, guam sermo de coni- 
ugio, utpote casta, modesta, pudica, seria, qualia theologum decent." Brief- 
buch, edited by Knaake, II, 86. Naturally Luther then republished the 
sermon with emendations and omissions. Weim. II, 166. 

22* Sermo 63 in Cant., n. 6. I will here give only the conclusion in the 
Latin text : "Datur postremo impudentiae manus ; praesumitur ille temera- 
rlus, ille pudendus, ille turpissimus, plenus ille ignominia et confusione 
saltus de excelso in abyssum, de pavimento in sterquilinium, de solis in 
clocam, de coelo in coenum, de claustro in saeculum, de paradiso in in- 


•with wine, wherein is luxury," admonishes St. Paul."'. 
Luther Imew that very well, and for this reason advised even- 
ing prayer against it.''" In 1516, he writes: "Overeating 
and drunkenness are the nutriment of unchastity. That is 
why the holy fathers directed that he who wishes to serve 
God must conquer above all others the vice of gluttony; 
which, however, is the most difficult. Although this vice may 
not always lead to licentiousness, as, e.g., in the case of old 
men, nevertheless it renders the soul unfit for divine things."^" 
We just read, a moment ago, Luther's complaint, 1519, that 
he was exposed to intemperance"^ and to the commotions of 
the carnal lust associated with it. This confession, it is said, 
is not to be taken strictly. I reply that this confession stands 
connected with something wholly serious. Luther begs Stau- 
pitz to pray for him. He is confident that God will compel 
the heart of Staupitz to be concerned in his (Luther's) behalf. 
As a reason for this he states that he is a man exposed to 
and carried away by society, etc., as the passage above quoted 
shows. Anyone possessing even a little laiowledge of human 
nature and of pyschology grasps Luther's statement. The 
papal legate in. Worms, Alexander, who himself was not 
wholly above reproach, writes: "I leave aside the drunken- 

225 Ephesians, 5, 18 : "Nolite inebriari vino, in quo est luxuria," 
(do-uTla) Luther translated: "Do not swill yourselves full of wine; a 
disorderly thing follows therefrom." He had already expressed this idea 
In Romans, Fol. 270b. Moreover, Terence has often used the familiar say- 
ing: "Sine Cerere et Libero (Baccho) friget Venus." (Eun. 4, 5, 6,). Cf. 
also Proverbs, 20, 1. 

229Weira. Ill, 362 (1513, 1514): Quia super stratum otiosis ac 
maxime Us qui sunt potati, solet carnis vexatio titillatioque excitari, idea 
memoria opus est et non perfunctoria recordatio del, sed fixe in meditatione 
dei manendum. 

227 Romerbrief uber Rom. 13, fol. 271. Commessatio et ebrietas fomenta 
sunt impudicae * * * laeo sancti patres statuerunt, quod volens dec 
servire ante omnia vitium gulae expugnandum (conetur) quod sicut primum, 
ita et difRcilliraum. Eo autem non extirpate, etiamsi ad cubilia et lascivias 
non perducat, ut forte in senibus, tamen animum ineptum reddit divinis." 
See also Weim. I, 520. 

228Crapulae. In Gal. 5 (VPeim. II, 591 anno 1515) he comments in 
the sense of Luke, 21, 34: "sicut ebrietas nimium bibendo, ita crapula 
nimium comedendo gravat corda." But In Weim. Ill, 559, 596, he gives 
"crapulatus" the same meaning as "ebrius." 


ness, to wMch Luther was uncommonly addicted."^^" Is this 
likewise not to be taken so strictly? By what rules of crit- 
icism is Luther to be judged? But let us look farther. 

From the Wartburg he writes : "I sit here the whole day 
idle and drunh."^^" The year after (1522), he mentions that 
he is Avriting in the morning, sober. Later he gives the as- 
surance that he is not then drunkP^ Luther plainly held 
with the custom and practice of the country. "Our Lord," 
he once said, "must set down drunkenness to our account as 
a daily sin; for we cannot well keep from it. * * * 'Ebrie- 
tudo" (drunkenness), is to be borne with (ferenda), not in- 
ebriation (ebriositas),'"^^ intoxication. The night in which 
Luther, Avith others, reached Erfurt, Oct. 19, 1522, Melanch- 
thon, who was present, wrote that there was only one thing 
done: "Potatum est, clamatum est, quod solet," (there was 
drmking and shouting, as usual ).''^'' What wonder? The 
well-known tippler, Eobanus Hessus, Luther's friend, was 
there. Luther does not deny this passion of his ; he only gave 
it a superior aim. "What other," he writes in his consola- 
tory letter to H. Weller, 1530, "do you think might be the 
reason why I drink the more heavily, prate the more loosely, 
and carouse the more frequently, than to mock and to vex 
the devil, who set himself to mock and to vex me?"^^* To 
those tempted by evil thoughts, he cries out: "Ergo edite, 
bibite, have a good time! Sic tentatis corporibus, one ought 
to give good eating and drinking. But the whoremongers 
( scortatores) must fast."^^° 

Himself so greatly tormented and tempted, Luther punc- 
tually carried out his exhortation to others. During the Con- 

229 Aleander writes : "Lasso a parte la ebrieta, alia quale detto Luther 
6 deditissimo." In Brieger, Aleander und Luther, p. 170. 

230 Ego otiosus et crapulosus sedeo tota die." Enders, III, 1.54. 

231 Thus as early as March 19, 1532 : "Sobrius haec scribo et mane, 
piae plenltudine fiduciae cordis." (Enders, III, 317). "I am now neither 
drunk nor thoughtless" (Erl. 30, 363). If any one wishes to demur t6 
the passage "I am not now drunk," well and good. But that will not be 
getting rid of this weak side of Luther's character. 

232 Mathesius in Losche, Anal. Lutherana, p. 100, n. 100. 

233 Corp. Ref. I, 579. 

234 Enders, VIIL 1. 

235 Losche, loc. cit. p. 242, n. 372. 


cord negotiations at Wittenberg, in 1536, lie gave new evi- 
dence of this, for we find him frequently in a state of tipsy 
jollity. On the evening of May 29, for instance, he supped 
in company with Lukas Cranach and others at the residence 
of W. Musculus, who tells about it. "After that," he writes, 
"we went to Cranach's house, and drank again. Having left 
there, we conducted Luther to his dwelling, where again there 
was copious drinking in the Saxon fashion {ubi rursum, sax- 
onice processum, potatum est). Luther was wonderfully 
joUy.'"^^ As is loaown, he suffered greatly, in 1530, from a 
buzzing in the head. On Jan. 15, 1531, he wrote to Link: 
"The headache, which I got from old wine in Coburg, has not 
yet been overcome by the Wittenberg &eer."^" He arrived at 
Coburg April 16, 1530, and staid, with interruptions, until 
Oct. 4. During this time he complains continually of his 
headache, of the buzzing in his head, the true cause of which 
he stated afterwards, as we have just seen. 

Omitting other matters,"' we will hear what was said by 
the apothecary who made an examination of Luther's dead 
body. Early on Feb. 17, 1546, the apothecary of Eisleben 
was called to Luther in greatest haste. By order of the doc- 
tors, he was to apply a clyster to Luther, who lay dead, 
though it was thought he might possibly be revived. "As the 
apothecary was applying the tube, he heard several loud 
winds discharged into the clyster-bag. In consequence of 
his intemperate eating and drink, Luther's body was wholly 

236Kolde. Anal. Lutherana, p. 229; cf. also page 228. 

237 "Morbum capitis, Coburgae contractum a veteri vino, nondum vicit 
cerevisia Wittenbergensis." (Enders, VIII, 345.) 

238 Only Incidentally I mention that, In a letter of March, 18, 1535, 
Luther signs as "Doctor plenus." (Orig. cod. vat. Ottob. 3029; Enders, 
X, 137.) He complains therein that "on account of weakness," he is un- 
able oftener to tarry with the students over their beer. "The beer is good, 
the (bar) maid is pretty, the associates young." He liked wine better, 
in keeping with the proverb of the priests wlio went wrong earlier and 
of whom it was said in the "Lavacrum conscientiae" of the Xv century: 
"Wine and women make wise men fall off," (Eccll. 19, 2.). And if wine 
is wanting, they shout for wine with a loud voice saying: without wine 
and women no one will rejoice. "On frawen und on wein, mag niemant 
frolich gesein" (P. 1 et a. fol. 13b.) Concerning this work see above, p. 
84. Perhaps this is the basis of the verse sometimes ascribed to Luther: 
"Wer nlcht llebt Wein, Weib, Gesang, der bllebt ein Narr sein Leben lang." 


bloated with cachectic humors. He had kept a well-stocked 
kitchen and a superabundance of sweet and foreign icines. 
It is told of him, in fact, that every noon and night, he drank 
a "sexta" of "sweet and foreign wine."-^^ Shall this state- 
ment likewise be taken not too seriously, in the face of the 
fact that the report is cited as the most competent evidence 
of Luther's having died a natural death? It is rather a strik- 
ing commentary on what Luther said in a letter to Bora, July 
2, 1540 : "I gorge like a Bohemian and guzzle like a Ger- 
man."^^" That Luther, in respect to drinking, was a child of 
his time, and that he possessed a strong, epicurean nature, 
Protestants themselves now no longer deny.^*^ Moreover, as 
in the first edition, so in this, I treat this "weak side," this 
"reverse side" of the "superman," Luther, only incidentally. ^^° 

F. -Luther Scoffs at Prayer in Violent Temptation 

Spite of all, the saving of Luther, as of any other, would 
still have been possible, had he had recourse to prayer. It 
was just at the Wartburg that he would have had time to 
enter into himself and to return to God. But what do we 
hear from his own lips there? On Sept. 9, 1521, he writes to 
Spalatin: "Poor man that I am, I grow cold in spirit. I 
am still snoring on, and am lazy in prayer. Let us watch 
and pray that we fall not into temptation."^*^ Watching and 
prayer still? But what temptation does he mean, that is not 
to be fallen into? That of the flesh, against which, then 
more than ever, he would needs have had the power of God? 
Not in the least. He meant the temptation to let up in the 
warfare against the Church and the Pope. Luther was quite 
expressly opposed to priests and religious, in carnal lust, in 

22^ See document in N. Paulus, Luther's Lebensende und der Eislebener 
Apotheker Johann Landau (Mainz 1896), p. 5. 

2*0 Burckhard, Martin Luther's Briefwechsel, p. 357, from the original. 
In another letter of July 16 (De Wette V, 298), Luther toned the pas- 
sage down ("still not a great deal", "still not much"). See concerning 
this, the interesting controversy of Janssens (Ein Zweites Wort an meine 
Kritiker, 1883, p. 62 sg.) against KostUn. 

2*1 Thus e.g. Seeberg in Neue Preuss. Zeitung, 1903, No. 569. 

2*2 More below, chapter 13, h. 

2"Enders, III, 230. 


the "uri," begging God's grace to be freed. Even in the risk 
of unfaithfulness to God, he now Imew only one remedy 
against the lust of the flesh, and that was to take unto one's 
self a wife!^" 

For he writes in the book on the monastic vows : "Will 
you perhaps say here, as some simpletons, not concerned for 
souls, are wont to say, one must beg grace of God Who de- 
nies it to none? Capital! Why did you not also advise St. 
Peter to beg God that he might not be put in chains by 
Herod? WTiy did not St. Paul pray not to be hindered from 
coming to the Komans. Why did not the martyrs pray that 
prisons might not keep them from works of charity? And 
why do you not teach that pilgrim to Compostella to pray not 
to become needy, not to fall sick, not to die, not to be taken 
captive?" And now comes the fallen monk's admonition: 
"That means playing the iujfoon in serious things."^*^ But 
who is playing the buffoon? 

Did Peter^" and the martyrs overstep a commandment 
in letting themselves be imprisoned and prevented thereby 
from preaching and practising the works of mercy? Did they 
thereby commit sin? On the contrary, they had the predic- 
tion made to them by Christ beforehand that they would be 
persecuted, etc., and they verified His exhortation: "let not the 
disciple be above his master."^*^ In prison and in sufferings 
they confessed Christ before all the world. They bore witness 

244 gj Thomas teaches (Suppl. qu. 42, a. 3 ad 3) to the contrary from 
his own experience: "Adhibetur mains remedium (contra concupiscentiae 
morbum) per opera spiritualia et carnls mortificationem a6 illis, qui matri- 
monio non utuntur." 

2«Weim VIII, 631. 

2*6 Cf. what has already been said above, p. 99 sq. Why Luther drags 
In St. Paul is quite inconceivable. What has it to do with our theme 
that St. Paul, on various occasions, desired to go to Rome, but was always 
prevented and therefore kept from exercising charity there? What has 
that to do with the alleged Impossibility of keeping the vow of chastity 
and with the exhortation to prayer? No less unintelligible is the reference 
to the one who vowed a pilgrimage to Compostella, but is hindered on the 
way from continuing his pilgrimage. The hindrance is wholly external, the 
pilgrim has fulfilled his vow. He did what he could, unlike the fallen re- 
ligious and priests, who did not do what they could, but rather only did 
what they could to get into carnal lust and to remain in it. 

2*' Matt. 10, 17, sqq. 


to Him and to the truth of His teaching, and thereby preached 
with incomparably greater power than in their former liberty. 
In their sufferings, in their distresses, which they bore for 
Christ and which to the carnal man are foolishness, did they 
not rather have to pray, that, sustained by God's power, they 
might stand fast? To what depth did Luther fall, that he 
placed the satisfying of carnal lust, which the religious for- 
ever renounced by solemn vow, on the same level with the 
heroism of the apostles and martyrs! To him^*° and his fol- 
lowing, the very violation of the vows and mving were their 
witness for Christ and that they were Christians ; through 
them, they declared, they found God and Christ; God, to 
whom they had vowed perpetual continency, called them to 
their wiving '.'^^^ 

2^8 Luther writes after his wiving a desecrated nun : "Ego iam non 
verbo solum, sed et opere testatws evangelium, nonna ducta uxore, in des- 
pectum triumphantium et clamantium Jo ! Jo ! hostium, ne videar cessisse, 
quamvis senex et ineptus, facturus et alia, si potero, quae illos doleant, et 
verbum confiteantur." Enders V, 226. He further states that God had 
wonderfully thrown him into marriage with the nun (ibid. p. 201), and 
that one must confess his wiving to be a "work, a thing of Ood" (p. 199). 

249 Thus, for instance, the apostate Franciscan, Brismann, states that 
he entered marriage "by order of God" (ibid. p. 196). For an account 
of Justus Jonas, see above, p. 12, note 3-5. Bugenhagen (Pomeranus) con- 
fesses in his work: Von dem Ehelichen Stande der BischofCe und Diaken 
usw. (VPittenberg 1525), Leaf VIII: "I myself did also swear to this 
teaching of the devil out of error, for I thought I should give pleasure to 
God thereby, for I did not have God's word. Shall I not now, whatever 
It be I swore then, throw away such devils' teaching, when I note that a 
wife is necessary to me, that I may again come to the word and the in- 
stitution of God. God forbids me to be a whoremonger, aye also covet 
not a strange woman, who is not thy wife, and no one has perpetual 
chastity, save to whom God gives it. The vows here are to no purpose, 
if necessity demands, so let us for God's sake, icith the fear of God, cast 
the same from us and ieg pardon for the Masphemous oath, and for this 
that we took God's name in vain: and let us also at the same time re- 
joice, that, after the gospel came to light we are escaped from the snares 
of the devil ! Whoso will not hear God's word, let him stay in the devil's 
teachings for the sake of his oath with all its harm and let him hold to 
them with all their harm," etc. 

Thus did they deal with the vows and say, with Bucer, that Christians 
should keep the vows which "with God are able to be kept." A second wife 
as a remedy against whorishness was then for many the only consequence. 
The Jurist, Johann Apel, Canon in the new minister of Wurzburg, who was 
present at Luther's wiving, wived a nun from the Wiirzburg monastery 
of St. Marx, secretly, "in the presence of Christ" (Clam sine arbitris, quam- 


The apostles, martyrs, and all true Christians, on the 
contrary, shrank from no difficulty, when there was question 
of following Christ and of bearing witness to Him. In that 
event, they knew no impossibility. They knew that "with 
God no thing is impossible,""" that what is impossible with 
men is possible with God,^" that they could do all things in 
Him that strengtheneth them.^" In respect to warfare 
against the flesh, Luther and the fallen priests and religious, 
upon whom Lutheranism is built up, resembled cowardly sol- 
diers, who, shrinking from difficulty, throw their guns into 
the grain. They suffered themselves to be vanquished, not by 
the new Adam, not by Christ, but by the old Adam, the flesh, 
and carnal lust, to which nevertheless, at the time of their 
profession, they had bidden farewell until death, when, in- 
stead of them, they chose Christ as their inheritance. 

Now they gave Christ up, although they constantly re- 
ferred to Him with their lips, to cover their iniquity with 
Him. They looked back upon the flesh ; indeed, they demeaned 
themselves worse than ever before. The Lutheran Eoban 
Hesse himself says, as early as 1523, of the nuns who had 
followed Luther: "No paramour is more lascivious than 
these our erstwhile nuns."^" Their condemnation was pro- 
nounced by Christ at the outset : "No man putting his hand 
to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." 
"He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.""* 

quam presente Christo"), naturally "for the saving of his conscience" (Weim. 
XII, 68). In what does such a marriage differ from the secret marriages, in 
reality concubinages, against which Johannes Varensis writes ( in Gerson, 0pp. 
1, 916, 919) towards the end of the XIV century? According to the state- 
ment of the apostate Franciscan, Lambert of Avignon, he only found peace 
and Christ after he had taken a wife. Previously, he said, he was always 
aflame. In spite of the so-called mortifications ( Commentariorum de sacro 
conjugio et adversus pollutissimum regnl perditlonis coelibatum liber. Ar- 
gentoratl 1524, positio 22, fol. 36b). And others write in a similar strain. 

2s» Luke, 1, 37. 

2" Luke, 18, 27. 

2»2Phillpp, 4, 13. 

2'3Helii Eobanl Hessl et amicorum ipslus epp. famll. llbri XII (Mar- 
purgi 1534), p. 87: "Quid fugitivos pluribus execrer? Nulla Phyllis nonnis 
est nostrls mammosior." 

2" Luke 9, 62. Matt. 10, 22; 24, 13. 


Every word of Holy Writ witnesses against them and proves 
them unevangelical. 

Commenting on the scriptural passage, how Lot's wife 
looked back upon Sodom and was turned into a pillar of 
salt/°^ St. Augustine -writes among other things: "One who, 
by the grace of God, has vowed something greater than con- 
jugal chastity, (i.e., continency) will be damned if he takes 
a vnfe, after the vow which he promised to God, though he 
would not be damned if he had taken a wife previously. 
Why? Because he who has taken the vow of continency 
and nevertheless afterwards takes a wife, has looked back. 
A virgin, if she married, would not sin; a nun, if she married, 
shall be accounted an adultress of Christ. She has looked 
back from the place to which she had come. Such is the case 
of those in monastic communities. Whoever goes back into 
the world is not held as one who never entered. He has 
looked back. Therefore let each one, as he can, fulfil his vow 
to God: 'Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God.' Let no 
one look back or have delight in that which lies behind him 
and which he has forsaken."^^^ 

There is no help for Luther and his fellows in all their 

2" Gen. 19, 26. 

256 Enarrat. in Psalm S3, n. 4 : "Unusquisque autem, fratres charissimi, 
de loco Itineris sui, ad quern proflciendo pervenit, et quem vovit Doe, inde 
respicit retro, cum ipsum dimiserit. Verbi gratia, statuit castitatem con- 
jugalem servare (inde enim incipit iustitia) ; recessit a fornicationibus et ab 
ilia illicita immunditla : quando se ad fornicationem converterlt, retro res- 
pexit. Alius ex munere dei maius aliquid vovit, statuit nee nuptas pati ; 
qui non damneretur, si duxisset uxorem ; post votum quod deo promisit, si 
duxerit, damnaMtur, cum hoc faciat quod ille, qui non promiserat ; 
tamen ille non damnatur, iste damnatur. Quare, nisi quia iste 
respexit retro? Jam enim ante erat, iste autem illuc nondum pervenerat. 
Sic Virgo, quae si nuberet, non peccaret (1 Cor. 7, 28) ; sanctimonialis si 
nupserit, Christi adultera deputabitur ; respexit enim retro de loco quo 
acceserat. Sic quibus placet, relicta omni spe seculari et omni actione ter- 
rena, conferre se in societatem sanctorum, in communem illam vitam, ubi non 
dicit aliquis aliquid proprium, sed sunt illis omnia communia, et est illis 
anima una et cor unum in deum (Act. 4, 32) ; quisquis inde recedere voluerit, 
non talis habetur quails ille, qui non intravit ; ille enim nondum accessit ; 
iste retro respexit. Quapropter charissimi, quomodo quisque potest, vovete 
et reddite domino deo vestro (Ps. 7.5, 12) ; quod quisque potuerit ; nemo retro 
respiciat, nemo pristinis delectetur, nemo avertatur ab eo quod ante est ad 
id quod retro est : Currat donee perveniat ; non enim pedibus, sed deslderio 


sopliisms. They are condemned by all antiquity. They can 
adduce in their favor only such miserable beings as they 
themselves were. The concubinaries of earlier times were 
their forerunners. They are all shaped after the same pat- 
tern. In their carnal lust they absolutely no longer saw 
anything, and they verified the words which we heard Luther 
utter about this condition.^" It was from the point of view 
of this condition they interpreted the scriptural passage: 
"melius est nubere quam uri" — it is better to marry than to 
burn^^' — though St. Paul speaks only of those who are free 
and who in their liberty find themselves unable to keep con- 
tinent. Even more culpable is Luther's procedure, when he 
cites the words of St. Paul (Romans, VII) on the warfare 
of the flesh against the spirit and the defeat of the latter, to 
prove that one can by no manner of means overcome the 
inner tyrant. ^^* Why did Luther omit to call attention to the 
next chapter, in which St. Paul celebrates the victory of the 
spirit over the flesh through Christ, and speaks of those who 
do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit, 
because they are in Christ? Luther and his fellows, who 
longed for the fleshpots of Egypt, which they were supposed 
to have abandoned forever, were fully described by Paul when 
he continued: "They that are according to the flesh, mind 
the things that are of the flesh."^"" And he pronounces the 
judgment of condemnation upon them : "They who are in the 
flesh cannot please God." One must live in the spirit; but 
that takes place only when the spirit of God dwells in one. 
"Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of 

There is, then, a victory over the inner tyrant whom 
Luther held to be invincible. This victory comes to us by the 
grace of Christ. The same St. Paul writes: "There was 
given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me. 
For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might 

257 See in this chapter, p. 87, 108. 
"8 1, Cor. 7, 9. 
2=^ Above p. 106. 
280 Romans, 8, 5. 
=«ilbid. 8, 9. 


depart from me. And lie said to me: My grace is sufficient 
for thee."^^^ Grace enables us to overcome the flesh, and 
grace is received througli prayer. Every one receives it: 
"Ask and you shall receive * * * whoever asks, receives.'"^' 

Now what does Luther say to this? In his book on the 
monastic vows, against the papal exhortation to pray for 
grace, he continues: "How if God does not wish to be be- 
sought? Or, if one prays, what if He is unwilling to hear."^" 
To what false teaching the Eeformer was driven by his lust! 
First of all be it asked only incidentally: how does this 
square with what he wrote later : "In the Papacy, I had no 
faith that God would give me wherefore I prayed?"^*' "In 
the Papacy, we ourselves despised our prayers and thought: 
where others do not pray for us, we shall receive nothing.'"*' 
From the above it follows that, just after his apostasy from 
the Church and the Pope, he had no faith that God would 
hear him, whilst on the contrary the cursed Papists, on his 
own admission, did possess that faith. But, as has already 
been observed, the Eeformer understands how, according to 
his needs, to face his cart the other way. 

The above words are also in flattest contradiction with 
Luther's constant descant upon trust in God, in which Har- 
nack sees precisely the greatness of Luther.^"' 

In Luther's words: "How if God does not wish to he 
besought? Or, if one prays, what if He is unwilling to 
hear?'' — is there any manifestation of assured confidence that 
God is the Being upon whom we can depend? Just the con- 
trary! And it is a matter, with priests and religious, of 
God's help in most violent temptation against that worst, 
the inner tyrant. Yet precisely at this juncture Luther says : 
You cannot depend upon God. God knows if He will even 
listen to you, let alone grant your prayer. Far from recog- 
nizing in God or in Christ Him who calls out to a poor soul : 

262 2 Cor. 12, 7, 9. 

263 Matt. 7, 7, 8. See other passages quoted above p. 116. 

28*Weim. VIII, 631: "Quid si deus nolit orari? aut si oretur, quid si 
nolit audire?" 

285 Erl. 44, 354, ann. 1539. 

266 Erl. 1, 248. 

>6' Lehrb. d. Dogmengesch. 3 edition, III, 729. 


"Salus tuus ego sum"^"^ — "I am thy salvation" — who helps to 
conquer the inner enemy, Luther truly makes Him the great- 
est tyrant, who, despite His promises to hasten to the aid of 
the tempted and to grant their prayers, delivers the poor soul 
up to its worst enemy. 

The doctrine here expressed by Luther on the relation of 
prayer to God, and vice versa, is nothing short of abominable 
and must lead to despair or to the acme of wickedness, which 
indeed was the case. When Luther wrote his book on the 
monastic vows, he was wholly blind with the "uri," the fault 
of which was his own, and at the same time he was filled 
with hatred against the Church. Before reaching his condi- 
tion of 1521 and when his thinldng was clearer, namely, in 
1516, he judged of the efficacy of fervent prayer quite differ- 
ently. Commenting on the words of St. Paul, Eomans, XII, 12, 
"instant in prayer," he writes:-"" the Apostle herewith indi- 
cates the frequency and the assiduity of prayer that every 
Christian ought to use. "Just as there is no work that ought 
to be more frequent to Christians, so there is none more 
laborious and more violent, and therefore more efficacious 
and fruitful; for here 'the Kingdom of heaven suffereth vio- 
lence, and the violent bear it away' (Mat. 11, 12). Prayer 
is an assiduous violence of the spirit raised to God, like a 
ship driven upwards against the power of a torrent. * * * 

268 The words are from Psalm 34, 3 : "Say to my soul : I am thy salva- 

289 Romerbrlef, fol. 259b: "Oration! instantes" (Rom. 12, 12). "In quo 
exprimit frequentiam pariter et diligentiam oratlonis christianos habere 
debere. Instare enim non tantum assidue vacare sed etiam urgere, incitare, 
expostulare signiflcat. Quia vere sicut nullum opus christianls debet esse 
frequentlus, ita nullum allud est laborioslus et violentius, ac per hoc effi- 
caclus et fructuosius : hlc enim regnum coelorum vim patitur, et violentl 
rapiunt illud (mistaken application of the passage). Est enim oratio (meo 
judicio) assidua violentia spiritus in deum levati, sicut navis contra vim 
torrentis acta sursum. Unde B. Martinum in laudem dicitur, quod invictum 
spiritum eo habuerit, quod nunquam ilium ab oratione relaxerit. (4th. re- 
sponsory in matins, feast of the Saint). Fit quidem ea violentia lenior vel 
nulla, si quando spiritus trahit et vehit cor nostrum per gratiam sursum. 
Aut certe, cum praesens et major angustia cogit ad orationem confugere ; sine 
istis duabus difBcillima res est et tediosissima oratio. Verum effectus ille 
grandis est. Quia omnipotens est vera oratio, sicut ait dominus ; qui petit, 
accipit etc. (Matt. 7, 8). Vis igitur facienda est uniouique, et cogltandum, 
quia contra dia'bolum et carnem pugnat, qui orat." 


True prayer is omnipotent, as the Lord saith: 'Every one 
that asketh, receiveth,' etc. Therefore every one must use vio- 
lence and consider that he who prays fights against the devil 
and the flesh." 

As I have already observed, Luther was never a man of 
prayer. In at least his better period, however, he understood 
its great utility. After his apostasy, he lost even the notion 
at times, and he was obliged repeatedly to acknowledge that, 
under the Pope, he and his following had been more frequent, 
more zealous, more earnest, and more diligent in prayer than 
now; they were now much more remiss than under the Pa- 
pacy.^'" However much he might otherwise speak of prayer, 
in himself it was largely hypocrisy. 

G. The Duping of Nuns by Luther 

Prayer and Self-Chastisement, According to Him, Also 
Within the Capacity of a Dog and of a Sow 

How did Luther manage with the nuns, whom he also 
had to lead on to a violation of their vows, since otherwise 
there would have been a lack of the right kind of wives for the 
apostate priests and religious? His undertaking with regard 
to the nuns was certainly more difficult than with regard to 
the men mentioned. These, as the Dominican Cornelius 
Sneek wrote, 1532, against the Lutheran preacher Pollio of 
Strasburg, had already stained their celibacy by adulteries, 
even before they entered upon their more damnable public 
wiving.^''^ It was enough to make the case of the nuns more 

2'o See Erl. 19, 104 ; 43, 285, etc. After confessing in Gal. c. 5, Ed Ir- 
mlscher, II, 351, that he and the preachers were now more slothful and 
negligent than before in the darkness of ignorance, he continues in genuine 
Lutheran fashion : "For the more certain we are of the freedom won for 
us by Christ, the colder and the more slothful we are to teach the word, to 
pray, to do good, and to bear with evil." Luther should have reasoned from 
the effects to the cause and should have as]£ed himself: "Is it true that 
the freedom preached by me is that won by Christ?" The effects point to 
unbridled license, not to Christian freedom, which nevertheless at every 
Luther celebration, is nowadays extolled as a Lutheran achievement. 

27iDefensio Ecclesiasticorum quos spirltuales appellamus (s. 1. et a.) fol. 
78: "Cum igitur sitis prlapistae, non mirum, si vitam coelibem exosam 
habetis. Sancte vos egisse putatis, si quam prius per adulterium damna- 


difficult that they lived in closed monasteries. It was neces- 
sary to think of abducting them/" but this was hardly pos- 
sible, unless they were first duped by writings. This was 
undertaken by Luther. One's pen fairly rebels against writ- 
ing down Luther's words, they are so unbridled;^" still there 
is no help for it. Protestants must at last learn for once to 
know Luther. I for my part do not wish them to cast upon 
me, at least, the reproach which they constantly raise against 
us Catholics, that we are concealing something. 

In 1522 the Reformer writes : "I have never in my day 
heard a nun's confession, but I shall nevertheless hit off, ac- 
cording to Holy Writ, how it goes with them, and / know I 
do not wish to lie."^'* But what does the Reformer Imow about 
nuns? It Avas at most now and then that he had entered a 
convent of women, and that does not enable one to learn to 
know the inmates. In spite of this he writes in 1523 : "But 
how many, do you imagine, are the nuns in convents, where 
the daily word of God enters not, who joyously and with 
pleasure perform the divine service and maintain their state 
unforced? Verily, scarcely one in a thousand."^" But how 
did he know that? Did he question the nuns individually? 
He knew nothing of one single convent in that particular re- 

biliter contaminastis, damnabilius matrimonlo copuletis." When PoUio mar- 
ried in 1524, he had already been living several years with his cook and had 
the house full of children. See Paulus in Zeitschft. f. Kath. Theol. XXV, 
p. 409, Note 3; Die deutschen Dominikaner im Kampfe gegen Luther (1903), 
p. 74, Note 4. Zwingli's immoral "dishonorable, shameful life" before wiving, 
as he himself calls it, so that he was decried as a whoremonger, is known, 
and all denying, concealing or palliating are useless. See Janssen, Gesch. d. 
deutschen Volkes, III, 17-18 Edit. p. 94, Note 1 with the reference, and Paulus 
in Katholik, 1895, 2 p. 475 sq. E. Egli in AUgem. deutsche Biographic, 45 
vol. (1900) p. 547-575, found it advisable, instead of speaking of Zwingli's 
immorality, to laud "his sound sense, even before his apostasy, in his op- 
position to unnaturalness and depravity" (p. 550) ! Touching Justus Jonas, 
see above p. 12, note 35. 

2'2 See above p. 15 and p. 23. 

273 It is pardonable in Sneek, just cited above, to write, in 1532, that by 
his words and writings, "Tantum effecit obscoenus ille saxonicus porcus, ut 
vldeamus, proh dolor, nedum sacerdotes sed et monachos et monachas pub- 
lice citra omnem pudorem nubere." Defensio Ecclesiasticorum, fol. 79. 

*7* Wider den falsch genannten geistlichen Stand, 1522, Erl. 28, 199. 

275 XJrsach und Antwort, dass Jungfrauen Kloster gottlich verlassen 
mogen, Weim. XI, 397. 


spect, to say nothing of all. This assertion of his is as lack- 
ing in truth as the one for which he ivas responsible concern- 
ing the mind with which the monks took their vows."' He 
was acquainted with some one or another unhappy individual, 
whose condition he imputed to all. 

But hear we the Reformer farther. "A lass, unless the 
high, rare gift is hers, can no more do without a man than 
she can do without eating, drinking, sleeping, and other 
natural necessities. So also, again, a man cannot do without 
a woman. The reason is this: It is as deeply implanted in 
nature to beget children as to eat and drink. Therefore has 
God given and furnished the body its members, veins, fluids, 
and everything that serves that end. Now whoso wishes to 
check this and not let it go, as nature wills and must, what 
else does he do but forbid nature to be nature, fire to burn, 
water to wet, and man either to eat or drink or sleep?" 

"From this I conclude, then, that such nuns in convents 
must unwillingly be chaste and reluctantly make shift to do 
without men. If they are there unwillingly, they lose this 
life and the life to come, must have hell on earth and beyond 
also. * * * Further, where there is unwilling chastity, the 
work of nature is not suspended, flesh becomes seminific, as 
God created it, and so also do the veins run their course 
according to their kind. Then does a flowing ensue and the 
secret sin, which St. Paul, 1 Cor. 6, 9, (Gal. V, 19) calls un- 
cleanness and luxury. And, to speak out grossly, for the 
sake of the miserable necessity, if the flowing is not into 
flesh, it will be into one's shirt. The people are then ashamed 
to accuse themselves of such a thing, and to confess it. 
Hence it follows that, in their heart, they blaspheme God and 
you (who brought them into the convent), curse their state, 
and are at enmity with all who helped them thereto; and 
such a one, in such a need, would likely take a shepherd 
swain in marriage, who otherwise perhaps would hardly have 
taken a count. 'See, that is what the devil wanted when he 
taught you to stifle nature, to force it, whose will it is to he 

276 See in the beginning of this chapter, p. 78 sqq. 


unforced."'^'''' "For God's works are so open to view, that 
women must be used either for marriage or for whoredom.'"'' 

Had the Protestants found, before Luther, a Catholic 
writer who had written this, they would certainly have 
branded him as unclean in the highest degree and as cor- 
rupted to the core. And deservedly so! 

The Reformer has also a new doctrine for nuns in re- 
spect to prayer in extremely violent temptation; "Ood does 
not wish to be tempted" he writes in 1523.'''° And so, to be- 
seech God's help in greatest temptation means to tempt God? 
To entreat God then would be sinful, would be doing what 
the devil did to Christ?"" Even so, and Luther explains him- 
self, as he continues: "Who urges me or calls me to be 
without marriage? How is virginity necessary to me, when 
I feel that I do not possess it and God does not specially call 
me to it, and I know anyhow that He has created me for 
marriage? Therefore if you wish to beg something of God, 
beg what is necessary to you, and what necessity urges you 
to. If it is not necessary to you, you certainly tempt God 
with your prayer. He helps only there alone where no help 
and no expedient has previously been created by Him." This 
expedient is marriage, to take a husband after a forehand 
violation of the vows ! 

Now we fully understand Luther's questions as quoted 
above on page 119 : "How if God did not wish to be be- 
sought? Or, if one prays, what if He is unwilling to hear?" 
Thus it is that one tempts the Lutheran God, if, in greatest 
danger, at the time of greatest temptation, one implores His 
aid!^" No, says Luther, one does not just then need God, 

2" Wider den falsch genannten geistllchen Stand, Erl, 28, 199. 

278Weim. XII, 94, 20. (1523). 

27»Ursach und Antwort, etc. Weim. XI, 399. 

280 According to the general teaching, to tempt God is a sin. See St. 
Thomas, 2, 2, qu. 97, a. 2. 

281 What ideas Luther imparted to his followers in respect to tempting 
God by prayer, is shown also in his, "Kirchenpostille", Erl. 13, 16: "God 
promised that he would hear us, what we pray for. Therefore when you 
have prayed once or thrice, you should believe that you are heard and pray 
no more, lest you tempt or mistrust God." But how does this agree with the 
scripture, where it is repeatedly emphasized that one should pray continu- 
ally and without ceasing? On another occasion Luther says this too, e.g. 


one has readied tlie point at which chastity can no longer be 
maintained. God gave the saving remedy aforetime — mar- 
riage. "Such daily lusting and chafing is a certain sign that 
God neither has given nor will give the noble gift of chastity, 
which, when He gives it, is observed willingly without 
stress.'"*^ This singular God therefore approves the previous 
carelessness and faithlessness in the preservation of that, the 
doing of which was solemnly promised Him, approves the 
whole sinful life which has induced final obduracy and blind- 
ness of spirit, and the complete downfall into carnal lust! 
To such wicked souls, the same God then speaks these consol- 
ing words, as it were : "There, now you have at last reached 
the point which I have been awaiting this longest time; for 
I myself have effected the way to it, namely, your sinful life. 
Therefore watch and pray no more, persevere not, do your- 
selves no violence. To what purpose are those things any- 
how? To be sure, my Son taught in the sermon on the 
mount that 'narrow is the gate and straight is the way that 
leadeth to life.'^*^ But this does not apply to you. Do you 
rather forsake the straight way and Avalk the broad street, 
which, it is true, leads others to their destruction. You have 
now come to the state of impossibility, you are unable longer 
to keep the straight way. Look back now upon what you gave 
up, from which you solemnly promised me you would keep 
aloof until death. Take your hands from the plow and ven- 
ture the final step. Openly break your perpetual vow, un- 
mindful that I enjoin the opposite in every part and parcel 
of Holy Writ, and get married!" 

But now I hear a cry: "You lie. Luther does not say 
God Himself prepared the way for those souls to that con- 
clusion through their antecedent sinful life." What, he does 

Erl. 1, 248 : "See to it that you do not tire and steadfastly keep on :" 249 : 
"when therefore you pray thus and keep on, he will certainly say to you: 
what do you wish that I should do?" On p. 262, he is against Tauler, saying 
that he wrote, one should leave off. "But it is not right that one should 
wish to preach thus, /or the leaving off takes place in us all too soon." 
Here as elsewhere, Luther did not understand Tauler. Tauler meant that 
one should leave off oral and go over into interior prayer. 

282Ursach und Antwort, etc. Weim XI, 399. 

283 Matt. 7, 13 sq. 


not say so? "How can man prepare liimself for the good," 
the Reformer had already written, in 1520, that is, shortly 
before his condemnation,^*^ "since it is not even in his power 
to make his evil loaysf For God also effects their evil works 
in the godless." Moreover, in Luther, at least from 1516 on, 
actual, real sins came more and more to lose their meaning,^*' 
he holding that the principal thing, even after baptism, was 
the ever remaining, though forgiven, original sin, which he 
discerned in concupiscence. This was the sin to be heeded, 
this was the one to be subdued by the cross and by mortifica- 
tion. One cannot conquer it, he said, from at least 1515, but 
one can diminish it. He and his fellows succeeded so well 
in this, that finally, because ignoring actual sin and scorning 
the cure of it by sincere contrition, resolution of amendment, 
confession, and penance, they were completely overmastered 
1^ their concupiscence. They ended in the violation of their 
vows for the sake of the satisfaction of their carnal lust. 

In the face of such teachings and in a condition of soul 
of that kind, what sort of value could prayer and mortifica- 
tion still have left? They are works and as such do not, ac- 
cording to Luther, measure up to God; only his dead faith, 
a corpse, reaches God. The Lutheran Christ, although he is 
powerless, does everything in the Christian to take away 
original sin in baptism. "To sleep and do nothing is the 
Christian's work."^*® What wonder if, in 1523, that year in 
which he duped the nuns into the violation of their vows by 
his doctrine, we hear him preaching: "Here say our (oppo- 
nents) : 'I shall keep praying until God gives His grace.' 
But they receive nothing. Christ says to them: You can do 
nothing, you effect nothing. I will do it.'"" Shockingly, but 
quite logically the Reformer writes twelve years later : "The 
Papists put mere "holy-by-works" saints into heaven, and in 

284 Assert, omn. artic. 1520, Weim. VII, 144. This doctrine will be 
furttier discussed in tlie course of tliis work. 

285 On this we shall treat In the next section. 

286 Weim. IX, 407, before 1521. See above p. 20. 

287 Weim. XI, 197. This also comes from Luther's "system". If on 
occasion he expresses himself differently, it is simply because, as has already 
been mentioned, he understands well, according to his need, to head his cart 
the other way. 


SO many legends of the saints, there is not one which describes 
even a single saint who has been holy according to Christian 
holiness or according to the holiness of faith. All their 
holiness is, that they prayed, fasted, labored and dis- 
ciplined themselves much, lay on hard beds and were 
poorly clothed, which holiness in all its entirety even a 
dog and a sow can put into daily practice. "^^^ Just 
as he distorts and blasphemes in 1521 : "If piety consisted 
in going to the altar, you could quite as well make a sow or 
a dog pious."^^^ 

If prayer and self-discipline are possible even to a dog 
and a sow, what means of victorious self-subdual is the Ee- 
former going to recommend to a young man who cannot and 
may not as yet marry, but who already feels in himself the 
Lutheran impossibility of resisting carnal lust? No wonder 
that Luther was obliged to raise vigorous complaints about 
the lewd life of the students and young people, more espe- 
cially in Wittenberg.''^'' But that was only a consequence of 
his teaching and counsel. If prayer and self-discipline are 
possible even to a dog and a sow, what means will the Re- 
former recommend to a married man, to enable him to domi- 
nate the "impossibility" of keeping himself in conjugal fidelity 
to his wife? What in fact did he do to hinder the many 
adulteries, the consequences of his doctrine? What, as a 
matter of fact, did he not permit Philip von Hessen to do, 
who alleged the "impossibility" of being able to content him- 
self with one wife? 

H. Luther's Eelation to Polygamy — "Conscience Advice," 

Dispensation, and Lying — "Conjugal Concubine." 

Who does not know the history of the bigamic marriage 

of the Landgrave Philip von Hessen, that lecherous tyrant 

whom some presume to call "the magnanimous?" Who is un- 

288 Brl. 63, 304. 

289 weim. VIII, 168. 

290 This was universally known. See Janssen — Pastor, VII (1-12 ed.), 
185 sq. with the proofs for Luther's time. H. Bullinger writes from ZiiricR, 
April 27, 1546, that, unfortunately, before his death, Luther said nothing, 
among other things, "de corrigendis Universitatis Wittenbergensis moribus 
corruptissimis." Balthasar's Helvetia, (Ziirich 1813) I, 647. "The nearer 
Wittenberg, the worse the Christians," we heard above (p. 24). 


aware of what preceded his bigamic marriage, and of what 
happened thereafter? All this I assume to be known,^" and 
I)ermit myself only a few observations. The Landgrave, who 
had been living in adultery for years, alleged that he had 
never loved his Avife, Christine; she was unfriendly, ugly, 
"also of ill odor"; he could not remain faithful to her; with- 
out a second wife he would have to resort to "whorishness 
or do something worse with the wife," etc.^°^ He demanded an 
advisory opinion of his case from Luther, Melanchthon, and 
the apostate Dominican, Bucer. The latter, to whom the 
Landgrave applied first, concurred in a bigamic marriage 
sooner than did the other two colleagues; but he foresaw 
that they also would certainly allow it; it was only to be 
kept secret for a time, so that all would redound greatly to 
the praise of God and needless scandal would nowhere be 

Several days later Luther and Melanchthon did in fact 
submit their advisory opinion, in which the} counted the 
Landgrave among the "devout gentlemen and regents" who 
were a support of the (Lutheran) Church. 'Although an- 
other time they had in the beginning feigned themselves much 
alarmed,^'* still, despite their misgiving, they granted a dis- 
pensation to the petitioner, only the dispensation and the fact 
that he had taken a second Avife were to be kept secret. "In 
that way no particular talk or scandal Avill arise; for it is 

281 1 refer to Janssen, "Geschichte d. deutschen Volkes," III, (17 and 18 
Ed.) p. 4.50 sqq., 477 sqq., where the sources are indicated, among them the 
first : Lenz, "Briefwechsel Landgraf Philipps des Grossmiitlgen v. Hessen," 
I. Compare besides, .Janssen, "Eln zweites Wort an meine Kritiker," (1883), 
p. 88 sqq., against Ktistlin's senseless objections. 

282 Lenz, I, 353. Above I give only the sense. 

2S3 Ibid. p. 354 and 119. Above I have run the reports together. 

28* But why? Because bigamy is not allowed? No, but "on account of 
the dire scandal that will follow." Luther's letter in Seidemann, "Lauter- 
bach's Tagebuch," p. 197, note. Luther, who had preached as early as 1527 
that it was not forbidden that a man have more than one wife (see above, 
p. 24, note 77), could not say, of course, that bigamy was not allowed. The 
Landgrave appealed to that sermon, indeed, saying that If that could publicly 
be written, one would have to expect that people would do it, Lenz, p. 336, 
Note 1. As in the Weimar edition, the date 1527 refers to the time of pub- 
lication not to the year of composition (1523). See Weimar XIV, 250 sqq. 
So also in other cases. 


not uncommon tliat princes have concubines. * ♦ * Sensible 
folk would be better pleased witli a sequestered affair of that 
kind than with adultery and some other wild, lewd course.'"^' 
On March i, 1540, the wedding of Philip to his second 
wife took place, in presence of Bucer, Melanchthon, and Eber- 
hard von der Thann. The latter two were representatives of 
the Saxon Elector. The wedding was solemnized by Diony- 
sius Melander, who with Luther and others had signed the 
advisory opinion, a man three times wived, a Dominican 
apostate to Luther.^^" He was truly worthy of taking the 
Landgrave's nuptials in hand, and distinguished himself from 
him only in the fact that he had abandoned the first two wives 
and had taken to himself a third, notwithstanding that the 
other two were still living,^" whilst the Landgrave still re- 
tained his first wife. The Landgrave showed himself grate- 
ful to Luther for his "conscience advice" and made him a 

2S5 Conscience advice of Dec. 10, 1.539, in De Wette, VI, 239 sqq., see p. 243 
(see also some pages below). The conscience advice was signed not only by 
Luther, Melanchthon, and Bucer, but also by others, including Dionysius 
Melander, of v.'hom more presently. 

2^^ See a brief sketch of his life in Weyermann, "Nachrichten von Gelehr- 
ten, Kiinstlern, und auderen merkwilrdigen Personen aus Ulm," (Ulm, 1798), 
p. 388 sqq. He is said to have had purer notions of his order and therefore 
abandoned his convent in Ulm ! The fact of his having had three wives is 
concealed, but he is praised for his Evangelical way of thinking and for 
having become the Cassel Lutheran church-inspector. On the triple wiving 
of Melander, see Niedner's "Zeitschrift fur die hist. Theol.," Bd. 22, 273. 

2S7 That at the time no longer occasioned surprise, it being so common. 
In reference to the rumors Erasmus wrote in 1520: "Quid attinet, cum vulgo 
narrentur? * « * jjjgg novi monachu.m, qui pro una duxerit tres; novl 
sacriflcum, virum alioquin probum, qui dusit uxorem, quam post comperit 
alteri nupsisse. Similia permnMa de raonachorum et monacharum coniugiis 
referuntur, qui ductas repudiarint eodem jure, quo duxerant" etc. Opp. t. X 
(Lugd. Batav. 1706), p. 1619. And how should it be otherwise? Without 
Christ there is nothing but contention and bickering. This is acknowledged 
even by the fallen Franciscan, Eberlin v. Giinzburg: "When a monk or a 
nun has been three days out of the monastery, they come rushing along, take 
whores or rakes in marriage, unknown, without any godly advice whatever, 
as the priests, too, take what pleases them. Thereupon there comes a long 
year of clawing after a short month of kissing." "Eyn freundtllches Zu- 
schreiben an alle stendt teutscher Nation, etc.," 1524. See also above p. 104. 
Among the Zwinglians, things were no better. The apostate priest, Ludwig 
Hetzer, gradually took ttcclve wives. Fortunately the secular authorities 
were more strict and moral than the preachers. Hetzer was beheaded. See 
DoUinger, "Reformation," I, 209. 


present of a large measure ( "Fuder" ) of Rhine wine. Luther 
returned thanks quite obsequiously, May 24, 1540. "May our 
dear Lord keep and preserve Your Princely Grace happily 
in body and soul. Amen."^"' 

In June, however, the bigamic marriage of the Land- 
grave got noised abroad. Then there broke a storm of lying, 
in which the Landgrave bore himself more correctly than his 
"conscience advisers." The apostate Dominican advised him 
openly to deny the bigamic marriage. Even Christ, and the 
apostles had had recourse to lies of necessity. ^''^ The Land- 
grave should force his second wife into a contract, "according 
to which she was to pass as a concubine, such as God had in- 
dulged to His dear friends."^"" Bucer advised the Landgrave, 
who was unwilling to lend himself to the lying, in the terms : 
"If your Princely Grace did not make daily use of the lies, as 
I have counseled, it would long ago have brought about much 
erroneous opinion. The world has often to be turned away 
from knowledge of the truth by the angels and saints. The 
Bible is full of this."^"'' 

What principles! God allows the concubine, says Bucer, 
who in his time had so thundered against concubinage in the 
Church — lying must be resorted to as a means to the end ! 

And what is the "Reformer's" attitude in the matter? 
Precisely that in which we have hitherto seen him conducting 
Ms operations. In a letter to a Hessian councilor, he makes 
use of sophistries, advises lying, and, like Bucer, permits a 
concubine. The bigamic marriage had to be denied publicly: 
"That which is a secret 'yes,' (namely the "conscience advice" 
of himself and others, permitting the taking of a second wife 
in addition to the first), cannot become a public 'yes.' 
Otherwise secret and public would be one and the same, with- 

sssLenz, loc. cit. and p. 362 sq. 

299 Ibid. p. 178. It is the sense of the words written by Bucer July 8, 
1540, to the Landgrave, that not only the Fathers of the Old Testament, but 
Christ and the Apostles as well had "held up false delusion and visions" to 
their enemies to save the people. "Thus should we also not only withhold 
from our enemies the truth by which they could Injure us, but we should 
divert them from it hy adverse delusion" (i.e. deception and lying) I 

SO" Ibid. 

Sfilbid. (p. 193). 


out distinction, which nevertheless cannot and ought not to 
be. Therefore the secret 'yes' must remain a public 'no,' and 
vice versa."'"^ Since the Landgrave, now that his bigamic 
marriage was already known, was unwilling publicly to deny 
it, and since he even threatened the "conscience advisers," in 
case they did not stand by him in the attacks to be expected, 
with publishing their advisory opinion, Luther, in the letter 
mentioned, continues that it would be useless for the Land- 
grave to appeal to the doctrine which he (Luther) once ex- 
pressed, that a bigamic marriage is not forbidden in the 
Scriptures,^"' because "in full many a wise, before and after, 
he had taught that the laws of Moses were not to be brought 
up. * * * Consequently, although confession-wise I advised 
a poor conscience in secret need, to use the law or the exam- 
ple of Moses, I should not and could not thereby have estab- 
lished a public right," and so on. The Landgrave should 
withdraw again to his secret "yes" and to his public "no."'°* 

Luther and Melanchthon, who had given the "conscience 
advice" to the Landgrave had a bad conscience and shunned 
the light.'"' Melanchthon even fell ill over the consequences 
that arose from the bigamic marriage which he also had 

In the middle of July, at the insistence of the Landgrave, 
a conference between Saxon and Hessian councilors, in re- 
gard to the bigamic marriage and its consequences, took place 
at Eisenach. It was the wish of the Landgrave that Luther 
and the other signers of the "conscience advice" should also 
-publicly acknowledge their act. But they had given it, says 
the Keformer, only on condition of its being kept secret. The 
Landgrave surely had to take the state of the Churches into 
consideration, and what an uproar would arise from its being 
made public. Philip would have to deny the affair upon any 
terms. "What were it, if one, especially for the sake of 

302 Letter of June, 1540, In De Wette, VI, 263. 

303 See above p. 24, note 77. 
so^De Wette, loc. cit. 

305 Such was the judgment of even Katharina von Mecklenburg, Duchess 
of Saxony, who but a short time before had won over her husband Henry 
"the Pious," of Saxony, to the doctrine of Luther. See Janssen, loc. cit., 
p. 481, note 1. 


something better and of the Christian (i.e., no doubt the 
Lutheran) Church, achieved a good stout lie?" He advises 
tlie Landgrave to put the one wife, (the second), away for 
four weeks, and to take the other (the first) to himself and 
to be on good terms with her.^"" Thus would the mouth of 
evil gossips be shut up. Publicity could give rise to a great 
schism. The matter brought no distress upon conscience. 
Before he should give publicity to the Landgrave's "confes- 
sion," and speak thus about the "devout prince," he would 
rather say that Luther had made a fool of himself.^" 

On July 17, the Keformer went to still worse lengths. 
There is much that is right before God, he said, which before 
the world must be suppressed. Were one to acknowledge all 
that is right before God, not right before the world, that is 
the devil's work. That the Landgrave cannot compass some 
stout lies, it matters not. There is a maiden here concerned. 
He would lose land and people, were he to attempt to stick 
to his decision. "A lie of necessity, a lie of utility, a helping 
lie — to bring about such lies were not against God; he would 
take them upon himself." They had granted a dispensation 
to the Landgrave, because it was a case of necessity. He and 
his associates "give the advice and suffer him to retain the 
maiden secretly and on denial/""^ or "he should bear no bur- 
den in telling a lie on account of the girl for the sake of the 
advantage to Christendom and all the world."^"^ 

There is an abyss here! Luther utters almost the same 
sentiments that we have heard from Bucer's lips^^° touching 

306 Similarly in the opinion of July 19 or 20. The Landgrave was "to 
take the second wife to another place, so that the people would be less 
aware of her, and he, according to his pleasure, was to ride over to her 
secretly, for a time leaving his (right) wife so much the oftener and more 
by herself." Kolde, "Analecta Lutherana" p. 363. 

3"^ Lenz I, 373. Luther says the same in the opinion given in De Wette, 
VI, 272 : "Before I would openly help to defend it, I will rather say 'no' to 
the advice of myself and 51. Philipp, if it is made public. For it is not a 
publicum consilium and it becomes nullum per puMicationem: Or, if that will 
not avail, I will rather confess, should it be called a counsel whereas it Is 
not much more than a petition, that I erred and made a fool of myself, and 
beg pardon ; for the scandal Is too great and intolerable." 

308 Lenz, p. 37,'5 sq. 

SOS' Kolde, "Analecta Lutherana," p. 356. 

810 gee above, p. 130. 


tlie keeping of concubines, and the Reformer repeats them 
various times. He writes in such a strain that, after receiv- 
ing an "exemption" in "confession," it scarcely any longer 
appears to be adultery for a married man, in "necessity," to 
keep a concubine."^ As Luther terms it, the concubine then 
becomes a "conjugal concubine,""^ with whom the married 
man "may sleep as with his wife, and whom he need not put 
away."^" How many married men were there then in Ger- 
many whose case was similar to that of the Landgrave? "Lu- 
ther and Melanchthon, it is true, have not the power to set 
something else in opposition to the public and praiseworthy 
law; but secretly, in a necessity of conscience, they are hound 
to counsel otherwise.'"^* How often may they have looked 
upon it as their bounden duty to hasten to the relief of mar- 
ried men in their "necessity of conscience," secretly permit- 
ting them to have a "conjugal concubine"? 

These abominable maxims, on which Luther acted so 
late in his day in this miserable affair, were expressed in 
principle by Luther from the time of his inner apostasy from 
the Church. As early as 1520, he had set up the proposition : 

3" Thus, e.g., In the opinion of July, 1540 : "The Landgrave should con- 
sider that it was enough for him that he might have the girl secretly, with a 
good conscience, by the terms of our conscience advice submitted after and 
according to his confession." De Wette, VI, 273. Shortly before, he wrote 
that he would not have delivered his conscience advice, had he known "that 
there was to be a public wedding," and more, that a landgravine was to 
come out of It ; that was certainly not to be suffered and was intolerable 
to the whole country. "I understood and hoped that, since through weak- 
ness of the flesh he had had to make use of the common being in sins and In 
shame, (i.e. prostitutes, from whom he had also contracted syphilis), he 
would secretly keep some honest little maiden or other in a house in secret 
marriage, although before the world It might have an unmatrlmonial ap- 
pearance ; and, for the sake of his conscience, that he would ride back and 
forth according to his great need, as has happened more than once with 
great gentlemen." "Lauterbach's Tagebuch," Supplement, p. 198, note. See 
above, p. 132, note 306. 

312 On July 24 he instructs the Landgrave : "Why does Your Princely 
Grace put forth the contention that you do not wish to keep the girl as 
a whore? Now anyhow, before the advice Is public, you have to suffer her to 
be a whore before all the world, although lefore us three (Luther, Melanch- 
thon, Bucer), that is, lefore God, she is not held to 6e other than a con- 
jugal concuMne," etc. De Wette, VI, 275 sq. 

3i3Lenz, p. 373, applied to the Landgrave. 

31* Thus Luther, De Wette, p. 275. 


"I abhor divorce so greatly that I prefer bigamy to it, but 
whether it be allowed, I do not venture to decide.'"" After 
setting up the principle, however, that there is no resisting 
the sexual instinct, he did not hit upon the decision, when he 
found that polygamy was not against the Scriptures ; he him- 
self, he said, could not forbid it, although on account of the 
scandal, and for the sake of honor, he was unwilling to coun- 
sel it to anyone.^" "The husband himself must be sure and 
certain in his oicn conscience, by the word of God, that this 
is allowed him." He may therefore look up such as "by 
God's word make him positive.""' The husband naturally 
found them at once! In 1526, Luther repeats that the hus- 
band "must have a divine word for himself, making him cer- 
tain, just as the old fathers (of the Old Testament) had it.""* 
In 1527, likewise, he finds that it is not forbidden that a man 
is allowed to have more than one wife; "/ could not now for- 
bid it, but I would not wish to counsel it.""' 

On September 3, 1531, Luther sent an opinion on the 
marriage affair of Henry VIII. of England to the English 
mediator, Robert Barnes. In this he declared against the dis- 
solution of the marriage, emphasizing his view thus: "I 
would even rather permit the King to take another queen in 
addition to the first, and, after the example of the old fathers 
and Kings, to have two wives or queens at the same time."^^° 
The same standpoint was taken by Luther, as we have seen, 
in regard to the bigamic marriage of Philip von Hessen, and 

3i5Weim. VI, 559. 

316 Enders, IV, 283, for the year 1524, and above, p. 18 sq., p. 24. 

s" Enders, IV, 282. 

318 De VV^ette, VI, 79. 

319 Weim, XXIV, 30.5. See above, p. 24, note 77, especially "0pp. var. 
arg." IV, 368, where Luther (1528), accounts polygamy among those things 
of the Old Testament vvliich in tlie Hew Covenant are neither commanded 
nor forbidden, but are free. That polygamy is not specially forbidden in the 
Gospel he writes in 1539. De Wette, VI, 243. 

S2» Enders, IX, 93; cf. p. 88. Twelve days before, Melanchthon had 
already expressed himself in the same sense. Corp. lief. II, 528. Against 
Enders' conjecture that the Pope had proposed the same solution, see N. 
Paulus in the literary supplement No. 48, (1903) to the "Kolnischen Volks- 


so also later, although the contrary is asserted by Protes- 

After all, however, our interest centers on Luther's rela- 
tion to lying, deception, fraud. We see him acting in the 
craziest manner on the principle that "the end justifies the 
means." I have to admit to the Protestant Luther re- 
searchers, especially Kawerau, that they stigmatize Luther's 
conduct.'" But "why do they go only half way and stay 
there? Why do they consider the principles uttered by 
Luther in 1540 on lying as isolated? Why did not the ques- 
tion occur to them : Is it possible that any one can suddenly 
commit himself to such statements? Does not the same spirit 
manifest itself in Luther even earlier, on quite another occa- 

When Luther writes to Melanchthon, in 1530, in refer- 
ence to their course towards Catholics in the Reichstag: 
"Si Adm eA'aserimus, pace obtenta dolos ac lapsus nostros fa- 
cile emendabimus, (we shall easily correct our wiles and our 
lapses), qua regnat super nos misericordia ejus,'"" is that 
something other than what the Reformer expressed, in 1540, 
about being permitted, for the sake of the Church, to achieve 
a stout lie? In the latter case he uses the word "lie," in the 
former, fraud, wiles, deceptions.''^* 

In all of this, Luther, "for the sake of the Christian 
Church," was a master. How does he instruct the apostate 
Franciscan, Brisman, July 4, 1524, to get the people little by 
little to bring pressure to bear on the Grand Master of the 

221 See N. Paulus loc. cit., No. 18, where he rightly lays stress on the 
fact that Luther was the first to grant a dispensation in respect to polygamy, 
while no medieval theologian maintained it was allowed in the New Testa- 
ment. With regard to St. Augustine, see below. Chap. XIII, § 6. 

322 In " Jahresbericht f . neuere deutsche Literaturgesch." ( Stuttgart, 
1893), II, 183. Like Kostlin, "Martin Luther," 3 ed., II, 481, 486, Bezold also, 
"Gesch. der deutschen Reformation" (1890) p. 735, declares the bigamic mar- 
riage of Philip, etc., to be "the darkest spot in the history of the Reforma- 

323 Enders, VIII, 235. In some recensions, one finds "et mendacia" in- 
serted after "dolos." But "mendacia" is missing in "Cod. Palat. lat." 1828, 
fol. 135i>. In truth there is no need of this word. "Dolos" suffices perfectly 
and expresses more. 

324 Seidemann in : De Wette, VI, 556, translates "Leisetreterei" — soft- 
stepping, cautious proceeding, and Enders approves this coloring expedient! 


Teutonic Order to take a wife and establisli a right author- 
ity? "He (with Paul Speratus and Johann Amandus) 
should strive to realize this conviction of the great mass, not 
suddenly and bluntly, but first ingratiatingly and by way of 
questions. For example, as a subject they were to discuss 
how nice it would be, seeing that the Order is an abominable 
hypocrisy, if the Grand Master took a wife and, Avith the as- 
sent of the other gentlemen of the people, changed the Order 
into a state. After they argued and conferred on this for a 
time, and Brisman and the two others named saw that the 
feeling seemed to incline favorably to their view, the matter 
was to be furthered and pushed openly and with numerous 
arguments I should wish, of course, that the Bishop of Sam- 
land (George von Polentz, who had already apostatized to 
Luther) would do the same; but, as prudence is necessary, 
the outcome seems more certain if the bishop apparently 
holds his judgment in suspense. Only after the people assent 
should his authority, as though mastered by the arguments, 
also fall in line." Naturally the Eeformer implores God's 
protection on the carrying out of this insidious, seductive 
plan !^" It is also generally known with what guile Luther 
and Melanchthon bore themselves in doing away with the 

This character of Luther manifested itself everywhere. 
On July 24, 1540, he informed the Landgrave that he wrote 
all the foregoing about not making the "conscience advice" 
public, not as if it were any of his, Luther's, concern, for, 
"if it comes to a clash of pens, I know well how to wriggle 
out and to leave Your Princely Grace sticking there.'"^" Six- 
teen years previously, in 1524, Carlstadt, meeting with the 
same tactics, replied to him : "You have always to speak 
like that, to maintain your prestige and to arouse hatred for 
other people "'" Luther followed the same course, in 1521, 
in his quarrel with Emser,"^^ and as early as 1519 with Eck.^^' 

32= Ender.s, IV, 360. 
s2«De Wette, VI, 276. 
s2MVeim. XV, 339. 

328 Naturally Kawerau characterizes not Luther but Emser, as "treacher- 
ous." VV^eim. VIII, 244. 

329 Luther himself admits, In the beginning of 1519, that. In his disputa- 


Lutlier's duplicity, as he revealed it, 1540, in so glaring 
a light before all the world, had already been shown in 1520, 
when he entered into an agreement on October 14 with the 
no less blameworthy Miltitz to Avrite a letter to the Pope. 
In this he proposed to relate the whole story of the origin 
of his opposition, to fasten everything upon Eck, and quite 
humbly to declare himself ready to keep silent, if the others 
would do so too, so that he would appear to neglect nothing 
that could be demanded of him to further peace in every 
possible way. It was all a trick, for it was simply intended 
to dupe the Pope, whose Bull of excommunication, brought 
from Rome by Eck, was already published September 21 and 
had been seen by Luther. To catch the Pope the more adroitly, 
the letter was dated back to September 6, that is, to a time in 
which in Germany there was no exact information about the 
contents of the BuU.^^" Luther was thus to appear to be the 
innocent party and Eck's charges, which were not without 
influence upon the writing of the Bull, were to appear to be 

About the nature of Luther's letter of submission to the 
Pope, January 5 or 6, 1519, no one will longer entertain any 
doubts. Interiorly at the end of 1518 he had already held 
the Pope to be antichrist. This was declared by him to his 
intimate friends, whilst to the Pope, on the contrary, he 
hypocritically simulated humility and submission.^" This 
trait was manifested as early as 1516, when Luther, for the 
sake of his doctrine, knowingly substituted the word "pecca- 
tum" for Augustine's term "concupiscentia." In an earlier 

tion with Eck, he had set a trap for him, intending to catch him in his own 
words (Enders, II, 4 sqq.). To one diatribe against Eck, he appends twenty- 
five heretical articles, which he alleged he had drawn from utterances and 
negations of Eck and the Franciscans of Jiiterbogk. With what cunning he 
fabricated these articles and how he distorted Eck's utterance, is evident to 
the initiated merely on reading the case up. Weim. II, 652. 

330 See Enders, II, 494 sq., and Weim. VII, 11, 49. 

331 On this letter of submission, see N. Paulus in "Katholik," 1899, I, 
p. 476 sqq. (against Brieger, who nevertheless found the correct date.) 


period, wlien he still held the Catholic teaching, he had known 
and cited the porrect passage.'"^ ^ari-iPrl into 

Luther's practice, in 1516, had already been earned into 
effect in his ^^'ork on the monastic vows. The previous as well 
as the following chapters confirm the fact. His insidious 
character, with which and against which he never busied him- 
self, least of all after his apostasy, entered essentially into 
his deceptions in respect to St. Bernard, his perversions with 
regard to the essence of the vows and to the form of profes- 
sion, his sophisms, which I exposed, his counsel to priests 
and religious to put their own mental construction on their 
vows, as he proposes, and the rest. What was quite his own 
he ascribed to the Church. Naturally he then says : Every- 
thing is allowed against the deception and wickedness of the 
Papal chair,"^ therefore also a good, stout lie; for if this was 
allowed for the sake of his Church, as we heard him say, it 
was also above all permitted against its adversary. Of what 
is a person not capable who takes lies of necessity, lies of 
utility, helping lies upon his conscience? He will use them 
as his most powerful allies against his enemies. The apos- 
tates from the orders and from the Church made and still 
make use of them. "To the first of the devil's weapons he- 
longs that one which is called a lie, which he adorns with 
the sacred name of God, of Christ, and of the Church, and 
precisely with which he damns the truth and seeks to turn 
it into a lie." Thus runs Luther's own admission.'" 

It is no wonder, then, that Duke George, on the occasion 
of the Pack affair, described Luther, December 19, 1528, as "the 
most coldblooded liar that ever got among us." "We must 
say and write of him that the recreant monk lies to our face 

332 A more copious treatment follows in tiie next section. 

333Enders, II, 461. The editor as well as other Protestant Luther re- 
searcher.s, who charge Catholics with having grossly misunderstood the 
passage, distorting the sense into an opposite meaning, under.stood the pas- 
sage just as little themselves. According to Luther, the Papacy and the 
Catholic Church generally are identified with wickedness and deception : "All 
Popedom Is fallen into hell and condemned to the same" (Opp. exeo-et. 1 V 
311). Thus it was all one and the same thing to Luther, if one said :''"against 
the Popedom" or "against the unworthiness of the same, everything Is al- 

33*Erl. 50, 18. 


like a despairing^ dishonorable, perjured scoundrel." "We 
have hitherto not found in the Scriptures that Christ used 
so open and deliberate a liar in the apostolic oiiice, allowing 
him to preach the gospel.'"^'^ Others who knew Luther spoke 
to the same effect.''" I also shall venture to say the same of 
him without reserve. To that I am determined by my ex- 
haustive and wholly unbiased studies of Luther. 

I. Luther's Buffoonery. 

Every reader must marvel at the unexampled, the even 
cynical levity with which Luther set up his assertions and 
conclusions in all these earnest questions, which for him and 
his followers out of the ecclesiastical state were decisive for 
eternity. But one who knows his buffoonery will be less as- 
tonished. Protestants like K. Eucken, of course, know how 
to speak of Luther's "deeply earnest spirit";'" Bauer asserts 
that Luther was too sober for trifling, "which must have 
seemed to his earnest sense like a desecration of the most 
holy.""' Indeed, it should have seemed so, but it did not. 
After Luther's wiving in 1525, Melanchthon himself wrote 
that Luther was a man of the utmost levity. He, Melanch- 

23' Letter of Duke George. in Hortleder, "Von den Ursachen des deutschen 
Krleges Karls des Fijnften" (Frankfort a. M. 1617), p. 604, 606. [The Pack 
affair mentioned in the text refers to Otto Pack who, in 1528, sent Philip 
an alleged copy of a treaty between Duke George and other Catholic princes, 
to the effect that they would rise up and annihilate the Protestants. Pack 
was never able to produce the original or to offer the slightest proof of its 

^28 If, on the one side, Miinzer, in 1524, says of Luther that he lies the 
depth of a lance down his throat, [i.e., like a trooper], or if he calls him 
the "mendacious Luther," (Enders IV, 374, note 6; 373, note 1) and charges 
him with treachery and cunning, (p. 374, note 7), and if S. Lemnius on the 
other hand writes : Fraus soror est illi rapiturque per omnia secum ( Querela 
ad rev™, principem D. Albertum eecl. Rom. card, in M. Simonis Lemnil Epi- 
grammaton libri III, an. 1538, fol. I, 5), the judgment of these two men is 
more than amply confirmed by Luther's conduct in 1540 and during his war- 
fare against the Church. Luther's Catholic opponents had a greater right to 
launch these charges against him and, as a matter of fact, from the begin- 
ning, they were unable to draw enough attention to Luther's cunning and 

337 "Kantstudien," philosophische Zeitschrift, edited by H. Vaichinger, 
(1901) VI, 4. 

338 "Zschft. f. Kirchengesch." XXI, 265. 


thon, and Ms associates had often rebuked him on account of 
his huffoonery.^^* 

Before his warfare with Rome, he still kept himself under 
some restraint in this respect, as was evidenced by him in 
1516. His fellow religious of ill repute, J. Lang in Erfurt, at 
that time sent him a note with a pretended petition to the 
Pope. In this there was some blustering against the educa- 
tion and conduct of the "sophists," i.e., the theologians, "who 
were misleading the people," and the Pope was besought to 
take measures against them, and, among other things, to 
tear Thomas and Scotus from them. To this knavish peti- 
tion there was attached a no less laiavish decree of the Pope 
on the matter.^" Luther's taste was not like that of Lang. 
He found that those ^'antics" proceeded from a rude spirit, 
who would "turn out to be the same Jack Pudding, or ones 
like him, who had achieved the letters of the obscurantists.""^ 

And in 1520? In September of this year, this petition, to- 
gether with the Papal decree, was finally printed at Johann 
Griinenberg's under the title of "Pasquillus Marranus exul" ; 
but it was also accompanied by a scurrilous introduction 
against the theologians, among them the Leipzig Franciscan, 
Augustine von Alfeld, who had ventured to write against 
Luther and was called by him the "Leipzig Ass" for his 
pains. There was also included a derisive letter to this same 
Franciscan.'*^ This writing was hardly printed when Luther 

328 Melanchthon's letter to Camerarius on Luther's marriage, edited by 
Dr. P. A. Kirseh, "Brief, etc." 1900, p. 11. 

340 Printed in "Pasquillorum tomi duo," Eleutheropoli 1544, p. 196-291 
(i.e. in ttie first series, for tliese two numbers recur again, tlie new slieet 02, 
erroneously beginning with p. Ill etc., having been inserted after p. 220) ; 
newly edited by BQcliing, "U. Hutteni operum supplem," I, 505-507. The con- 
tents are concisely given by O. Clemen," Beitrage zur Reformationsgesch., I 
(1900), p. 12, sq. 

3*1 Enders, I, 60 (to Lang, Oct. 5, 1516) : "Ineptias illas, quas ad me 
misisti, de Supplicationibus ad S. Pontificem contra theologastros, nimis ap- 
paret, a non modesto ingenio effictas esse, prorsusque eandem olentes testam, 
quam epistolae obscurorum virorum." P. 62 (to Spalatin) : "Supplicationem 
contra theologastros * * * eundem vel similem histrionem sui testantur 
autorem, quem et Epistolae obscurorum virorum. Votum eius probo, sed 
opus non probo, quod nee a conviciis et contiimeliis siii temperat." 

3*2 In the "Pasquillorum tomi duo," p. 191-196, there is only the intro- 
duction which is followed by the supplication and then the decree : complete 
in Bocliing, loc. cit., p. 503 to 510. Cf. also Clemen, loc. cit., p. 14 sqq. 


at once (Sept. 28) sent a copy with these "antics" to the 
Merseburg canon, Gunther v. Biinau.''*^ To give the reader 
an idea of these new knaveries, I only mention that in the 
introduction Marsorious closes his letter to Pasquin: "Fare- 
well, Pasquin, my greetings to Affen (monkey) feld, (instead 
of Alfeld) from behind (a tergo). Kome from the Aventine." 
This was after the fashion of the obscurantist letters. Luther, 
who, as we saw, had no mind for tomfoolery four years before, 
was now pleased with it in his warfare against the Church 
and made use of its antics to ridicule Pope, bishops, priests, 
and monks 

By the end of March of the same year, he fully approves 
those who ridicule the famous canon, "Omnis utriusque 
sexus," with the interpretation: "that is, only those who 
have both sexes, namely hermaphrodites, have to make confes- 
sion of all their sins."^^* The following year, after he had 
already sworn war against the vows, he writes wholly after 
the manner of a buffoon: "The Pope commands all Chris- 
tians, men and women folks — perhaps he feared there might 
be Christians loho were neither man nor woman — to con- 
fess, once they have arrived at the use of reason," etc. In 
virtue of this noble command, young children and the inno- 
cent must also confess, would they wish to remain masculine 
or feminine, else the Pope might eliminate, i.e., castrate 
them.^*' In like manner he speaks of hermaphrodites in the 
year 1537'*" and still later. Hence came his favorite charac- 
terization, "the hermaphrodite Church." "Men in front, 
women behind are the Pope's hermaphrodites."''*' It cannot 
be maintained from this, however, that Luther really imagined 
the expression, "utriusque sexus," admitted no other meaning. 
He himself uses it repeatedly.'*' 

3*3Enders, II, 482. 

si4. v^^eim. VI, 193. 

3*5 Weim. VIII, 168 sq. 

s*6In his marginal gloss on the Bull of Paul III, 1537 (original in the 
Vat. Bibl., Pal. IV, 82) : "Ergo qui non sunt hermaphroditae, ad hos non 
pertinet ista verba papae" (viz. "singulos utriusque sexus christifideles" ) . 

3" Erl. 26, 143, 129, 118, for the year 1545. 

3*8 E.g., Gal. Ill, 11, "Conjuges utriusque sexus." 


Luther reveals the same buffoonery when, in the glosses on 
the above mentioned Bull of Paul III, he transcribes the words, 
"in casibus reservatis" (in reserved cases) : "in caseis et 
butyro," (in cheese and butter). Yet this is not the origin 
of another characterization, in Avhich Luther speaks of a cer- 
tain kind of papal bulls as "Butter-encyclicals,'"*° or "Butter 
and cheese encyclicals.'"^" 

Is one to seek Luther's "earnest sense," his "profoundly 
earnest spirit," the evidence "that he was too sober for trif- 
ling," in the fact that, from the beginning of his warfare 
against the Church and the theologians, he takes pains to 
make his opponents ridiculous and to expose them to mock- 
ery? His former serious professor, Usingen, whom earlier he 
had so much revered, he calls "Unsingen," [a play on the 
name, "Unsinn" meaning nonsense; all the succeeding in- 
stances are of the same somewhat punning intent. — Trans- 
lator's note] ; his opponent Cochlaeus is called "Snotspoon" ; 
the Franciscan Schatzgeyer becomes "Schatz-gobbler," and 
Crotus, once all enthusiasm for Luther, is designated "Doc- 
tor Toad, plate-licker of the Cardinal of Manz." There would 
be no end, were one to enumerate all the buffoneries of that 
kind, precisely at the time in which he was fighting against 
the vows. He wrote a reply to Emser's controversial work, 
1521, "lest the belly grow too big for the sow."^" The phrase 
"Bulle Cena Domini," i.e., the Bull which was proclaimed "in 
coena Domini" or Holy Thursday, he renders, 1522. "The 
Bull of the evening gorging of the most holy gentleman, the 
Pope." Instead of "Domherrn" or "Thumherrn," i.e., canons 
of a cathedral chapter, he writes "vorthumpte (i.e., damned) 
Herrn." He speaks of "Geese and Cuckoo Bull carriers,"''^ 
and so on. If any one wishes at all to convince himself that 
there was not a spark of an earnest sense in this man, let 
him read this writing. It is the product of a buffoon. Luther 
gives evidence of the same profundity when, some years later, 
instead of Papal decrees and decretals, "Dekrete und De- 

"0 Erl. 31, 143. 
s=» Erl. 26, 208. 
851 Weim. VII, 271. 
352 Weim. VIII, 691. 


kretalen," he writes "Drecketen," "Drecketale."'" ["Dreck" 
meaning dirt, Luther's mt in this case might be paralleled in 
English by turning the word document into excrement. — 
Translator.] He took delight in such distortions and jocosi- 
ties as "jurisperditi" instead of "jurisperiti ;"^^* "a great 
'limen cresae maiestatis' again the Holy See;'"" "against the 
'Concilium Obstantiense/ or rather 'Constantiense.' """ 

It is simply contemptible when, to make the rite of the 
consecration of a bishop ridiculous, he states that he also had 
consecrated a bishop of Raumburg, but "without any chrism, t^ 
likeAvise Avithout butter, lard, bacon, tar, smear, incense, 
coals, and anything else pertaining to the same great holi- 
ness."^" What depths of frivolity lay in Luther is also evi- 
denced by his statement that he did away with the elevation 
of the host to spite the Papacy, but that he retained it as 
long as he did to spite Carlstadt.^^* Other things of like 
nature were compassed by Luther elsewhere, and we shall 
return to them. Is it earnestness in him, or not far rather 
buffoonery, when he writes: "With the Papists there is no 
one Avho sins, except the Son of God; no one is just except 
the devil ?"^=' 

In a sermon^^" published by him, alleged to have been 
preached at a profession in a nunnery, by the Dominican 
Provincial, Hermann Rab, he carries his jocularities to still 
greater lengths. To the words of the sermon : "For God here 
and there specially elects unto Himself virgins," Luther adds 
the gloss: "ut patet 10 libro Physicorum et Aesopi lib. 5." 
Now it is well known that Aristotle's Physics has but eight 
books and Aesop's fables only one. This is the same buffoon- 

353 Erl. 41, 295 sq., 299, 308 ; 63, 403 ; 26, 77 sqq. 128, 211 ; De Wette VI, 
284 ; "Tischreden" edited by E'orstemann, II, 258, 430 : III, 178. 
35^ Erl. 65, 79. 

355 Ibid. 26, 127, instead of "crimen laesae maiestatis." 
358 Ibid. 31, 392. 

357 Ibid. 26, 77. 
35sibid. 32, 420, 422. 

358 Opp. exeg. lat. V, 312 : "Nemo apiid eos peccat, nisi Filius Dei, nemo 
Justus est, nisi diabolus." 

360 Original print in Vat. Bibl. Pal. IV, 121 ; Opp. lat. var arg., VII, 21, 
under the title: "Exemplum theologiae et doctrlnae papisticae." See farther 
on. Chap. XI. 


ery which previously had vaunted itself in another form in 
derision of the scholastics in the letters of the obscurantists, 
whose author Luther, as is known, called a Jack Pudding, 
and Avhich in identical fashion was exercised by Hutten and 
others before Luther's apostasy.'^^ 

On the words of the sermon : "and because the maiden 
noAV making her profession does so after the example of the 
Blessed Virgin, who first took the vow of virginity," etc., 
Luther achieves the tidbit of comment: "because the Blessed 
Virgin was a nun, and Joseph was her abbess * * * The 
ass was her father-confessor and preacher," and so on. We 
find him indulging in the same buffoonery when he answers 
the objection that the apostles also possessed nothing of their 
own, by saying: "I also advise that Ave make monks of the 
apostles. And what is the harm of it? It is said further- 
more that, for the sake of chastity, they forsook their wives 
and would have bestowed their perfect poverty, chastity, and 
obedience on such as gave them something, and thereupon 
straightway shaved their pate, donned a frock, girded their 
bodies about with a rope, and said: 'Welcome, dear St. 
Peter, thou holy Guardian.""^' 

Turn we back to the year 1521. In a sermon on con- 
fession, dedicated to his friend von Sickingen, Luther wrote: 
"If nothing more belongs to a council than a gathering of 
many Avho wear cardinals' hats, bishops' mitres, and birettas, 
one might as well gather the toooden saints out of the 
churches, put cardinals' hats, bishops' mitres, and birettas on 
them, and say that it was a council ; any painter and sculptor 
could well make a council. What are they anyway but 
blocks and stocks, the unlearned, unspiritual cardinals, 

361 Thus Hutten, In the second part of the letter mentioned, lets an 
Apostolic Prothonotary cite "Kings" CXXXVIII, instead of "Psalm" (Bocking, 
"V. Hutteni operum supplem." I, 186.) Afterwards the citation, "prime 
Proverbiorum XII" (ibid. p. 295) is put upon the lips of another. Of course, 
there is no first book of Proverbs. Another time (p. 365, n. 29), one writes: 
"XII physicorum Arlstotells," "VI de anima," tlierefore in the same way as 
Luther above. 

362 Erl. 31, 298. 


bishops, doctors, who with their hats, shaved pates, and biret- 
tas afford us a carnival comedy ?'"^^ 

But enough examples of the many which demonstrate 
Luther's buffoonery. Speaking of Bucer and his comrades, 
Luther writes : "They always croak something different from 
what we ask. If we ask 'quae?' (what a miracle), they 
answer 'Ble.'"^^*" Bucer replies this is by no means the case 
and Luther's complaint oversteps the bounds of decorum; 
Paul was wont to write otherwise.'"'^ Quite true; but Paul's 
spirit and earnestness were wholly wanting in Luther. In- 
stead we see him, from 1520 on, treating the gravest affairs 
of the soul, decisive for time and eternity, with incredible 
levity and buffoonery. How did he defend marriage of priests 
and later his own? "By this marriage I have made myself 
so mean and despicable that / hope the angels will laugh 
and all devils weep."^'^'^ An identical spirit speaks out of his 
work on the monastic vows. 

To this, then, let us turn our attention again, and espe- 
cially to the subject treated in the beginning of this chapter, 
to Luther's polemic against the counsels, to the following of 
which the members of the religious orders bind themselves 
by vow. Let us investigate what, according to Catholic 
teaching, the nature of those counsels may be, in what rela- 
tion they stand to the commandments, and what bearing the 
both of them have, commandments and counsels, upon the 
Catholic ideal of life and Christian perfection. The result, 
which will be laid down in the next two chapters and upon 
which the doctrine prevailing through the centuries before 
Luther is founded, will afford a sure basis of a critical hold- 
ing up to the light of Luther's assertions and perversions and 
those of his followers, old and new. 

383 Weim. VIII, 151. 

3«*Enders, V, 387: "Quaerimus, quae? ipsi reddunt Ble." 

30= Ibid. p. 301, note 9 : "rogantibus quae, nequaquam respondemus Ble, ut 
nobis Lutherus profecto cltra decorum objicit. Paulus sane aliter scribere 
solitus fuit." 

380 Ibid. p. 197. 



Fundamentals of the Catholic Doctrine of Christian 
Perfection and the Ideal of Life. 

It has already been pointed out^°^ that the highest end of 
an order is the fulfilling of the commandment of the love of 
God and of neighbor. But this end also belongs to the 
Christian who is not a member of a religious order. The 
monastery and the world alike are bound by the command- 
ment : Love God above all things and thy neighbor as thy- 
self. All have to ascend the mountain of the Lord, all pur- 
sue a like direction, have the same aim. There is only this 
difference. Some go a longer way, or a slower, others seek 
a shorter way or strike out more vigorously, even running. 
Some seek easier pathways, others a rougher one. 

Luther's thoughts, before his apostasy and warfare 
against the Church, were not unlike these, as we have seen 
above. But afterwards he swore destruction to the orders 
and their vows. Naturally he then had to have recourse to 
new tactics. His declarations on this score are henceforward 
inspired only by hatred towards the Church. 

He intentionally omits any further setting forth what 
perfection is, according to Catholic teaching, of what the 
ideal of life common to all consists, or that all, according 
to Catholic teaching, should strive after perfection, though 
not all are in the state of perfection. He never again dis- 
tinguishes between the state of perfection and perfection it- 
self, thereby seeking to beget the view that, according to 
Catholic teaching, to live in the state of perfection is identi- 
cal with being perfect. Hence he writes : "The monks di- 
vide Christian life into the state of perfection and that of 
imperfection; to the common herd they assign the state of 
imperfection, but to themselves that of perfection."^^^ That 
this division is an invention of Luther's will be seen below. 
Be it enough here to observe that Luther wishes to be under- 
stood in this wise: the monks assign perfection to them- 

es' See above, p. 74. 

sesweim. VIII, 584, 23. See below, chap. IX. 


selves ; to the crowd, the people, imperfection, or, as he writes 
about the same time: "The Gospel, according to them, is not 
common to all, but is divided into counsels and command- 
ments. The monk keeps the counsels, not merely^"" the com- 
mandments; these are given to the rest of the crowd."^'"' 

This we have already heard him say. But he goes still 
farther. The monks and nuns had abandoned the way of 
salvation which God had indicated in the secular callings 
with their cares and straits ; but these they held as works too 
contemptible and sought apparently more difficult ones. "But 
they thereby at once fell from the faith and become disobedi- 
ent to God." So also "the Pope abandoned the way of salva- 
tion, faith in Christ, and chose another way instead, the sac- 
rifice of the Mass, vows, and the like.""^ The religious be- 
lieved they had a higher way than Christ, since God would 
be propitiated by their works. What further need did they 
have of the Blood of Christ?"^ The monks also set the 
counsels above the commandments."^ 

First of all, then, let us take a cursory glance at the time 
before Thomas Aquinas and before the period nearest to 
Luther, to learn wherein up to then the doctors saw perfec- 
tion and whether Luther has any hold upon them. 

It was a Catholic principle known from the remotest an- 
tiquity that perfection was accessible not only to monks but 
to all, and that it is binding upon all. St. John Chrysostom 
(407) discursively develops the truth that both the monk 
and the layman should attain the same height (xopU(pr]v) 

369 "Non tantum," i.e. in tlie Lutheran sensf, lie Ijeep-s, instead of the 
commandments, something higher, namely, the counsels. 

370 Ibid. p. 580, 22. 

3"! 0pp. exeg. IV, 109: "Papa cum suis huic tentationi (that every one 
live according to his calling and not be curious about another) succubuit. 
Habuit propositam salutis viam, fidem in Christum ; earn deseruit, et delegit 
sibi alias vias, sacrificium missae, vota et similia. * * * Hanc certam 
pietatis viam deseruerunt monachi et nonnae seu monachae; judicabant enim 
nlmis exilia esse opera, et quaerebant alia in specie graviora ; ita simul et a 
fide discesserunt et Deo sunt facti inobedientes." 

3" Enders, IV, 224, for 1523. Of. In Gal. I, 257, and above p. 71. 

373 Weim. VIII, 585, 3 : "Error et insignis ignorantia est, statum perfec- 
tionis metiri consiliis, et non praeceptis. Non enim, ut ipsi fingunt, consilia 
sunt supra praecepta." 


for those in the world, who were not so free as religious, 
the task was only the greater."* The Synod of Aachen in 
816 says expressly that seculars need not indeed forsake the 
world according to the body, as do the monks, and follow the 
poor Christ, but they must do so in spirit. Monks and secu- 
lars were obliged to go the strait way and to enter the nar- 
row gate into life, for this did the Savior say to all Chris- 
tians. All were obliged constantly to keep in view the cove- 
nant which we made with God in baptism, when we renounced 
Satan, his pomp, and his works. We all have the same end, 
although it is reached by divers ways.^" Evangelical perfec- 
tion, writes Eupert von Deutz (1135), is possessed not only 
by monks but by many others, wherefore the former may not 
become puffed up."" 

This doctrine is based on the exhortation of Christ Him- 
self, who says to all : "Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father 
is perfect.""' All humans, be they noble or not, rich or poor, 
learned or idiots, old or young, men or women, should let this 
word be told them."* One might go through almost the en- 
tire literature of that time and come to no other result. In 
works for religious, e.g., those of St. Peter Damian, there are 
indeed, hy way of exception, some expressions that can lend 
themselves to an interpretation in the misused sense, but the 
universal Christian teaching is the rule. 

But in what does perfection consist according to the 
latter and in general according to the old view? The ex- 
position of Cassian (about 435) became a classic. He 
teaches that "perfection is not given at once with the strip- 
ping of one's self, or the renunciation of all temporal goods, 
or with the giving up of all honors, if there be not present at 
the same time love, which the Apostle describes (I Cor. xiii, 4 
sqq.) and which consists in purity of heart." What can be 

S7< Adv. oppugnatores vitae monasticae, 1. 3, n. 14. 15. Migne, Patr. gr. 
t. 47, p. 373 sqq. 

3T' Concil. General, ed. Mansi t. XIV, p. 227, c. 114 with splendid pas- 
sages from the Gospel and the Epistles. 

3T6 De vita vera apostol., 1. 2. c. 1, Migne, Patr. 1, t. 170, p. 621. 

'"Mark, 13, 37. 

378 s. Jacobi Alvarez de Paz, De perfectlone vitae spiritualis, 1. S, p. 1, c. 3. 


the purport of all the characteristics of charity enumerated 
by Paul, except "constantly to offer a perfect, wholly pure 
heart to God and to keep it untouched by all disturb- 
ances?'"" Consequently, continues Cassian, all monastic ex- 
ercises are only instruments of perfection, but this consists 
in charity. Useless are the pains of him who puts the aim of 
his life in the exercises, i.e., in the means and instruments, 
and not in purity of heart, i.e., charity.'*" 

On this there is but one voice. The rule of St. Augustine, 
as has already been remarked,'*^ set forth the content of the 
ideal of life, the command of the love of God and of neigh- 
bor, in the very words with which it begins, so that the 
brethren, in their exercises, might never lose sight of it. St. 
Benedict, the father of the monks of the West, calls the 
religious life in the prologue of his rule, a "school of divine 
service.'"^^ He begins the fourth chapter, "Quae sunt instru- 
menta bonorum operum" — "Which are the instruments of 
good works?" — ^with the exhortation, "above all to love God 
with all one's heart, with all one's soul, and with all one's 
strength and one's neighbor as one's self." Hence the further 
exhortation, "to prefer nothing to the love of Christ; daily 
to fulfill the commandments of God in deeds."'*' And in the 
last chapter but one, St. Benedict again calls upon the monks 
"to prefer absolutely nothing to Christ.'"" Everything else, 
as the commandments, all exercise of virtue, even poverty, 
chastity, and obedience are subordinated by him to the corn- 

ea coniat. Patr. I, e. 6 (Corp. Scrip, eccl. lat, t. XIII, p. 12 sq. 

38" Ibid. c. 7, p. 13 : "leiunia, vigriliae, anachoresis, meditatio scriptura- 
rum, propter principalem scopon, i.e. puritatem cordis, quod est caritas, nos 
convenit exercere et non propter ilia principalem hanc perturbare vlrtutem. 
* * * Igitur leiunia, vigiliae, meditatio scripturam, nuditas ac privatio 
omnium facultatum non perfectio, sed perfeetionis instrumenta sunt, quia 
non in Ipsis consistit disciplinae illius finis, sed per ilia pervenitur ad flnem. 
Incassum igitur haec exercitia molietur, quisquis his velut summo bono con- 
tentus intentionem sui cordis hucusque defixerit et non ad capiendum flnem, 
propter quem haec adpetenda sunt, omne studium virtutis extenderit, habens 
quidem disciplinae illius instrumenta, finem vero, in quo omnis fructus con- 
sistit, ignorans." 

^81 See above, chap. V, p. 74. 

382 "Divini scola servitli." 

383 Reg. (Migne, Patr. 1., t. 66, p. 295, n. 1. 21. 62). 

38*0. 72: "Christo omnimo nihil praeponant" (ibid. p. 928). 


mandment of the love of God and of neighbor ; for everything 
must stand in the service thereof, not only in members of the 
religious orders, but in every one. To correspond more per- 
fectly with the contents of the exhortations quoted, there 
can only be question of choosing the appropriate means. 
Therefore does he also call the different rules "instrumenta 
virtutum" — the instruments of the virtues. 

It is in this sense that St. Bernard (1153), at the close of 
his sermon'*^ on the words of the Psalmist (Ps. 23, 3) : "Who 
shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord," which all must 
climb, calls upon the brethren of his order : "Come, Brethren, 
let us ascend the mountain; and if the way seems steep and 
hard to us, let us free, let us unburden ourselves; if strait, 
let us strip ourselves of everything; if long, let us but hasten 
the more; if laborious, let us say:^*® 'Draw me, we will run 
after thee in the odor of thy ointments.' '"" To unburden, 
free, and strip one's self are fit means the better to reach the 
end, which is no other than "to love God without meas- 

^j.g »388 

Look up any doctor of that time who has written on this 
subject and we shall hear it from him that perfection con- 
sists in the love of God and of neighbor,^'" and that by it 
one atttains to likeness with God. This love is the mark of 
perfection and the greatest of the goods that all can have; 
holiness is very diverse, but it is never without the Blood of 

As a matter of fact, this diversity moved St. Augustine in 
his day to go to the servant of God, Simplician, to learn from 
him how in future he might most fittingly walk the way of 

385 c. 73 (ibid. p. 930). 

S86 Cant. 1, 3. 

28' Sermo de diversis 34, n. 9. 

388 De diligendo Deo, c. 6 (Migne, Patr. 1., t. 182, p. 983). 

889 E.g. Bruno of Asti, Abbot of Montecassino (1123), Migne, Patr. 1., t 
164, p. 515. Richard of St. Vicar (1173), Migne, etc., t. 196, p. 471. 

800 Of. Ruppert von Deutz, in Migne, t. 170, p. 313 ; t. 169, p. 867 ; t. 168, 
p. 1366. 


God, upon which he saw some moving in one manner, others 
in another.^" 

This diversity in the striving after the one end, to reach 
perfection, holiness, is especially brought to light in two 
saintly contemporaneous widows of the close of the period 
with which we are presently occupied. St. Elizabeth of 
Thuringia desired to enter a monastery and to follow the 
poor Christ, even by the renunciation of her inheritance, 
from which she was hindered only by her spiritual guide, 
Konrad von Marburg. St. Hedwig, on the other hand, 
though she wore the gray habit, was not to be moved, spite 
of the persuasion of her daughter, the Abbess Gertrude, to 
take membership as a nun in the community of the order. 
"Knowest thou not, my child," she said, "how meritorious it 
is to give alms?'""^ Both Elizabeth and Hedwig, strove after 
the perfection of the love of God. This was their ideal of 
life, but both sought to attain it in a different way. In the 
chief respect, however, in their interior, complete self-obla- 
tion to God, they were both at one. 

In this period there is no ground found for Luther's ut- 
terances and charges cited above. Anyway it was more the 
succeeding time that he had in his mind's eye. Let us there- 
fore pass over to it and be the more occupied with its investi- 


DocTEiNE OF St. Thomas Aquinas and Others Down to 

Luther on the Ideal of Life and on the Counsels. 

A. From Thomas Aquinas to the German Mystics. 

Let us now turn to the great doctor of the middle ages, 
Thomas Aquinas, who as late as the fourteenth century was 

3^1 Confess. 1. 8, n. 1. 2. After setting forth his then inner agitations 
and after mentioning that he desired to go to the servant of God, Simplician, 
Augustine declares the reason : "Unde mlhi ut proferret volebam conferenti 
secum aestus meos, quis esset aptus modus sic affecto, ut ego eram, ad 
ambulandum in via tua (i.e., Dei). Videbam enim plenam ecclesiam, et 
alius sic ibat, alius autem sic." 

3S2 E. Michael, "Gesch. des deutschen Volkes vom dreizehnten Jahrh. bis 
zum Ausgang des Mittelaters, II (1899), p. 219, 231 sq. 


here and there called the "doctor communis," the universal 
doctor, by Luther's fellow religious,^°^ and who, on the ac- 
knoAvledgement of Protestants themselves, faithfully renders 
the forms of Church teaching, always ready to accept the 
traditional as such.^" Further, as it was the wont in the 
Franciscan Order more than half a hundred years before 
Luther's appearance largely to go back to St. Thomas in re- 
spect to the doctrine on grace, so also in respect to the teach- 
ing on the religious life. St. Thomas' doctrine appeared 
alongside that of St. Bonaventure, and both were referred to 
in preference to others.^°° 

Now what does St. Thomas teach? Does he set up a dif- 
ferent idea of perfection from that of his predecessors? Does 
the observance of the vows mean a higher form of Chris- 
tianity to him, so that the three evangelical counsels, to the 
keeping of which one binds himself by vows, stand without 
distinction above the commandments? Let us see. 

As in general, according to Church teaching, so also ac- 
cording to St. Thomas, the highest ideal of Christian life 
consists in the attainment of man's supernatural end, namely, 
eternal happiness, or, what amounts to the same thing, God 
as He is in Himself. Our ideal of life and our perfection 
can therefore consist only in that which unites us to God 
even here on earth, and that is charity alone.^'" Therefore 
did God set up the commandment of the love of God and of 
neighbor as the first and the highest commandment, to which 

S83 cf. Thomas v. Strasburg, "in 2. Sent., dist. 9, a. 3 ; dist. 12, a. 4 ; dist. 
14, a. 2 ; dist. 18, a. 4 ; dist. 25, a. 1 ; 3 Sent. dist. 14, a. 4, etc. 

384 R. Seeberg, "Die Theologie des Duns Scotus," p. 642. 

s»5 It was the Observantines who brought about this turn of things ; as, 
e. g. in "Monumenta Ordinis Minorum" (not to be talien for the counter 
worli: "Firmamenta trium Ordinum"), iu Salamantina 1511, Tract. 2, fol. 
118 sq. (Serena conscientia), the Summa of St. Thomas is adduced as the 
first authority on the doctrine of the religious life. 

SOS The ultimate perfection of every one consists in the attainment of 
the end, and that is God ; "Charitas autem est, quae unit nos Deo," 2. 2. qu. 
184, a. 1. 


all Others are subordinated and in whicli all are fulfilled.'" 
The chief business of Christian life can therefore lie only in 
the striving after the perfection of charity/"* "The law of 
Divine love ought to be the rule of all human acts."'"" 

Now what is the nature of the counsels of poverty, chas- 
tity, and obedience, to whose observance the religious freely 
binds himself by everlasting vows? Did God possibly, ac- 
cording to St. Thomas, set gradations, higher and lower 
degrees, in the ideal of life? Did He make the love of God 
and of neighbor a duty only up to a certain degree, so that 
what lies beyond this limitation, namely, the higher degree of 
love, is only a matter of counsel? Not at all. The ■perfec- 
tion of love; says St. Thomas, is given to man as a command- 
ment. All are obliged to it by the necessity of the pre- 
cept,*™ that is, they must love God above all things and as 
much as they can. That proceeds, he says in his ripe man- 
hood, from the form of the commandment: Thou shalt love 
God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself. In the 
Christian ideal of life, in the end, there can be no measure, 
no more nor less, but only in the means to the end.*°^ 

3" Comment, ad Gal., c. 5, lect. 3: "Omnia (praecepta) in uno praecepto 
charitatls implentur." Cf. also 2. 2., qu. 189, a 1 ad 5. This doctrine Is 
based on that of St. Paul, which St. Thomas frequently cites, e. g. De 
perfect, vitae spirit, c. 12: Finis cuiuslibet praecepti est charltas, ut dicit 
apostolus 1 Tim. 1, 5." Gregory the Great also writes : "Omne mandatum 
de sola dilectione est, et omnia unum praeceptum sunt: quia, quidquid 
praecipitur, in sola charitate solidatur." Homil. 27 in Evang., n. 1. 

398 Thus St. Paul, Coloss. 3, 14 : "A'bove all things have charity, which 
Is the bond of perfection" ; Rom. 13, 10 : "Love is the fulfilling of the law." 

3SS Opusc. VIII., De duobus praeceptis charitatis et decern praeceptis : 
"Lex divini amoris debet esse regula omnium actuum humanorum." 

^o" De perfectione vitae spirit., c. 5 : "Divlnae dilectionis perfectio datur 
homini in praecepto * * * Hie est tertius perfectae dilectionis divinae 
modus (scil. in statu huius vitate), ad quem omnes ex necessitate praecepti 
obligantur." 2. 2. qu. 183, a. 2 ad 2: "Diligere deum ex toto corde omnes 

^oi 2. 2. qu. 184, a. 3 : "Non autem dilectio del et proximi cadit sub prae- 
cepto secundum aliquam mensuram, ita quod id, quod est plus, sub consilio 
remaneat, ut patet ex ipsa forma praecepti, quae perfectionem demonstrat, 
ut cum dicitur : Diliges dominum deum tuuni ex tote corde tuo; totum 
enim et perfectum idem sunt * * * et cum dicitur : Diliges proximum 
tuum sicut teipsum, unusquisque enim seipsum maxime diligit. Et hoc ideo 
est, quia finis praecepti charitas est, ut apostolus decit 1 ad Timoth. 1. In 
fine autem non adhibetur aliqua mensura, sed solum in his quae sunt ad 


This had been the declared teaching of St. Thomas even 
in the days of his youthful mastership, however much to sev- 
eral other things he later found occasion to give more exact 
expression. "One must judge one way in respect to the end," 
he says, "and another in respect to the means. With regard 
to the latter, there is measure; not so with regard to the end 
itself. Every one attains it as best he may. The command- 
ment of the love of God, which is the end of the Christian 
life, is confined within no limits, as if a certain measure fell 
under the commandment, but a greater love came under the 
counsel as an achievement transcending the bounds of the 
commandment. Each and every one is commanded to love 
God as best he can, and this is evident from the form of the 
commandment, 'thou shalt,' etc. Each and every one fulfills 
it according to his capacity, one more perfectly, another less 
perfectly," and so on.*"^ Therefore all have the same ideal of 
life, the perfection of Divine love. There is a difference only 
in the striving thereafter and in its attainment. But how? 
The difference consists in this, that the one removes only the 
hindrances which are in opposition to charity itself, that is, 
with which charity cannot coexist — the remaining command- 
ments apart from that of the love of God and of neighbor 
are an aid to this ;*"' the other at the same time removes such 
hindrances as stand in the way of the freer and easier prac- 
tical realization of charity.^"* 

It is in the latter case, in the facilitation of the activity 
of charity, that the counsels serve their purpose, and the re- 

finem * * * slcut medicus non adhibet mensuram, quantum sanet, sed 
quanta medicina vel diaeta utatur ad sanandum. Et sic patet, quod per- 
fectio essentialiter consistit In praeceptls." 

^"2 Contra retrahent. a relig. Ingressu, c. 6. See below in this chapter, 
on Gerson. 

ifs 2. 2. qu. 184, a. 3 : "Praecepta alia a praeceptis charitatis ordinantur 
ad removendum ea quae sunt charitati contraria, cum quibus scil. charitas 
esse non potest." 

^"^ Ibid. : "Consilia ordinantur ad removendum impedimenta actus 
charitatis, quae tamen charitati non contrariantur, sicut est matrimonium, 
occupatio negotiorura saecularium et alia huiusmodi." 


ligious freely binds liimself"^ to their observance, that his 
whole heart may be directed towards God. To this extent 
is the religious state a school of perfection.*"' By the vow of 
poverty, the religious removes the covetous desire of temporal 
good. By the vow of chastity, he removes the lust for sen- 
sual delights, among which sexual pleasure stands first. By 
the vow of obedience, he removes irregularity in the inclina- 
tions of his will. By these means is his heart also calmed, 
and at the same time he offers God an all-embracing sacri- 
fice, since he gives to God all that he has, all that he is ac- 
cording to the body, and his own soul.*" 

405 pqj. that, as St. Thomas teaches, is just the difference between coun- 
sel and commandment — the commandments must necessarily be liept whilst 
the observance of the counsels is left to the free discretion of each one. 
The former are indispensably necessary to the attainment of our last end, 
the latter serve for its better and easier attainment. 1. 2. qu. 108, a. 4. 
Very well does Mausbach say : "Commandment and counsel do not form 
separate fields ; in the fulfilling of the counsel, there is also, at the same 
time, the fulfilling of the commandment, since charity feels itself obliged 
to sacrifice everything, both great and small, to God." "Die Kathol. Moral, 
etc., p. 116. 

406 "Disciplina vel exercitium ad perfectionem perveniendi." 2. 2. qu. 186, 
a 2, 3, 5, etc. Cf. next note. 

*<>^ 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 7 : "Respondeo dicendum, quod religionis status * * * 
est uno modo * * *, quoddam exercitium tendendi in perfectionem char- 
itatis ; alio modo * * * quietat animum humanum ab exterioribus sollici- 
tudinibus * * * ; tertio modo * * * est quoddam holocaustum, per 
quod aliquis totaliter se et sua offert deo. * * * Quantum ad exercitium 
perfectionis, requiritur, quod aliquis a se removeat ilia per quae posset im- 
pediri, ne totaliter eius affectus tendat in deum, in quo consistit perfectio 
charitatis. Huiusmodi autem sunt tria ; primum quidem cupiditas exteriorum 
bonorum, quae tollitur per votum paupertatis ; secundum autem est concupi- 
scentia sensibilium delectationum, inter quas praecellunt delectationes ven- 
ereae, quae excluduntur per votum continentiae ; tertium autem est Inordl- 
natio voluntatis humanae, quae excluditur per votum obedientiae. Similiter 
autem sollicitudinis saecularis inquietudo praeeipue ingeritur homini circa 
tria ; primo quidem circa dispensationem exteriorum rerum, et haec sollici- 
tudo per votum paupertatis homini aufertur, secundo circa gubernationem 
uxoris et filiorum, quae amputatur per votum continentia ; tertio circa dispo- 
sitionem propriorum actuum, quae amputatur per votum obedientiae, quo ali- 
quis se alterius dispositioni committit. Similiter etiam holocaustum est, cum 
aliquis totum, quod habet, offert deo * * * primo quidem exteriorum 
rerum, quas quidem totaliter aliquis deo offert per votum voluntariae pauper- 
tatis ; secundo autem bonum proprii corporis, quod aliquis praeeipue offert 
deo per votum continentiae, quo abrenuntiat maximis delectationibus cor- 
poris ; tertium autem bonum est animae, quod aliquis totaliter deo offert per 


The counsels therefore do not establish a new ideal of 
life. They are not achievements that reach out beyond God's 
universal law. On the contrary, they are precisely suhordi- 
noted to the universal law, the commandment of charity. ■'°° 
They are an aid to its better and more perfect fulfilment. 
They stand in the service of the commandments, insofar as 
these demand interior acts of the virtues, which all together 
aim at purity of spirit and the love of God and of neighbor. 
But insofar as the commandments have a bearing upon ex- 
ternal acts, the counsels are also concerned with them, hut 
not as icith their end.*"^ 

This was but half understood by Luther. We have al- 
ready seen"^" how, as late as 1519, he expressed himself to the 
effect that the commandments, without distinguishing them, 
are the end of the counsels. The former rank higher; the 
latter are only certain means to the easier fulfillment of the 
commandments. A virgin etc. more easily fulfills the com- 
mandment, "Thou shalt not covet," than one married.*" 
Correct! But does that exhaust and determine the whole 
matter? The counsels do indeed help to fulfill the command- 
ments better. Whoso undertakes to observe continency and 
poverty on Christ's account, puts himself at a far greater 

obedientiam, qua aliquis offert deo propriam voluntatem, per quam homo 
Tititur omnibus potentiis et habitibus animae. Et ideo convenienter ex tribus 
votis status religionis integratur." Cf. 2. 2. qu. 44, a. 4 ad 3. 

^"^ 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 7, ad 1 : "Votum religionis ordinatur sicut in flnem 
ad perfectionem charitatis." 

*"* Quol. IV, a. 24, where Thomas develops : "quod consilia ordinantur 
sicut ad flnem ad praecepta, prout sunt de interioribus actibiis virtutum; sed 
ad praecepta, secundum quod sunt de extcriorihus actihus (puta, non occides, 
non furtum facies, etc.) ordinantur ad praecepta non ut ad finem ;" But the 
observance of the counsels has the eifect that the commandments "tutius et 
firmius observantur." Likewise ad 2. Here and there he refers to Cassian, 
cited above. 

410 p. 42. 

•*" Enders II, 40 ; Weim, II, 644 ; " * * * non ergo distinctio est inter 
consilium et praeceptum, quod consilium plus quam praeceptum sit — sic enim 
errant et uugantur theologi — , sed quod sunt media commodiora ad praecep- 
tum (impleudum) : facilius enim continet, qui viduus aut virgo est, separatus 
a sexu, quan copulatus cum sexu, qui concupiscentiae aliquid cedit," and 
"consilia sunt quaedam viae et compendia facilius et felicius implendi man- 
dati Dei." 


distance from adultery and theft.*" But the counsels do not 
therefore bear a relation to the commandments as to their 
end, for no one observes and keeps virginity to avoid adul- 
tery, or poverty to abstain from theft, but to make progress 
in the love of God.^" It is only as a consequence, then, that 
the remaining commandments are rendered easier of fulfill- 
ment by the counsels. Since the latter remove the hindrances 
to perfect love, it follows that the occasions of such sin as 
fully destroys charity are thereby the more cut off."* It was 
precisely this distinction and the proper end of the counsels 
that Luther had then already overlooked. He was too little 
grounded in theology. 

The counsels, therefore, according to Thomas, have only 
a relative value. They are a relative means to the fulfillment 
as perfect as possible of the commandment of charity, which 
is given to all. In this sense, the counsels are instruments 
of perfection,*^'^ and the religious state itself is a state of per- 
fection; not that, on entering it, one binds himself to be per- 
fect, but because one binds one's self for always to strive 
after the perfection of charity."^ This is wholly within the 

*i2 Thomas Contra retrah. a relig. ingressu, c. 6: Qui continentiam aut 
paupertatem sei-vare proposuit propter Christum, longius ab adulterio et furto 
recessit." Expos, in ep. ad Rom. c. 4 lect. 4: "* * * addit Christus quae- 
dam consilia, per quae praecepta moralia tutius et firmius conservantur." 

*i3 Thomas Contra retrah. etc., 1. c. : "Consiliorum observatio ad aliorum 
observantiam praeceptorum ordinatur ; non tamen ordinatur ad ea sicut ad 
finem, non enim aliquis virginitatem servat, ut adulterium vitet, vel pauper- 
tatem, ut a furto desistat, sed ut in dilectione Dei proficiat. Majora enim 
non ordinantur ad minora sicut ad finem." Cf. also Quol. IV, a. 24. 

*i* 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 1, ad 4 : "Beligionis status principaliter est institutus 
ad perfectionem adipiscendam per quaedam exercitia, quibus tolluntur imped- 
imenta perfectae charitatis. SubTatis autem impedimentis perfectae chari- 
tatis, multo magis exciduntur occasiones peccati, per quod totaliter tollitur 

415 Perfection exists in the counsels only "instrumentally," ( instrumen- 
taliter), i.e., they are certain instruments by which perfection is attained. 
"Quod." iv, a. 24, ad 2 (See exhaustive treatment of the question in .Jac. 
Alvarez de Paz, "De perfectione vitae Spirit," 1, 3, parte I., c. 5). 

*i6 2. 2. qu. 184, a. 3 ad 1 : "Ex ipso modo loquendi apparet, quod consilia 
sunt quaedam instrumenta perveniendi ad perfectionem." Ibid. a. 5, ad 2: 
"Dicendum, quod homines statum perfectiones assumunt non quasi profltentes 
selpsos perfectos esse, sed profltentes se ad perfectionem tendere * * * 
Unde non committlt aliquis mendacium vel simulationem ex eo, quod non ex 
perfectus, qui statum perfectionis assumit, sed ex eo quod ab intentione 


meaning of St. Bernard, who writes: "The tireless striving 
to make progress and the constant struggle for perfection is 
deemed perfection."*" Now just as the counsels are not 
necessary to the fulfillment of the commandment of divine 
love,"* it can also occur that one who has taken the ohliga- 
tion of the counsels to strive after the perfection of charity 
does not remain true to his ohligation, whilst seculars with- 
out the assumed obligation are perfect and are able to do 
that to which the unfaithful pledged themselves.*" "For, to 
be perfect and to be in a state of perfection are two different 
things. There are those who live in the state of perfection 
but are not perfect, and there are those who are perfect 
without being in the state of perfection.""" The one who 
takes the three vows upon himself is not the more perfect, 
but the one who possesses the greatest charity. It is the 
measure of this that determines the measure of perfection in 
the religious and in secular life as well.*^^ 

If, then, the religious state is called a state of perfection, 
this does not happen as if the religious had a higher ideal 
of life than the ordinary Christian (there is nothing higher 
than love for God), or as if perfection consisted of the three 
counsels, and as if the one pledging himself to them is at 

perfectionis animum relinquit." 1, 2., qu. 108, a. 4 : Consilia oportret esse 
de his, per quae melius et expeditius potest homo consequl finem praedictum." 
2. 2. qu. 188, a. 7 : "Religio ad perfectionem charitatis ordinatur." De per- 
fect, vit. spirit., c. 17: "Si quis totam vitam suam voto dec ohligavit, ut in 
operibus perfectionis ei deserviat, jam simpliciter conditionem vel statum 
perfectionis assumpsit." 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 1 ad 3 : "Religio nominat statum 
perfectionis ex intentione finis." See p. 159, note 422. 

*i^ Ep. 254, n. 3. See in this chapter, Charles Pernand. 

*'8 2. 2., qu. 189, a. 1 ad 5 : "Praecepta charitatis, ad quae consilia ordi- 
nantur, non ita quod sine consiliis praecepta servarl non posslnt, sed ut per 
consilia perfectlus observentur * * * Observantia praeceptorum potest esse 
sine consiliis." 

*i» Ibid., qu. 184, a. 4 : "In statu perfectionis proprie dicitur aliquis esse 
non ex hoc, quod habet actum dilectionis perfeetae, sed ex hoc, quod obligat 
se perpetuo cum aliqua solemnitate ad ea, quae sunt perfectionis. Contingit 
etiam, quod allqui se obligant ad id quod non servant, et aliqui implent ad 
quod se non obligaverunt." And De perfect, vitae spirit., c. 17, he writes: 
"Unde patet quosdam perfectos quidem esse, qui tamen perfectionis statum 
non habent, aliquos vero perfectionis statum habere, sed perfectos non esse." 

"S" Quol. III. a. 17. 

*2i Cf. Quaestlo de charltate, a. 11, ad 5. 


once perfect (the counsels only remove what can hinder the 
perfection of love), but it is because, in an order, one binds 
himself perpetually to means (which are precisely the coun- 
sels), by which one can attain an ideal of life as perfect as 
possible/" (This ideal includes) different pathways and one 
objective point (or end)/^' 

Since the counsels are only means of removing the hind- 
rances which stand in the way of the free activity of charity, 
they, as such and at the same time as its effects, presuppose 
charity, therefore also faith and justification. Even Luther 
still admitted this shortly before the composition of his work 
on the vows, all the more so earlier, when he wrote: "St. 
Bernard and all those who were happy religious, did not 
vow to be just and to be saved by this manner of life, but 
that, already justified by faith, they might live with a free 
spirit in those vows," etc.^^* This is correct in the sense that, 
by the vows, one does not become a Christian or a believer, 
a thing that certainly no one ever taught in the Catholic 
Church. Luther soon after spoke quite differently, as we 
have seen above.*^^ 

But did not St. Thomas set entering an order, putting on 
the religious habit, and profession in the same category with 
baptism? According to him, therefore, have not the vows a 

*22 2. 2. qu. 185, a. 1 ad 2 : "Ad statum religionis non praeexigitur per- 
fectio, sed est via in perfectionem." Contra retrahentas a religionis in- 
gressu, c. 6: "Consilia ad vitae perfectionem pertinent, non quia in els prin- 
cipallter consistat perfectio, sed quia sunt via quaedam vel instrumenta ad 
perfectionem caritatis habendam ;" 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 1, ad 4 : "Religionis status 
est principaliter institutus ad perfectionem adipisoendam." Hence was the 
religious state named "status perfectionis acguirendae." See below on Henry 
of Ghent. 

*23 A brief concise exposition of the doctrine of St. Thomas on the coun- 
sels and the orders is given by Abert, "Das Wesen des Christentums nach 
Thomas v. Aquin" (Wiirzburg 1901), p. 16 sq. and by Mausbach, "Die Katho- 
lische Moral, ihre Methoden, Grundsatze und Aufgaben (Koln 1901), p. 133 
sqq. But the whole question is treated in a special work by Earthier, "De 
la perfection chr^tlenne et de la perfection religieuse d'aprfes St. Thomas 
d' Aquin et St. Frangols de Sales" (2 vol. Paris, 1902). No understanding of 
the subject is shown by K. Thieme in "Real-Encykl. f. protest. Theol. und 
Kirche," 3 ed., IV, 275. 

*2*Themata de votis, n. 78-72 (Weim. VIII, 326 sq.). In general he says 
this before, from 1519 on. See above, p. 41, 

425 See above, Chapter VI. 


justifying, sin-forgiving power? It is this that, as "we shall 
hear more fully below, is constantly charged against the holy 
doctor and the monks generally by Luther and Melanchthon. 
Not only that, but they trace back the doctrine on the so- 
called "monastic baptism/' in their sense, to St. Thomas him- 
self, as the first who spoke of it. Not to break the thread of 
the present account, I shall set up an investigation farther 
below, apropos of the discussion on "monastic baptism," and 
now hasten on to the succeeding doctors of Catholic teaching. 

The preceptor of St. Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great, 
wrote his treatise "De adhaerendo Deo," after the death of 
his great disciple. He begins it with the words : "The end 
of Christian perfection is charity, by means of which one is 
attached to God. And to this attachment by means of 
charity, every one, if he desires to attain salvation, is in duty 
hound. It is effected by keeping the commandments and by 
union with the will of God. Thus is everything excluded that 
is contrary to the essence and the habit of charity, namely 
mortal sin." Religious, he continues, pledge themselves be- 
sides to the counsels, the more easily to attain the end; for, 
obeying them, they shut out that which hinders the act and 
the ardor of love.*^" As we see, Albert the Great moves 
whollj' along the line of thought of his disciple, and there 
is no need of its further analysis. Let us therefore pass on 
to contemporary Franciscans. 

St. Bonaventure teaches that all the commandments, and 
the counsels as well are referred to the fulfillment and observ- 
ance of charity, as described by St. Paul. The vow of re- 
ligion places one in the state of perfection, as assisting in 
the exercise of perfect charity, and in its maintenance and> 
full realization.**' The religious life is a better life**^ on ac- 

*26De adhaerendo Deo, c. 1 (In opp. XXXVII, p. 523, ed. Paris, 1898). 
On this see extensive account in E. Michael, "Gesch. des deutsch. Volkes," 
III, 144, 247. 

*2TApol. pauperum c. 3 n. 3: "Omnia tam praecepta quam consilia refer- 
untur ad caritatls impletionem et observantiam, quam describit Apostolus 
1, ad Timoth. 1, 5 : Caritas est finis praecepti * * * " ; n. 14 : "Religionis 
votum in statum perfectionis collocat, tamquam adminiculans ad perfectae 
virtutis exercitium, custoditionem et complementum" (Opp. ed. Quaracchi, 
VIII, 24.5, 248). 

*28 Dec. Grat. C. Clerici. c. 19. qu. 1 : "melior vita"- 


count of its more appropriate means to the end, which con- 
duce to greater assimilation to Christ, wherein precisely the 
perfection of the way (to eternal life) consists. Nothing 
makes one more like Christ than the observance of the vows 
of continency, poverty, and obedience."" 

The older contemporary and fellow-religious, David von 
Augsburg, dedicated his "Formula novitiorum" to Berthold 
von Kegensburg, Avhen neither Thomas nor Bonaventure had 
given out a work. This book forms the first part of his large 
work, "De exterioris et interioris hominis compositione sec. 
triplicem statum libri tres,"^^° whose purpose it was to train 
the true Franciscan and the true religious generally. The 
immense number of manuscript copies^^^ proves that the 
work was in universal use. 

Now what ideal is set up to vicAV by David for the novice 
in the religious life? He immediately begins the first chap- 
ter with, "Wherefore didst thou enter the order?" "Perhaps 
not solely on account of God, in order that He (according to 
Gen. 15, 1) may be the reward of thy labor in eternity? Thou 
camest for the service of God, whom each of His creatures 
must serve." After enumerating the natural and super- 
natural benefits received from God and binding man to serve 
God more than the rest of His creatures are capable of do- 
ing, he concludes : "Behold how much we are bound to serve 
God more than all other creatures, and to love Him above all 
things Who has loved us above all creatures. "*^^ 

*29 4. Sent., dist. 38, a. 2. qu. 3 : "Perfectio consistit in assimilatione ad 
Christum niaxime, sicut dicit August, in libro de vera rel. (c. 16, n. 30; c. 41, 
n. 78) ; et quia in nullo tantum assimilatur liomo Ctiristo, siout in his (in 
triplici voto scil. continentiae, paupertatis et obedientiae)" etc. Cf. Apol. 
paup., c. 3, n. 4. 

*^'' Castigati et denuo editi a. PP. Collegii S. Bonaventurae. Quaracchi 
1899. On this celebrated doctor and for more extended account, see Michael, 
loc. cit. p. 133 sqq. 

■*3i In the edition mentioned, p. XX-XXXIV, no less than 370 manu- 
scripts, still existing in diflierent European libraries, are described. 

*32 Ibid., p. 3 sq. : "Primo semper debes considerare, ad quid veneris ad 
Religionem, et propter quid veneris. Propter quid enim venistif Nonne 
solummodo propter Deum, ut ipse fleret merces laboris tui in vita aeterna? 
Sicut ergo propter nullum alium venisti, ita propter nullum alium debes omit- 
tere bonum nee exemplo alicuius tepescere, quin studeasad id, ad quod venisti. 
Venisti enim ad servitutem dei, cui servire debet omnis creatura ipsius, quia 


There is, then, but one ideal of life, the love of God. But 
what about the counsels? According to David, their observ- 
ance does not transcend the fulfillment of the commandment 
of the love of God and of neighbor. For it is just his love 
for God that impels the good religious the more zealously 
to seek all that belongs to God. The counsels serve him 
so that, with more exact imitation of Christ, he may follow 
the teacher of all justice.^^^ 

It may be assumed as a matter of course that, in their 
"Quolibeta/' the opponents of the mendicant orders in the 
second half of the XIII century, the secular clergy and the 
professors of the University of Paris, Godfrey de Fontaines 
and Henry of Ghent, put forth no exaggerated ideas respect- 
ing the relation of the counsels to the commandments and 
that to them the religious was not the Christian. Neverthe- 
less they bear witness that this was not the view of the doc- 
tors of the religious orders. They determine the essence of 
the matter as does St. Thomas. To them also the counsels 
count only as more appropriate instruments for the attain- 
ment of the perfection of charity, which is only one and the 
same for all, according to which, therefore, no different states 
(of life) are to be distinguished.*" 

nihil habet nisi ab ipso ; et ideo debes ei dare totum, quod es et quod seis et 
potes. Et si omnia serviunt creatori suo pro omni posse suo, multo magis 
homo tenetur ei servire, quem non solum creavit sicut cetera, sed insuper 
intellectu decoravit, libero arbitrlo nobilitavit, mundi dominum constituit, 
sibi similem fecit, naturam eius assumsit, verbo et exemplo proprio eum in- 
struxit, proprio sanguine suo de morte aeterna redemit, Spiritum sanctum ei 
infudit, camera suam ei in cibum tradidit, curam eius habet sicut mater par- 
vuli filii sui et aeternam hereditatem ei dare disposuit. Ecce, quantum nos 
tenemur servire Deo prae ceteris creaturis et diligere super omnia eum, qui 
nos prae omnibus creaturis amavit." 

*33 Ibid., p. 229 : "Caritatis del secundus gradus potest esse, cum homo 
voluntate pleniori et affectu ferventiori non solum communia contentus est 
praecepta servare * * * sed etiam ad omnia quae dei sunt studiosus est et 
voluntarius. * * * Hoc proprle est religiosorum bonorum, qui non solum 
praecepta dei, sed etiam consilia ipsius implere et ipsum specialiter imitando 
sequi deliberant omnia iustitiae doctorum Dominum Jesum Christum." See 
also Michael, III, 137 sq. 

<'^ Thus Godfrey de Fontaines in his "Quol." 12"™ ( Ms. Burghes. 121, fol. 
140 in the Vatican Library) : Quantum ad ea, quae per se et essentialiter ad 
perfectionem pertinent, non potest poni differentia inter status, nee unus alio 
perfectlor est. Sed quia allqua sunt instrumentaliter et dispositive faclentla 
ad perfectionem, In quibus magna diversitas Invenltur, ille status, potest 


Godfrey's preceptor, Henry of Ghent, expresses Mmself 
very clearly on this subject. His fundamental idea is wholly 
that of St. Thomas. "A state" (of life), he writes, is one 
thing, "perfection" another, and "a state of perfection" still 
another. "State" (of life) dominates that manner of living 
in which one wishes to remain and to live his life, or even 
to which he hinds himself. Appealing to the authority of 
St. Gregory, he sees "perfection" in charity. According to 
one's possession of it, one is more perfect or less perfect, for 
charity, according to the Apostle, is the bond of perfection, 
the form of the virtues. On the authority of Cassian he 
calls all the other works of virtue instruments of perfection. 
"State of perfection" does not mean the final perfection of 
a thing in its completion, but rather a constant, persevering 
manner of life, in which one can reach perfection as is pos- 
sible here, or practice it, once it has been reached. Hence 
such a manner of life must necessarily be furnished with 
means to attain or to practice such perfection. Eeligious 
are constituted in the state of perfection to be attained 
("status perfectionis asquirendae" ) ; bishops and, according 
to Henry, parochial priests, in the state of perfection to be 
practiced, ( "status perfectionis exercendae" ) . We are not here 
concerned with the latter, but only with religious. 

To the state of perfection to be acquired, continues the 
teaching of Henry of Ghent, some instruments for attaining 
perfection are essential, some accidental. The former are 
the three vows. All other instrumental means are accidental 
and differ in different orders. Of these non-essential instru- 
ments, some consist in the removal (in negatione et amotione) 
of that which prevents (prohibet) the attainment of perfec- 
tion. Among these are classed fasting, solitude, etc. Others 
consist in the establishment and maintenance (in positione 
et conservatione) of that by which perfection is attained. 
These include prayer, contemplation, meditation of Holy 

dlci perfectior quantum ad talia, qui includlt huiusmodi instrumenta magis 
congruentia ad hoe, quod per ea melius in liiis in quibus perfectio per se 
consistit, posslt se aliquis exercere et gradum perfectiorem attingere." These 
are precisely the orders instituted for the sake of following the counsels. 
See also below, Chapter 9, B. 


Writ, and tKe like. Those instruments, however, which are 
essential to the state of perfection, consist only in the re- 
moval of the hindrance to the attainment of perfection, i. e., 
perfect charity. By the three vows, then, one renounces 
the threefold good Avhich in any way can increase and foster 
cupidity and therefore diminish charity. Now if the previ- 
ously mentioned instruments are accidental to the state of 
perfection, they are nevertheless essential for the attainment 
of perfection, for it is by fasting, prayer, contemplation, and 
so on, that the possession of perfection is wrought, (agitur 
ut perf ectio habeatur ) . 

From this, Henry draws the conclusion that there may 
be and are some very perfect who are not in the state of 
perfection, whilst in that same state there may be and are 
those who are very imperfect.*'^ For it is not the external 
means, but rather is it the degree of the love of God and of 
neighbor, the purity and strength of the inner disposition 
towards virtue, that determines the measure of essential 

But v\^as there perhaps a tradition in the Augustinian 
Order of Hermits that the religious is the most perfect 
Christian? Quite the contrary! One of Luther's own Ger- 
man felloAV-religious, Henry von Friemar, distinguishes, 1334, 
very clearly between the religious state and the hermit state. 
In the former, one strives after the attainment of perfection. 
It is a school of perfection, a "status perfectionis acquir- 
endae." In the hermitical state, perfection should already 
be possessed, etc.*" 

*3= Quol. VII, q. 28 (et Venetiis, 1613, I, 4.31" sqq.). He also treats on 
subject in "Quol." II, qu. 14 (fol. 66). In "Quol." XII, qu. 29, he shows with 
reason that every lay person and not only a religious, is bound to the high- 
est degree of charity, to be ready to suffer martyrdom for God and for His 
house; the obligation of the religious is greater, (not on the ground of his 
vows but because of his charity). Cf. also the next chapter. 

•*36 gee Mausbach, loc. cit. p. 114. 

437 Tractatus de origine et progressu Ord. fratr. Heremit. et vero ac prop- 
rio titulo eiusdem compilntus per frat. Henricum de Alamania, sacre pagine 
professorem, pro directione simplicium non habentium plenam notitiam pre- 
dictorum Ms. Virdun. n. 41, fol. 147 : "Licet status religionis communlter sit 
status perfectionis acgvirende, status tamen anachoritarura sicut et episco- 
porum est status perfectionis acquisite. Quod patet per hoc, quod ille status 


B. The German Mystics in Comparison with Luthee. 

But perhaps Tauler, beyond all others Luther's favorite 
author, put forth a doctrine different from that of St. 
Thomas? Not in the least! He, too, recognizes no other 
ideal of life than the love of God. To it, all in baptism have 
pledged themselves by solemn oath. All laws of the orders 
aim more perfectly to attain this end. The founders of the 
orders never intended anything else. "Dear children," he 
preaches to some nuns, "this did we all vow to God and 
swear under oath, to love and to have all affection for God, 
when we first foreswore the world,*^* and swore to Him to 
serve Him, and to love and to have all affection for Him, and 
to serve Him until death. From this oath not all the priests 
and bishops who were ever born can free us, and it binds 
us more than any other oath. * • * This it is that our Order 
and all our laws direct and intend." Only the Dominican 
Order? No. "For this are all orders and all spiritual life, 
and the discipline and laws of all monasteries, and the man- 
ners of all hermitages and of every kind of life, whatever 
they seem or are called; for this are all our laws made and 
ordained." Wherefore? "That we love our God alone with 
a pure love, and that He have His nuptials in us, and that we 
have with Him an untroubled depth containing nothing but 
God purely. And the more all works and ways serve thereto, 
the more praiseworthy and holy and useful are they." That, 
he continues in his preaching, was also said by St. Dominic 
in reply to the question why he had prescribed all (his) laws, 

non congruit cuilibet honimi, sed solum homini perfecto ; nee ad lllura statum 
assumendum homines moventur ex humano consUio, vel etlam ex proprio 
arbitrio, sicut moventur ad sumendum statum religionis, sed solum ad hoc 
moventur ex spiritual! instinctu Spiritus Sancti. Et ideo Jeronymus in epis- 
tola ad Demetriadem virginem et etiam Rusticum monachum dissuadet istura 
statum hermiticum assumere a convolantibus immediate a seculo, nisi prius 
in religione sint bene exercitati in actibus virtuosis, et hoc propter excellen- 
tiam status solitarii, qui non congruit hominibus imperfectis, eo quod soli- 
tarii vehementius per insidlas diabolicas temptentur et per consequens citius 
precipitarentur, nisi essent perfecte in virtuosis exercitiis solidati." The 
tractate concludes, fol. 150, with the words : "Compilatus fuit iste tractatus 
anno Dom. MCCCXXXIIII." On the different Henrys of Friemar, see Char- 
tularium tJniversitatis Paris. II, p. 536, not 5. 

*38 "Do wir die welt allererst verswuorent und verlobent." 


and "he spoke: that there might be true godly love and hu- 
mility, and poverty of spirit and of goods too. This is the 
reason: To love God with a whole, pure heart and nothing 
besides, and that out of brotherly love we love one another 
as ourselves, and in an humble, prostrate spirit under God, 
etc." This is the reason and the essence of all orders, says 
Tauler further: "This is the intent and the reason, and this 
it is that we have more vowed to God, and sworn to Him 
and owe Him. If we keep not this order, we therefore surely 
violate it; but if we keep this, we therefore have the order, 
the reason, the essential order, which our father meant and 
all Fathers, be it St. Benedict, St. Augustine, St. Bernard, 
St Francis. They all mean this essential order, and to it 
all external directions and laws point."*^® Thus it is under- 
stood that, according to Tauler, for all that or rather just 
for that reason, Jesus Christ is "our rule and modeler."**" 

To Tauler, morever, the religious state in itself was su- 
perior to that of the world, not on account of a different 
ideal of life, which, as we have just seen, is the same for 
all — (Love God above all things and thy neighbor as thyself) 
— but because its way to it is higher, namely "the ways of the 
virtues, as chastity of the body, poverty, and obedience."**^ 
This, then, is wholly according to the mind of St. Bernard 
and St. Thomas, and even of Luther himself before his apos- 
tasy.**^ To this way God calls some and that "of his own 
free, pure love apart from all deserving."**' "That this coun- 
sel of God in this vocation may be rightly and well obeyed, 
the Church on the suggestion of the Holy Ghost has formed 
spiritual gatherings and orders, in which one may follow the 
counsel of God. And these have many laws and they all 
bear upon that."^** "Truly, those who come into a monastery 
in an approved order, they get into what is surest, quite un- 

^39 After a copy of the Strasburg ms. which was destroyed by fire. The 
sermon is in the Frankfurt edition I, 229. 

**<> After "Codex Vindobon." 2739, fol. 121, Frankfurt edition, I, 233. 

«! Frankfurt ed., II, 254. 

**2 gee above, Chapter I. 

*i3 Frankfurt ed., I, 232. 

<** Ibid. II, 254, after the Strasburg ms. 


like one's own ordinances.""^ But Tauler does not forget 
the admonition: "Let everyone look before himself, how he 
may securely walk upon this way and so truly follow the 
invitation of Christ, that he may not be found without the 
wedding garment on the day of the inspection, lest he be 
cast into exterior darkness.""' "This wedding garment is 
true, pure, divine love and truly to have an affection for 
God. This shuts out self and alien love and to love some- 
thing other than God.""' With all the preceptors, Tauler 
also says that it is not enough to wear the habit and to be 
in the order. "God has given all things to be a way to Him- 
self; He alone and nothing else, neither this nor that, is to be 
its end. Do you fancy it is a mock? No, indeed! The or- 
der does not make you holy. Neither my cape, nor my ton- 
sure, nor my monastery, nor my holy company, none of these 
make holy. If I am to become holy, there must be holy, 
single, unoccupied ground. To say many times: 'Lord, 
Lord,' to pray, to read many beautiful words, understand 
much, be of good appearance — no, no, that will not do, here 
there is something else needed. If thou deceive thyself, the 
harm is thine and not mine, with your wordly hearts and 
spirits and your vanity in spiritual show."*** And why? 
Because the means of the order must have the interior, true, 
pure mind as their subsoil, the sincere, entire oblation to 
God, the ideal of life for all; otherwise all is trumpery and 
imposture, show without substance. 

Therefore are such religious as neglect themselves and 
bear only an outward semblance rebuked by Tauler. He 
points to the poor, simple folk and working people in the 
world, who, if they pursue their calling, make their way 

«5 Ibid. p. 118. 

*4e Frankfurt ed., II, 254. 

*^' Ibid., II, 287. After tlie Strasburg ms. as also the following passage. 

"s Ibid., Ill, 104. Another time, II, 202 sq. : "tu alle die cappen und 
habit an die du wilt : du tuegest denne das du von rehte tuon solt, es enhilfEet 
dich nut." Similarly, I, 237 : "Let yourself be baptized a thousand times 
and put on a hundred cowls — it will avail you nothing as long as you wish 
to do what is not right." 


better than tlie former."' He shows that "married people 
in the world and many widows far outrun these seemers.*^" 

Thus runs the Catholic doctrine, and at the turn of the 
twelfth century we hear: "Not the habit makes the monk, 
but profession,"*^^ that is, as was then read in the form of 
profession: the obligation to a "conversio morum," a real, 
true change of morals. For this reason St. Bernard says 
that the mere outward change without the inner is nothing. 
It lacks truth and virtue. It bears only the semblance of 
godliness.*'' And it was St. Benedict who in his day said 
of false monks that, by their tonsure, they are loiown to lie 
to God.*^^ It required the full Lutheran hatred towards the 
Church to cast the all-including common reproach upon the 
religious, monks and nuns : "they came trolling along and 
want to be saved by their order, their cowls and tonsures, 
and thereby to obtain forgiveness of their sins."*" Charges of 
that kind were the ones Luther pronounced from the time 
of his warfare against the orders. His followers, particularly 
the apostates, echoed them after him, and the lie is believed 
to this day.*''' That there were religious who only wore 

"^ Ibid. II, 254, after the Strasburg m.?. : "Wissent, das manig mensche 
mitten in der welte ist und man und l^int, und sitzent etteliche menschen iind 
machet sine schuche, und ist sin meinunge ze gotte, sicli und sine l5;int generen ; 
und ettelich arm mensche In eime dorffe get misten, und sin brotelin mit 
grosser arbeit gewinne {sic!); und disen mag also geschelien ; sie siillent 
hundert werbe has gevarn, und volgent einveltil^liche irme ruoffe. Und daz 
ist doch ein lileglich dinge! Dise stont in der vorthe gotz, in demiitilfeit, in 
irme armute und volgent irme ruoffe einvaltiljlichen. Armer, blinder, geist- 
licher mensche, sich fiir dich und nim dines ruffes war von innen mit allem 
flisse, war dich got haben welle und volge deme, und gang nut irre in dem 

*50 Ibid. II, 7. 

451 "Monachum non facit habitus, sed professio regularis." Decret. Ill, 
31, 13. As much as a century earlier, .Tune 25, 1080, the Synod of Brisen 
reproaches Gregory VII : "Ha'bitu monachus videre, et professione non esse." 
Mon. germ, hist. Leg. sect. IV, t. 1. p. 119, 8. 

''■"In cap. .leiunii serm. 2, n. 2 (Migne, Patr. 1., t. 183, p. 172). 

453 Reg., c. 1 : "mentiri Deo per tonsuram noscuntur." 

«4 Er. 36, 269. Similarly AVeim. XV, 765 for the year 1524. 

455 Thus, e.g., O. Clemen, "Beitrage zur Reformations geschichte," I, 
(1900), p. 53, finds "a just understanding of the fundamental thought of the 
reformation" and naturally approves it — in a small work by the apostate 
Franciscan, Johann Schwan, wherein he brings forward nothing but Luther's 
calumnies against the orders, and especially justification by vows, cowls, 
tonsures, ropes, or girdles. (See p. 55). 


the habit, the tonsure, and the girdle, and were content 
therewith, concealing a wordly, sinful heart beneath — who 
will deny that? I have frequently referred to the fact. Why, 
one Avould have to deny away the whole of Lutherdom, which 
originally was recruited by precisely such depraved members 
of the religious orders! Did not Luther himself say of his 
first apostles that they had entered the monastery for their 
belly's and their carnal freedom's sake and that they again 
abandoned it for no other reason ?*^^ And such religious in 
name only were found in all the orders which gave its in- 
crease to Lutherdom. They were the rabble from whom, 
as the Franciscan Alfeldt writes, God had set the orders 
free.*" They were the ones of whom the last chapter of 
the Hermits in Germany, on June 8, 1522, openly confessed 
that "they crowded the land like irrational beasts or like 
wild runners, belly-servers, undisciplined and drones, who 
seek themselves, not God, the flesh, not the spirit."*^* 

If ever there was one, it was Luther who should have 
refrained from charges which fell most thicldy upon his 
fellows and followers, but in no wise affected the upright 
religious, whom however he had wanted to hit. So when 
the former Augustinian prior, Johann Lang, twice wived 
before Luther took his Kate, once preached that, according 
to Catholics, there was justification in the tonsure and cowl, 
his former fellow-religious, von Usingen, replied: "Who can 
keep from laughing when he hears that cowl and tonsure 
made the monk?"*^" He was entirely right, for he knew 
with St. Jerome*^" and with all the other teaching authorities 

*5e See above, Introduction p. 23. 

*5^ Ibid., p. 10. 

*5s In Reindell, "Doktor Wenzeslaus Linck aus Colditz," I, 281, 7 propo- 

*'9 In the Sermo "quem fecit in nupciis Culsameri sacerdotis an. 1525," 
Lang says, among other things : "Si legis opera, per Deum mandata, non 
justificant, quid cucullus et rasura praestabit?" Usingen replies: "Quis 
sibi a risu temperare poterit, quando audit, cucullum et rasuram facere 
monachum?" Bartholomaeus de Usingen, "De falsis prophetis." * * * 
Contra factionem Lutheranam. Erphurdie 1525, fol. H. iij. 

*60Ep. 125 (ad Rusticum), n. 7: "Sordidae vestes candidae mentis iii- 
dicia sint ; vilis tunica contemptum saeculi probet." 


of the Church that the habit is only a sign of the inner 

But Luther goes farther, making the blunt assertion: 
"Open the books of the more recent theologians and you will 
see that, to them, to serve God is nothing else than fleeing 
into the solitary wilderness, abandoning political or economi- 
cal offices, and burying one's self in a monastery."*" What 
divine service is, the monks and other preceptors of the Pope 
did not know, otherwise they would not have commanded 

*«i That the change of sarb and the putting on of the habit was but tlie 
exterior sii/n, tlie symbol, of an interior change to talte place in the one re- 
ceiving the habit and much more in the one making profession — this idea was 
expressed everywhere at receptions and professions in the Order of the 
Hermits of St. Augustine. The laying aside of the old garb symbolizes the 
putting off of the old man and the putting on the habit symbolizes the putting 
on the new man, fashioned according to God. In chapter 18 of the Consti- 
tution of the Hermits of St. Augustine, we read in the blessing of the cowl, 
that the Fathers wore this as the "indicium innocentiae et humilitatis." 
Thereafter "prior exuat novitium habitum novitialem, dicendo hunc versum : 
Exuat te dominus veterem hominem cum actihus suis. Amen. Consequenter 
induat eum veste professorum dieens: Induat te dominus novum hoinin-em, 
qui secundum deum ereatus est in justicia ct sanctilate veritatis. Amen." 
This custom obtains more or less in every Order. St. Thomas Aquinas styles 
the habit, the "sign of profession," 2. 2. qu. 187, a. 6 ad 3. So also does his 
contemporary, the Abbot of Monte Cassino, Bernard I, in his "Speculum 
monachorum" (ed. Walter), p. 58, say, habit and tonsure are but signs and 
shadows of religion, not the substance itself. If there were any subjects 
stupid and evil enough to believe "cucullatim se non posse damnari," (see A. 
Dressel, "Vier Dokuraente aus Eomischen Archiven," Leipzig, 1843, p. 74, 
"Tadel des Domlnickaners Kleindienst in Dillingen," they were themselves to 
blame and were severely reprimanded by their Orders. It was not the fault 
of the Church or the Order that the misconception should occur, any more 
than that they were responsible for the extravagant statement of Bartholo- 
mew of Pisa in "Liber Conformitatum" : "Nullns frater in habitu fratrum 
Minorum est damnatus." Kaspar Schatzgeyer answers the unbridled Franz 
Lambert by saying that the Franciscans hold this book aprocryphal and 
concludes : "Tu ergo totum Ordinem ob nonnullorum sive indiscretionem, 
sive Insipientiam praecipitabis in ruinam? Si hoc licet, quis in ecclesia 
status erit a calumnia inmunis?" (De vita Christiana, tr. 3us, 10a impostura). 
Subsequently he would much better have been able to cite Luther himself, 
who in 1524 said to the Orlamilnder : "If anything were to be discarded 
by reason of abuse, you would needs have to pour away all the wine and 
kill all the women." Weim. XV, 345. See above p. 72 seq. Let Protestants 
note well this saying of their Reformer. 

<«2 Enarr. in Ps. II., in 0pp. exeg. lat. XVIII, q. 98 : "Consule recen- 
tium theologorum libros, et videbis servire deo eis nihil esse aliud quam 
fugere in eremum, deserere politica aut oeconomica officia, et sese abdere in 


(jussissent) that one should enter a monastery and give up 
public and home life."^ According to the Pope's teaching, 
it is positively necessary to become a religious in order to be 
justified."* Thus Luther, but are his words true? There was 
never a man, not even Luther himself, ventured to put this 
reproach upon the great theologians. But is not his utter- 
ance verified at least among those who practically influenced 
the people and who still at the same time were upright re- 
ligious or priests? Let us see. 

What does Tauler say about this matter? "Go not ac- 
cording to either this one or that one, which is an especially 
blind proceeding. As unlike as people are, so unlike are also 
the ways to God. What would be one man's life would 
be another one's death; and as the natures and complexions 
of people are, does their grace often adjust itself. Attend 
above all things to what thy calling is; pursue that to which 
God has called thee."^^' Even in respect to the renunciation 
of all things, voluntary poverty, he preaches: "Let a man 
therefore so far accept it as he finds it a help to himself 
and a furtherance to the freedom of his spirit. The spirit 
of many a man is purer and more single when he has the 
necessities of life than when he would have to seek them 
every day."*"* But that is what Tauler says, it may be ob- 
jected. Quite true, but on this subject he expressly ap- 
peals to the authority of "the masters, particularly 
Thomas."**' Here again Tauler comes back to the universal 

*«3 Ibid, p. 100. See also below, chapter 10, A. 

*84 "If now you wish to escape hell, sin, God's anger, law, and all that, 
do not do your work as such was taught by the Pope, that one should be- 
come a member of an order and be devout" (I.e., be justified). Erl. 48, 4. 

*65 Frankfurt ed. II, 281, after the Strasburg ms. — Kohler in "Luther 
und die Kirchengeschichte," I, 267, writes with reference to this passage: 
"Even the specific ( ! ) , Luther-like, • * * emphasized high valuation of 
the knowledge of a God-given vocation is not alien to Tauler." What Luther 
appropriated from the Church is represented by the Luther-researchers as 
something specifically Lutheran ! 

^fs Frankfurt ed.. Ill, 132. 

*67 Cod. g. Monac. 627, fol. 219a : Cod. theol. 263, fol. 201* of the Landes- 
bibl. in Stuttgart, say expressly : "Sprechen die meister und mit sunderheit 
Thomas" ; the Strasburg ms., Stuttgart, 155, fol. 234, Ms. Berol. germ. 68 
say only : "Spricht Meister Tomas." 


ideal of life. It were true poverty, if "God were so mly 
dear to a man, that nothing could be a hindrance to him."**' 

To Tauler as to every Christian preceptor, the Christian 
state of life in the world is as much founded on the call of 
God, or, if one will, on an order of God, as the religious life, 
although he also holds the latter to be the higher state. "But 
not all are called to it. Nor should any one take this ill 
of God. He is the Lord and may do or leave what He wUls. 
It applies to all "that we become conformed unto His only 
begotten Son and become His beloved children," some in a 
less degree, some in a greater.**' Eeligious "are called spir- 
itual because they have one will and are uniform with God, 
and are united with Him; but to that are all Christians 
bound, who should be kept to wishing nothing against God's 
will."*" To serve God, i. e., to live like a Christian, it is not 
just necessary to enter a monastery. Christian life in the 
world, "in the commandments of God and of Holy Church," 
a life which culminates "in the fear of God and in the love 
of God and of neighbor, is and is called a right Christian life 
and (that of) a Christian man. This is a good norm and 
this life belongs without doubt to everlasting life. To this 
norm God has invited and called divers people, and He de- 
mands nothing more of them; and it might well happen that 
the same people lived so purely on this way as to fare into 
life everlasting without purgatory."*" From this alone it 
follows that life outside a monastery is not to be looked upon 
as an imperfect life, for God calls no one to what is im- 
perfect. But, according to Tauler, is not the religious, as 
against the simple Christian, the perfect Christian? No, he 
says, appealing to Thomas Aquinas: "Religious are bound 
in duty, said Master Thomas, to live and to strive after per- 
fection,"*" but not to be perfect. 

^«8 Ibid. 

469 Frankfurt ed., p. 253. See also "Kirchenlexicon," 2 ed., XII, 1077. 

*■'« Ibid., p. 45. 

4" Frankfurt ed., p. 143. 

^''^ Ibid., p. 45 ; "Sie sint schuldig, sprach melster Thomas, zu lebende 
und ramende noch vollekomenheit." After Strasburg ms. 


The chief thing is always that every one endeavor to ful- 
fill the will of God and to yield obedience to His call,*'^ in 
respect, too, to the works and offices in every state. With 
this Henry Suso is in full accord. "According to my un- 
derstanding, to a Grod-seeldng soul there is nothing of all 
things so right desirously to be known as that it might know 
what is God's will in its regard." "God moves immovably 
as an object of tender love. He gives haste to hearts, and 
speed to longing, and stands an immovable end, which all 
beings await and desire. 'But the course and impulse is un- 
like" etc.*'* The exterior without the inner is not enough 
for Suso either. And although he admits that it goes hard 
with those in the world because of their troubles, ("for one 
can hardly escape dust in a mill and a scorching in fire"), 
nevertheless he cries out to the religious: "Yet you must 
know that, with all their troubles, I have found people in 
such purity and perfection that religious might well feel 
ashamed of themselves,"*" those religious namely who have 
wordly hearts concealed under the habit of their order. 
They are the greater part, although such people, who shine 
like gleaming stars in the darlmess, "are yet found in great 
numbers in every state, in every order, in every age and of 
both sexes."*'* Suso's maxim applies to all: "Place thyself 
in the divine will in all things, in thy having, in thy want, 
in something, in nothing, in comfort, in discomfort. But the 
most lovable examplar of all (Christ), let Him be ever evi- 
dent to thee in the bottom of thy heart and soul."*" 

According to Ruusbroek as well, as according to every 
Christian doctor, Christ's life and rule is the foundation of 
all the orders, of the life of all the saints, of all the ex- 
ercises of the Church, in the sacrifices, in the sacraments, and 
in all good manners of living. Christian life, he says further, 
is founded on Christ and on His life, and His life is His 

473 Very beautifully touched on Ibid., p. 197, sq., 284. 

*'* Liber epistolarum in Cod. theol. 67 of the Stuttgart "Landesbiblio- 
thek," fol. 53 sq. Cf. also the writings of B. Henry Seuse, edited by H. 
Denifle, I, 615 sq. 

*'= After "Cod. Vindobon." 2739. Also Diepenbrock's edition, p. 411. 

478 "Horologium Sapientiae," ed. J. Strange, (Coloniae 1861), p. 48. 

*^^ Ms. cited and Diepenbrock, p. 410. 


rule, and without His rule no one stall be retained.*" TMs 
rule prescribes for all that they shall keep the command- 
ments of God in right obedience and do God's dearest will 
in all things. "To love God and to have affection for Him, 
to bless, thank, and praise Him, to honor, invoke, and adore 
Him in spirit and in truth — that is the rule of all human 
heings."*''^ This it is that soon thereafter Theodoric Engel- 
hus sets up in his rule for the laity as the first virtue : "that 
thou boldest Him dear, that thou praisest, servest, and thank- 
est Him, Who created thee for His praise and gave thee 
soul and body," etc.**° It is the foundation laid in almost 
the same words a hundred years later by St. Ignatius in his 
Spiritual Exercises.*^^ All therefore have the same ideal 
of life. But Christ in His rule only counseled some things. 
Those are the three Evangelical counsels which one can fol- 
low, not of necessity, but of free will. Far from their lead- 
ing away from Christ, true religious recognize in Christ 
"their abbot and their King, with whom they live."**^ "But 
does the outward habit make the true monk? Oh no, rather 
are there many who have vowed to live according to the 
counsels of God, but who live according to neither coun- 
sel nor commandment. The interior habit, that of virtue, 
has largely disappeared. What wonder, if it has already 
been begun to make the external habit like a garment of the 
world ?"*^^ Like all the other preceptors, he too finds no 
utility in the outer without the inner. "All who serve the 
flesh and the world and despise God's service, in whatever 
state, in whatever order they are, or whatever habit they 
wear, cannot please God." One is reminded of Tauler when 
he continues: "Dignities, religious state, priesthood are of 
themselves neither blessed nor holy, for the evil and the good 

478werken van .Tan van Ruusbroec, t. v. (Gent 1863). "Dat boec van 
den tvi'aelf beghinen," c. 69, p. 205. 
"« Ibid. p. 206. 

*8o Edited by Langenberg, "Quellen und Forschungen zur Gesch. der 
deutschen Mystik" (1902), p. 76 sq. 
*8i See farther below. 
*82 Ruusbroek, loc. clt., c. 59, p. 163. 
*83 Ibid., c. 01, p. 177 sq. 


receive tliem alike; but those who have accepted them and 
do not live accordingly, are the more damned."^^* 

The booklet of the Following of Christ, widely current 
even in Luther's time both tn print and in manuscript, was 
written in Euusbroek's spirit. One finds it in all, even 
in Protestant hands. They can convince themselves that the 
author traces the religious life back to an unmerited call of 
God.*^^ It is no small thing to dwell in monasteries, he says, 
but only he is blessed who there lives well and there happily 
ends. The habit and tonsure makes but little alteration, but 
the moral change and the entire mortification of the passions 
make a true religious.*^^ And yet the religious has no other 
ideal of life than one whom God has not called to that state. 
For the one as for another, the commandment and end of 
life is the service of God, the love of God above all things, 
and to serve Him alone.*" The religious life only lightens 
the attainment of the same. God must be the last aim and 
end for all.*'' 


The famed Gerhard (or Gerrit) Groote was also one 
who stood high in Luther's esteem.*'' All the world knows 
how powerful Groote' s influence was on the religious life of 
his time. Now what did he teach in respect to the ideal of 
life, in respect to perfection and the orders? I choose a 
work written in the language of the people and addressed 
to women from their midst, the Beguines. Groote devel- 
oped his views wholly after the Summa of Thomas Aquinas, 
which he repeatedly adduces as his reference and cites 

*^* Ibid., p. 179. 

*85 imit. Christi, III, 10. 

*86Ibid., I, 17. 

<"Ibid., Ill, 10; I, 1. Cf. Deut. 6, 13: "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy 
God, and shalt serve Him only." 10, 20: "and shalt serve him only." 

*S8 Ibid., Ill, 9. 

*89 In his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, c. 5, fol. 167, Luther 
finds that none other so well explains the nature of original sin as Groote: 
"Hanc originalis peccati apud nullum inveni tam claram resolutionem, quam 
apud Gerardum Groot in tractatulo suo Beatiis Vir, ubi loquitur non ut 
temerarius philosophus sed ut sanus theologus." On this, see below in next 


with accuracy. According to Groote, as according to all tlie 
doctors, tlie essential thing in perfection out of love for 
God is the inner conversion from earthly things, the heart's 
renunciation of money and goods and of carnal lust and 
iielf-will, for therein consists the right union with God. To 
attain this it is not necessary to search for the monasteries. 
Perfection of charity and perfect communion with God, he 
states, appealing to St. Thomas, (2.2., qu 184, a. 4), are also 
found outside the enclosed monasteries, in people who at 
times are poorer and who have more renounced their will 
before God than depraved religious in monasteries. For 
this he also refers to Suso's work, already cited, "Horologium 
Sapientiae,'"'" where he treats of religious who bear only the 
outer semblance, but whose hearts are far removed from God. 

Look into whatever author of that time one will, and one 
meets everywhere the same doctrine. Groote rather restricted 
than exaggerated the idea of the religious state. On this 
one need expend no further words. 

Groote's contemporary, the Carthusian Henry von Coes- 
feld, presented no other doctrine in his works than that of 
his predecessors. "Charity is the root, form, completion, 
and bond of perfection. * » * To the perfection of charity, 
there belong essentially the commandments of charity. The 
counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience are only instru- 
ments/' and so far are there different degrees distinguished 
in the perfection of charity.*" The ideal of life remains the 
same for all. 

To whom, then, can Luther have appealed, when he as- 
serts that "the monks had said, if any one donned the cowl, 
he would become as pure and as innocent as if he just came 
from baptism?"*"^ Either to the most profligate or to the 

^lo De Simonia ad beguttas, in R. Langenburg's "Quellen und Forschun- 
gen zur Geschichte der deiitsclien Mystik," p. 27 sq., 31 sq. ; also p. 49-51. 

*'' See thLs and other pas.sages in Latin in Landmann's "Das Predigt- 
wesen in Westfalen in der letzten zeit des Mittelalters" (1900), p. 179. 

*^2 Erl. 40, 165. A passage occurring in the "Tischreden," ed Porste- 
mann, II, 187, n. 53, is genuinely Lutheran : "How one is to become devout 
(i.e., be justified). A barefooted monk says: put on a gray cloak, wear a 
rope and a tonsure. A preaching friar says : put on a black mantle. A 
papist : do this or that work, hear mass, pray, fast, give alms, etc., each 
one what he thinks to be the means by which he may be saved. But a 


greatest simpletons, to the excrescences, -whom in his hatred 
toward the Church Luther was barefaced enough to repre- 
sent as the true and only type. Against such, however, 
there was immediate action taken in their monasteries and 
orders,"^ to which they were a cross and an injury, as be- 
came evident at the beginning of Lutheranism. Now if all 
the founders of orders and the doctors of the Church regard 
the inner disposition as the essential thing in entering an 
order, putting on the habit, and making profession — the thing 
without which the habit alone makes no living being holy — 
can the habit, according to their view, have made the dying 
or the dead holy?"* 

Let us go a step farther. Let us take a glance again at 
such writers of that time as were anything but favorable to 
the orders^ especially the mendicant ones. Notwithstanding 
that Peter d' Ailli gave evidence of no great sympathy for 
them, and was overstrict in respect to entrance into the or- 
ders, he does not depart by a hair's breadth from Thomas 
Aquinas in the doctrine of the ideal of life and of the rela- 
tion of the monastic life to it. According to him, too, the 

Christian says : Only by faith in Christ shall you become devout, just, and 
blessed, out of pure grace, without any work or service of yours whatever. 
Now compare which is the true justice." 

*83 One of the most interesting examples to the point for me lias always 
been the Franciscan, Alvarus Pelagius, (De planctu ecclesiae, cod. Vat. lat. 
4280, pars 2a. c. 167, fol. 322, 325'' sq. ; in the edition Venetiis, 1.560, lib. 2, c. 
78, fol. 214'' sq.), who took hypocrites in religion, especially among the men- 
dicants, namely the Franciscans, severely to task. I shall return to this 
subject in the second volume in my introduction to the rise of Lutherdom. 

*^* On this subject, Luther proceeds as he always does. He charges 
that the monks had often put monastic cloaks (or habits) on people on their 
death-bed, that they be buried in them. Cf. e.g., Erl. 40, 165. But lie sup- 
presses the preliminary condition, that those concerned must previously have 
become converted to God in true sorrow. If abuses occurred, and they 
did occur, Luther should but have remembered his own utterances on 
the subject of abuses, and he would have had to hold his peace. Besides, 
such abuses were rather of a prosaic kind and had nothing to do with faith. 
We perceive, namely, that, here and there, mendicant monks at times were 
not displeased to see, and sought to encourage, a wish in the dying to be 
buried in the habit, because they were then burled in the respective monas- 
tic cemeteries, which was not without advantage to the monasteries con- 
cerned. The thought that the habit effected salvation, lay remote. Simple, 
stupid, people do not make the rule in this case. Yet it was only such to 
whom Luther could refer. 


perfection of the Christian religion consists essentially in 
the commandments of the love of God and of neighbor. The 
specifically monastic part of it is only an instrument to its 
realization. Herein again everj-thing depends upon the inner 
disposition; for, he said, in many orders the essential is 
lost sight of, inasmuch as they have regard only for the ob- 
servance of the constitutions; or the essential is not observed 
as it ought to be. It frequently happens that one in a less 
perfect state becomes more perfect, and vice versa, as, for 
example, some religious are more perfect than many pre- 
lates and anchorets.*"' It is evident even from Ailli's ob- 
jections that he retains the distinction between different 
degrees of perfection. 

The subject is treated more diffusely by Gerson. He 
stands in fundamental agreement with his preceptor Ailli 
and with St. Thomas. "The perfection of human life con- 
sists in charity. No Christian is at liberty to deny this."*°^ 
"It is charity and its commandments that make up and per- 
fect the Christian life."*" The love of God is a matter of 

*^5 De ingressu religionis from the Cod. Bruxell. 21 106 in Tschackert, 
"Peter von Ailli" (1877), p. [52]: "Attendatur libertas religionis sub abbate 
Christo, et qui [a] in ea stat salus, sine transferendo se ad iugum constitu- 
tionum additarum, ijropter quas in multis religionibus fit irritum mandatum 
dei de dilectione dei et proximi, in quo stat essentialiter religionis christianae 
perfectio, in aliis solum instrumentaliter ; aut saltern hoc mandatum non 
ita quiete ab aliquibus et excellenter impletur propter excercitium corporalis 
servitii et similium. Stat enim frequenter, quod aliquis de imperfectiori statu 
fit perfectior et econtra, sicut quidam religiosi perfectiores sunt multis in- 
statu praelaturae existentibus aut multis solitariis." How little under- 
standing of such things prevails among Protestants is evidenced by the edi- 
tor of this vifork, when he puts an interrogation mark after "instrumentali- 
ter !" 

*8s De perfectione cordis, 0pp. Ill, p. 437. 

*S7 De consil. evangel., Opp. II, p. 671. This writing is certainly 
one of Gerson's earlier productions, done in the scholastic style. 
The doubt of Schwab (in his "Johnannes Gerson, p. 765, note 2) 
as to the genuineness of It is unfounded, as is evident from 
his arguments. The constant reference throughout to Thomas of Aquin, he 
says, is foreign to other works of Gerson's. But there is good reason for 
that. Here there is question of a subject-matter upon which precisely 
Thomas of Aquin wrote most extensively and solidly. All other writers refer 
to him on it. Why not also Gerson, particularly as a scholastic theologian? 
It also escaped Schwab that the work is poorly edited, as he might have 
learned from "the alleged saying of Christ, p. 671: "Neque enim, alt 
Christus, recte currltur, si, quo currendum est, nesciatur — a saying else- 


commandment. "All theologians are agreed tliat only tlie 
blessed wholly fulfill the commandment of charity, and there 
vas not one who aifirmed that the blessed thereby observed 
a counsel but rather that they fulfill a commandment." 
Gerson then repeats the teaching of St. Thomas that, in the 
love of God, there is not a certain measure falling under the 
commandment, whilst any excess comes under the counsel.*"* 
With Thomas, Gerson likewise draws conclusions about the 
counsels ; with him the result also runs that the vows are 
only relative means of perfection, "instruments by which the 
essential perfection of the Christian life is more easily and 
speedily attained."*"" With Thomas, he also calls the religious 
state a school of perfection.^"" With this statement I cut this 
point short, for I should only have to repeat in Gerson's words 
what we already laiow from St. Thomas. 

As in other times, so also in Gerson's, there were those 
who went too far and made more of the religious state than 
lay in the intention of the Church and of the founders of the 
religious orders. To them belonged the Dominican, Matthew 
Grabow. Such overwrought souls were the exception, and as 
such only confirmed the rule. Church and theologians 
promptly rose against them, as they did as early as the four- 
teenth century against the overstrung Franciscans, with 

where sought in vain." If Schwab had looked up Thomas, 2. 2. qu. 184, a. 3, 
ad 2, he would have found this well known passage of Augustine (De per- 
fect, justitiae c. 8, n. 19), and everything must have become clear to him. 
There are also other citations taken from Thomas. There is only one thing 
to dispute about — viz., wliether the writing is Gerson's original elaboration or 
only a copy made by some student. 

*'8 Ibid. p. 672. The writing here erroneously cites Thomas. "De per- 
fectione vitae spirit." The passage is found in "Contra retrahentes a relig. 
ingressu," c. 6, and, in Gerson's text, which is corrupted, must be emended 
as follows : "Praeceptum dilectionis dei, quod est ultimus finis christianae 
vitae, nullis terminis coarctatur, ut possit dici, quod tanta dilectio cadat sub 
praecepto, maior autem dilectio limites praecepti excedens sub consilio cadat ; 
sed uniquique praecipitur, ut Deum diligat quantum potest." Schwab, p. 766, 
note, did not observe this. 

•*»8 Ibid. p. 677 : "Consilia proprie et maxime respiciunt materiam in- 
strumentalem disponentem ad facilius et brevius acquirendam essentialem 
vitae christianae perfectionem, et ideo sunt perfectio secundum quid et acci- 
dentaliter ; praecepta vero divina magis de directo et immediate respiciunt 
Ula, quae essentialiter pertinent ad vitam christianam et spiritualem, sicut 
virtutes et actus eorum." 

500 De religionis perfectione, consid. 5", 0pp. II, 684. 


whom I liave here no further concern. "One should not be- 
lieve every chance false preacher," confesses John Nider for 
this reason, "even if he stood upon the belfry. If he does 
not speak the truth, his preaching is that of a hedge-par- 
son.'"" This was what Grabow achieved in his writing, in 
which there was just occasion afforded for grave offence. 
He represented the orders as the "Verae religiones" in con- 
trast with so upright and useful an association as the 
Brethren of the Common Life, and expressed the view that 
one was not permitted to follow the counsels in the world.^"^ 
Both Peter d' Ailli and Gerson (the latter, April 3, 1418, 
at the instance of the Pope) gave their judgment against 
the work. 

It is conceivable that Gerson, justly indignant, was 
very sharp, so that an inexperienced reader might believe 
he had retracted a part of his earlier views on the religious 
life. But since he had to defend himself against Grabow's 
erroneous notions in the sense that a monk, merely as a 
monk, is not yet perfect but acknowledges striving after per- 
fection, that one can also reach perfection without the vows, 
and that religion, properly speaking, is the Christian reli- 
gion, to which not only religious belong, one can rightly un- 
derstand Gerson's every cutting expression. On account of 
abuse and misunderstanding,^"^ he would like, he said, to 
have the characterization of the religious state as a state 
of perfection done away with. Whilst contending against 
this characterization, however, he bears witness to the truth, 
that those who had thitherto employed it did not take it 
to mean that religious had already attained perfection, hut 
that they sought to attain it. But it is precisely this that 
we have heard St. Thomas and the other doctors prior to 
Gerson declare. They all gave to the counsels, (and conse- 
quently to the state of perfection as well), the value of ways, 

5"! In one of Nider's sermons, in K. Schieler, "Mag. Johannes Nider," p. 

"02 See his propositions in Opp. Gerson, I, 473. On this subject and on 
the occasion of Grabow's work, see Schwab, p. 763 ; Salembier, "Petrus de 
Alliaco," p. 113. 

503 Prevalent to this day among Protestant theologians. 


of instruments to perfection, but not of perfection itself.'"* 
Gerson only repeats these old doctrines when he proposes 
that the religious state be designated as a way, an instru- 
ment, an arrangement for the attainment of perfection."'^ 
Spite of his indignation Gerson was constrained to confirm 
the tradition handed down to his day. It is no wonder a 
later work of his, "De religionis perfectione," again moves 
within the sphere of the ideas of his earlier utterances."*^ 

The temperate Dionysius the Carthusian wholly occu- 

="* See on this, Suarez, "De statu perfectionis," lib. 1, c. 14, n. 6, spe- 
ly against Gerson. 

daily against Gerson 

^"5 "Religionis hujusmodi facticiae satis improprie et abusive et forsan 
arroganter dictae sunt status perfectionis: patet, quia stat, homines imper- 
fectissimos tales Religiones proflteri, sicut notat Augustinus, quod non peiores 
reperit, quam eos qui in hujusmodi religionibus defecerunt. Sed aliunde de- 
claratur haec abusio vel usurpatio nominis ; quia secundum illos, qui noviter 
post sanctos Doctores usi sunt tali vocabulo status perfectionis, ille status non 
dicit apud religiosos perfectionem habitam vel acquisitam, sicut est de statu 
praelatorum ; sed tantummodo dicit perfectionem acquirendam : constat autem, 
quod perfectio acquirenda non est jam acquisita. Et ideo melius nominaretur 
viae quaedam vel instrumenta sen dispositiones ad perfectionem acquiren- 
dam, quam diceretur status perfectionis ; immo et, sicut hujusmodi status sic 
dictus dirigit et juvat quosdam ad perfectiorem observationem verae re- 
ligionis Christianae, sic et multos impedit atque praecipitat, quos tutius fuerat 
in seculo remansisse, quia dispUcet deo stulta et infidelis promissio (Eccle. 5,3), 
quae scilicet vel indiscrete sumitur, vel non observatur" (0pp. I, 468). Prom 
this it is evident what one ought to think of the Lutheran (or Augsburg) 
Confession, saying in article 27 : et ante haec tempora reprehendit Gerson 
errorem monachorum de perfectione, et testatur, suis temporilus novam vo- 
cem fuisse, quod vita monastica sit status perfectionis ("Die unveranderte 
Augsburgische Konfession," kritlsche Ausg. von P. Tschackert, Leipzig 1901, 
p. 183). The above words need no commentary. "Noviter post sanctos doc- 
tores" certainly means something else than "suis temporibus novam vocem 
fuisse." These words also betray in the authors a remarkable ignorance 
of history. On this Confession, see below, Chap. 10. 

5°6 0pp. II, 682 sqq. In consid. 3", p. 683, Gerson does not only not 
demur to the term, "religio," for the religious state, but he declares it very 
apt : "Sicut ecclesia significat principaliter unlversalem congregationem fidel- 
ium et inde dicitur catholica * * * sic in proposito de religione etiam 
est propter maiorem circa consilia religationem." As he and others called 
the orders, "religiones factitiae," considered with reference to the "Religio 
Christiana,'' so did the Council of Constance call them "religiones privatae." 
The religious orders are called "religiones," not on the ground of synonomy 
but of analogy. The Protestants of the Confession deliberately translated: 
fictitious spiritual religious states. 


pies tlie standpoint of St. Thomas.""' This holds likewise 
of the holy Florentine bishop, Antoninus.""^ But let us 
hasten on to the immediate period before Luther. 

One could the soonest expect exaggerations on the part 
of those religious who essayed to re-introduce the ancient 
cloistral discipline into degenerated monasteries. There was 
great likelihood of setting too high a value on the monastic, 
neglected as it had been up to then and yielding to the 
wordly, as against common Christians. At all events this 
was not rarely the case in practice. Just at the time of 
Peter d'Ailli and Gerson, in a word, when it was undertaken 
to reform the various orders and to bring them back to 
their original strictness, there were observants in the orders 
who, in their punctilious observance of the statutes of their 
institute, frequently more or less neglected the fulfillment 
of the essentials, particularly neighborly charity. For there 
are never wanting, especially in practical life, those who are 
inconsiderate and erratic. In contrast with these, how- 
ever, the masters of the spiritual life and the doctors, as 
well as those who brought the reform about, pressed on, 
like the founders of old, to the observance of the essentials. 
This was also done by the Popes of the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries in their Bulls to the observants, and fur- 
ther by the reformers of the orders at that time with which 
we wish now to busy ourselves.^"® 

Peter du Mas, appointed abbot of Chezal-Benoit by 
Sixtus IV, August 18, 1479, undertook to reform his mon- 
astery, and, from 1488, applied himself to the redaction of 
the statutes. He complains in the introduction that in the 
course of time these had too greatly increased. He was 
unwilling to fall into the same fault, but sought "rather 

^"^ This Is self-evident from his "Summa fidei orthodoxae," which is a 
compendium of tlie Summa of St. Thomas. But he shows this elsewhere 
as well, e.g., "Comment in Ps. 118, n. 96. 

508 Summae pars IV, tit. 12, c. 2 : De consUiis. A contemporary and fel- 
low member of the Order, Johann Herolt, likewise presents no differing 
principles on charity, and external exercises. See Paulus In "Ztschft. f. 
kath. Theol." XXVI (1902), p. 428, 430. 

^o" I have collected a considerable amount of matter on this. It is used 
In part in the introduction to the rise of Lutherdom. 


to bind ourselves fast to the teaching of the love of Christ 
on the way of humility, that we may deserve to reach 
heaven hy the pathioay of the Gospel, as we are taught in 
the prologue of the rule."" Our holy father diffusely and 
very prudently teaches this royal road of humility and char- 
ity in the rule.'"" His reform, encouraged by the Pope, 
made progress. Several monasteries joined the movement. 
The Congregation of Chezal-Benoit was formed. One of 
the participating monasteries was Saint-Sulpice of Bourges, 
where from 1497 the French humanist, Guy Jouveneaux, 
was abbot. One of the most zealous promoters of the re- 
form, he composed the work "Reformationis monasticae 
vindiciae" to further it. In this work he plied evil, de- 
praved monks, (such, namely, as resembled to a hair those 
who several years after were Luther's most zealous adher- 
ents) with the lash, and also set forth the principles of the 
monastic life.'" 

Now, according to Guy, what is monasticism in its true 
form? The Christian life perhaps? Oh, no! There are 
divers lives or ways of life for reaching God, he writes, al- 
though for the monk, the monastic life, after he has chosen 
it, is the way to God."" Still, is not he who enters upon 
the monastic life forthwith the perfect, or even the most 
perfect Christian? Certainly not. On this point Guy de- 
velops no doctrine different from that of St. Thomas and 
the other authorities. "Is not the religious state," he asks, 

5" See above, p. 73. 

'11 In U. Berlifere, "La congregation ben^dictine, de Chezal-Benott" in 
"Kevue benedictine," 17« ann6e (Maredsous 1900), p. 37; now also published 
by the same in "Melanges d'histoire benedictine, t. 3 (Maredsous 1901), p. 
104 sq. 

'12 Reformationis monastice vindicie sen defensio, noviter edita a viro 
bonarum artlum perspicacissimo Guidone .Tuvenale, O. S. B., necnon per eun- 
dem rursus dlligentlssime castigata. (Impressum impensis Angelberti et 
Godfridi Maref * * * MDIII). On the author, see Berli^re, Revue, etc. 
p. 347. 

'13 Ibid. 1. 1, c. 2, fol. 1^ : "Sed ex nostris dlcit aliquis : numquid est alia 
via (instead of vita), que ducit ad Deum, quam Ista, que Imponitur nobis? Est 
plane, sed non tibi. Antequam enim banc elegisses, plures tibi alie patebant : 
quando autem de pluribus hanc viam tibi elegisti, de omnibus unam fecistl." 


"a school and an exercise for the attainment of the perfec- 
tion of charity ?"=" 

An order has no other ideal of life than the common 
Christian. A religious as such only seeks more perfectly 
to attain it. In that Congregation, this was an understood 
thing. Another of its members, the famous humanist, 
Charles Fernand, monk of St. Vincent du Mans,"^ often 
recurs to the subject. Both the rule of St. Benedict and 
the entire Christian religion are founded on charity and 
humility.^^" To be a Christian and to love God faithfully 
are indissolubly bound together.^" It is necessary to every 
Christian to believe in God, to hope for eternal life from 
Him, and to be of good life in the ordinary way, that is, 
to love and fear God and to keep His commandments."^ 
The task of the religious is not different. He must uproot 
vice and possess charity, in a word, he must strive after 
perfection, in order gradually to attain it."' For the whole 
motive of entrance into a monastery is no other than, trust- 
ing in God's help, doing penance daily, and making prog- 
ress, as far as possible, to attain to perfection. For every 
Christian, all the more so a religious, must most zealously 
take thought of gathering virtues unto himself."" And all 

51* The 9 Chapter of the second book bears the title : Quod status relig- 
ionis sit facile compendium, quo ad perfectionem veniatur * * * The 
Chapter Itself begins fol. 34: "Status autem religionis nonne est quedam 
disciplina et exercitium perveniendi ad ipsam charitatis perfectionem, cuius 
officina monasterium est?" etc. 

515 Concerning him, see Berlifere in Revue benedictine 1. c. p. 262 sqq. 

5i« Speculum disciplinae monasticae Parisils 1515, 1. 4. c. 28, fol. 72*1 : 
"Charitas ut virtutum .«;ummitas, humilltas ut fundamentum, in his potissi- 
mum Benedictina regula et omnis Christiana fundatur religio." 

51' Epistola paraenetica ad Sagienses monaehos, Parisiis 1512, c- 21 : 
"Itaque mi frater, si revera in deum credis, si christianus es, si deum fideliter 
amas — haec enim indissolubili sibi iunctura cohaerent — non equidem video 
qui fiat, ut nuUus te propriae conscientiae permoveat scrupulus" etc. 

518 Ibid., c. 23. 

519 Ibid., c. 44 : "Coenobitica conditio extirpandorum viciorum possiden- 
daeque charitatis (quam caeterarum virtutum universa sequitur soboles). 
I.e., studiosae perfectionis paulatim attingendae status est. * * * Ad 
meliora donee vivitur pro virili portione conari, in sue quemque genere per- 
flci est." 

520 Ibid., c. 22 : "Haec petendi coenobii tota ratio est, ut ope freti di- 
vina quotidie poenitendo proque virili nostra (parte) proficiendo ad quantum 
fieri potest perfectionis gradum foeliciter evehamur. * * * Omni chris- 


are commanded to be converted with all their heart to the 
Lord. Equally to all do the Saviour's words apply: "Not 
every one Avho saith to Me : Lord, Lord, shall enter into 
the kingdom of Heaven, but he that doth the will of My 
Father, that is, diligently giveth heed to the Fatherly 
will.'"" These principles are frequently repeated elsewhere 
by Charles."^ Wherefore the three vows then? They are 
means rendering the attainment of the end easier, in order 
through them to triumph over one's self and the world."^ 
It is true he writes all this in his humanistic style, but at 
bottom it is the doctrine of St. Thomas. Far from setting 
up a dilferent ideal of life for ordinary Christians and for 
the religious life, he precisely holds up to the dissolute 
religious the ideal common to all, to strive after which, 
every Christian, but the religious in a greater degree, is in 
duty bound. 

Another French humanist, not of the same Congrega- 
tion, indeed, but one who left the University of Paris to 
enter the reformed abbey of Clugny, John Raulin, does not 
vary from his brethren by a hair, so that one is necessitated 
constantly to repeat the same thing. What we heard above 
on the part of the Germans, is here said by the French, 
namely, that the habit alone will not do, that it is only a 
sign of that which should take place within. If the interior 
is wanting, then the religious is only a hypocrite. The 
habit indicates that the religious bears the cross of Christ, 
is a friend of the cross of Christ, whilst that is what the 
evil religious is not. His habit gives him the lie.^^* With 

tiano, maxime tamen monachis, de congerendis virtutibus assidua est sedu- 
litate cogitandum." 

521 Ibid., c. 23. 

522 Ibid., c. 53, and his two works; De animi tranquillitate (Parisiis 
1512), Confabulationes monasticae (Parisiis 1516). 

523 More fully treated in Cliapters 6-8 of tlie first book of tlie "Speculum 
disciplinae monasticae." 

52* Rel. viri frat. Joannis Ranlin art. et theol. professoris scientissimi 
epistolarum * * * opus eximium. Venundatur Luteciae Paris. (Parisiis, 
Jean Petit, 1521), fol. 55, Letter to the Brethren of St. Alban's in Basel; on 
p. 57, he writes among other things : "Nihil enim villus religioso homini 
quam ventris ingluvies, qui professione et habitu mentitur abstinentiam 
tanquam ypocrita, exterius mentitus, sobrietatem, Interius autem plcnus omni 
fetore et spurcitia, ut sepulchrum patens et fetens, sicut guttur eorum. 


the change of garb and of one's state of life, there should 
also be a change within."" "Let God," he exclaims to the 
monks of St. Alban in Basel, "possess all your interior and 
exterior, who made all, redeemed all. * * * Mark the rock 
from which you have been hewn out; but the rock was 
Christ icith whom you are firmly joined by faith, hy bap- 
tism., by charity * * * awaiting the blessed hope and the 
coming of the glory of the great God. Love Him therefore 
with all your heart who first loved you, considering what 
you have promised Him and fulfilling it, if you will one day 
be worthy of His 'promise, a hundredfold in this life and 
everlasting glory in the next. Believe me, brothers, if you 
love Him with all your heart, living according to the legiti- 
mate institutes of the ancient most blessed fathers, you shall 
be prospered in all things," etc."^° 

There is not always opportunity found to speak about 
everything. Raulin's letters, for instance, (excepting a few 
to some priests) are mostly addressed to religious, not one 
to a layman. One speaking to laymen, to the people, has 
occasion to touch on other points belongiag to this chapter. 
This is true in the case of Eaulin's contemporary, the Leip- 
zig Dominican and preacher, Marcus von Weida. In ac- 
cord with all Catholic doctors, he preaches in Advent time, 
1501. that manual labor, to earn one's bread in the sweat 
of one's brow, "in order the more constantly to serve God 

Habitu quidem ferre Christ! crucem mendaciter ostendunt, se amicos crucis 
Christi simulant, se crucem portare post Jesum fallaces ypocritae conflngunt." 
Also above, p. 168 sq. p. 174. 

525 Ibid. fol. 94'' To the Master, John Barambon ; "Si mutavl vestem, 
mutavi statum, mutavi animum." 

526 Ibid, fol. 58 : "Ipse omnia interiora et exteriora vestra possideat, qui 
omnia fecit, omnia redemit, et, cum placuerit, omnia morte consummablt. At- 
tendite petram unde excisi estis, petra autem erat Christus, cui per fidem, per 
baptismum, per amorem firmiter juncti estis, et per longanimitatem, patien- 
tiam in tribulationibus, angustlis, et laboribus ad tempus excisi videmini, ex- 
pectantes beatam spem et adventum gloriae magni del. Itaque ilium amate 
ex toto corde, qui prior dilexit vos, considerantes, quae sibi promislstis, ea 
adimplendo, si forte et ab eo vobis poUicita quandoque digni eritis suscipere, 
hie in praesenti centuplura et in futurum gloriam sempiternam. Credite 
mihi, fratres, si eum ex toto corde dilexeritis juxta antiquorum beatissimorum 
patrum legitima Instituta viventes omnia vobis prospere succedent, et cum 
moribus optimis moenia domorum vestrarum alta," etc. 


and to support wife and child" is a continual prayer to God. 
"Man should always be doing what is due to his state and 
being, and what is good and right. Doing that, he is pray- 
ing always. One finds many a poor peasant, farmer, or 
mechanic, as well as others, carrying on their business or 
whatever they undertake, solely that it may conduce to the 
praise of God as their last end. One like these, with his 
daily labor, is more pleasing to Almighty God, and deserves 
more from Him by his work than many a Carthusian, or 
other black, grey, or white frairs, who daily stand in 
choir, chant and pray.'"^' Tauler once preached in this 
sense in reference to such religious as "bear the burdens of 
an order — singing, reading, going to choir and the refectory 
— with their outward man, and thereby render but' petty 
service to our Lord." His words are very significant: "Do 
you suppose, dear children, that God has made you solely 
to be His birds? He would fain have in you also his spe- 
cial brides and friends."'^' 

To the secular priest and renowned preacher, Geiler 
von Kaisersberg, the perfection of charity likewise counted 
as the first to be striven after in the world and in the re- 
ligious state; but the latter possesed means for the better 
attainment of this ideal of life.°^° Following St. Bernard, 
he enumerates nine advantages"" which those enjoy who 
with the exterior have also the interior disposition, for 
"without the spirit in the heart," one has "only the shoe- 
string without the shoe."°^^ 

Let us close the witnesses before Luther with an older 
contemporary of Geiler and of Marcus von Weida, Gabriel 
Biel, Professor at Tubingen, who exercised so great an in- 
fluence upon the theologians of his time and upon Luther 

527 "Das Vater Unser," edited by V. Hasak, "Die letzte Rose," (1883) 
p. 8 sq. On the life and writings of Marcus, see N. Paulus, "Marcus v. 
Weida" in "Zeitschrift f. Kath. Theol. XXVI. Jahrg. 1902, p. 251. 

528 Franlsfurt ed. Ill, 111, corrected after the Strasburg ms. 

529 "Der Hase im Pfeffer," Strasburg, Knobloch 1516, fol. b. iiij. 

531 Ibid. Fol. e. iij. It is only on this subject that his "Sermones novem 
de fructibus et utilitatibus vite monastice" treat ; Argentine, 1518, on which 
subject more in the course of this work. 

S3ilbid. Fol. diij. 


himself in his earlier period. Although a nominalist like 
Peter d'Ailli, he sets forth the relation of the religious life 
to the married state and the relation of these both to their 
one common end as did all his predecessors. The married 
state is good, indeed, but virginal perfection is more exalted 
by far. Nevertheless one can be more perfect in marriage 
than many in the state of perfection. After adducing his 
authorities, he concludes: "It is not the state of life that 
perfects a person, hut charity by which according to the 
state of life there is union with God. The religious state 
is not perfection, but a .sure way possessing many means of 
attaining perfection. It may not be despised, therefore, for 
that were equivalent to despising the evangelical counsels. '"^^ 
It is no wonder that, out of the mouths of those who 
first stood forth against Luther, we find only the doctrine 
of the earlier authorities confirmed. The evasion, the asser- 
tion, namely, that Luther's opponents first hit upon the 
more circumspect doctrine because of his charges, is from 
now on cut off. One, to whom Luther had so recom- 
mended the religious state, his quondam instructor, Barthol- 
omew von Usingen, met the apostate Franciscan Aegydius 
Mechler, 1524, with the retort: "Who does not laugh to 
hear that the religious wanted to be saved by their vows, 
their order, habit, food, etc. All this only serves and is 
an aid to preserve justifying grace and to make progress 
in it. By the vows, one is supported and enabled more 
calmly and unhindered to walk according to God's law and 

»32 Sermones dominicales de tempore, Hagenau 1520, fol. 21 b (dora. 2 post 
Oct. Epiphan.) : "Nunc autem, quia bona est castitas coniugalis, melior con- 
tinentia vidualis, optima perfectio virginalis, ad probandum omnem electionem 
graduum, ad discernendum quoque meritum singulorum ex intemerato Marie 
virginis utero nasci dignatus est ; a prophetico Anne vidue ore mox natus 
benedicitur ; a nuptiarum celebrationibus iam luvenis invitatur, et eas sue 
presenile virtute honorat. Hec Beda. Verum, licet status coniugalis in- 
ferior sit Inter tres predlctos : potest nihilominus aliquis in matrvmonio per- 
fectior esse multis in statu perfectionis. Sic de Abraam loquitur b. Aug- 
ustinus et Hleronimus (et allegat magister in IV, dlst. XXXIII.), qui non 
preferunt cellbatum Joannis coniugio Abrahe. Unde non status perficit per- 
sonam, sed charitas, qua unitur secundum statum. Unde status non est per- 
fectio, sed quia quedam habens multa adlutorla ad perfectlonem" etc. 


to keep His commandments.'"^' Tlie essentials of tlie re- 
ligious state, then, the vows, are to Usingen, as they were 
to all who preceded him, but a relative means of attaining 
to perfection. Not in general to serve God, but "to serve 
Him more calmly, did I enter the order.'"'* The ideal of 
life is the same for all, but "the aim of the religious state 
is that one may serve God in His commandments more 
easily and more calmly. "^'^ These are ideas which Luther 
himself avowed when he was an Augustinian and prevailed 
upon Usingen to enter the same order. Usingen, the soul 
of honor, did not shrink from expressing them openly as 
against his fellow religious. He did not fear they would 
bring the charge of lying upon him. 

The case was the same with the Franciscan provincial, 
Kaspar Schatzgeyer'''^ as against both his own fallen asso- 
ciates and Luther. Against the latter's charge in his book 
on the monastic vows, that salvation was sought through 
one's order and all its trappings and appurtenances, and by 
one's own works, that the religious put themselves in the 
place of Christ, just as if they could save themselves and 
others, he Avrites: "In what monastic rule did you read 
that? Go through them all, and then say if you have 
found even one. The religious answer quite differently. 
Our state teaches and it is our teaching: to honor and serve 
God with a pure heart, a good conscience, and an unfalsi- 
fied faith, more diligently to beware of every offence against 
God, zealously to fulfill the Divine will, to strive after like- 
ness with God, to invoke help from above without ceasing, 
to subdue the flesh by mortification, to preserve purity of 
mind and of body, to flee the world and still to serve one's 

533 After the Latin passages adduced by N. Paulus in his writing : "Der 
Augustiner Bartholomiius Arnoldi von Usingen (1893), p. 19, note 2, and p. 
18, note 1. See above p. 169. Note 459. 

534 "Religionem nostram intravi, ut in ilia quietius Deo servirem." Ibid, 
p. 17, note. 5. 

535 "Monasticae vitae observantia eo tendit, ut quietius et expeditius Deo 
servlatur in mandatis ejus," for the year 1525, ibid., p. 18, note 1. 

536 Concerning him and his writings .see N. Paulus, "Kaspar Schatz- 
geyer" (1898). The points which I here treat of, however, Paulus does not 
touch, p. 62 sqq. (Defence of the Religious Life against Luther and others 
more recent). I make use chiefly of Schatzgeyer's "Replica" and "Examen." 


neighbor. Look and see if all tMs is against God's com- 
mandment, against Christ, against the Gospel, against Chris- 
tian liberty, against all good.'"^" 

According to Schatzgeyer, too, as well as all the doc- 
tors prior to his time, the ideal of life set before all con- 
sists in the fulfillment of the commandment of the love of 
God and of neighbor. It includes "the essential perfection 
of the Christian religion and there is no act of charity 
not contained within this commandment. Therefore no such 
act falls under the counsels." It is this that we have al- 
ready heard from St. Thomas. In the commandment of the 
love of God, there is no greater, no lesser degree to be dis- 
tinguished, the former belonging to the counsels, the latter 
coming under the commandment. 'And Schatzgeyer was not 
a Thomist but a Scotist. As he continues, he but writes 
with all Christian doctors : "The evangelical counsels be- 
long to the means without which the Christian can mount 
to every essential evangelical perfection, so far as it is 
possible in this life; the religious, therefore, has no grounds 
for exalting himself above others, although the counsels are 
means which not a little, but powerfully advance man and 
further the end of a true Christian life to be attained both 
in the present and in the future.'"^' 

537 "Replica contra periculosa scripta etc., s. 1. et a., but still of the year 
1522, Fol. e ij : "Obsecro ubi hec in aliqua monastica legisti regula. Discute 
singula monastices instituta, si vel unum ex his invenire queas ; aliter re- 
spondent monastici. Audi monasticorum responsa : nostra instituta docent, 
nostra doctrina est, Deum puro corde, conscientia bona et fide non ficta 
colere, ab omnl eius offensa studiosius cavere, divinam sedulo implere volun- 
tatem, ad deiformem aspirare unitatem, supernum indefesse implorare auxil- 
ium, dominicam passionem deploi'are, in eandem imaginem transformari : et 
ut hec efficaeius flant, docent carnem ieiuniis, vigiliis et laboribus macerare, 
carnis lascivias frenare, indomitos ire motus cohibere, mentis et corporis 
pudicitiam custodire, mundi vanitates circumspecte fugiendo declinare, 
quietem et silentium amare, proximis nihilominus pro loco et tempore secun- 
dum fraterne charitatis exigentiam obsequi devote. Hec sunt monastices ex- 
ercitia. Perpende, si sint fidei consona, si catholica, si evangelice et aposto- 
lice doctrine quadrantia, an vero preter aut supra aut extra aut vero contra 
fidem, contra verbum Dei, contra Christum, contra evangelium, contra Dei 
precepta, contra christianam libertatem, contra omne bonum." 

638 Ibid. Fol. c. ij : "In quocunque gradu quantumcunque heroico Veritas 
huius ex lllo prime et maximo concludltur precepto : Diliges Dominum 
* * * quod tarn arduum est, ut a nuUo homine viatore possit consummate 


Neither did he later depart from this doctrine, though 
he might have expressed it in other words. "The religious 
state appears to him to be only a relative, though a more 
effective means, of attaining the Christian ideal of life."^^" 

The Frankfurt Dominican and Lector of Theology, Jo- 
hannes Dietenberger, follows the same course in his two 
works against Luther's Themata and Opinion on the Mon- 
astic Vows.'" He appeals to the elaborations in the "Col- 
lationes Patrum," mentioned above in Chapter VII, and 
concludes that it is not the end of the vows and other 
monastic arrangements to acquire justice and salvation— 
"no one has hitherto said that""' — but their end is to be 
instruments and means which further our salvation."^ The 
observance of the commandments is unavoidably necessary 
to salvation, but not that of the counsels. For, although 
they are very helpful and useful means of attaining salva- 

impleri, sed a solis comprehensoribus hoc modo impletur. Hoc autem, cum 
omnem essentialem christiane religionis complectatur perfcctionem, et onini- 
ius propositum sit oiservandum, ex eoque charitas proxime manare dig- 
noscatur, quantumcunque perfecta vel consummata, infertur, nullum esse 
charitatis actum, qui non in hoc concludatur precepto, ex consequenti nullum 
cadere suT> consilio. Evangelica consilia de hils sunt, sine quibus christianus 
ad omnem essencialem evangelicam ascendere potest perfectionem statui vie 
possibilem, ut monasticis nulla falsa remaneat gloriatio ex solis consiliis 
envangelicis vel tradltionibus adiectis cumulaciorls perfectionls essencialis 
super vulgares quosque: nam talis gloriacio, cum sit odiosa et non immerito 
cuique zelatori discrete displicibilis, convellenda est. Evangelica consilia de 
hiis sunt, que non parum, verum vehementer, hominem promovent et prove- 
hunt ad vere christiane vite assequendum finem et in presenti et in futuro." 

539 Thus he writes In "Examen novarum doctrinarum" (1523), Fol. P*: 
"Monasticum institutum est quidam modus vivendi in unitate sanctae ec- 
clesiae catholicae et apostolicae compendiosus, quo efllcacius vetus Adam per 
crucem mortiflcatur, novus homo qui secundum Deum formatus est in jus- 
ticia et veritate sanctitatis induitur, et spiritus humanus in divinum spiri- 
tum transformatur, ad gloriam del et hominis salutem, per spirltum sanc- 
tum ordinatus, evangelicis et apostolicis institutis bene quadrans." 

5*° Johannis Dytenbergii theologl contra temerarium Martini Luteri de 
votis monasticis iudiciura liber primus * * * (1524). Johannis Diten- 
bergli sacr. litterarum professoris de votis monasticis liber secundus, editus 
in secundum de votis monasticis Luteri iudicium * * * Anno MDXXIV. 
See on this, H. Wedewer, "Johannes Dietenberger, sein Leben und Wirken." 
(1888), p. 464. I use the edition of the two works in one volume: Coloniae 
Pet. Quentell, 1525. 

5<i "Quod nemo dixerit unquam." 

5<2 Ibid., fol. Sob, 56. 


tion, or rather perfection, they are nevertheless by no means 

These points are treated wholly in the sense of St. 
Thomas by the Parisian theologian Jodok Clichtove/" as 
they also are in part according to St. Bernard, here and 
there somewhat confusedly, by the Cistercian abbot, Wolf- 
gang Mayer."'^ There is no point in fatiguing the reader 
by a constant repetition of the same thoughts. But even 
from the nunneries there was a voice sent forth by a nun 
to her contemporaries, that religious were wrongly charged 
with believing they Avould be saved by orders, frocks, prayer 
and fasting; that such a belief was far from them; that 
never had they teen taught the like. They loiew right 
well that all human justice was but like an unclean cloth, 
and that they no more ascribed justice to the frock than the 
burghers of Cologne did to their wordly costume."" 

To bring myself to a close, I adduce the foundation and 
arrangement of the Jesuit Order by St. Ignatius Loyola. 
How does he jjrepare his disciples for entrance into the 
order which he founded? By considerations on a higher 
ideal of life, according to which they are henceforward to 
live and to strive in the order as Jesuits? Not a Avord 
to that effect. He loiows only one ideal of life, common to 

5*3 ibifl., fol. 136'' : "Praecepta de his sunt, quae ad salutem adeo sunt 
necessaria, ut non possit cuiquam his non observatis salus contingere. Con- 
silia autem de his sunt, quae ad salutem quidem conferunt nonnlhil atque 
utilia sunt, ut tamen nulli sit desperanda salus, ubi haec non accesserunt. 
* * * Sunt itaque in Evangelic, praeter Christi praecepta omnibus neces- 
saria, ad perfectionem baud parum accoramoda quaedam, quae consilia dici- 

5** Antilutherus lodoci Clichtovei Neoportuensis, doctoris theologi, tres 
libros complectens. Parisiis 1524. The third book treats only of the vows 
and is directed against Luther's treatise. Judgment of the Monastic Vows. 
I frequently refer to the work. I use the edition, Coloniae, Pet. Quentell, 1525. 

545 "Votorum monasticorum tutor," in Cod. Lat. Monac. 2886 of the year 
1526. Concerning the author, see N. Paulus, "Wolfgang Mayer, ein bayrischer 
Cisterzienserabt des 16 .Jahrbunderts," in "Hist. Jahrbuch," 1894, p. 575 sqq. 
But the article treats of this writing only too briefly, p. 584. Above I have 
already adduced Mayer several times. 

s*!' In the writing : "Ayn SendbriefE vonn einer andachtigen frummea 
Klosterfrawen von Marienstayn an yren Bruder Endris von wegen der luth- 
erischen ler." — (Place not given) 1524. See also A. Baur, "Deutschland in 
den Jahren 1517-1525" (Ulm 1872), p. 217. 


all men. He first requires of a Jesuit novice tlie carrying 
out of a four weeks' retreat or spiritual exercises."' This 
is to be conducted according to the same method and direc- 
tion that Ignatius gives to laymen in the world, and which 
he himself, indeed, pursued in solitude at Manresa when he 
had not the least thought of entering or of founding an 
order."' He sought that solitude in order to live there 
wholly to God, shortly after that time in which Luther 
had hardly left the Wartburg, where he compassed his 
vituperative writings against the monastic vows and the 
Holy Mass. Now, as an indispensable foundation for all, 
Ignatius places at the beginning of his exercises a principle 
that forms the content of any ideal of life whatever: "Man 
is created unto the end that he praise his God and his Lord, 
show Him honor, and serve Him, and thereby save his soul, 
(that is, attain his everlasting destiny). All else on earth 
is created for the sake of man, to be helpful to him in the 
attainment of his end, for which he was created," etc.^*^ 
This is the same thought that we so often heard expressed 

Now if this is the ideal of life for religious as well, 
the obligation of fulfilling the three counsels could not, ac- 
cording to St. Ignatius, make a higher one. It is only a 
more appropriate means to reach as perfectly as possible 
the ideal of life common to all. This is so true that, in the 
Spiritual Exercises, only the ideal of life mentioned, only 
this one foundation is set up, to the consideration of which 
an entire week is to be devoted, but there is no allusion 
to a particular ideal of life for religious. The succeeding 

^*' See Primum ac generate examen lis omnibus, qui in Societatem Jesu 
admittl petent, proponendum, c. 4, in the Constitutiones Societatis Jesu, la- 
tine et hispanice, cum earum declarationibus, Matriti 1892, p. 20. 

5*8 See Vita Ignatii Loiolae et rerum Societatis Jesu histori, auct. J. Al- 
phonso de Polanco, I (Matriti 1894), p. 18, 21, 2,S, 25, but particularly the 
most thorough work of P. A. Astrain, Historia de la Compaiiia de JSsus en 
la assistencia de Espaiia (Madrid 1902), p. 31 sqq. On the plan of the Exer- 
cises, see ibid., p. 140 sqq., and Handmann in "Theol. prakt. Quartalsch. 
(Linz 1903), p. 746 .sqq., 777. 

5*8 Exercitia spiritualia S. P. Ignatii de Loyola, cum versione literali ex 
Authographo hispanico notis illustrata (a Joanne Roothaan, praeposito gen- 
erali), Romae 1852, p. 23 sq. (edit, quarta). See also below, Chap. 10, C. 


considerations on the kingdom, the life, and the virtues of 
Jesus Christ, whom the whole of Christendom obeys and 
who seeks to conquer all lands of unbelievers, do not set 
forth a new ideal of life but the duty of any Christian, after 
the subjection of himself, reconciliation with God, and the 
ordering of his life, to form himself by the exercise of the 
A'irtues after Jesus Christ, in order to attain his end. This 
is because Jesus Christ is to all the way to the Father, 
to the end to which they are called. 

It was wholly in the spirit of their founder that the 
superiors of the Society later laid down as a rule that ac- 
tual members, whether solemnly professed or not, should 
follow the Spiritual Exercises in their annual retreats. 
These had served them in their preparation for reception 
into the order. They recognize no other ideal of life than 
the one common to all, no other way than Jesus Christ. 
By them the older Jesuits were, and the newer ones are 
formed."" All the remaining orders followed the custom 
without therefore taking an iota from their old statutes. 
On the contrary, carrying out the Spiritual Exercises con- 
duces to a better observance of the laws of their order. 
By means of the same aid and practice, the Christian in the 
world also learns to know better and more penetratingly the 
ideal of life that he has in common with the religious, and 

550 This was very beautifully expressed by General Roothan in a letter 
to all the members of the Order. This letter accompanied the first edition 
(1834) and the words we refer to are as follows: "Saepe ac multum cogi- 
tanti mihi, Patres ac Fratres carissimi, immo vero assidue animo volventi, 
quanam maxime ratione in renata paucis abhinc annis ac. sensim adolescente 
Societate spiritus ille vel exsuscitari, uii opus sit, vel conservari, foveri, 
promoveri possit, qui eius olim turn primordia tum incrementa tarn laeta red- 
ditit ecclesiae dei, tarn fructuosa ad innumerabilium hominum salutem ; illud 
iamdudum occurebat, nihil fore ad convertenda corda Patrum in filios, ad 
fllios, Inquam, Patrilus reddendos guam fieri posset simillimos, aptius atque 
efflcacius, guam sancti Patris nostri Exercitiorum spiritualinm diligens stu- 
dium et accuratuni usum. Etenim cum primos illos patres nostres, et qui 
eosdem subsecuti sunt, non alia re magis, guam horum Exercitiorum opera, 
in alios plane viros mutatos fuisse constet, perque ipsos alios deinceps atque 
alios, iisdem hisce spiritualibus exercitii exultos, a vitiorum laqueis expe- 
dites, non virtutis mode, verum etiam eximiae sanctitatis studio incensos 
fuisse, et in concepto semel ardore spiritus ad mortem usque per multos 
labores et aerumnas perseverasse : quid est, quod iisdem exercitiis nos rite 
untentes non eundum spiritus fructum in nobis fldenter exspectemus?" 


the way to it, Jesus Christ, that on this he may attain to 
the other. The difference between the laic and the religious 
does not even consist in the way, then, to say nothing of 
the end; it consists in the more perfect or less perfect walk- 
ing in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Both can be found 
in the religious state and in the world. The religious in 
himself has only a better prospect of becoming like the image 
of Christ because his means are more adapted thereunto. 
But these more adapted means are of no use without the 
interior disposition, and one can possess the latter without 
having outwardly embraced the former.'" 

Although St. Ignatius furthermore, both before his con- 
version and after the founding of his order, had lived or 
studied much in monasteries, he was not aware that, ac- 
cording to the teaching of the Church, or at least of the 
monks, one would be saved by his habit and tonsure. 
Hence, finding it more suited to the time and to the tasks 
of his institute, he did not even prescribe a determinate 
dress, rope, or cincture for his order, nor did he lay down 
that his followers were to wear tonsures like monks. What 
we heard the earlier authorities teach, namely, that such 
things are unessential in the religious life and that the es- 
sentials lie in the interior disposition, is proved by St. 
Ignatius in his creation. Omitting a special habit for his 
order, he only omitted a symbol, a sign,'" not the thing 
symbolized, the essential part. It is not to be wondered at, 
either, that he set down no other fasts for his followers 
than those of the universal Church. He had learned from 
the works of St. Thomas that it is not the order more strict 
in external exercises that is superior, but the one whose 
observances are ordained to the end with greater discern- 

*=i Likewise the other exercises in the years of probation of the Jesuits 
indicate nothing which would point to a different ideal of life; on the con- 
trary, they only serve to teach the aspirant asceticism, self-control, humility 
and charity, that he may the better realize the ideal of life pictured in 
the Spiritual Exercises. This includes service In the hospitals, for a time, 
without money, begging from door to door, for Christ's sake, menial services, 
instruction of children and the ignorant in Christian doctrine, and also 
(when possible) preaching and hearing of confessions. Constitut. Societ. 
Jesu, etc., p. 20, 22. 

"52 See above, p. 170, note 461. 


ment.'" The particular end of the Dominican Order, that 
is, solicitude for the salvation of souls, the defence of the 
faith against unbelief and false belief, all for the sake of 
the spread of the Kingdom of Christ, gave occasion to the 
founder of the order and his successors, as early as the be- 
ginning of the thirteenth century, to provide that individual 
students, professors, and preachers might be dispensed, if 
expedient, from the severities of the order, and in some 
circumstances from assistance at choir. They determined 
in general that the universal statutes of the order should 
be made subservient to its particular end/°* This could 
not be done, if the essence of the order, or the very salva- 
tion of its members, pertained to those statutes. St. Igna- 
tius and his successors in office Avere led by the right in- 
sight, when, in view of the particular end of their order, 
which coincides Avith that of the Dominicans, and in view 
of new demands and problems, they wholly suppressed choir 
office in common/^^ both day and night, but in lieu thereof 
urged the interior life, the spirit of prayer, the ascetic for- 
mation of each individual, and purity of mind and heart. 
The sad state in which the orders and their members then 
on the whole largely found themselves,"" had not unlikely 

553 2. 2. qu. 188, a. 6 ad 3 : "Arctitudo observantiarum non est lllud, 
quod praecipue in religione commendatur. * * * Et ideo non est potior 
religio ex hoc, quod habet arctiores observantias, sed ex hoc, quod ex maiorl 
discretione sunt elus observantiae ordinatae ad finem religionis." 

554 See my treatise bearing on this subject in "Archiv fiir Literatur und 
Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters," I, from p. 177 on. At that time, i.e., 
seventeen years ago, I had already said that the Dominican Order, although 
on the whole still possessing the appearance of the old orders, was neverthe- 
less preparing a new conception, or, more correctly, a new form of the relig- 
ious state for such as, in later times, proposed to themselves an end similar 
to that of the Dominican Order. The first to give this new form to the 
religious state was St. Ignatius. 

555 The breviary offices and prayers prescribed by the Church were to 
be recited by each one in private. But even in the first days of the Dominican 
Order, it had been ordained, in respect to the general duties of the choir : 
"All the hours shall be chanted 'briefly and succinctly, so that the brethren 
lose not their devotion and study suffer not the least detriment. (This study 
was to serve as an aid in the defence of the Faith and to preaching). (Ar- 
chiv, etc. p. 191). It was but a step from this provision to that of St. 

556 1 treat of this la the second volume of the book on the rise of 


a great deal to do with drawing chief attention to the points 

Were not this book to grow overbulky, I would gladly 
adduce still far more witnesses out of Catholic antiquity 
and Catholic tradition.'" But that were carrying water to 
the sea. Those brought forward in the two present chapters 
are enough to enable one to form a sure judgment of the 
Catholic doctrine and of its distortion by Luther and his 
following. I have presented ancient doctors, monks, found- 
ers and reformers of orders, the preferred theologians of 
the Church, and doctors of the spiritual life, mystics, relig- 
ious of the different orders, secular priests and professors, 
such as were more hostile than friendly to religious, popu- 
lar preachers, even Luther himself in his earlier days. We 
asked them all the question if the religious has an ideal of 
life other than that of the common Christian, in what rela- 
tion the counsels and vows stand to that ideal, and whether 
they transcend the commandments, whether the religious 
is perfect directly he dons the habit, makes profession, and 
performs the external exercises of his order, and whether 
perfection is attached only to the religious state. 

However various was the treatment of these themata 
at times by the different writers, they all agree in the fol- 
lowing propositions: 

1. The tradition of the Church knows but one ideal of 
life for both religious and the rest of Christians — the ful- 
fillment of the commandment of the love of God and of 

2. The perfection of Christian life consists precisely 
in the most perfect fulfillment of that commandment possi- 
ble, that is, so far as is possible in time and in the different 
states of life. 

3. Perfection therefore does not consist in the counsels, 
but in the commandments, or rather in the commandment 
of charity as the final end of all morality; but the counsels, 
to which the religious binds himself by vows, are means 
adapted to the easier attainment of the perfection of char- 

's? See pertinent matter In H. Laemmer, "Die vortridentiniscli-Kathol. 
Theologie (1558). p. 171 sqq. 


it}', though tMs is not saying that a Christian in the world 
cannot attain the perfection of charity, so far as is possible 
in this life. 

4. The counsels do not directly serve to remove the 
hindrances which stand in the way of charity in itself, for 
that is the task of the commandments subordinated to the 
commandment of charity. It is the purpose of the coun- 
sels to remove such hindrances as are opposed to the freer 
and easier activity of charity and to the most frequent and 
enduring actuality possible to it. 

5. The religious state is not called a state of perfec- 
tion, as if that state were deemed perfect, so that anyone 
belonging to it forthwith possesses perfection, but because 
in it one, by assuming the vows, irrevocably and forever 
binds himself to strive after perfection. 

6. The habit and everything else external serve no 
purpose without the purity and power of an interior dispo- 
sition towards virtue, without self-oblation to God. The 
more inly and perfect this oblation is, the more perfect does 
the religious become, and so too the Christian in the world. 

7. A true vocation to the religious life and a true 
(Vocation in the world are equally based on a call from 
God. Every vocation, in this sense, is of God's will and 
pleasing to Him; therefore, the means of grace being ap- 
plied, it is a way to the attainment of everlasting blessed- 
ness. Hence it is that the Church chants to the triune 

"Per tuas semitas due nos quo tendimus 

Ad lucem quam inhabitas.'"^* 

"In thy footsteps conduct us on 

Our way to the light which is thy dwelling." 
It was reserved to Luther alone to set up the claim that the 
founders of the orders, Bernard, Francis, Dominic, and (in 
his opinion) Augustine did not deem that the orders were 
ways to salvation I^'" 

558 In the doxology of the hymn, "Sacris solemniis" for matins on the 
least of Corpus Christi. 

559 Erl. 28, 167 for the year 1522. In accordance with this he writes 
the year after: "What is worst of all, our vows have this dirt upon them, 


The setting fortli of these propositions, however, is not 
to be understood as including a denial that, in the course of 
centuries, there were not some who exaggerated the idea of 
the religious state, particularly when they spoke thought- 
lessly in a moment of enthusiasm. Are our own professors 
and others always very correct and tactful in their utter- 
ances under the excitement and enthusiasm of the moment? 
Are they not compelled to correct their discourses, now and 
again, even a second and third time? The consideration to 
which they lay claim in their own behalf they might also 
bestow upon medieval authors, recalling the sajdng of Nider 
quoted above: "Even if a preacher stood upon the belfry, 
if he does not speak the truth, his preaching is that of a 
hedge-parson.'""" Extreme views in respect to the religious 
state, too, may well have been evoked in many cases by the 
extreme views of enemies of the religious state^"^ — a phe- 
nomenon of frequent occurrence in controversies. Truth 
lies in the mean, and this mean, as on other points so also 
in respect to the ideal of life and to the religious state, is 
maintained by Catholic doctriae. 

By the doctrine of the Church and of her masters of 
the spiritual life as set forth in these last two chapters, let 
us now test the utterances of Luther and of his old and 
new followers on this same Catholic teaching. This will 
at the same time offer occasion for further development and 


Luther's Sophisms and Distortions in Respect to 
Christian Perfection 

It has repeatedly struck our attention that Luther was 
a master in sophistry. His talent was of service to him in 
its formulation and after his apostasy, in his warfare 
against the Church, he made use of it to deceive others 

that they seek to constitute a way to heaven. The whores in the monaster- 
ies wish to be the brides of our Lord Christ." Weim. XIV, 395. Luther's 
only understanding is for distortion and wholesale confusion. 

560 See above, p. 180. 

561 Such a one was Pupper von Goch in the XV century. 


and to tear tliem away from her. In respect to the most 
important affair of life, the salvation of the soul, he often 
acted like the opponent in the philosophical and theological 
disputations in medieval and later schools. These disputa- 
tions, or so-called "circles," served, among other things, and 
are still in use, to sharpen the understanding of the candi- 
dates. The opponent, to be sure, largely has recourse to 
sophistical arguments to catch the defendant in the debate. 
The latter is thus put to the test to see if he is competent to 
expose and solve the opponent's sophistry. If he succeeds, 
the opponent yields. If unable to answer, he fails. In 
this case, the opponent then frequently gives the solution. 
In his talks on religion and in his theological writings, 
Luther employs sophistry just as in those school exercises, 
only with this difference that in the latter he awaited the 
answer, whilst he did not do so in his writings against the 
Church. Here he had recourse to the trick of setting up 
his arbitrarily fabricated major premise as one universally 
acknowledged by monks and theologians or in the Church, 
and about whose correctness no one entertained a doubt. 
Then he proceeded to Icnock it down. 

I shall illustrate this by an example, in order then to 
pass over to Luther's sophisms on perfection. 

A. The Vows Alleged by Luthek to be of Two Kinds, 
Essential and Accidental. 

In his work on the vows, Luther Avrites: "They make 
three of the vows essential ones — poverty, chastity, and 
obedience; the rest they consider accidental. Therefore it 
was decreed by them that only those broke vows who broke 
the essential ones. On this there exists only one opinion 
among them. But in vain, for it is only a human inven- 
tion, wholly useless to fortify the conscience, aye, useful to 
mislead it. Who assures us that this division of the vows 
is pleasing to God? Would you perhaps build up my con- 
science upon your dreams ?"°°^ This was written by Luther 

5«2 Weim. Vlll, 638. Likewise in the well known sermon, Erl. 10, 454: 
"They had divided the vows into substantialia and accidentalia, i.e. some 
vows are immovable, some movable. Immovable they made three : poverty, 


in connection with that already discussed untruth of his, 
that one vows the whole rule.'^' 

There is hardly another place in which Luther's rascal- 
ity so palpably shows itself as here. Quite the whole of his 
assertion is a mendacious fabrication, which he represents 
as a universally accepted opinion. What Catholic doctor 
before Luther's time ever divided the vows into "substan- 
tialia" and "accidentalia"? Not one. Hence as early as 
1528, Luther was called a fabulist who draws up divisions 
and definitions and conclusions at his pleasure, and then 
is barefaced enough to pass off his fictions as the general 
opinion among monks.^*^ Luther knew very well that the 
three vows mentioned are not classed "substantialia" as 
though they were, as such, set over against others classed 
"accidentalia," but because it is in them that the religious 
life essentially ( esentialiter, substantialiter) consists,'*' and 
because a religious, in virtue of the religious life, takes no 
other vows than the three mentioned. It was said, indeed, 
that, of the instruments or means serving in the attainment 
of perfection, some are essential to the state of perfection, 
others accidental. The three vows were classed among the 
essential means, but fasting, solitude, praj^er,'"" etc., were 

chastity and obedience. All the others with the \yhole rule and order they 
call movable (vows)." Cf. ibid., p. 4.56. 
58^ See p. 56 sqq. 

564 Thus writes the Cistercian abbot, Wolfgang Mayer, in his treatise, 
"Votorum monasticorum tutor," (Cod. lat. Monac. 2S86, fol. 66) : "Narrat 
surdis hanc fabulam Lutherus, nos earn non audimus, cum res longe aliter 
se habeat. Facit tamen pro sua autoritate diffiniendo, partiendo, conclud- 
endo et condemnando, ut libitum fuerit. Cur non etiam eadem libidine istara 
votorum partitionem confingeret? * * * Accidentalia vota non novimus 
nisi Luthero iam docente. Mentitur ergo raiula, omnium nostrum de hac 
votorum partitions unam esse sententiam, et quod soli violatores voti per 
nos censeantur, qui prima tria solvissent." 

565 See above, loc. cit., and also Thomas in Chapter 8, and "De perfect, 
vitae spirit.," c. 11 : 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 7. It was also said those three com- 
sels or vows pertain "ad substantiam status religiosi." 

566 Henry of Ghent, "Quol. VII, qu. 28 ( See above, p. 162 sq. ) . Dictorum 
instrumentorum quaedam sunt substantialia statui perfectionis, quaedam 
vero accidentalia. Substantialia, ut ilia que pertinent ad tria vota substan- 
tialia, quae fiunt in religione, quae communia sunt omni religioni. Caetera 
vero omnia sunt accidentalia, quae variantur in diversis religionibus secun- 
dum diversa praecepta, statuta, et consuetudines diversas eorum. Quarum 


held to belong to the accidental instruments. But abso- 
lutely never has there been question of accidental, in contra- 
distinction to essential vows. 

Since in philosophy, when one speaks of substance 
there is also question of accident, Luther's division of the 
vows could happily have been turned to account in a theo- 
logical disputation to catch an inexperienced theological 
candidate. But what sort of offence was it to saddle this 
fictitious division upon the Catholic theologians and, with 
Luther, to argue the conclusion against them that all vows 
are essential and fall under the commandment, "vow ye and 
pay," so that none may be broken? As though violation of 
vows had ever been taught in the Catholic Church! It 
was Luther's concern only to throw sand into the eyes of 
his readers and slyly to instruct them that God knows no 
accidental vows, and that all vows are essential; in order 
then to represent the monks as vanquished by himself. 
"Wherever they may turn, they find themselves driven into 
a corner and cannot escape.'""' Like another Don Quixote, 
the "Keformer" fights a phantom, in order then to blare 
himself the victor. In the end, he, who had broken his 
vows and had misled others to do the same, assumes the 
role of great gravity: "The word and the commandment 
of God stands for eternity. It suffers no jest nor perversion 
and distortion.""*^ He perverts and distorts everything. 
He does it intentionally, and the very ones whose teachings 
he has perverted and distorted, he censures for perversion 
and distortion! 

quaedam conslstunt in negatione et amotione eius, quod perfeetionis acqui- 
sitionem prohibet, ut sunt ieiunia, solitudines, et huiusmodi ; quaedam vero 
in positlone et conservatione eius, quo ipsa perfectio aquiritur, ut sunt ora- 
tio, contemplatio, scripturae meditatio, et caetera huiusmodi. Ilia autem, 
quae statu! perfeetionis sunt substantialia, consistunt solummodo in nega- 
tione et amotione eius, quod est perfeetionis acquirendae, scil. perfectae 
charitatis impeditivum, quia est contrarii eius, scil. cupiditatis, augmenta- 
tivum, vel principaliter, vel per occasionem." 

^«' Or as he preaches Erl. 10, 4.57, he had disputed all this : "I prove 
perforce, incontrovertiMy, that either all vows are movable ('accidentalia'), 
or all are immovable ('substantialia') and wholly the same." 

568 weim. VIII, 638. 


B. The Christian State of Life, Luther Alleges, Divided 
BY THE Doctors into Perfect and Imperfect. 

Exactly the same procedure was observed by Lutber in 
respect to the state of perfection. He says : "It is a further 
principle of the perfidy of those, that they divide Christian 
life into the state of perfection and that of imperfection. 
To the common herd they give the state of imperfection, 
but to themselves that of perfection.''^"^ Two years later 
he amplifies this and explains what he means by it. The 
Scholastics (sophists) had said that Christ, by his sermon 
on the mount (containing the commandment of the love of 
one's enemy) (Matt. 5, 38-44), had abrogated the "law of 
Moses." The doctors "had made counsels out of such 
commandments (of Christ) for the perfect.""" In accord- 
ance with this, he continues, "they divide Christian doctrine 
and state of life into two parts; they call the one perfect, 
adjudging it those counsels; (they call) the other imperfect, 
adjudging it the commandments. They do this of their 
own sheer wantonness and misdoing without any warrant of 
Scripture. They do not see that in the same place Christ 
so severely enjoins His teachiag that He will not have even 
the least of it set aside, and He condemns those to hell who 
do not love their enemies.'"" What approved doctor of 
the Catholic Church before Luther's day divided Christian 
life into the state of perfection and the state of imperfec- 
tion or even into the perfect and the imperfect state? Not 
one. Thomas Aquinas, the leader of the later doctors, is 
with Jesus Christ in knowing two ways to salvation; the 
ordinary way of the commandments, common to all Chris- 

569 weim. VIII, 584, 23 : "Alterum principium perfldie illorum, quod 
vitam christianam partiuntur in statum perfectionis et Imperfectionis. Vulgo 
dant imperfectionis, sibi perfectionis statum." See also, ibid. p. 580, 22 sq., 
already adduced above, p. 146. 

5™ Ibid. XI, 249. Cf. Erl. 49, 167: They "make counsels out of God's 
commandments, which are only for the perfect." See also Erl. 7, 334. 

='1 How greatly Luther here deceives his readers, seeking to lead them 
to believe that, according to the doctrine of the Church and of the Scholas- 
tics, the love of one's enemies is only a counsel but not a commandment, 
and how he intentionally confuses and does not distinguish what is of 
counsel in this commandment, I will briefly touch up In the next chapter 
under the title Melanchthon and the "Augustana" (creed). 


tians, and sufficient for the attainment of everlasting bles- 
sedness; and the way of perfection,^'''' from which, however, 
the commandments are not excluded. I say Thomas Aquinas 
is with Jesus Christ. To the young man who all his life- 
time had kept God's commandments and asked what was 
yet wanting to him, the Divine Saviour made answer: "If 
thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast and give to the 
poor, * * « and come, follow Me.'"" Now, is the way 
of the commandments the way of imperfection? Not at all. 
All men, as we sufficiently know, have the same ideal of 
life, the perfection of Divine charity. All are therefore un- 
der the obligation of striving after the degree of perfection 
that is possible to them. But how could Christ make a 
difference between the way of the commandments and that 
of perfection? Did He not thereby place the latter as some- 
thing higher above the former? Certainly. But why? 
Just because, in ordinary life, one so often does not strive 
after the perfection of charity, the following of Christ, but 
suffers the temporal to hinder him. It was just this that 
was the case with the young man, as appears from the 
context. Too much attached to his riches, he gave no 
heed to striving after the perfection of charity. Therefore 
the Saviour advised the renunciation of all as a means to 
its attainment, in order then to be able to follow only Him. 
If all men were to strive after the perfection of charity 
and the following of Christ, there would be no need of a 
state of life which has made it its peculiar task to reach the 
highest possible degree of charity, to attain to likeness with 
Christ, and to pursue this purpose by every available means. 
Since men do not so strive, the religious state was quite 
naturally developed with reference to God's word, and those 
belonging to it order their life according to unchangeable 
rules and bind their will by the holiest and most solemn 
promises, "so that striving after perfection is now for them 

5'2 Thomas Aquinas on Matth., c. 19, 21 : "Est enim duplex via : una 
sufficiens ad salutem, et haec est dilectio dei et proximi cum sui beneficio, 
sine suo gravamine. * * * Alia est perfectionis, ut diligere proximum 
cum sui detrimento. * » * Quia duplex est dilectio proximi, scil. dilectio 
secundum viam communem, et dilectio perfectionis." 

573 Matt. 19, 21. 


no longer a matter of free pleasure, but the first and most 
compelling of all duties, that is, the duty of their state 
and calling.'"'* And precisely because in the religious 
state one binds himself by solemn public vows forever to 
strive after perfection, this state, since the middle of the 
thirteenth century, (at least so far as my knowledge goes), 
has been called the state of perfection.^''^ 

Since this state has no other end than that to which all 
Christians in their manner are bound, the only difference 
being that it seeks to attain the ideal of life common to all 
by specially adapted means in the most perfect manner 
possible, it is self-evident that it cannot be set up as against 
a state of imperfection. For what else would this mean 
than that, in this state of imperfection, one openly, and, 
because it is a matter of "status," state of life, forever pro- 
fesses imperfection, whereas, in virtue of the commandment, 
every Christian is bound to love God with all his heart and 

What else would such an opposition of those states to 
each other signify than that the state of perfection would 
absolutely exclude the state of those not found within it- 
self, because the perfect does exclude the imperfect, so that 
the way of the commandments would be shut out of the 
state of perfection? That, certainly, is the construction 
that Luther ascribed to the Christian doctors and monks, 
but that is the most that can be said of it — he ascribed it 
to them. The Christian doctors know that idea no more 
than they do Luther's division. They speak only of the 
state of life common to all Christians according to the 
commandments, and of that of perfection, as we just heard 
Thomas, whom all follow, express himself. They teach that 
the state of ordinary Christian life is included in the state 
of perfection. The former possesses the basis of salvation 
and of all perfection to be striven after, namely, the life 
of grace and of charity. It is therefore necessarily included 
in every other wholesome state, consequently also in the 

='* See a beautiful exposition of this by Albert M. Weiss, "Apologie des 
Christentums," Vol. 5, (2 and 3 edit., 1898), p. 589 sq. 
575 See above, Chap. 8. 


state of perfection. The keeping of the commandments be- 
longs to the essence of Christian perfection."" 

Again, what else would be the meaning of such an oppo- 
sition of these states to each other, as imputed to Catholics 
by Luther, than that all in the state of perfection were 
really perfect, and all outside of it were actually imperfect; 
that the religious state is as perfect as Christian perfection 
itself, whilst those outside of it could absolutely never reach 
perfection except by entering the religious state? How false 
this is and opposed to the teaching of Christian doctors we 
have seen repeatedly. 

He who admits with the Catholic Church that the differ- 
ent callings in the world are of God's will must also admit 
that God wills the sanctification and the attainment of per- 
fection of everyone in his calling. The commandment of 
Christ: "Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is per- 
fect," or the saying of St. Paul : "This is the will of God, 
your sanctification," apply to all callings. But how does 
one reach perfection in the world? By fulfilling the com- 
mandments of God and the duties of one's state for the love 
of God, which is the bond of perfection. The intenser this 
love is, the nearer does one approach perfection. What the 
religious state must strive after is exactly the same, and in 
the ceaseless observance of the counsels it recognizes the 
chiefest duties of its calling. In respect to the end pur- 
sued by Christian life in the world and by the religious 
state, no difference exists. The difference is in the specific 
means by which the same end is attained. It is only in re- 
lation to these means that one can say the religious state is 
more perfect than that of Christians in the world, but not 
as regards the end or with respect to particular individuals 
here and there. While someone in the religious state is but 
a beginner in perfection, or is even imperfect and will never 
get farther, one in the world may have made great progress 
in the love of God — a progress the greater because of the 

"8 See extensive treatment of this by Suarez, "De statu perfectionis," 
lib. 2. c. 2, n. 7-9; c. 14. The celebrated theologian there discusses only the 
ancient tradition. In what sense "conjugium" is sometimes called a "status 
imperfectus," see ibid. c. 3, n. 13. 


greater difficulties he had to contend against. As in re- 
spect to the essential reward in eternity, so in respect to 
the greater perfection here on earth, the degree, the meas- 
ure of charity and of one's oblation to God is the determi- 
nant, not the external works and achievements of virtue 
in themselves."' 

Luther's setting up of the religious state as perfect in 
contradistinction to the life of Christians in the world as im- 
perfect, is based on the wholly erroneous idea that, by what is 
known to be better and accepted as such, a contrasted object 
forthwith proves bad, so that the matter is one of contradic- 
tories. We shall see later that this idea plays a chief role 
with him and present-day Protestant theologians in their 
discussion of marriage against the Catholic Church. But from 
the principle mentioned, what follows in the question now 
occupying our attention? It follows that the religious state 
is also imperfect. Every order is a state of perfection. Nev- 
ertheless one order is more perfect than another. For, in the 
attainment of perfection, not only the three vows but other 
means serve, and these are different in different orders. The 
more means an order possesses aiding in the easier and speedier 
attainment of perfection, and the fewer things which can hin- 
der the same, the more perfect such an order is in comparison 
with another.^''' According to Luther's principle, the latter 
order as compared with the other is imperfect and therefore, 
if one wanted to go on to a logical conclusion from Luther's 
principle, would cease to be a state of perfection. 

5" Thus does St. Thomas teach 3 Sent. dist. 29, qu. 4, a. 8, solut. ad 2. 
quaestiunc, In accord with antiquity : "Praemium essentiale * * * men- 
suratur secundum intensionem charitatis, non sec-magnitudinem factorum, 
quia Deus magis pensat ex quanto, guam quantum fiat." Similarly Gregory 
the Great, "Hom. 5 in Evang., n. 2. It is all of Luther's ordinary spite 
when he seeks (Weim. XI, 249) to inform the doctors of the Church that 
perfection and imperfection are not in works, but in the heart ; "he who 
believes in me and loves me, is perfect, be he whosoever he may." Luther 
deceives even in this, that by love he means only love of neighbor. Besides, 
what Christian doctor ever said that perfection consists in works? What 
Luther says here is only the more correctly and exactly expressed by them. 

='8 Henry of Ghent writes in "Quol." II, qu. 14: "Status perfectionis 
generandae * * * semper tanto est perfectior, quanto habet plura pro- 
motiva et pauclora Impeditiva ad perfectionem citius et facilius acquirendam." 


Luther Avas unwilling to see (or did lie really not know?) 
that, in our question, a contradiction is established only by 
a difference in the end, and not by a difference in the means 
by which the end is attained. As in his division of the vows 
into "substantialia" and "accidentalia," so in his division of 
Christian life into the state of perfection and that of imper- 
fection, Luther but assails a phantom,^'' and as he there in- 
veighs against the consequences of his lie, which he had set 
up as Catholic truth, so does he here pursue the same course.^^" 

It is in the same spirit that Luther treats the questions, 
long ago answered by the earlier doctors, for instance, St. 
Thomas and St. Bonaventure,^" whether religious can accept 
ecclesiastical offices and dignities, and whether a religious who 
has taken the three vows can become a bishop, cardinal, or 
Pope. Either must this be denied, says Luther, or the state 
of Pope, cardinal, or bishop must be condemned. Let him who 
will understand this alternative, but that is not the question 
here. Luther continues: "They (the Papists) say here that 
such a religious yields to obedience and enters upon the state 
of perfection. That is a nice lie on thy head. Why didst 
thou say before that the religious state is a state of perfection? 
I pray thee, how many states of perfection hast thou? If 
then the bishop afterwards resigns and goes into a monastery, 
which has sometimes happened, he goes from the state of im- 
perfection into the state of perfection, and again, when a 
monk becomes a bishop and leaves his monastery, he enters 
upon the state of perfection. There seest thou how the states 
mutually perfect and imperfect each other, that is, how the 
lies go at, rend, and consume each other."^^^ 

What did not the "Eeformer" concoct in his brains in 
order fully to lure the dissolute mendicant friars into his toils ! 

579 weim. VIII, 584 : "Merum commentum et ludibrium est de perfec- 
tioni.s et imperfectlonis .statu, ex ignorantla fidei proveniens, tantum ad sedu- 
cendtim idoneum." 

'80 Ibid. "Hanc differentlam non metiuntur iuxta mensuram spiritus et 
fidei et charitatis, quas certu mest in vulgo potissimum regnare, sed iuxta 
pompam et larvam externorum operum et suorum votorum, In quibus nihil 
est neque spiritus, neque fidei, neque charitatis, quin spiritum fidei et chari- 
tatis extinguunt." 

"1 See 4. Sent. dist. 38, a. 2, qu. 3, ad 5. 

082 Weim. VIII, 643. 


Such thimble-rigging might have been brought forward at a 
theological disputation to corner the defendant and to give 
him an opportunity of sharply distinguishing the underlying 
conceptions, but it was a misdemeanor not only to exhibit this 
sophistical claptrap against the state of perfection, but to al- 
lege it as truly representing the case. Luther wants to make it 
believed that a twofold perfection is assumed, one for the relig- 
ious state and another for the Pope, cardinals, and bishops. But 
we now know well enough that there can be but one sole per- 
fection of the Christian life, namely, the perfection of charity, 
after which all ought to strive. The commandment "Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God," etc., holds for all. We also are 
well aware that one and the same perfection discloses different 
degrees or phases of development. At profession, a religious 
takes upon himself the duty of striving after perfection. A 
bishop ought already to have that perfection which the relig- 
ious binds himself to attain. The relation of the perfection 
of the religious to that of the bishop, according to St. Thomas, 
is that of the disciple to the master.^^^ Does the religious 
who becomes a bishop therefore enter upon the state of per- 
fection? No, he is already in it. But now he ought to have 
that perfection as master, which heretofore he strove after as 
a disciple. Does the bishop who returns into a monastery 
pass from the state of imperfection into that of perfection? 
Apart from the Lutherian nonsense of such an assertion, the 
bishop in this case does not cease to be a bishop. All this was 
trumped up and fabricated by Luther, to enable him to bluster 
against the Papists. "What dost thou hope these impudent 
and idiotic ( fellows ) will finally say, except that perhaps they 
will also devise a state of perfection, when thou goest from 
thy marriage bed into a whorehouse? O Christ, in this sacri- 
legious manner of living there is nothing else than the most 

583 Thomas Aquinas on Matth. c. 19: "Talis est differentia inter per- 
fectionem religlosorum et praelatorum, qualis inter discipulum et magistrum. 
Unde discipulo dicitur : si vis addiscere, Intra scliolas ut addiscas ; magistro 
dlscitur: lege et perfice." Hence was It said, likewise from the XIII cen- 
tury, that a religious is "in statu perfectlonis acquirendae or generandae," 
a bishop "In statu perfectlonis exercendae." Cf . also above p. 159, note 422 ; 
p. 163 sq. ; p. 181, note 505. 


confounded lies!"^" It is Luther's usual tactics to distort 
Catholic doctrine in such a manner that he can then, with 
apparent justice, direct his attacks against it in his own trivial 

C. In the Catholic Church, Luther Alleges, the Highest 

Perfection Is in Chastity. Consequences. The 

Earlier Luther Against the Later. 

"This poor ignorant crowd does not even know why chas- 
tity is counseled. They believe that in itself it is the very 
highest worlc in which salvation and glory lie. Therefore in 
perfection they esteem themselves hy far above the rest of 
Christians." Thus writes Luther.^^^ Nevertheless we have 
already heard that the counsels, according to Christian doc- 
tors, are only relative means, "removentia prohibentia," re- 
moving the hindrance to the freer unfolding of charity. With 
the counsel of continency, they are in the service of the com- 
mandment of the love of God and of neighbor and consequently 
of man's everlasting destiny. So Luther is only again at his 
work of deception. But before taking up his charge, on this 
head, let us first more specially consider his assertion that 
the religious believed themselves by far superior to the rest 
of Christians in perfection. 

Who will deny that there were religious who deemed them- 
selves better than others ?^^' For such it would have been 
more advantageous to remain in the world. St. Augustine in 
his day had said: "Better humble marriage than proud vir- 
ginity."^*^ But is pride necessarily bound up with the monas- 
tic vows? Luther certainly assumed this in his cunning way 
and at the same time asserted, too, that, according to Catho- 
lic teaching, the religious state is perfection, a religious is 

58-1 Weim. VIII, 643. 

585Weim. VIII, 585. 

588 But these were precisely the unspiritual, imperfect religious In name 
only, of whom moralists like Gregorius Morgenstern (Sermones contra om- 
nem mundi perversum statum, Argentine, 1513, fol. 4'') preached: "despiclunt 
seculares, putantes se mellores ipsis," etc. Such religious identify the 
"should have" with "have." 

587 In psalm, 99, n. 13. 


perfect, and considers himself perfect. St. Thomas, on the 
contrary, teaches that "it is presumption for any one to hold 
himself perfect, but not to strive after perfection. '"^^^ This 
striving after perfection excludes pride and presumption. 
Self-exaltation grows only out of pride and presumption. 
Since Luther by nature belonged to the proudest and most 
presumptuous beings of his time, as shall be proved in the 
course of this work, it would have been a wonder if self-exalt- 
ation had not already manifested itself in him in the Catho- 
lic period of his life. As early as 1516, after which he still 
remained a religious for some years, he wrote of himself 
that "he did not formerly comprehend how, after his sorrow 
was excited and his confession made, he should not have pre- 
ferred himself to others, since he believed himself then to be 
without sin."^^' Now this, his own evil sentiment he ascribed 
to all other religious, and he naturally censured them for 
esteeming themselves more perfect than others. At the same 
time, we get to see from this how far Luther, even in his 
Catholic days, had departed from true Christianity. If this 
then took place within him largely without his being con- 
scious of it, the same cannot be said of him later after his 
apostasy. It was intentionally that he distorted Catholic doc- 
trine and he was well aware of it when he imputed the worst 
to Catholics. 

And now how about the first charge, that the monks 
believe chastity to be the very highest work, in which salva- 
tion and glory lie? Who taught this? Not a single Chris- 
tian authority. And Luther later did not shrink from writ- 
ing even to the effect that "the monks by original justice com- 
monly mean chastity."^^" According to the two greatest doc- 
tors of scholasticism in its flower, Thomas and Bonaventure, 
(and all other recognized teachers follow them) chastity is 

588 2. 2. qu. 185, a. 1, ad 2. 

589 On the Epistle to the Romans, c. 4, fol. 144. I return to the passage 
In the next section. 

590 In c. 2 "Gen. Opp. exeg. lat.," I, 143 : "Monachi justitian originalem 
fere intelligunt de castitate." It amounts to the same when he lies, 1539: 
"In the Popedom they said that chastity obtains forgiveness of sins not only 
for those who observe it but also for others." Erl. 34, 381. 


not the highest vow, but oiedience.^^^ In accordance with 
this, only the vow of obedience is taken in the Benedictine 
and Dominican orders.''^ In the old statutes of the Carthu- 
sian order, with which Luther so busies himself, there is fre- 
quent enough treating on obedience, and it is celebrated as 
that virtue Avhich makes everything in the order meritorious 
and Avithout which all is lost.^"^ Chastity is mentioned but 
a few times and then only incidentally.'^* As in the two 
above mentioned orders, so also in this, it is only the vow of 
obedience that is taken.'"'' As a religious, Luther himself 
saw, not in chastity but in obedience, the sum and the per- 
fection of Christian life.'"* 

There is a third charge alleged by Luther in the above 
quoted passage: "in chastity lie salvation and glory." But 
did he not attribute this to all Catholic exercises?'*' How- 
ever, what, according to Him, is the meaning of the counsel 
of chastity? In his book on the monastic vows he writes: 
"Christ Avishes chastity to be in the service of the kingdom 
of heaven.'""^ But that is the Catholic teaching and that of 

581 See Thomas De perfect, vitae .spirit., c. 11, "Inter haec autem tria, 
quae ad religionis statum dicimus pertinere, praecipuum est obedientiae 
votum, quod quidem multipliciter apparet." "Qui propriam voluntatem dat. 
totum dedisse videtur. Universalius igitur est obedientiae votum quam con- 
tinentiae et paupertatis, et quodam modo includit utrumque." Diffusely 2. 2. 
qu. 186, a. 8; 2. 2. qu. 88, a. 6; Ep. ad Philipp, c. 2, lect. 3, and thus fre- 
quently. St. Bonaventure writes 4. Sent., dist 38, a. 2, qu, 3, n. 7 : "Votum 
obedientiae est perfectissimum, quia in castitate vincit homo corpus suum, in 
paupertate mundum, in obedientia mactat homo seipsum." This is the self- 
denial which Luther and his adherents rejected. 

"sz See above, p. 64. 

583 Statuta et privilegia Ord. Carthus. Basllee 1510. Cf. therein statuta 
antiqua 2" pars, c. 24 ; c. 14 ; c. 5, etc. 

59* Ibid. c. 30. 31. 

595 Ibid. c. 24: "Ego f rater, * * * promitto stabilitatem et obedieu- 
tlam et conversionem raorum." 

59oweim. Ill, 228: "* * * In hoc stat tota ratio et perfectio chrls- 
tiane vite." 

597 Thus he writes 0pp. exeg. lat. V, 143: "Monachus, monaeha, sacri- 
ficulus, coelebs, omnes cogitant : nos sumus paupers, coelibes, ieiunamus, 
oramus : ergo certo possidebimus regnum coelorum." Naturally the practical 
application follows: "haec est Ismaelitica superbla." One would have to 
write volumes to exhaust the list of such charges and reproaches. 

698 Weim. VIII, 585, 23. 


St. Thomas, "who renders the forms of the Church," as well 
as those of all Christian doctors. 

And what conclusion does Luther draw? It resembles 
its motivation. The religious, because by their vows, aban- 
doning Christ/^^ they sought to soar above the Gospel, fell 
headlong into the abyss of error; they are the most disobed- 
ient, the richest, the most unchaste, etc."™ To this he often 
recurs, e.g., in 1522, when it is painted in glaring colors; in 
1527, when he preaches against those who praise and practice 
virginity: "As many of them as there are in popedom, if 
they are all hammered together, there would not be found 
one who had observed chastity up into his fortieth year."""^ 
The ruin of some few or of one part he piles upon the whole 
state and upon the very essence thereof! Is that just, does 
it become a Christian? Even St. Augustine in his day asks : 
"Shall we, on account of the evil virgins, condemn those who 
are good and holy in body and soul?"""^ 

Luther brought a procedure into play which a short time 
before he himself had stigmatized in a drastic manner, and 
that occurred at the time in which he had already laid the 
lash on the corruption of the Church with violence. 

In 1516, namely, he wrote: "God abandons no state in 
such a wise that there are not some in it ordained by Him 
to be the covershame of others. Thus are many evil women 
treated indulgently on account of the good ones ; good priests 
protect the evil ones; unworthy monks are honored on ac- 
count of the worthy. But silly people rise against a whole 
state of life, just as if they themselves were pure and no- 
where unclean, whilst before, behind, and within they are 

599 Or as he says elsewhere : to deny the faith, to trample the Holy 
Ghost under foot. See above, chapters 5-6, Weim. XIV, 395 sq., and below, 
10, "Augustana." 

SCO VPeim. VIII, 58T-589. See also below, Chap. 14. 

«oi Erl. 28, 165 ; Weim. XXIV. 517. Cf. Erl. 10, 450 sq., 464 sq. : "What 
they do secretly it is also a shame to speak about: you would not deem 
their highly lauded chastity worthy of being used by a whore for the wiping 
of her shoes." Weim. XIX, 290: "There is no more abominable invigoration 
of the flesh and of unchastity under heaven than in the monasteries * * * ; 
they wallow (in their full, lazy life) like sivine in mud." See also above, p. 
9 sq. and Weim. XII, 232 sq. 

602 In psalm. 99, n. 13. 


nevertheless nothing but a market-place and stable of sows 
and swine. "®°^ This fulmination did not satisfy him. A 
page later, he takes those people to task again. Their unjust 
conduct made him so indignant that he wrote : "These most 
beautiful idiots, who, as I said, wholly forget that they them- 
selves are the dirty ones, let fly with energy against priests, 
monks, women and hang upon the necks of all, that which a 
single one has done. Such a one should be answered" — 
and here we have an apostrophe which the Luther of 1516 
addresses to the Luther of 1521 — "Didst thou never do any- 
thing in thy mother's lap that smelt bad? Or even now dost 
thou nowhere stink? 'Aut nullibi membrorum putes?' If 
thou art so clean, I wonder that the apothecaries did not long 
ago buy thee as a balsam-box, since thou are naught but 
fragrant balsam. If thy mother had done thus to thee, thou 
wouldst have been consumed by thy own excrement."*"* 

The monk Luther has here pronounced severest judg- 
ment upon Luther, the father of the "Evangelical Eeforma- 
tion." Protestant Luther researchers cannot here employ 
their favorite empty phrase that Luther later reached a bet- 
ter, higher understanding. The matter is here one of facts. 
The religious life did not become something else within five 
years, but Luther became another man. In 1521 he denies 
facts which in 1516 he had seen everywhere before his eyes; 
namely, that in every state of life, in the order too, there are 
those who are good, for whose sake the e\al are treated indul- 
gently. With his admonition not to fasten the faults of the 

^"^ Epistle to the Komans, fol. 285 : "Vide itaque singulos ordines pri- 
mum. Nullum deus ita reliquit, quin aliquos bonos et honestos iu illis or- 
dinavit, qui sint aliorum tectura et lionestas. Sic nialis mulieribus parcitur 
propter bonas. Sacerdotes boni protegunt males. Monachi indigni honor- 
antur propter dignos. Hie autem insulsi homines contra totum ordinem in- 
surgTint, ae velut ipsi sint mundi, ut nullibi sordeant, cum tamen ante et 
retro et intus nonnisi suum et porcorum sint forum et officina." 

*"* Ibid., fol. 286: "Sed omnium pulcherrimi fatui, qui, ut dixi, obliti, 
quod et ipsi sordldissimi sunt, contra sacerdotes, monachos, mulieres acriter 
invehunt, omnlbusque impingunt, quod unus fecit. Cui respondetur : Nun- 
quam tu matri in sinum fecisti, quod male oleret? Aut nunc etiam nusquam 
sordes? Aut nullibi membrorum putes? Quod si tam purus es, mirum, quod 
apothecarii te non iam olim emerint pro balsamario, quando nonnisi balsa- 
mam (ms. calsamam) aromatlsans tu es. Si mater tua sic tibl fecisset, a 
proprio stercore consumptus fulsses." 


few upon the whole state of life, he is in agreement with all 
antiquity. Now all this is abruptly changed. Why? He 
already belonged to those of whom he had said in 1514: 
"Heretics cannot appear to be good unless they represent 
the Church as evil, false, mendacious. They alone want to he 
esteemed good, hut the Church is to appear evil in every- 
thing."^"^ He himself now deems himself a sweet smelling 
balsam, notwithstanding the carnal lust that overmastered 
him, despite his godless life at the Wartburg. Now he be- 
lieves he has the right to find everything in the Church stink- 


Melanchthon and the Axjgustana on the Religious State. 
Nevter Protestant Theologians 

A. Melanchthon and the Augustana. 

In respect to exposition of the vows and of the religious 
state, Melanchthon blindly followed Luther, filled as he was 
with hatred towards the Church and her institutions. At 
the same time hs speaks like a preceptor against whose word 
no doubt dares assert iself. As early as June 2, 1520, he 
turns upon a Carthusian with the imputation that the sum 
of Christianity had been put in chastity. He is not forthwith 
a Christian, he Avrites against the Catholics, who moderates 
his carnal lust.°°° But who taught this? We saw at the 
end of the preceding chapter that this is a view foisted by 
Luther upon the Church doctors. 

Two years later in the third edition of his "Loci com- 
munes,"^"^ Melanchthon went a great deal farther, always led 

»<" Weim. Ill, 445. See above, p. 15. 

*<" Corp. Ref., I, 195: "Non permittam (castitatem) tanti fieri, ut in ea 
sola summam Christianismi positam censeam. Non continuo Christianus est, 
qui sibi quocunque tandem modo a Venere temperat." See Luther's utter- 
ance above, p. 210. 

6"' Ed. Kolde, Leipzig 1900, p. 127, note : "Impietas est vovere per in- 
fidelltatem, hoc est, si ideo voveas, quod hoc opere lustificari velis, scil. ig- 
norans sola gratia per Christum iustificari credentes. Sic Aquinas docuit, 
votum etiam baptismo aequans." 


however (down to the concluding sentence) by his master: 
"It is an act of impiety to vow out of infidelity, that is, if 
you vow for this reason that by this work you wish to be 
justified, for you thereby show your ignorance of how the 
faithful are justified only by grace through Christ. Thus 
did Aquinas teach, even making the vow equivalent to bap- 
tism." The impiety is on the side of Melanchthon, the "Pre- 
ceptor Germaniae," not on the side of Thomas Aquinas, as 
anyone may see and learn for himself in the eighth and its 
following chapter. What Melanchthon here writes on justi- 
fication by the vows is only an uncritical repetition of 
Luther's utterances on the same subject, with which we be- 
came acquainted above.*"* Neither Luther nor Melanchthon 
had read Thomas. Luther's ignorance of Aquinas we take 
up in the second section. But Melanchthon's knowledge of 
Aquinas was perhaps even less than Luther's. He was wholly 
inexperienced in the history of theology and in theology it- 
self, and he blindly accepted Luther's carpings at Thomas 
and the rest of the masters of the Church. In truth it was 
not a matter of importance to the founders of the "Evangeli- 
cal Eeformation" to study conscientiously, to test, and to 
judge. The first free-thinker of Protestantism, Melanchthon, 
gave evidence of this that same year, 1521, in respect to a 
contemporary, "that fat he-goat — I have not his name just 
noio — who explained / know not what part of Thomas in a 
most wordy and truly Thomistic commentary."""" He alludes 
to the famous Conrad Koellin, who in 1512 published a 
commentary on only one part of the Summa of St. Thomas, 
namely the "Prima Secundae." He knew neither the author's 
name nor what book he wrote. But that does not matter. 
He grossly reviles the work and its writer anyhow. Gen- 
uinely Lutheran ! Herein Melanchthon took no higher stand- 
point than did Luther's comrade iu arms, the syphilitic Hut- 

BOS gee above, p. 78 sqq. 

609 Corp. Reform., I, 317 : "Quin si vis et pinguem ilium hirquitallum, 
nomen enim nunc non teneo, qui nescio quam Thomae partem verbosissimo 
planeque thorn istico commentario illustravit." 

«!" In his Oi)tis he writes among other things : "lactantur ab alteris sub- 
tilis Scotus, seraphicus Bonaventura, bis sanctus Thomas, unice magnus Al- 


He even introduced this ignorance of Ms into Protestan- 
tism's famous Confession of Faith. He writes : "The monks 
pretended that the monastic vows were equal to baptism, 
and that forgiveness of sins and justification before God are 
merited by the monastic life. They added even more, that 
the monastic life merited not only justice before God but 
more, since it fulfilled not only God's commandments but 
also the evangelical counsels. The monastic vows were more 
valued than baptism.'"" "Whoever therefore is caught and 
gets into a monastery, learns little of Christ.'"" Then fol- 
low the ordinary sophisms of Luther, which are discussed in 
Chapter VI. ; namely, that the vows are not able to abrogate 
God's ordinance and commandment; that there exists, how- 
ever, the commandment: "For fear of fornication, let every 
man have his own wife and let every woman have her own 
husband." (I Cor. 7, 2). It is also said: "It is not good 
for man to be alone" (Gen. 2, 18). What rope- walking with 
the Bible in this Confession of Faith! Marriage is to be com- 
manded, celibacy forbidden to all men. The close is in keep- 
ing Avith this: "Those therefore do not sin who obey this 
commandment and ordinance of God (that monks and priests 
take a wife). What indeed can one bring up to the contrary? 
Let the vows and duty be extolled as greatly as any one will, 
let them be praised as highly as can be, one cannot neverthe- 

bertus ac irrefragabilis quidam, cuius mihi nomen per incuriam excidit" etc. 
For the year 1518, in Palat. IV, 121. He writes about the "irrefragabilis," 
not knowing that he Is Alexander of Hales. 

81^ Confessio Augustana, in "Die unveranderte Aug.sburglsche Konfes- 
sion, deutsch und lateinisch," Critical edition by P. Tschackert (1901), p. 
170, 171, 172. The "textus receptus" of the German text, which was given 
with the Latin text, here has no meaning or sense whatever. It reads : 
"They even add more thereto, (saying) that by the monastic life one merits 
not only devotion and justice before God, but also that one thereby observes 
the commandments and the counsels." Is one therefore to merit also this 
latter? No. But the Latin text does yield a meaning: "imo addebant am- 
plius, vitam monastic-am non tantum iustitiam mereri coram deo, sed 
ampUus etiam, quia servaret non modo praecepta, sed etiam consilia evan- 

612 This sentence is only in the German (p. 172) but not in the Latin 
text (p. 173). 


less force God's commandment thereby to be abrogated.""^' 
It is a disgrace and a shame that such fallacies, sophisms, 
and distortions of Holy Writ occur in that Confession of 
Faith. It only throws sand into the eyes of the readers, of 
the "faithful." And to this day pastors and theologians 
draw therefrom their idea of Catholic teaching! 

But Melanchthon, in the whole of Article 27, does not 
only heap up sophism upon sophism respecting the monastic 
vows; true to his master he does not shrink from the lie 
either: "It is certain that the monks taught that the orders 
satisfy for sins, and merit grace and justification. What 
else is that but taking from Christ His honor, and obscuring 
and denying the justification of faith? It follows thence that 
those vows are a godless service of God; therefore they are 
null. For, a godless vow, taken against God's commandment, 
is not valid, since a vow may not be a bond of godlessness," 
ctc.'^* And so upon one lie in the Confession of Faith 
another is built up, and then the desired conclusion is drawn ! 
These lies are subsequently repeated in different forms. 
Sometimes Melanchthon censures the monks for what he 
himself utterly fails to grasp, e.g., that they exalted their 
orders into a state of perfection. The conclusion that he 
drew proves he did not know what the proposition meant. 
"Does not that mean," he says, "putting justification in 
works ?"°" O sancta simplicitas! — O holy simplicity! But 
that is not yet enough. In the Latin text of the Confession 
one reads at least: "religiones esse statum christianae per- 
fectionis." In the German, the critical text prepared by 
Tschackert gives the wholly correct rendering: "that the 
factitious spiritual orders are states of Christian perfection." 
The hitherto commonly used German text ("textus receptus") 
of the Confession among Protestants nevertheless has it "that 

«i3 p. 173, 175 ; 174, 176. Similarly ibid., c. 33, p. 125. Lutlier in Weim. 
XII, 233 sq. Tlie reference to Gen. 2, 18 is too silly. But I Cor. 7, 2 con- 
tains an admonition to those ivho are married to have recourse to the 
legitimate use of marriage as a safeguard against the danger of unchastlty. 
See also Cornely, "Comm. in pr. epist. ad Corinth," p. 164 sq. 

614 See p. 179 and 182. 

615 p. 181 ; 184. "Persuaserunt hominibus facticias religiones esse statum 
Christianae perfectionis. An non est hoc iustiflcationem tribuere operibus?" 


the factitious spiritual religious states are Christian perfec- 
tion.-'"^^ Therefore tlie religious state, according to tlie 
teaching of the monks, is Christian perfection itself and thus 
whoso belongs to it is perfect! No Protestant theologian 
took note of this nonsense. On the contrary, they have si- 
lently been building up their discussions on it to this day, 
just as Melanchthon himself did. Of course it is more effec- 
tive against the Catholic Church and is moreover wholly 
Lutheran. It was Luther who in his rascally way foisted 
that nonsense upon the Church."^ 

But in what, according to the Confession, does the Chris- 
tian perfection of the monks consist, as set over against the 
"true?" In celibacy, in begging, or in the wearing of a 
sordid garb. For it aimed its shafts against the monks when 
it declared: "Christian perfection does not consist in celi- 
bacy, in begging, or in a sordid garb.""' The author of 
Lutheranism's Confession of Faith turns even the most ele- 
mentary Catholic ideas topsy turvy. And what is the "true" 
Christian perfection according to him? Possibly the per- 
fection of the love of God, which according to Scriptures is 
the bond of perfection, the first and the greatest command- 
ment? No, for one seeks in vain, in the Confession's defini- 
tion of Christian perfection, that which it solely and really 
is, the perfection of charity, after which all should strive and 
to which the religious at their profession solemnly bind 
themselves. But then that would be too Catholic. With 
this let the reader compare the Confession's definition given 
in the note.'" 

618 p. 184". Thus also the Zerbst ms. 

'" See the preceding chapter, p. 200 sq. 

61S p. 181 : "Vera perfectio et verus cultus Dei non est in coelibatu aut 
mendicitate, aut veste sordida." See Luther in Erl. 7, 334. 

6i» P. 181, 186. I cite the German text and enclose in parentheses those 
words which do not appear in the Latin : "Christian perfection is to fear 
God earnestly (and from one's heart), and yet to conceive a great (text 
runs : heartfelt) (confidence and) faith and trust that, for the sake of Christ, 
we have a gracious (merciful) God, that we can (and should) ask of God 
(and desire what is of necessity to us) and expect with certainty help from 
Him in all our tribulations (Latin: 'In omnibus rebus gerendis'), each 
according to his vocation (and state), and meantime we should also with 
diligence do external good works and attend to our calling. Therein con- 
sists the right perfection and right service of God, not in begging or in a 


Let us follow the Confession farther : "The common folk 
draw a dangerous and harmful meaning out of the false 
praise of the religious life. They hear celibacy praised with- 
out measure; hence they live in the married state with only 
a troubled conscience. They hear that it is only an evangeli- 
cal counsel not to seek revenge; consequently there are those 
who do not scruple in private life to revenge themselves, 
for they hear it is only of counsel, not of commandment. 
Others consider all office-holding and civic callings unworthy 
of a Christian. One reads of instances of men who abandon 
wife and child and the cares of common life and retire into 
a monastery. They called that fleeing the world and seeking 
a manner of life more pleasing to God.''^^" 

This in its entirety is calculated only for the stupidity 
and inexperience of those who read it. In the innumerable 
sermons of the fifteenth century preached to the people, one 
is fairly obliged to search for some passage or another in 
which the religious state or celibacy is mentioned. Similarly 
in sermons at the wedding services, only marriage is lauded 
and virginity is not mentioned at all.^^^ According to the 
declarations of the Confession, however, one is led to believe 
that the priests had preached to the people on hardly any- 
thing but celibacy. It is a Lutheran-Melanchthonic false- 
hood that it was taught or preached that the mendicants, 
that is, the mendicant friars, and only they, were perfect. 
On this point there is surely no further observation needed. 
What Melanchthon says about revenge, that according to 
Catholics it is only a matter of counsel, is a malicious cal- 
umny, copied from Luther. According to Catholic teaching, 
the first property or characteristic of the duty of loving one's 
enemy is to cherish in one's heart no spirit of revenge or of 

black or gray cloak (habit)," etc. Ritschl cites and approves this deflnitioQ 
in "Gesch. des Pietismus," I, 39, note 2. But how does it agree with the 
greatest commandment of the love of God and of neighbor, promulgated 
anew by Jesus Christ? How does it accord with the Lord's counsel: "If 
thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast and give to the poor * * * 
and come, folloio Me"? Where, in the Confession, is there anything about a 
virtuous life, and even about the subdual of the concupiscences? 

820 P. 183, 188. 

e2i See on this, below in Chap. 13, 34. 


hatred against Mm and against one's neighbor in general. 
This is a necessary obligation. That which is counseled in 
respect to love of one's enemy is different and belongs to 
perfection.^" I wonder besides that Melanchthon had the 
courage to touch this point. The "Keformer" and his fol- 
lowers were the very ones who conducted themselves as 
though the Divine Redeemer had positively commanded re- 
venge and forbidden the love of one's enemy. To be con- 
vinced of this, one needs but read any book whatever by 
Luther, that hatred-filled and most biting of men.''^^ 

But some abandoned wife and child and retired into 
a monastery! "Some," or as the Latin text reads: "legun- 
tur exempla hominum, qui deserto coniugio," etc. Do "some" 
constitute the rule? Did those men enter the monastery 
without the consent of their wives, without having made 
provision for the children, and without a vocation from 
God? It was not dared to set forth the actual state of 
affairs, for then the intended effect would have been want- 
ing. And that sentence Avas to serve as proof that "others" 

622 To this pertain, e. g. the words of Christ (Matt. 5, 39 sqq.) : "If one 
strike thee on thy right cheeli, turn to him also the other" ; "if a man will 
contend with thee in judgment and tal^e away thy coat, let go thy cloalc also 
unto him," etc. In these words, there was, and still is, rightly recognized 
a counsel and not a ccommandment (except in certain cases, the discussion 
of which is not here pertinent). This view, held by St. Augustine in his day, 
is seized by Luther in order that he may insidiously charge Catholics with 
having in general made a counsel out of the commandment of the love of 
one's enemy. Cf. also Weim. VIII, 582, 592, etc., and above, p. 184 sq. To 
the contrary, Thomas Aquinas 2. 2. qu. 25, a. 8, 9 ; qu. 82, a. 8 ; quaestio de 
charitate, a. 8, where he begins the body of the article with the words : 
"Diligere inimicos aliquo modo cadit sm6 praecepto, et aliquo modo suh 
consilil perjectione." In respect to the, to us, interesting point against tlie 
"Augustana" and against Luther, he teaches : "Quicunque inimicum odit, 
aliquod bonum creatum diligit plus quam Deum, quod est contra praeceptum 
charitatis. Habere igitur odio inimicum est contrarium charitatfe (there- 
fore a mortal sin). Sequitur ergo quod ex necessitate praecepti teneamur 
diligere inimicos." He then goes on to show how far this binds, where duty 
ceases, and where the perfection of the case begins. 

623 Only one example here of how Luther observed the commandment 
of love of one's enemy. He writes : "Let them be never so evil, I will be 
yet worse in dealing with them ; let them have heads never so hard, I will 
have a head still harder. Let them henceforth yield to me, I will not yield 
to them ; I will remain, they shall go under. My life shall ie their hang- 
man, my death shall he their devil." Similar examples will be met later in 
the course of this work. 


consider all office-holding and civic callings unworthy of a 
Christian. In Article 16 of the Confession, they, i. e., the 
Catholics, are already condemned who place evangelical per- 
fection in the abandonment of civic callings and not in the 
fear of God and in faith.*" "There one lie devours another," 
was once said by Luther.*" And so it is here. One lie is 
that ci^dc callings are deemed unworthy of a Christian by 
Catholics. Again it is the light of Luther's principle against 
the Church that shines here. What is recognized as higher 
and tetter makes something else compared with it evil, or, 
as in the present case, unworthy of a Christian. It is fur- 
thermore a lie that evangelical perfection consists in the 
manner described, so that "worldly government, police, and 
married state are overthrown," as the text has it. But of 
this we shall treat in chapter thirteen. 

Melanchthon writes further: "Now that is a good and 
perfect state of life which is on the side of God's command- 
ments; but that is a dangerous state of life which is not on 
the side of God's commandments."*^" The latter part is 
aimed at the religious state. It is a case again of Luther's 
sophisms. It is true that God does not command the relig- 
ious state. But the religious state is based on the counsel 
of Christ, who said to the young man who had kept the 
commandments from his youth: "If thou wilt be perfect, 
go, sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt 
have treasure in heaven : and come, folloto Me."^" Did Jesus 
Christ by these words counsel a dangerous state of life? 
Does he enter upon a dangerous state of life who, out of love 
for God, to fulfill His commandment of charity as unhindered 
and as perfectly as possible, goes into an order to be able 
there, detached from all things, to follow the poor Christ 
so much the more perfectly? Is that choosing a life above 

«24 P. 97, In the German text, p. 96. "So also are those condemned who 
teach that Christian perfection is : to abandon bodily house and home, wife 
and child, and to renounce the aforementioned part (secular, civic offices)." 
Ritschl, loc. cit., cites and approves this passage too, stupidly enough, as "a 
point against Catholicism." About Luther, see above p. 170 sq. 

6"Erl. 31, 293. 

«28 Confession, p. 183, 190. 

«27 Matt. 19, 21. 


Christ?'^' As every one must perceive, neither Luther nor 
Melanchthon with his Confession here takes a Christian 
standpoint. Their attitude is rationalistic. 

The Confession closes its twenty-seventh chapter with 
the words summarizing its contents as follows: "So many 
godless opinions are involved in the vows: (1) that they 
justify; (2) that they are Christian perfection; (3) that by 
them one keeps the counsels and the commandments; (4) 
that they have an overmeasure of works. Since all this is 
false and idle, it also nullifies the vows."^'^ 

The first two statements are Lutheran lies, proved to be 
such by the genuine Catholic doctrine developed in the pre- 
ceding chapters. The third proposition is correct in the 
sense set forth in chapters six and nine, and was never re- 
futed by either Luther or Melanchthon. The fourth and last 
proposition is based on Luther's contempt of good works and 
on his falsification of Catholic teaching, as if they were done 
without and against Christ's suffering and merit, exclusively 
on the ground of one's own ability. Herein he sought to 
show that "no letter is so small in their (the Papists') doc- 
trine and no little work so insignificant but it denies and 
blasphemes Christ and shames faith in Him.""^" 

At the end of Chapter VI., it was mentioned that, in a 
letter to Melanchthon, Luther did not deny the deceptive 
means employed by him and his followers in proceedings 
with the Catholics at the Augsburg Reichstag, 1530, although 
he himself was not present.*^^ The Confession of Faith of 
Lutheranism there formulated was realized by such means, 
particularly its Article 27 on the religious orders, in which 
Catholic principles are presented in a form causing it to be 
found natural and Christian to combat them. But the en- 
tire Confession was written in this manner. 

628 As Luther preaches, Weim. XXVIII, 104 : "How could we come to 
this, that one's self-chosen life and work were to be more perfect and blessed 
than the life and work of Christ, the Son of God?" 

829 p. 185, 190. About Gerson, who Immediately before is summoned as 
a witness, see above in Chap. 8, wherein it is evident in what a deceiving 
manner he was adduced. 

•soErl. 25, 43. 

«3i See above, p. 135 


It is truly lamentable to see with what distortions of 
Catholic teaching Protestants become acquainted from their 
youth, without ever hearing it correctly, and what a ballast 
of errors they constantly carry along even in their Confession 
of Faith. It was reserved to Melanchthon, too, to make 
Thomas Aquinas responsible for the doctrine of "monastic" 
baptism, whereas Thomas, as we shall see in the next chap- 
ter, did not even once make use of the expression, "second 
baptism," and in general spoke only of the entire oblation of 
self to God, and not merely of the external act. We know 
that Thomas, according to Melanchthon, makes the vow 
equivalent in value to baptism.*^^ As early as 1520, he in- 
structs a Carthusian in regard to Thomas : "Why do you 
so exalt your vows? Why did that silly Brother Thomas 
Aquinas make so much of profession, so that all transgres- 
sions shall be forgiven him who swears bj^ your words ?"^^' 
The epithet, "silly," only recoils upon Melanchthon. In re- 
spect to his assertion that Thomas was the author of it all, 
he had a docile pupil, namely him who was his master, 
Luther. It is therefore advisable to unfold this mutual re- 
lation in the next chapter, (i. e., the eleventh).'^* 


Catholic Ideal of Life. 

The "textus receptus" of the Confession and Luther's 
false assertions are the foundation on which the correspond- 
ing statements of the newer Protestant theologians are built 
up. In the following analysis, only the chiefest types of them 
will be treated. It is known what a decisive influence was 
exercised upon the development of recent Protestant theology 
by A. Ritschl. If with his rationalism he met with strong 

*'2 See above, beginning of this chapter, p. 215 sq. 

833 Corp. Reform., I, 199; also above, p. 213 sq. 

834 It is not worth while taking up Lang's tirades. This most incom- 
petent theologian knows no more than to ape Melanchthon, when he preaches : 
"Ergo Thomas Aquinas ineptissime mentitus est, quod per ingressum relig- 
lonis et votis prestationem quis justificatur." In Usingen, "De falsis pro- 
phetis," Pol. H, iij. I doubt if Lang ever saw a work of St. Thomas, to say 
nothing of his having read one. 


opposition, such was less the case in his notion of monasti- 
cism. And of what stripe is this? Is it based on a knowl- 
edge of Catholic doctrine? 

One listens and is astonished to hear him say: "Catholic 
Christianity has its ideal of life in monasticism, in the united 
achievements of poverty, of chastity, and of obedience (to 
superiors), ivhich reach out beyond God's universal law. 
In these virtues one attains, as is said, man's supernatural 
destiny offered in Christianity, a destiny not foreseen in 
man's original creation; one thus enters upon the life of the 
angels ; the monastic state, thus understood, is Christian per- 
fection.""^' What Ritschl writes here is at once false and 

There is no need of further proof that the assertion that 
monasticism is the Catholic ideal of life is wholly erroneous. 
It is a greater error to maintain that this ideal consists of 
achievements transcending God's law, namely poverty, chas- 
tity, and obedience. But it is an indication of a great lack of 
understanding when Ritschl writes that in these "virtues," 
one attains the supernatural destiny offered in Christianity. 
These three "virtues" are necessary for every Christian, but 
not in the manner in which they are conceived and practised 
in the religious state. Neither is it by them alone one at- 
tains one's supernatural destiny. Ritschl's crowning stroke 
is the last sentence : "Monasticism, thus understood, is 
Christian perfection" — quite in the sense of the Augsburg 

^35 Geschichte des Pietismus, I, 38. On page 11, he already writes : 
"In the Catholic conception of Christianity, monasticism, turned away from 
the world, passes for the proper, perfect Christian life, besides which the 
secularized Christianity of the laity, assigned only a passive regulation 
through the sacraments, teas loholly relegated to the laokgronnd" — (Italics 
mine). Johann Gerhard in his time (Loc. theol., t. VI, loc. 15, c. 9, ed. Cotta, 
Tubingae 1767, p. 159 sqq. ) bases his controversy against Bellarmlne almost 
exclusively on the distortions due to Luther and the Confession. We find 
no better notion of the subject in Martensen, "Die individuelle Ethik," 
(Gotha, 1878) p. 503; or in "Al. v. Oettingen, "Die christliche Sittenlehre," 
(Brlangen 1873), p. 632 sq. According to Kolde, Luther hits the gist of the 
matter inasmuch as, "from the intention which is at the bottom of a vow, 
namely to gain salvation by one's own endeavor, he made clear Its immoral- 
ity." ("Ausgabe von Melanchthons Loci Communes," Leipzig 1900, p. 126. 
See also above p. 79 sq. In whose case the Immortality occurs, I dare say I 
need no longer tell Kolde. 


Confession, according to wliich tlie religious state is Chris- 
tian perfection.''^ 

K. Seeberg assumes tlie outward appearance, indeed, of 
being a positive theologian, but at bottom he is rationalistic. 
What, according to him, is the Christian ideal of life? It is 
the "status perfectionis," the monkish life, the life of the 
"religiosi."*'" "Evangelical perfection" or "the Christian 
ideal of life" is confounded Avith the state of perfection by 
Seeberg, just as by Ritschl, and he cites Thomas and Bona- 
venture as his authorities withal! The "Romish ideal of 
life" consists only in works (therefore, as Ritschl says, 
achievements) which Luther characterizes as unnatural, 
merely legal works I"'^ It is the perfection "supereroga- 
tionis." "It is herein that the treasiiry of supererogatory 
works is created; herein is the great array of the saints 
set alongside of Christ as 'intercessores' and 'mediatores.' "°'^ 
And to preclude all doubt of the correctness of Seeberg's 
assertion that according to the Church, the saints are media- 
tors alongside of Christ, he quotes, as his authority, Thomas, 
"Suppl, qu. 72, a.2.," where naturally there is not a word 
showing they are "intercessores" of the same rank with 

With regard to the Catholic ideal of life, Seeberg writes 
down some wholly different propositions, too, and each of 
them contains an error. For the medieval Christian, faith 
was subjection to the teaching law of the Church ( !). Sin 
was found primarily in the sensual movements of nature ( ! ) . 
The naturial, as such, was evil ( !). Then Luther's thoughts 
came as a counteracting agency by means of powerful Chris- 

83* See above in this cliapter, p. 218 sq. On account of Harnack, about 
whom farther below, I have intentionally left the text of the first edition 
unchanged. See also his "Lehrbuch der Dogmengesch.," Ill, 3 ed., p. 746, 
note 2. 

637 "Lehrbuch der Dogmengesch.," II, 107, n. 6, compared with p. 259, 
n. 2. From Seeberg's treatise: "Luther und Luthertum in der neuesten 
kathol. Beleuchtung," Leipzig 1904, p. 10 sq., it is clearly evident that it was 
first through me he learned that the orders have no other ideal of life than 
the rest of Christians. On this, however, see my brochure: "Luther in 
ratlonalistlscher und christlicher Beleuchtung," Mainz, Kirchheim, 1904. 

638 p. 260, n. 2. 
638 p. 107. 


tian thoughts!^*" Catholic doctrine is first garbled and then 
belabored. That is Luther's procedure. One does not there- 
fore wonder to hear Seeberg say: "The schools expressed 
themselves flatly that Christ was only the partial cause of 
our redemption.""*^ 

A. Harnack is of the same stripe with Ritschl. Accord- 
ing to hini the true monk is "the true, most perfect Chris- 
tian," monasticism, "is THE Christian life."'*^ Hence he but 
repeats Ritschl's pronouncement on the Catholic ideal of life, 
with this difference that he (Harnack) is a great deal more 
vague. No precision of ideas, no conception of means and 
end, judgment of some number of details according to pre- 
conceived generalities, setting up of premises that are not 
valid — these are the great faults of Harnack. They more or 
less permeate his discussions on the middle ages and par- 
ticularly crowd to the fore in his reflections on monasticism. 
We feel an absence of clarity of idea when he writes that the 
Reformation pronounced it presumption "to bind one's self 
by vow for life to asceticism. "^*^ 

His very definition of the true monk, as given above, 
is unequivocally wrong, and is an indication of Protestant 
ignorance in Catholic matters. For, what is a true monk? 
According to the Catholic doctrine developed ia the previous 
chapter, he is that Christian who has bound himself to strive 
after the perfection of charity, but he is not, as Harnack 
says, the true, most perfect Christian. The true Christian 
is he who lives in a Christian manner and who attains his 

*«> p. 258. See also, brief notice next article below, under A. Harnack, 
more extensively below in Chap. 13, on marriage. 

«" P. 163. 

6*2 "Das Monchtum, seine Ideale und seine Geschichte," 5 ed. Giessen 
1901, p. 6. It is Harnack who lays the great stress on the THE. In his 
little treatise with regard to the exposition of western monasticism, but 
especially in respect to the reforms of Clugny and of St. Francis, he is so 
remarkably in accord with Ritschl's "Prolegomena, 2," In his "Geschichte des 
Pietismus," (1880) that I should not blame anyone for asserting that 
Harnack had copied Kitschl just a little too much. But, since Harnack does 
not so much as breathe a syllable of Ritschl's name, one must be satisfied 
to say that great geniuses meet. 

6*3 "Das Wesen des Christentums," 4 ed., p. 180. And this miserable 
asceticism ! "Fasting and asceticism are without worth before God, they are 
of no use to one's fellow-man," etc. Ibid. p. 175. 


end by using the means of grace and fulfilling tlie command- 
ments of tlie love of God and of neighbor. This Christian 
is in the world and also in the religious state. The most 
perfect Christian is he who does all that in the most perfect 
manner. Such a one is to be found in the world and in the 
cloister. The religious state only makes the attainment of 
the end easier. It is therefore wholly wrong to assert with 
Harnaclc that monasticism is the Christian life. And this 
conception of monasticism is simply presupposed to be Cath- 
olic by Harnack, is set down by him as self-evident/*^ whereas 
it is only the Protestant notion of it. Without further in- 
vestigation, Harnack concludes : "Even if it is certain to the 
Evangelical (!), i. e., Protestant, Christian that Christian 
perfection is not to be sought in the forms of monasticism, 
he must still test it and firmly fix its bright form. Only then 
is it overcome in truth, when over the best that it has some 
subordinating better can be placed. He who thrusts it aside 
as Avorthless, does not understand it," etc.''*' But the one 
who does not understand it, Avho has not even a correct fun- 
damental notion of it, is Harnack himself. And it is he who 
wishes to undertake to subordinate its best to something 
better, to investigate how much is to be learned from mon- 
asticism ! 

Underlying Ritschl's, Seeberg's and Harnack's wholly 
erroneous conception of a monk and of the ideal of life, there 
is another equally false notion, which again they inherited 
from Luther after his apostasy, the notion that, according 
to Catholic teaching, one cannot serve God in marriage, that 
married life is not Christian, or at best is but tolerated, 
that the sensual instinct is sin, that nature in itself is evil. 
In this they occupy the standpoint taken by Luther in his 
most violent frenzy against the Church. In order not to 

^** Let the reader now judge with what right Harnacli asserts. "Theol. 
Literaturztg," 1903, n. 25, column 691, that I am carrying on a controversy 
"against the opinion, sustained by Ritschl and me (Harnack), that monasti- 
cism, as the state of perfection, according to the Catliolic conception, is the 
proper Catholic ideal of life," etc. But this were also to be rejected as 
erroneous. See my brochure, "Luther in rationalistischer und christliclier 
Beleuchtung," p. 7. 

645 "Das Monchtum, etc.," p. 7. 


break the thread of my investigation, I postpone the dis- 
cussion of this phase of the matter to Chapter XIII, al- 
though Avhat has been said in the previous chapter could 
really suffice. 

Moreover, Harnack expresses himself to the effect, un- 
wittingly, however, that, according to Catholic teaching, 
Christian life is also to be found outside of monasticism. 
On one and the same page of his work, the two following 
statements appear: "In the great reform on the part of the 
monks of Clugny and of their powerful Pope, (Gregory VII.), 
western monasticism for the first time puts forth the decided 
pretension of being carried out and of being brought to recog- 
nition as the Christian order of life of all the adult faith- 
ful;" then, secondly, "Monasticism, (according to Catholic 
teaching, or at least that of the Cluniacs of the eleventh 
century), is the highest form of Christianity.""^ But just 
above we heard him say : "Monasticism is the Christian life." 
Now if monasticism is only the highest form of Christianity, 
there must be still another form, which, though not the high- 
est, is a Christian form of life. And thus monasticism is not 
the Christian life, neither is it the Christian order of living 
of all the adult faithful. 

To such a pass is one reduced, if one's fundamental ideas 
are not clear. And when Harnack writes that the Cluniacs, 
with their Pope, Gregory VII., had set up the pretension of 
carrying out their monasticism as the Christian order of liv- 
ing of all the adult faithful, he is likewise but talking at 
random, as shall presently be shown. 

C. Harnack's Ereors in Eespect to the Ideal of Life in 
THE Different Epochs of the Religious Orders. 

I do not at all mean to touch upon Harnack's arbitrary 
distinction between adult Christians and those not of age, the 
latter being the laity. But what was the character of the 
above mentioned pretension of the Cluniacs and their Pope, 
or of their program, set forth by Harnack in the assertion: 
"Those monks had a positive program in view — ^CHRISTIAN 

646 Ibid., p. 43 sq. 


LIFE of tlie WHOLE of Cliristendom,""' i. e., "life according 
to monkish rule?""*' These declarations rest solely on a lack of 
historical knowledge. Where and when did the Cluniacs of the 
eleventh century put forth that pretension or set up this pro- 
gram? Where are the proofs, the documentary evidences? 
Some years ago, E. Sackur had already written: "It cannot 
be proved and it is wholly improbable that the Cluniac idea 
stepped into history with a definite program of reform or 
sought by agitation to carry out specific demands. It was 
an idealistic tendency, indeterminate and abstract. In con- 
junction with others, it was too quietly preparing the soil 
in which concrete wishes could be realized and on which 
more practical natures could be active, to be able to point to 
fixed aims or even to produce personalities like Gregory 

YJI "648 

Quite correct. Clugny had an ideal of course, but it 
lay in the interior of the cloister, not outside. The central 
point of this ideal was liturgical prayer. Gradually every- 
thing had to give way to its psalmody."^" 

Quite consequent, for the reform of Clugny is shown to 
be a continuation of the reform of Benedict of Aniane in the 
eighth century, who likewise unduly protracted the divine 
office. In just the eleventh century, the divine office, at 
Clugny, together with the other religious exercises, taxed the 
day so exorbitantly that Peter Damian, sent there as a legate 
by Pope Alexander II., could write to the brethren of that 
place that for the reason given there was hardly a half hour 
in the long summer days in which they could engage in con- 
versation in the cloister.*"^ 

^" Ibid., p. 45. Thus set out in type by Harnack. 

«*8 Ibid., p. 44. 

649 "Die Kluniacenser in ihrer Kirchlichen und allgemelngeschichtl. 
Wirksamkeit bis zur Mitte des 11 Jahrhunderts," II, (1894), p. 449. 

«5o See U. Berlifere in "Revue B(5n<5dictine," 1901, p. 285. 

651 "Tanta erat In servandi ordinis contlnua jugitate prolixitas, tanta 
praesertim in ecclesiasticis ofBciis protelabatur instantia, ut in ipso cancri 
sive leonis aestu, cum longiores sunt dies, viz per totum diem unius saltern 
vacaret horae dimidium. quo fratribus in claustro llculsset miscere collo- 
quium" etc. Lib. VI. ep. 5 (Migne, Patr. 1., t. 144, p. 380). Mabillon, Ann. 
Ord. S. Ben., t. IV, p. 586 (Lucae, 1739), also cites this passage and cor- 
rectly observes that this excess in the choral office led to many Incon- 


The Cluniacs, think KitschP'^ and Harnack/" were anx- 
ious to prevail upon the secular clergy to adopt the canonical 
life, i. e., a life as analagous as possible to the monastic. 
But, I ask again, where is the proof? A somewhat direct 
influence upon the secular clergy can be shown for that time 
only among the monks of Hirschau (under Abbot William), 
who had adopted the customs of Clugny; but this influence 
was not of the kind that Eitschl and Harnack construed it 
to be. 

For the endeavors alleged by them about the Cluniacs in 
France, there is no other proof to be brought forward than 
their hypothesis that Gregory VII., who made clerical reform 
his special task, had been a Cluniac monk. But is this ad- 
missible? On the contrary, it is now much more shown that 
Gregory was rather a Roman Benedictine than a Cluniac."'* 
It almost seems as though Ritschl and Harnack believed 
that the entire monasticism of the eleventh century was that 
of Clugny, whereas the Cluniac reform of that time had 
reached but the smallest portion of the Benedictine Order, 
and had taken hold of even the north of France, as well as 
Belgium, only in the twelfth century. 

But supposing that Gregory VII. had really been a 
Cluniac, was it as a Cluniac that he had undertaken the re- 
form of the clergy? In what did the reform of Gregory 
VII. especially consist? In the prohibition of the concubin- 

veniences. As a matter of fact it contributed largely, among other tilings, to 
the decline of the monastic schools in the XII century. Only when one has 
rightly grasped the nature of the reform of Clugny, can one understand 
the opposition of St. Bernard, as of the other Benedictines (See Berlifere, 
"Le cardinal Matthieu d'Albano" in "Revue BgnMictine, 1901. p. 280 sqq.) ; 
one thus also understands the Dominican statute that the office be recited or 
chanted "breviter et succincte," and the reform statutes in later centuries. 

952 "Gesch. des Pietismus," I, 12. 

953 "Das Monchtum," etc., p. 50 : "Clugny and its monks aimed tlieir re- 
form at the clergy." 

6=* See U. Berli§re, "Revue Benedictine," 1893, p. 339, 347 : Gregory 
first came to Clugny, and that only in passing, after he had already been 
a Benedictine. See also Grisar, "Una raemoria di S. Gregorio VII e del suo 
stato monastico in Roma," (Civilta cattolica, ter. XVI, vol. Ill, 1895, p. 205 
sqq.), where, on new grounds out of tlie inscription on the bronze door of 
St. Paul's, he shows that Gregory had been a monk at Rome. The proofs 
in the case are not yet exhausted, however. 


age of priests and in tlie rejection of sacerdotal marriage, 
as well as in tlie suppression of simony. Are these Cluniac, 
or even merely monastic, articles of importation? And on 
the ground of this kind of reform, is an historical researcher 
to be allowed to assert with Harnack that Clugny and "its 
great Pope" dominated the ideas of "disciplining according 
to monastic rule" the "adult" faithful of Christendom?"^^ 
Such is Harnack's opinion and he states it openly: "Hence 
now the strict introduction of celibacy among the clergy, 
hence the warfare against simony, hence the monastic disci- 
pline of the priests!""^" 

According to Harnack, the "world-ruling monk of 
Clugny" achieved other wonders as well. His ideas preceded 
the crusaders. "And from the Holy Land * * * they 
brought back a neio or at least a hitherto hut rarely^" prac- 
tised form of Christian piety — burying one's self in the suf- 
ferings and in the dolorous way of Christ. Negative ascet- 
ism received a positive form, a positive end — to become one 
with the Redeemer in intimate love and in perfect imita- 
tion.""''' Had Harnack said that the old exercise, fostered 
since Christianity began to exist, was now the more fur- 
thered, it might have passed. But to assert that this exercise 
existed practically only from the beginning of the twelfth cen- 
tury, is equivalent to denying away the whole of Christianity. 
If researchers, following in the wake of Harnack, then speak 
of the rise of the Gratian Decretal in the tAvelfth century, 
all the burying in Christ seems to them done away with 
again, so that practically it had lasted but a year or two. 

Not more scientifically does Harnack speak of the rela- 
tion of the cloisters to the people down to the time of St. 

655 "Das Monchtum, etc., p. 44, italics in passage mine. 

•Jso Ibid. On reading Harnack's l50olflet, especially the above sentences, 
a reader "not of age" must necessarily reach the conviction that only at the 
time of Gregory VII was the celibacy of the clergy "introduced." I cannot 
naturally credit Harnack with such ignorance, but why does he speak so 
confusedly? All the more gladly, therefore, do I refer to the beautiful, ac- 
curate treatise of Funk, Zolibat und Priesterehe im christlichen Altertum, in 
his "Kirchengeschichtlichen Abhandlungen und Untersuchungen," I (1897), p. 
121 to p. 1.5.5. 

^5' Italics mine. 

«=8 "Das Monchtum, etc.," p. 46. 


Francis of Assisi. "To the close of the twelfth century, west- 
ern monasticism was quite essentially still an aristocratic 
institution. In most cases the rights of the monasteries were 
in correspondence with the high origin of their inmates. As 
a rule the monastic schools existed only for the nobility. 
To the rough and common folk the cloister remained as 
strange as the manor-house."^'''' To the conclusion, not ca- 
pable of proof, that it was St. Francis of Assisi who first 
gave the Gospel back to the people, the foregoing assertions, 
neither proved nor capable of proof, serve as preliminaries. 
Where in fact is the proof of the statement that monasticism 
was quite essentially an aristocratic institution? It is not 
furnished by Harnack. He simply assumes the truth of his 
assertion against which St. Benedict himself, the patriarch 
of western monasticism, bears witness.*"" With later authori- 
ties Harnack's statement stands in no lesser contradiction.""^ 
Only occasional monasteries, like Eeichenau, Waldkirch, 
Sackingen, turned out exceptions at the decline of the Order. 
Moreover, when he was writing his statement, did Harnack 
bear in mind what an immense number of abbeys and mon- 
asteries covered the soil of France, Germany, and Italy down 
to the close of the twelfth century, and how many inmates 
they then individually had? Even if all of the nobility of 
that day had entered the cloister, they would not have been 
numerous enough to make up the number of the inmates of 
the abbeys and monasteries. 

Harnack and others have here made themselves guilty of 
a grievous blunder. They let themselves be misled chiefly""^ 

«=8 Ibid., p. 49 sq. 

660 In "Reg. c. 2, the abbot is admonished with respect to his subjects : 
"quia sive servus, sive Wber, omnes in Christo unum sumus, et sub uno dom- 
ino equalem servitutis militiam bajulamus, quia non est apud eum person- 
arum acceptio." The 59 Chapter of the rule bears the title : "De filiis nobil- 
ium vel pauperuin, quomodo suscipiantur." 

««i Cf. Mlgne, Patr. 1, 133, 71 ; 141, 774 ; 142, 906 ; 149, 747. 

^*2 1 say "chiefly" ; for there are still other grounds, e.g., at certain 
epochs one finds the high offices and dignities of the abbeys occupied by 
nobles. Considering the position in which the abbeys and their abbots were 
placed with reference to the outside world and considering their great pos- 
sessions, which were derived from the nobles, one can understand that 
condition of affairs. 


by the chronicles, which, to be sure, speak only, as a rule, 
of the entrance of nobles. Why? Because only nobles en- 
tered? No, but because it is only in their case, and not in 
that of a "common" person, that a sensation is created, if 
they choose the religious life. It is the same to this very 
day. When, for instance, I entered, there was not a ripple 
of excitement about the event, whilst the newspapers reported 
well the entrance of one of my fellow-novices who belonged 
to an old family of the Venetian doges. Of late years I have 
often heard the judgment expressed that there are only nobles 
in the Benedictine Abbey of Emaus or in the Benedictine 
nunnery of St. Gabriel in Prague. Why? Because, as a 
rule, the newspapers mention only the entrance of the nobles. 
As a matter of fact, however, those who are not noble there 
outnumber those who are. The world always stays the same. 
Of analagous mould is Harnack's assertion that the mon- 
astic schools existed only for the nobility — naturally an as- 
sertion only assumed to be true, resting in great part on the 
same basis as the statements just discussed. The chronicles 
hardly give account of the cloister schools save when a high 
nobleman sent his sons to enjoy their instruction. As is con- 
ceivable, there was a difference at different epochs. But one 
thing is certain — the Benedictine Order, precisely in the 
eleventh century, so emphasized by Harnack, after the gloomy 
epoch of the tenth century, afforded instruction to rich and 
poor without distinction.*"'^ And to the rough and common 

^'^^ In the contemporary "Vita S. Giiillelmi abbatis Divionensis," it is re- 
lated of liim : "Cernens vigilantissimiis Pater, quoniam non solum illo in loco 
(Fiscamni), sed etiam per totam provinciam illam, necnon per totam Gal- 
liam in plebeiis maxime scientiara psallendi ac legend! deflcere et annullari 
clericis, instituit scolas sacri ministerii, quibus pro Dei amore assidui in- 
starent fratres huius officii docti, ubi siquidem gratis largiretur cunctis doc- 
trinae ieneflcmm ad coenobia sibi commissa confluentibus, nuUusque, qui ad 
haec vellet acccclcre, prohiieretur : quin potius, tarn servis quam, Wberis, di- 
vitibus cum egenis, uniforme caritatis impenderetur documentum. Plures 
etiam s * * utpote rerum tenues, accipiebant victum, ex quibus quoque 
nonnuUi in sanctae conversatlonis monachorum devenere habitum" (Acta SS. 
Ord. S. Ben., saec. VI. p. 1", Venetiis, p. 290, n. 14). On the outer schools 
of the Benedictine abbeys and on instruction for laics, see U. Berli&re, 
"Les (5coIes abbatiales au Moyen-fige ; Ecoles externes," in "Revue 
Benedictine," 1889, t. VI, p. 499 sqq. On p. 506, the passage just cited is 
explained. In Germany and the countries contiguous to it, there were such 


folk the cloister remained as strange as the manor-house, 
did it? But, then, who supported the cloister in those cen- 
turies? Why did people everywhere group themselves around 
the Benedictine abbeys in settlements, out of which the later 
towns arose? Why the proverb: "It is good living under 
the crosier"? What purpose was served by the guest-houses 
and parochial churches belonging to the abbeys? Were they 
for the nobility? But enough, as this subject does not per- 
tain to the scope of my work. I have touched on it only 
incidentally, in connection with Harnack's utterances. 

Harnack's discussions on St. Francis of Assisi and his 
creation in the thirteenth century are no less confused than 
his earlier ones. Here likewise there is no lack of contra- 
dictions. We heard him say that Christian life of the whole 
of Christianity was the program of Clugny in the eleventh 
century. Now, five pages farther on,*"* he writes: "Francis 
of Assisi first assigned to monasticism exercises proper for 
all Christianity." How does this statement comport with 
the former? Of course, on the page on which he speaks 
about Francis, Harnack, to extol him, narrows the Clugny 
program down again. The Cluniacs in their reform, he al- 
leges, had the clergy in view, but Francis recognized no dis- 
tinction. Five pages before, the Cluniacs likewise recognized 
no distinction: the whole of Christianity, therefore rich and 
poor, clergy and people. And Francis of Assisi "did not wish 
to found a new religious order"; "his foundation assumed a 
monastic character against his will."""' Yet he assigned "to 
monasticism" new exercises for all Christianity? But when? 
When his institute was not yet "monasticism"? Then he as- 
signed no exercises to "monasticism" at all, let alone new 
ones. Afterwards? But when did the institute of St. Fran- 
cis become "monasticism"? I beg for ideas and enlighten- 
ment. On such fantastic evidences are set up the historical 

outer schools In the Benedictine abbeys, e.g. of Gembloux in the XI century 
(cf. Gesta abb. Gemblacens. in Mon. Germ., SS. VIII, p. 540 sq.), Tegernsee, 
Hersfeld, etc. Among those frequenting them, there were always clerics 
or priests who did not belong to the nobility. Let him who denies this 
prove the contrary. 

66* "Das Monchtum," etc., p. 50. 

665 "Das Monchtum," etc., p. 50. 


epochs, the reform of Clugny, Francis of Assisi. The more 
muddled they are, the more original and ingenious they are 
esteemed ! 

Like the whole bit of his writing, the section on Thomas 
seems to be particularly calculated only for such readers as 
are not in a position to control the author. Without further 
ado these accept the statement that Francis "gave the Gos- 
pel back to the people, who hitherto had possessed only priest 
and sacrament."**^ They do not so much as wonder that it 
was first in the tertiary brotherhood "the thought gently be- 
came effective that the interiorly devout layman, sincerely 
obedient to the Church, partakes of the highest benefits of 
which she can be the means"; that the active Christian life 
can be of equal value with the contemplative.'^^'' The udxspov 
Tcpoxepov in Harnack does not strike their attention, when 
he ascribes that as peculiar to the Order of St. Francis which 
first was realized "in the cognate one of the Dominicans." 
For the Dominican Order is the first to have been founded 
with the object of caring for the salvation of souls without 
being tied down, not only to individual parishes but to de- 
terminate localities. This object is found set forth in the 
prologue of the original Constitutions. Study, to which, as 
is known, St. Francis was not favorably inclined, was to help 
on this object as well as to form good preachers as defenders 
of the Faith. The Dominican Order was the first to regu- 
late this by statute, and, in order to be in the forefront of 
the new period, sent its members to the University of Paris. 
The Franciscans, Benedictines, Cistercians, Hermits, and 
Carmelites only folloioed their example, without as yet hav- 
ing had provision made by statutes.*'^ 

Only a reader incapable of thinking will believe Harnack 
that "the most beautiful medieval Church hymns have their 
origin in the Franciscan and Dominican Orders.""'® Who- 

eee Ibid. 

«<"P. 51. 

668 I refer to my introduction to the edition of the old Constitutions of 
the Dominican Order in "Archiv. f. Literatur — und Kirchengesch. d. Mittel- 
alters," I, 165 sqq. I shall speak of individual details, when I come to treat 
of the rise of Lutherdom. 

668 Italics all mine. 


ever affirms this does not so much as know how few of them"" 
there are to be even set up in comparison with the great 
numbers of those of an earlier time. The great achievements 
of the mendicant orders stand in no need of eulogies at the 
expense of others. Let the truth prevail above all! 

But is it the truth when Harnack writes further iu his 
bit of authorship: "What sacrament and cult could not 
hitherto create, certainty of salvation, it was the desire of the 
mysticism of the mendicant orders to engender; but not out- 
side the Christian abodes of grace. The eye was to learn to 
see the Saviour. Through sense impressions of His presence, 
the soul was to come into peace. But 'theology,' which now 
arose, also proclaimed the religious freedom and blessedness 
of the soul lifted above the world and certain of its God. 
In this thought, if it did not begin the Evangelical ( !) Re- 
formation, it still prepared the way for it.""^ 

I here openly challenge Harnack — and this suffices as a 
reply — to cite for me one certain, clear, unassailable pas- 
sage from the mystics, especially the Germans, which proves 
the correctness of his assertion that it was the desire of mys- 
ticism to engender the certainty of salvation. In the first 
place, Harnack's very manner of expressing himself demon- 
strates that he does not possess a correct idea of mysticism. 
What is the meaning of this, that mysticism engenders, de- 
sires to engender? What does Harnack understand by mys- 
ticism? Why does he bandy words and phrases about, whose 
ideas and meaning are so little clear to him? Furthermore, 
by his dragging in the "Evangelical ( !) Reformation," anent 
the certainty of salvation, he gets himself beyond his reckon- 

6"> There are only three authors of liturgical Church hymns that can be 
considered here: Jacopone de Todl (with the "Stabat Mater"), Thomas de 
Celano (with the "Dies Irae") and Thomas Aquinas (with his dogmatic 
hymns and the sequence for Corpus Christi). Concerning the poetry of 
Thomas Aquinas in particular, compare the sound judgment of A. Baum- 
gartner in "Geschichte der Weltliteratur," IV, "Die lateinische und griech- 
ische Literatur der Christlichen Volker," (1900), p. 456 sq. If Harnack lays 
Stress on Church melodies, the case is still worse. For the truly beautiful 
choral melodies date from an earlier time. If one finds beautiful, earnest 
melodies for new hymns and sequences in the XIII and XIV centuries, they 
are borrowed from the more ancient ones. 

8" P. 52. 


ing, as may likely be made apparent to Mm in the course of 
this work.^" 

How is it possible that the older mysticism desired to 
engender certainty of salvation and, in its announcement of 
the blessedness of the soul lifted above the world and certain 
of its God, paved the way for the "Evangelical Keformation," 
since it was only the latter that gave certainty? For, ac- 
cording to Harnack, certainty of salvation was the highest 
tidings that Luther announced to the soul.°^^ And how does 
it happen that the so-called mystics of Protestantism, as e.g., 
Valentine Weigel, Jacob Bohme, instead of remaining in 
Lutheranism, interiorly broke with it, turned away from it, 
and betook themselves to the older. Catholic mysticism? 

A word, in conclusion, on Harnack's conception of the 
Jesuit Order, so far as it stands connected with my investi- 
gation. One gets curious about his arguments on reading 
the statement: "The Jesuit Order is the last and authentic 
word of Avestern monasticism.""* Monasticism? Even so, 
for in it "monasticism was triumphant.""" But how? "This 
Order did not change into an institution of the Church, but 
the Church fell under the dominion of the Jesuits. Monasti- 
cism was truly victorious over the secular church of the 
West."*'" Yet Harnack will pardon me if first of all I ques- 
tion him on his idea of monasticism, for it is evident from his 
statement that the idea of monasticism is unknown to him. 
He ought first to study, and only then to write. It is the 
height of nonsense to talk about a Jesuit monasticism. Not 
even the Dominicans and Franciscans belonged to monasti- 
cism in the strict sense of the word.'" 

And with this lack of idea Harnack pursues the game 
farther. According to him, the Jesuit Order, "in its mysti- 

8'2 See below in the further course of this work. 

8'^ See above, p. 119 and after. 

8'* "Das Monchtum, etc.," p. 57. 

6" Ibid., p. 58. 

<"6 Ibid. 

«'^ If, in the German middle ages, they were, here and there, still inex- 
actly called monies, that was because there were in their orders numerous 
religious observances, e.g., choral services, fasting, the habit, and tonsure, 
all more or less in accord with monasticism. But not even this is the case 
with the Jesuits. 


cism, made that accessible to the layman which had thitherto 
been denied him.""' Here now, all at once, we hear him 
telling about a mysticism of the Jesuit Order. I am there- 
fore constrained to repeat the objection already made sundry 
times. I beg to know his idea! Although I believe I have 
given more study to things of that kind than Harnack, I 
must confess I know nothing of a particular mysticism of the 
Jesuit Order. Half a page farther on, he explains himself: 
"Asceticism and renunciation of the world here came to be 
forms and means of politics, sensuous mysticism and diplo- 
macy took the place of simple piety and moral discipline." 
Sensuous mysticism! Herr Harnack, I should like, if you 
please, to be made acquainted with your idea. 

But who does not observe that here one empty phrase 
solves another? Asceticism and renunciation of the world 
are forms and means of politics! Again I query: Herr Har- 
nack, what do you understand by asceticism? I beg to be 
made acquainted with your idea! Asceticism, renunciation 
of the world, mysticism, diplomacy, politics — all in one pot! 
What devilish fellows they are, those Jesuits ! In spite of 
their asceticism and renunciation of the loorld, which, as we 
shall presently see,"^^ he admits in them, diplomacy took the 
place of simple piety and moral discipline! Harnack is 
wholly unconscious of what a quid pro quo he has here ut- 
tered, for the reason that he does not reckon with ideas. 
"Asceticism" and "moral discipline" are written differently, 
it is true, but all Christian asceticism, based, as it is known 
to be, on supernatural grounds, includes moral discipline, 
which is based on natural law. Asceticism is religious dis- 
cipline, which tends to simple piety and fosters it. Common 
sense — more is not needed — at once recognizes the contradic- 
tions in Harnack's phrases. For, these being supplied with 
their true underlying ideas, it follows that the Jesuits pos- 
sess asceticism, which includes moral discipline and tends to 
simple piety and fosters it, and they practice renunciation 
of the world; but, with these same Jesuits, diplomacy and 

6's "Das Monchtum," p. 57 sq. 

8^» Ibid., p. 517, and below next page, 240. 


sensuous mysticism have taken the place of simple piety 
and moral discipline! 

We do not yet Itnow, however, in what this new Har- 
nackian monasticism is distinguished from the earlier. "In 
the Jesuit Order," he says, "all asceticism, all fleeing the 
world, is only a means to an end."**" But to what end? 
What ideal of life, what end, according to Harnack, has the 
Jesuit Order? It is a political ideal of life, a political end. 
"Detachment from the world goes precisely so far as such is 
necessary for the domination of the world; for the express 
end is the world-dominion of the Church.""*^ If this meant 
"the spreading of Christ's kingdom over the whole world," 
it would be quite correct. But with Harnack it is always 
something political, namely, to bring the Church under their 
subjection and then to dominate it.""'^ Where is that express 
end so stated? I earnestly beg Harnack for enlightenment 
Until this is forthcoming — and I shall not cease to remind 
him of it — let my interpretation suffice the reader, that the 
Jesuit Order had and has the same particular end which I 
assigned to the Dominican Order, the defence of the Faith 
against the heterodox and unbelievers, and particularly the 
care of the salvation of others for the honor of God. If Har- 
nack comes along with his clarification, he will find me on 
the ground to answer Mm. 

"As this Order arose," continues Harnack, "it was the 
product of a high-running enthusiasm, but of an enthusiasm 
proceeding from within the Church, which had already re- 
jected every Evangelical ( !) reformation."**^ Thus do these 
gentlemen bandy catch- Avords about ! Evangelical reformation ! 
God pity us ! Luther, whom we have sufficiently learned to 
know from the preceding pages, an Evangelical reformer! 

«8» Ibid., p. 57. 

«8i Ibid. Italics mine. 

682 In Ills writing, "Das Wesen des Christentums," (4 ed.), p. 158, he 
even asserts tliis of the domination of the Church as well : "The 'Christus 
vincit, Christus regnat, Christus triumphal' (this should be 'imperat') Is to be 
understood politically. He reigns on earth in this that His Church, guided 
by Rome, reigns, and it does this by right and by power, i.e., by all the 
means of which states make use." 

683 "Pps Monchtum, etc.," p. 58. 


What other sort of Christianity could proceed from a man 
of such principles than just such as it actually was and as it 
has been described in my introduction above? A Lutherdom, 
the very father of which recoiled from it shuddering, and 
which he found seven times worse than the society so hated 
by him in the Papacy. Was it not the sacred duty of the 
Church, did she desire still to remain Christian, to fend off 
this Evangelical reformation? 

But of what enthusiasm is the Jesuit Order the product? 
Only of such as a complete oblation of self to God, with 
which St. Ignatius closes the fourth week of his Exercises, 
possesses as its foundation and contents: "Take, Lord, 
and receive from me all my liberty, my memory, my under- 
standing, and all my will. Whatever I have and possess, 
Thou didst give it to me all; to Thee do I leave it again. 
It is all Thy possession. Dispose of it wholly as Thou wilt. 
Give me only Thy love and Thy grace, for these are enough 
for me." The enthusiasm with this basis and of this content 
was also to animate the members of his institution. They in 
their turn were to communicate it to others, to promote the 
salvation of whose souls it was their task. Let Harnack also 
learn from this that the Jesuit Order knows but one ideal 
of life, the love of God above all things, as was evidenced at 
the close of the eighth chapter above. 

In his judgment on the Jesuit Order, Harnack consci- 
entiously follows the admonition of the "Kealenzyklopadie" 
for the Protestant Church and Theology:^** "We Protestants 
can have but one judgment on the Order, but one attitude 
towards it. Every acknowledgement, any toleration that we 
yield to its principles and its work, is not justice to it, but 
indifference to our own historical past and future, treason 
to our church and her lawful existence. It knows no com- 
mon authorization of the Confessions, but only the omnipo- 
tent sole dominion of the Eomish church ♦ » * Jesuitism 
is the diametrical opposite of Protestantism, a soul-endanger- 

»84 In the 2 edition, VI, 641 ; the monition is the work of G. E. Steitz. 
Zockler was not ashamed, in the VIII volume of the 3 edition, (1900), p. 7S-1, 
wholly to reprint It with approbation, in an article assuredly bristling with 
monstrosities and untruths without their like in literature. 


ing, folk-ruining caricature of Christianity." By this moni- 
tion, Protestantism lias condemned itself. It has openly de- 
clared that, when there is question of the Church and her 
institutions, it has no concern about research free from as- 
sumption and without prejudice, nay, that research, free 
from assumption, must antecedently he excluded. I will 
Avaste no words here to show that it was not the Church, not 
one of her institutions, not even the Jesuit Order, that placed 
themselves in opposition to Protestantism. The Church ex- 
ists. Protestantism arose only after fifteen centuries of her 
existence, and set itself up against the Church in the char- 
acter of a party. 

Harnack then goes on to conclude with a reference to 
Luther : "History points beyond monasticism to the preach- 
ing of Luther, that that man begins the following of Christ 
who in his calling and state co-operates with Christ's King- 
dom hy faith and service-giving love."^^^' What? It was 
Luther who first said this? Luther only repeated it after 
the Church, as noAV even Harnack shall get to know. Luther 
credited the Church Avith a doctrine Avhich he distorted that 
he might get a lease on the genuine teaching for himself, 
only with this difference, that the Church and her founder 
as well, Jesus Christ, demand, not a dead faith like Luther- 
anism, but only the living one. 


Luther on "Monastic Baptism." Thomas Aquinas 
ITS Alleged Inventor. 

In his treatise on the voavs, regarding their relation to 
baptism, Luther writes in part Avith more reserve than later. 
Still he does not achieve his purport without perversions, to 
the effect that, according to the Catholic doctors, man by his 
natural Avorks, attains grace and forgiveness of sin, denies 
Christ, and falls from his faith. Not to St. Thomas, however, 
but to hearsay does he refer in the statement, that, as often 
as a religious, in his heart, renews his vows with any slight- 

ess "Das Monchtum," p. 60. 


est contrition, he enters his order anew. He who said this is 
alleged to have made entrance into an order equal to baptism, 
but all did this.''^^ It is remarkable, or rather it is not re- 
markable, that Luther himself, without being aware of it, here 
partly refutes the objections he raised against the vows. He 
asserted, as we already know, that, according to the Papists, 
the vows had justifying power and effected the remission of 
sins. Here he acknowledges that, in spite of the vows, con- 
trition, therefore penance, was required. 

Luther writes farther that all made entrance into an 
order equal to baptism. Now precisely in his order this 
doctrine was not widespread. At least when the apostate 
Franciscan, Aegidius Mechler, held up to the Augustinian 
Hermit, Bartholomew von Usingen, the Thomists, who taught 
that entrance into an order was a second baptism, Usingen 
told his adversary to settle that with the Thomists, he him- 
self never having taught or written anything of the kind. 
He knew from the Scriptures, he said, that sins were remitted 
by penance, but the Scriptures did not speak of entrance 
into an order.^*' But did the Thomists teach something 
different? Moreover, in the passage cited, Luther, as late as 
1521, did not at all have the Thomists in view, but precisely 
the Franciscans, namely, Henry Ktihne of whom, in 1523, 
he relates (probably, as usual, reporting more falsehood than 
truth) that he gave a discourse at table on the subject to 
himself (Luther) and other young brethren of his on the 
occasion of a visit to the Franciscan convent of Armstadt.^*^ 

If, as is not to be doubted, Ktihne understood his utter- 
ance about complete oblation of self to God, about the love of 
God above all things, even above that which is dearest to 
man, namely, his own will, he only gave out something to 

686 weim. VIII, 596 : "His auribus audivl quosdam maximi noniinis inter 
eos docere, religiosum esse hac gratia ditissimum, ut, quoties renovarit votum 
religionis in corde suo per contricunculam aliquam, toties a novo ingrederetur 
religionem. Hoc autem ingredi baptisrao aequabat, sicut aequant omnes." 
From a note to Bernard's "De praec. et dispens.," Migne, t. 182, p. 889, Ka- 
werau quotes the two letters of St. Jerome, without indicating their source. 

88? Libellus in quo re.spondet confutationl (ratris Egidii Mechlerii mon- 
achi Franciscan!. Erphurdiae 1524, fol. g iij. 

688 Erl. 31, p. 280. 


wMch powerful expression liad long before been given by a 
favorite writer, exalted above all the scholastics by Luther, 
namely, Tauler.''° Tauler's subject being perfect charity, in 
which perfect contrition is included, he could speak not only 
of the remission of punishment but also of that of sin and 
punishment. Even the author of the "Theologia deutsch," 
twice edited by Luther (1516 and 1518), of which he says 
that after the Bible and Augustine, he had found no other 
book from which he had learned more about what God, 
Christ, man, and all things are,''" exhibits at bottom no other 
doctrine.^" Of the complete oblation of self to God at pro- 
fession, but not of mere entrance into the order and putting 
on the religious habit, nor of a mechanical reading of the 
form of profession, Luther's Catholic contemporaries likewise 
understood the proposition (not a "dogma") that he who thus 

«88 Sermon on the 22 Sunday after Pentecost, corrected after a copy 
of the fire-destroyed Strasburg ms; cf. also the Frankfurt edition, II, 294. 
"If one had true love, he would fall, with all his judgments and with all his 
shortcomings, into a loving descent into God, into His well pleasing, good 
will, into a true outgoing of all of his own will. For true divine love maketh 
a man denying of himself and of all self-will. And hence, in this love, 
man falleth at the feet of God and craveth the judgment of God in love, 
that God's justice may sufficiently be done to him and to all creatures, that 
God's will about him may be according to His dearest will, as He wished 
it eternally and as He preordained or will still ordain it in His will, 
whether it be in purgatory or as it pleases Him ; what or how or when or 
how long or how soon. Lord, as Thou wilt. Likewise, whether man (in 
heaven) is to be great or small, near or far — let all fall within His (God's) 
will, and let man rejoice that God's justice is sufficiently done for his little- 
ness and to an unworthy man's greatness and highness, and that He loves 
there. And thus the grace of another becometh thine. Children, this were 
true love. Oh, tvhoso at his last end could get into such a turn that he 
might thus altogether fall into God's will and he found therein; had he done 
all the sins that ever all the world did, he would (still) immediately go up 
(into heaven). But nobody can give thee this save God alone, and as there 
is neither surer nor better dying than herein, so also is there neither nobler 
nor usefuller life than always to live herein. And herein would man in- 
crease wonderfully without stop." 

690 Preface of 3.518; Weim. I, 378. Luther also says that in neither the 
Latin, Greek, nor Hebrew tongue had he so heard and found God as here in 
the German tongue. 

<">i "Theologia deutsch," ed. Pfeiffer, 2 ed., 185.5, c. 8, p. 28 : "As soon as 
man betakes himself to Interior recollection with feeling, and, in this time, 
turns with all his will and spirit to the Spirit of God, all that was formerly 
lost is restored in the twinkle of an eye. And were man to do this thousands 
of times a day, there would always take place a true union." 


made profession became pure like a child at baptism.'"^ For 
sucb a one takes God as the sole portion of his inheritance.""' 
Hence the saying: to consecrate one's self wholly to God. 
It is only when this is in reality the underlying idea — and 
that is the understanding of the Church — that profession has 
value before God. St. Augustine in his time had already 
•written: "Not that do we laud in virgins that they are 
virgins, but that they are virgins consecrated to Ood in de- 
vout, virtuous continency."""* Only in this manner is the say- 
ing of the Following of Christ*'"^ verified: "Leave all and 
thou wilt find all." 

In 1516, Luther still half understood this. In 1521, 
understanding of that sort of thing had wholly left him. As 
on other points, so also on this Luther became an antagonist 

«'2 To mention only some, the Dominican already adduced, Marlius von 
Weida, in 1501, expressly assigns, as the basis of perfection, the complete 
oblation of self, the entire sacrifice "of the very noblest and best that man 
has and which God accepts as of the highest value and in preference to all 
else, above all prayer and sacrifice : that is, man's heart and his free will." 
"This takes place especially in an order, where man binds himself hence- 
forth to live, not according to his own pleasure, but according to the will 
of God and of his superior. To those who there rightly take the vow of 
obedience, God also gives the grace to be cleansed from all sins and by Him 
they are esteemed as an innocent child that is just come from baptism." 
In Hasak, "Die letzte Rose," p. 49 sq. N. Paulus, "Markus von Weida" in 
"Zeitschrift fur katholische Theologie," XXVI, Jahrgang 1902, p. 2.53 sq. 
Naturally, in practice, complete oblation of self is a rare case, therefore also 
the complete effect. Geiler von Kaisersberg also writes : "According to the 
opinion of the saints, the religious life is like a second baptism, because in 
it, as in haptism, one loholly and unreservedly renounces all that is of the 
world." But this does not take place without, but rather with Christ. 
"Just as the one newly baptized represents in himself the passion and 
death of Christ, so does the novice, on entering his order * * * put the 
old life to death, being clothed with a new and ieing conformed to the 
passion of Christ." De Lorenzi, "Geilers von Kaisersberg ausgewahlte 
Schriften," I. (Trier 1881), p. 278 sq. The Dominican, Johann Herolt, 
(Discipulus), died 1468, only copies, without comment of his own, in his 
"Sermones de tempore et de Sanctis" (Argentinae, 1484), sermo 121, P, the 
passage from Thomas 2.2., qu. 189, a. 3 ad 3, treating of the remission of 
punishment, as reproduced below, p. 254, sq. 

ss' Ps. 15, 5 : "Dominus pars haereditatis meae et calicis mei, tu es qui 
restitues haereditatem meam mlhi." 

*8* De s. virginitate, n. 11 : "Nee nos hoc in virginibus praedicamus, quod 
virgines sunt, sed quod Deo dicatae pia continentia virgines." 

695 Imit. Ill, 32. 


of the Church and of the orders. After 1521 he gets to be 
very loquacious about "monastic baptism," whilst earlier, 
along 1516, when he had already completed his "system" in 
its main features, he had nothing to say about it. But now 
suddenly Luther knows how to recount that just after his pro- 
fession he had been advised of its effects. Harnack cites**', 
"one of the characteristic passages" taken from one of 
Luther's writings of the year 1533*" : "I was also felicitated, 
after making profession, by the prior, the community, and 
my confessor, on being new like an innocent babe that has 
just come pure from its baptism." But in what order, in 
what monastery did this custom after profession prevail? 
Among Luther's brethren in Erfurt, where he made his pro- 
fession, or elsewhere in Germany? Usingen, who had also 
made his profession at Erfurt two years or so later, knew 
nothing of it, as we have just seen. In fact, although Luther 
said not a little in the lifetime of Staupitz, drawing from 
him a reproof upon himself, he never ventured to assert any- 
thing of the kind as long as Staupitz was alive. In 1523, 
Usingen likewise was already dead.""* Luther consequently 
had no longer reason to fear contradiction, for his apostate 
brethren went to more grievous lengths than he himself. 
Moreover Luther himself must bear witness that this was not 
their custom in Erfurt, for this doctrine on the "second bap- 
tism" was unknown there. When he and other young monks 
heard about it from the lips of the Franciscan Kiihne at 
Armstadt, according to the report cited above, "we young 
monks," as he said, "stood gaping, mouth and nose wide 
open, also smacking our lips with devout relish of the unctu- 
ous speech about our holy monkery. And thus this opinion 
Avas common among the monks." And it was precisely Luther 
and his brethren who previously laiew nothing about it. 

Luther of course gives to monastic baptism a meaning 
entirely different from its true one, whereof we shall treat in 

688 "Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte," 3 ed., Ill, 737. 

«»' Ei-1. 31, p. 278 sq. It is the "Kleine Antwort"— Brief Reply— to Duke 
George's book. 

eos He died Sept. 9, 1.532. See Paulu.?, "Der Augustiner Bartholomaus 
Arnoldi von Usingen," p. 125. 


the next chapter. With not a syllable does he mention the 
required complete interior oblation of self to God. He leaves 
the reader in the erroneous opinion that the mere acceptance 
of the order by profession suffices and that there is question 
exclusively of an outer work of his own on the part of the 
religious. "The (Catholic) state of perfection now means a 
monk's cowl and tonsure!"^"" Here there can naturally be 
no idea of self -oblation. 

This is also proved by the anecdotes which he adduces 
in corroboration. His sources, however, are very suspicious, 
for in part he fabricated them himself. Thus, for instance, 
he wrote an accompanjdng note approving the contents of a 
letter of the Duchess Ursula of Mtinsterberg, in which she 
gives an account of the flight of herself and two others from 
the convent in Friedberg. In her letter, the duchess says, 
among other things : "We believed that by acceptance of the 
order, we should be freed from pain and fault, and that it 
was another baptism. And as often as in our heart we re- 
newed the same intention, thinking still to do that, if we had 
not done it, we obtained the forgiveness of all our sins, which 
was openly declared to us from the pulpit. Is not that blas- 
phemy and contradictory of divine truth?""" This is genu- 
inely Lutheran. Did Luther himself perhaps compose the 
letter? It is true Ursula relates that she "wrote the letter 
without any human counsel or help whatever.'""^ But to 
what purpose was this remark made, if she was not possessed 
by the fear that the true author would be surmised, and that, 
from the style and contents of the letter, Luther's style and 
work would be recognized? But all artifice was unavailing. 
It could not be concealed that she penned her letter at 
Luther's dictation. This urges itself upon anyone measurably 
solid in matters Lutheran. By the shrewd trick of dating 
the letter back, (as he did a letter to the Pope in 1520),'°^ 
— back to a time in which Ursula was still in the convent, 
she and Luther only betrayed themselves. Her flight took 

60»Brl. 7, 334. 
"OErl. 65, 139. 
™i Ibid., p. 163. 
'»2 See above, p. 137. 


place in October, 1528 ; the letter, written after the flight had 
occurred, was dated April 28 of the same year ! This duchess 
was a person worthy of her master, as is learned from a reply 
written by the nuns of that convent, February 18, 1529."' 

Not only a woman, however, but a man as well, a Do- 
minican and master of theology, the Provincial, Hermann 
Kab,'°* was constrained to serve Luther as a witness. Luther 
in fact published a sermon of his, preached from the pulpit 
to a community of nuns on the occasion of a profession.'"^ 
Is it genuine in all its parts? Truly the authority of Luther 
can no longer be brought upon the field. Let us see. The 
text of the sermon is Latin. At that time, then, a Latin 
sermon to nuns in Saxony? But Rab could speak and write 
German, as is evident from a letter written by him, 1527, to 
the nun, Katherine von der Plawnitz, of the convent of 
Kronschwitz in the Weimar district, against Luther's adher- 

703 Fragments of it were published by Seidemann in "Erlauterungen zuS. 
Reformationsgeschichte," (Dresden 1844), p. 115. Tiie duchess, it is related 
p. 116, was dispensed from singing and reading in choir, and from rising 
for matins for over twelve years; for the past eight years she has not come 
to any of the hours; likewise for the past five years, another apostate did 
not go to matins at all. Both busied themselves only with Luther's sect 
and books, against which the rest spoke at times and had reported the 
matter to the superiors. In consequence of this, those two became bitter of 
heart towards all, so that, when any other two sisters spoke together the 
former became suspicious that there was talk and plotting against them, 
spite of the fact that those conversing had excused themselves in a friendly 
manner. Since the rest were unwilling to assent to Lutherdom, it would 
have been of no use to treat them considerately. If one spoke against 
things Lutheran, even when it did not concern them, they became as furious 
as if one bad seared the apple of their eye. Concerning the Duchess Ur- 
sula, see also H. Ermisch, "Ursula von Miinsterberg," in "Neues Archlv 
fur sachs. Gesch., t. Ill (1882), 290-333. 

704 Prom 1516 he was Provincial of the Saxon province, and he died 
in the beginning of 1534. His successor was Johannes Mensing. See Paulus, 
"Die deut.schen Dominikauer in Kampfe gegen Luther," (1903), p. 9 sqq., 15, 
43. Enders, II, 71 here greatly lacks critique. 

'"5 An original print is in the Vatican Library, Pal. IV, 121, bearing the 
title : "Exemplum theologiae et doctrinae papisticae." Also in "Opp. lat. 
var. arg.," VII, 21, where the false date, 1523, occurs. The Sermo begins : 
"Incipit sermo eximii magistri nostrl I (instead of H) R. provlncialls Ord. 


ent, Katlierine von Friesen of tlie same place/"^ Whence then 
did Luther get the sermon? He said it Avas taken down only 
fragmentarily during its delivery."*^ By whom? Naturally 
by a friend who had handed him the excerpts. But it 
is clear that Luther's friend can lay no more claim to cre- 
dence or to greater trustworthiness than he himself. This 
premised, one comprehends just how these fragments were 
perforce adapted to Luther's observations anl faultfinding. In 
the very beginning, a text out of Aristotle's Politics is 
preached to the nuns, particularly to the one making profes- 
sion. Then they hear : it is great to offer something temporal 
to God for the building of churches, for one hopes thereby 
to obtain the forgiveness of his sins; but it is greater if one, 
of one's free choice and own will, offers his soul to God, as 
the religious does, thereby obtaining full remission, as if re- 
ceiving baptism,^"^ etc. And so the sermon proceeds, all quite 
opportunely for Luther's marginal gloss; there is no need of 
Christ, no need of Faith, nor of grace, but only of one's own 
work; baptism and belief in Christ are nothing in comparison 
with these offerings. It is not through Christ but through 
the denial of Him and through one's own work that one 
hopes for the forgiveness of one's sins, and so on. 

Now is it improbable that Luther or his like-minded as- 
sociates, if they did not fabricate the whole sermon, at least 
garbled it in some parts ?'°° To these belong, among others, 
the portions on forgiveness of sins and the offering of the 
soul of one's free will. What is this last to mean? It is too 

706 Published in : "Fortgesetzte Sammlung von Alten und Neuen theo- 
logisehen Sachen auf das Jahr 1721," (Leipzig), p. 700 sqq. Now iu pai-t 
in Paulus, loc. cit., p. 12 sqq. 

707 "Sermo * * * frustillatim * * * ex ore dicentis excerptiis." 

708 " * * * q^jj ofEert deo animam per liberum arbitrium et propriara 
voluntatem, sicut facit religiosus, qui per hoc consequitur plenariam remis- 
sionem, quasi susciperet baptismum." 

'"^ It is also remarkable that Luther gives only the initial letters, one 
of those wrong, of Rab's name. Why so mysterious? It is not otherwise 
his manner, as every one knows. More than that, in the work he even 
omits the initial letters and says the sermo is "a quodain mayni nominis 
domini-castro, in coenolio quodam hujus regionls misserimis illis puellis, 
quas nonnas vocamus, non multo ante hos dies praedicatus ad commendan- 
dum nonnarum institutum." Thus the monastery likewise is not mentioned, 
quite contrary to Luther's custom when he rails. 


absurd to be attributed to an old tbeologian. It is precisely 
by the vow of obedience, sacrificing one's free will, that tbe 
soul is offered.'" Lutber Imew tbat well enough, but in his 
blind hatred he made the passage up, so that he could make 
his marginal gloss thereon: "Grace is unnecessary, free will 
suifices; the religious is an adversary of Christ and a sacri- 
legious destroyer of Faith." The passage in "monastic bap- 
tism" is made to bear the gloss: "Behold here the glorious 
Anabaptists! Thou seest how they sacrilegiously and blas- 
phemously put their fantastic fabrications on an equality 
Tsith baptism, yea, with Christ Himself."'" If this gloss 
proves anything at all, it is that Luther wanted to make the 
world believe that, according to the. teaching of the monks 
or of the Church, one loses baptism through sin, one falls 
back into the state of original sin; the new baptism is the 
monastic baptism without the blood of Christ and only 
through one's own work; therefore are they rebaptizers (or 
Anabaptists ) . 

And now who, according to Luther, is the inventor of this 
monastic baptism, or say of any monastic baptism at all? In 
answering this question, Luther varies in nothing from 
Melanchthon, who designates Thomas of Aquin as the guilty 
one, in truth, in this matter he became the disciple, though 
otherwise he was Melanchthon's master. After 1521, Thomas 
of Aquin is to him likewise the one who not only made simple 
entrance into an order equal to baptism, but who also was the 
first to do this. '" Luther brought this out particularly in the 
year 1533 : "Such a shameful, wicked doctrine of the perjured, 

'!» A theologian knew that from the Catholic doctrine which St. Thomas, 
in "Ep. ad Phllipp." c. 2, lect. 3 set forth as follows : "Obedientia inter alias 
(virtutes) est maxima. Nam offere de rebus exterioribus est magnum, sed 
maius si de corpore, maximum autem si de anima et voluntate tua, quod, 
fit per oiedientiam,. 1. Reg. 15: Melior est obedientia quam victimae, et 
auscultare magis quam offere adipem arietum." 

'" On the margin of the sermon mentioned. 

"2 Weimar XIV, 62, 23 (for the year 1523) ; cf. line 5. And in 1524 
he writes : "They throw up such states by which one is to be saved, as was 
shamelessly written by Thomas, the Friar Preacher : when one enters an 
order, it is as much as though he just were come from baptism. Thus they 
promise freedom and forgiveness of sins by one's own works. Such blas- 
phemies must one hear, etc." 


faithless, apostazing monks' baptism they first had from 
St. Thomas of the Order of Preachers, who himself in the 
end also despaired, and had to say against the devil : I 
believe what stands in this book — he meant the Bible.'" 
From him they forced it into all the orders, into all the 
monasteries, into the hearts of all the monks, and thus it 
put many a fine soul to lifelong torture and finally drove 
them despairing into the abyss of hell, so that I — as an ex- 
perienced monk, who desired with great earnestness to be a 
monk — may well call monkery a hellish poison-cooky, coated 
over with sugar.""* 

But is Luther right? Is Thomas the inventor of "mo- 
nastic baptism?" Not in the least. The correct doctriae on 
the subject goes back to the "Vitae Patrum," consequently to 
the end of the fourth century.'" It is almost a thousand 
years later St. Thomas first appears on the scene. 

On the relation of the effects of religious profession to 
those of baptism,'" Thomas twice refers to the "Vitae" just 
mentioned.'^' With equal justice he could have cited two 
letters of St. Jerome,'" in which profession is compared with, 
the baptismal covenant, since in either case the devil and his 
works and his world as well are renounced. St. Bernard 

^13 This is a lie! Whence did Luther get it? In the old legends there 
is not even the slightest support for the assertion. 

^'* Erl. 31, 279. "Die Kleine Antwort auf Herzog Georgs' nahestes 
Buch," of the year 1533. Luther speaks in a like manner later, e.g., in 
"Schmalkaldische Artikel," Erl. 25, 143. 

'■^5 Not indeed in the Latin translation, which, so far as the sixth book 
is concerned, dates from the VI century but in the Greek original. See in 
Migne, t. 73, Proleg., p. 42, 49. 

'16 2. 2. qu. 189, a. 3 ad 3, and also 4 Sent., dist. 4, qu. 3, a. 3, qu. 3. 

''" In Migne, Patr. 1., t. 73, p. 994 : "virtutem, quam vidi stare super bap- 
tisma, vidi etiam super vestimentum monachi, quando accipit liaMtum spi- 

'18 In Ep. 39 (n. 3) he consoles Paula, about 384, on the death of her 
daughter, who, after her husband's death, "propitio Christo, ante quatuor 
ferme menses secundo quodam modo propositi se baptismo laverit, et ita 
deinceps viverit, ut calcato mundo, semper monasterium cogitarit" ( Migne, 
Patr. 1., t. 22, p. 468). He speaks even more clearly in 414 to the virgin 
Demetrias, ep. 130, n. 7. (Migne, loc. cit., p. 1113) : "Nunc autem quia saeculum 
reliquisti, et secundo post baptismum gradu inisti pactum cum adversario 
tuo dicens ei : 'Renuntio tibi, diabole, et saeculo tuo et pompae tuae et 
operibus tuis,' serva foedus quod peplgisti * * *" 


seizes this thought, more to examine it in its wider aspect 
and more exactly to define it: one should renounce not only 
the devil and his works, but also the world and one's own 
will. The baptismal covenant should not only be renewed, 
but it should also be strengthened, by ridding ourselves 
wholly of that which again brought us under the dominion 
of the devil, whom we renounced in baptism."" From the 
first chapters, Ave know that Luther, too, as late as 1519, 
when his thinking was still unclouded, coupled the vows and 
the religious life with the baptismal covenant: they serve 
"to Avin the end of his baptism.""" 

For brevity's sake omitting other doctors prior to 
Thomas,"' I ask what was the A'iew of St. Thomas? First 

'IS Senno 11 De diverisis (Migne, t. 1S3, p. 570, n. 3) : "Irritum fecimus 
foedus primum ; tibi peccavimus, Domine, satanae et operibus eius obligantes 
denuo nosmetipsos, jugo Iniquitatls colla ultronee submittentes et subicientes 
nos miserae servituti. Itaque, fratres mei, rebaptizari nos convenlt, secun- 
dum foedus inire necesse est, opus est professione secunda. Nee iam sufflcit 
abrenuntiare diabolo et operibus eius, mundo pariter abrenuntiandum est et 
propriae voluntati * * » uq^ resarcire tantummodo foedus primum, sed 
etiam roiorare soUiciti, ipsis quoque affectibus pariter abrenunclamus." Cf. 
ibid. Sermo 37, n. 3, but particularly "De praecepto et dispens., c. 17, n. 54 
(Migne, t. 182, p. 889) : Comparison between first and second baptism. Every- 
thing turns on perfect renunciation, on resemblance to Christ, on the re- 
newal and strengthening of the baptismal covenant. 

'20 See above, p. 41-42. 

'21 Thus, e.g. Peter Damian, Opusc. 16, c. 8 (Migne, Patr. 1. t. 145, p. 
376) : "Legisti aliquando vitae monasticae propositura secundum esse bap- 
tisma? Sed quia hoc inveniri in dictis patrum perspicuum est, negare licitum 
iam non est." Odo of Clugny also says : "Sicut in libro Gerontico dicitur ; 
eadem datur gratia in monachico habitu, quae et in albis baptismi." (Migne, 
1. c, t. 133, p. 554). Like St. Thomas, Odo appeals to the passage In the 
"Vitae Patrum" (BijSXot tSi/ iyiav -tepbtnajv) Later literature, see above p. 
244, note 689 ; 245, note 692 ; and in Rosweid's edition of the "Vitae Patrum" 
(Migne, t. 73, p. 182 .sq. ) ; I further adduce the celebrated Parisian theologian, 
.Todocus Clichtove, (friend of Jacques Leflore d'Etaples). In a sermon 
composed by him — "Sermo de commendatione religionis monasticae" — and 
delivered bj his one time disciple, the Cluniac, Geoffroy d'Amlioise, at the 
general chapter of Clugny, April 13, 1513, he says, among other things : 
"Quod enim vite genus religionis professione, in sue prime institutionis de- 
core conspecte, praestatius invenias aut congruentius ad salutem aut expe- 
ditius ad capessendam viam vite? Id apertlssime Bernard! comprobat testi- 
monium in lib. de praec. et dispens. (c. 17) dicentis: Audire vultis a me, 
unde inter cetera penitentie instituta monasterialis disciplina hanc meruerit 
prerogativam, ut secundum baptisma nuncupetur," etc. Ms. Bibl. Mazarine, n. 
1068, fol. isgi). 


of all it is to be stated as a fact tliat he always treats the 
question only incidentally and then Avith few words. ''^^ Again 
the doctrine is neither to him nor in truth to anyone a tenet 
of faith or of universal tradition, but it is an opinion. Fur- 
ther, St. Thomas does not even use the expression '^second 
baptism" as did St. Jerome, Peter Damian, or St. Bernard; 
he only cites approvingly, both in the "'Sentences" and in the 
"Summa," the passage quoted above from the "Vitae Patrum," 
and adds his comments to it. In the "Summa," indeed, he 
qualifies the statement in this passage to the effect that, by 
entering an order, one receives the same grace as the bap- 
tized, by saying; "But if those entering were not freed 
from every punishment they had merited," etc."^ With him 
as with every other, the proper fundament is the sacrament 
of baptism. Whatever else is called baptism, bears the name 
only relatively, that is, in relation to the effect of the sacra- 
ment,^'^* but not to the essence and dignity of baptism, which 
is such that it imprints an indelible character. The matter 
here, at least as it concerns the "second baptism," so-called, 
is one of analogy and not of synonymity. It is true that 
Thomas, as a young master, in his first book against William 
of St. Amour, silent with reference to St. Bernard, says : 
"As a man in baptism is bound to God through the religion 
of faith, and dies to sin, so through the vow of religion he 
dies not only to sin but to the world, that he may live only 
to God in that work in which he solemnly vowed to minister 
to God."'" Nevertheless, however diffusely he wrote on the 
religious life and however often the opportunity offered, he 

722 In the passages already cited. 

"3 2. 2. qu. 189, a. 3 ad 3 : "Legitur in Vitis Patrum (libro 6, libello 1, 
n" 9), quod eandem gratiam consequuntur religionem intrantes, quam conse- 
quuntur baptizati. Si tamen non abgolverentur per lios ab omni reatu 
poenae, nihilominus ingressus religionis utilior est quam peregrinatio terrae 

■^24 4. Sent., dist. 4 qu. 3, a. 3, qu. 1 : "Dicitur aliquid baptismus secun- 
dum proportionem ad eundem efCectum, et sic dicitur baptismus poenitentiae 
et baptismus sanguinis," In the language of Peter Lombard. 

725 Contra impugnantes Dei cultum et religionem, c. 1, n. 2 : "Sicut autem 
in baptismo homo per fidel religionem Deo ligatur, peccato moritur: ita per 
votum religionis non solum peccato, sed saeculo moritur, ut soli Deo vivat 
in illo opere, in quo se Deo mlnistraturum devovit fldei." 


nowliere in his works set down the proposition that, if one 
enters an order, it was just as if he came straight from bap- 
tism, or that the monastic life was equivalent to baptism. 

Thus simply stated, the proposition would be untrue, or 
at least very easily misunderstood. The mere external, ma- 
terial entrance into an order will not do. He who, burdened 
with grievous siu, takes the three vows, not only receives 
nothing, but he also draws down God's wrath upon himself.'^' 
St. Thomas in fact expressly states that, in the state of per- 
fection, there are those who have an imperfect charity or 
none at all, like many bishops and religious, who are in a 
state of mortal sin, whilst many good pastors possess a per- 
fect charity."' 

He, like all the rest of the Catholic doctors, requires the 
honest, complete oblation of self to God; for "the common 
feature of all the orders is that each individual of them is to 
offer himself entirely to serve God,'"^' so that the one enter- 
ing, or the one making profession, reserves nothing from 
without or within, but makes in truth a sacrifice of every- 
thing and of himself. They understand it of the interior 
mind, of the act of perfect charity, which exemplifies itself 
in the three vows. But a complete oblation of self to God 
includes within itself reconciliation with God and presup- 
poses it. Satisfaction for the punishment still due on account 

"6 Cf. Cajetan on 2. 2. qu. 189, a. 3. 

727 "De perfect, vitae spirit., c. 26. This Is an old doctrine and there 
Is notliing improper in the vision in which our ancient father saw "multos 
de habitu nostro monuchali euntes ad supplicium, et multos lalcorum euntes 
In regnum del." (Vitae Patrum, Migne, t. 73, p. 806). This vision rather 
confirms the Catholic teaching that entrance into an order, putting on the 
liabit, and making profession are not of themselves sufficient; and that 
there must be a correspondence between the outer and the inner actions of 
religion. It Is a genuinely Lutheran proceeding on Luther's part, after first 
falsifying this passage after his manner, (as though hell were filled — "infer- 
nura repletum" — with religious, who plunge Into it ly troops — "turmatim,") 
to use it against the Church, as If God had revealed this," ut erroris oper- 
ationem tunc Ingredientem ostenderet et difCerret," (Weim. VIII, 657). 
Such talk is again allowed by Kolde to pass without comment. 

"8 2. 2. qu. 188, a. 1, ad 1. 


of sins already forgiven, is made according to the degree of 
one's charity and of one's oblation and sacrifice.'^' 

He who inscribes on his flag the Epicurean principle that 
man cannot resist his nature, he who accepts as a first prin- 
ciple that concupiscence is insuperable, does not understand 
this doctrine. He no longer comprehends anything of self-sub- 
dual, of self-denial, of sacrifice. He has given up all resist- 
ance to the old Adam, all action under grace — and such was 
the case with Luther. 

But let us close. Luther, when he called Thomas the 
inventor of "monastic baptism," either deceived his readers 
or he only evidenced his ignorance. Likely he did both. 
Moreover he knew the "Vitae Patrum," he loiew Bernard's 
work "de praecepto et dispensatione," both of which he other- 
wise frequently cites. Why, then, these subterfuges of his, 
and, besides, a wholly erroneous exposition of the doctrine 


Catholic "Monastic Baptism," According to Lutheran Ex- 
position, AN Apostasy from the Baptism of Christ 

The reformer did some good maneuvering when he thrust 
everything upon St. Thomas. Well did he know that, after 
St. Augustine, Thomas Avas the most prized doctor in the 
Church. As Luther shrank from no means, if it availed to 
fight the Church, so did he stop at nothing to belittle Thomas, 

'29 After adducing the passage from the "Vitae Patrum," 4 Sent. dist. 4, 
qu. 3, a. 3, qu. 3, ad 3, Thomas says : "Sed hoc non est, quia talis a satis- 
factlone absolvatur, sed, quia eo ipso, quod suam voluntatem In servitutem 
redlgit propter Deum, plenarle pro omnl peccato satisfecit, quem carlorem 
habet omnibus rebus mundi, de qulbus tantum posset dare, quod eleemosynis 
omnia peceata redlmeret, etiam quantum ad poenam." 2. 2. qu. 189, a. 3 ad 
3 : "Rationabiliter autem dlcl potest, quod etlam per Ingressum religionis 
aliquis consequatur remissionem peccatorum. Si enim aliqulbus eleemosynis 
factis homo potest statlm satisfacere de peccatis suis (see lUud. Daniel, 4 24; 
Peceata tua eleemosynis redime) : multo magis in satisj actionem pro omnibus 
peccatis sufficit, quod aliquis se totaliter divinis oisequiis mancipet per re- 
ligionis Ingressum, que excedit omne genus satis factionis." As is clearly 
evident from both passages, Thomas takes "remisslo peccatorum" for "re- 
missio poenae pro peccatis." Cf. also "De perf. vit. spirit, c. 11, and the am- 
plified exposition from the "Lavacrum consclentiae," above, p. 84, note 147. 


although, as shall be shown in the course of this work, he 
did not know him at all. To test his objections as to their 
correctness or better to instruct himself in Catholic doctrine 
was not a matter of need to one who, as we saw in Chapter 
VI, likewise looked upon lying as a serviceable expedient. 

Luther's assertion"" that the doctrine of "monastic bap- 
tism" was forced from Thomas through the monks into all 
the orders, all monasteries, and the hearts of all the monks, 
no longer merits consideration. But when he concludes that 
this doctrine tortured many a soul a lifetime and finally 
plunged them through despair into the abyss of hell, the state- 
ment deserves to be more closely taken into account. For 
the so-called "monastic baptism" in its Catholic sense, that is 
to say, perfect self-oblation, the earnestly consummated in- 
terior offering of one's self to God, can torture nobody, or 
bring no one to despair and plunge him into the abyss of 
hell. This is possible only when one has reserved something 
to himself, for example, pride, haughtiness and duplicity, or 
when one gradually grows faithless to God and takes back 
what he had forever offered to Him. What then does Luther 
understand Catholic "monastic baptism" to be? 

What we heard Luther say in his marginal gloss on the 
sermon of Hermann Rab, as narrated in the preceding chap- 
ter, lets us surmise that he has invested "monastic baptism" 
with a wholly erroneous, or even godless notion. And such 
indeed is the case. At bottom it is the same idea maliciously 
made by him to underlie all good works, that baptism is lost 
by sin, and that reconciliation with God is then to be effected 
by works: "As soon as we have taken off our baby shoes, 
and are scarcely come from the blessed bath, they (the Pa- 
pists) have taken all from us again by such preaching: 'O 
thou hast long lost baptism and soiled thy baptismal robe 
with sin. Now must thou think to do penance for thy sins 
and make satisfaction, fasting so much, praying, acting the 
pilgrim, giving pious bequests, until thou propitiatest God 
and thus comest into grace again.' " In keeping with this he 
also speaks of a "baptism by works," inasmuch as the Papists 

'30 See above, p. 251. 


"truly and in fact suspend the baptism of Christ," "^'put our 
works in the place of baptism, and thereby set up a rebap- 
tism not by water but by works. How shamelessly then they 
have compared their monkery and cloister-life with bap- 
tism.""^ The entire troop of monks "have forgotten their 
baptism, entered a monastery, put on a cowl, made for them- 
selves the tokens wherein they thought to find and come 
upon God, and they pretend that that is the right manner of 
serving God and of reaching heaven.""^ 

He also writes that by "monastic baptism," in which one 
"becomes pure and innocent," there has been doAvnright apos- 
tasy from the baptism of Christ; for the sense of the vow 
was : "Dear God, by the baptism and word of Thy beloved 
Son I have hitherto been certain that Thou art my gracious 
God, but I will now apostatize from that and accept a new 
monastic baptism of my own works. ""^ For, he writes in the 
same place, "under the Papacy the baptism of Christ and 
the Kingdom of Christ with all its noble grace was unlinown 
and not understood, therefore one had to turn to works and 
one's own merit. For they hold baptism to be a temporal 
work, that now has long passed away and been lost by suc- 
ceeding sins, and not an eternally constant promise of grace, 
under and in which we remain without intermission and if 
we fall we return to it again. But such things no Papist 
can understand.""" Or as he writes several years later, that 
the Pope and his adherents, since with them "baptism and 
Christian states are a trifling thing, take on particular, 
higher states and ranks, and had to create a higher monastic 
baptism.'"^^ All this he represents withal as wholly certain, 
"even though it is twice a stink and thrice a lie," to put it in 
his own words.'^^^ 

Luther, then, in his rascally way, uses the expression, 
"monastic baptism," in order that the contrast with the 

731 Erl. 16, 89, 90, 93 sq. for the year 1535. Similarly Erl. 49, 166 ia 
respect to tJie loss of baptism and to entrance into a monastery. 

732 Erl. 19, 86. 
'33 Erl. 31, 292. 
"*Ibid., p. 292 sq. 
"5 Erl. 49, 88 sq. 
"8 Erl. 23, 133. 


"baptism of Christ" may be made to stand out in a stronger 
light, but, at the same time, that the opinion may be awak- 
ened that both belong to the same category. 

But who taught this? St. Jerome and St. Bernard, as 
was not otherwise to be expected and as has already been 
observed above,'" looked upon "the second baptism" as a 
renewal and a strengthening of the baptistnal covenant. All 
others who have Avritten on the subject are quite out of the 
question. But what barefacedness did it not require on 
Luther's part to assert that, according to Catholic teaching, 
baptism was only a temporal, ephemeral thing, that it is lost 
by sin and not recovered again? Had Luther not heard 
of the indelible character which baptism, according to Cath- 
olic teaching, imprints upon Christians and which is not 
lost even by ajjostates, as St. Augustine says?"^ Baptism 
is never lost, for baptism has its effect from the potency 
of Christ's passion, just as St. Thomas teaches with the 
Church. Now, precisely as sins after baptism do not suspend 
the potency of Christ's passion, neither do they suspend 
baptism."^ Grievous sins only impede the efficacy of bap- 
tism,"" so that baptismal grace is lost (but not irretrievably) 
and the baptismal covenant is broken. Nevertheless reunion 
with God does not take place through "monastic baptism" 
or "monkery," but through the sacrament of penance.'*^ But 
this always indispensably presupposes the Blood of Christ 
and the baptism already received. "Monkery" facilitates the 

737 See above, p. 252. 

738 Contra ep. Parmeniani, 1. 2, c. 13, n. 29. 

730 3 p. qu. 66, a. 9 ad 1 : "Baptismus operatur in virtute passionis 
Christi. Et ideo sicut peccata sequentia virtutem passionis Christi non au- 
ferunt, ita etiara non auferunt baptismum, ut necesse sit ipsum Iterari." 
Thomas here expresses the universal doctrine. 

7*0 Ibid. : "impediunt effectum baptismi." 

''" Ibid : "poenitentia superveniente tollitur peccatum, quod impediebat 
effectum baptismi." Cf. also what the XV century "Lavacrum conscientlae" 
says, as cited above, p. 84, n. 147. It goes vs'ithout saying that the best 
knovi'n theologian of the Order of Hermits In Germany in Luther's time, Jo- 
hann v. Paltz, whom Luther knew personally, had no knowledge of a "mon- 
astic baptism," by which lost baptismal grace could be regained, but he knew 
the sacrament of penance as the means to that end. "Suppl. Cellfodine," 
(Brphordie, 1504) fol. Lij. 


renewal or rather the strengthening of the baptismal coven- 
ant, but is not necessary thereto. 

In an earlier chapter'*^ I discussed how Luther, more 
than a year after his apostasy in 1521, pretended to be in 
a state of uncertainty, as to the disposition with which he 
made his vows. Eight years later he knows more about the 
matter : "1 for my part did not go to the monastery that 
I should serve the devil, but that, by my obedience, chas- 
tity, and poverty, I might deserve heaven."''" Another four 
years later, or twelve years after 1521, he knows even more 
still, in his presumption, and he rises, against his better 
knowledge, to the simply preposterous assertion: "What did 
I vow when I vowed my monkery? Why, I had to vote this 
intention : Eternal God, I vow Thee such a life wherein not 
only am I equal to the baptism, blood, and passion of Thy 
dear Son, and therefore henceforth need not His blood and 
passion, and henceforth, by my works will make a way to 
Thee; He may not be my way and shamefully lied when he 
said: No one comes to the father except through me; but 
I will further, by my works (which I share with them and 
sell for a bushel of grain), bring to Thee and make blessed 
other Christians also, whom Thy Son was to have brought 
to Thee. And I will be the way by which Thy poor Chris- 
tians and Saints come to Thee. That such was the intent 
of my vow no Christian heart can deny, for it is the manifest 
truth that we held our monastic baptism to be our sanctity, 
and imparted and sold our good works to the conmion Chris- 
tian. This is as plain as day and the stones must say Aye to 
my words.'"" Here we have it made evident into what an 
abyss Luther gradually plunged. In 1521, he still had enough 
of a sense of honor in respect to one point, '*° not to venture 
to say that he himself had made his vows in such a manner, 
nay, more, he had to acknowledge that that could not be 

^« See above, p. 86. 

7*3 Erl. 36, 409 (1529). 

T** Erl. 31, p. 285 from the "Kleine Antwort," 1533 already cited. 

745 por, "that they not only praised the monastic vows more than 
Christ's baptism, (Weim. VI, 4, 40), but that, by the vow, they revoked bap- 
tism," he had already written at that time. See above, p. 78. 


asserted of all the others. Twelve years later, in 1533, there 
Tvas no longer any vacillation. He had lost all shame and 
thus had the effrontery to write that he had vowed no longer 
to be in need of Christ's blood and passion, since his life 
thenceforth was equal to the baptism and to the blood and 
passion of Christ, that Christ was no longer his way, that 
his own (Luther's) works were both for himself and for 
others to the exclusion of Christ, the way to the Father !^" 

It is only now that one can fully understand Luther's 
falsity with regard to his exposition of Bernard's "Per- 
dite vixi," and no one will Avonder that it was just in a 
lampoon written in 1533 that Luther speaks on the subject 
most fully.'*^ By those words, discussed by us above,"' St. 
Bernard, says Luther, "like myself became in truth a true 
apostate and a forsworn, runaway monk. For, although he 
did not put off the cowl, nor leave the cloister, nor take 
a wife, yet does his heart say: he may and will not become 
blessed by his monkery, but only by the merit and right of 
Christ." Had St. Bernard held that "his monastic baptism 
was enough and had cleansed him like an innocent child just 
from baijtism, * * * he would have had to say: Well, 
dear God, I must die. Here I come Avith my monastic bap- 
tism and the holiness of my order. I am pure and innocent. 
Open all the gates of heaven, I have deserved well. *■ * » 
But St. Bernard has no mind for that. He falls back, lets 
his monkery go, and seizes the passion and blood of Christ. 
In this Avise have all monks been obliged in the end to apos- 
tatize, to abandon their monastic baptism and to become 
forsworn, or else they all went, cowl and tonsure, to the 

It is no longer needed to observe for the benefit of any 
intelligent, unbiased reader that Luther's whole handling of 
the question runs "de subiecto non supponente," on an imag- 
inary thing. Still it is interesting that, after having, ten 

'*8 See also above, p. 69 sqq., where I cited the prayers which were said 
over Luther at his profession, and in which the order is designated only as 
a way to Christ. 

"'Erl. 31, 287 sq. 

^*8 See above, p. 44 sqq. 


pages back in the same treatise, made St. Thomas the in- 
ventor "of the perjured, faithless, apostatizing monks' bap- 
tism," he here has St. Bernard, even in his day, "living long 
in monastic baptism," and renouncing it. The "Eeformer" 
here speaks, as often in other places, just according to his 
need of the moment. That is no longer anything novel. 

If Luther wanted to set up an argument against "monk- 
ery" from baptism, he had perforce to lie, for the true 
Catholic doctrine gave him no foothold. And he did simply 
lie, and it was just he, who, like no other before him, de- 
based the dignity of baptism. From as early as 1516, it 
was his teaching that baptism effectuates no blotting out of 
sin in its regeneration, since, according to him, original sin 
remains after baptism, only it is not imputed. Had Luther 
sought to be consistent, he would have had to say precisely 
that with which, in his rascally way, he charged Catholics. 
In fact in his "Kirchenpostille" he does write: "Those who 
do not fight against their sins, but consent to them, do surely 
again fall into original sin and become as they had been be- 
fore baptism.'"^^ Therefore, according to him, baptism is 
lost ! One is then not only in sin, but in original sin; this is 
what Luther says, and, that no doubt may arise, he adds the 
words, "as before baptism." But must baptism be repeated 
then? God forbid! Faith suffices! But if faith suffices in 
this case, why ought it not to suffice in the first instance? 
To what purpose be baptized? In the Lutheran system in 
any event, the acceptance of baptism is a great inconsistency. 


Luthee's Lie, That Marriage is Condemned by the Pope as 
Sinful — His Coeeupting Principles on Marriage 

Luther's assertion that the married state is forbidden and 
condemned by the Pope, is based on the untruth, given out 
by him and already discussed in Chapter VI, that according 
to the Papists the service of God is only to be found in the 
monastic state, that, to be justified, to escape hell and God's 

'49Erl. 15, p. 55. 


anger, to expiate sin, one must flee tlie world and enter the 
cloister; and tliat the vows are viewed as necessary to sal- 

Thus did Luther also write in 1527: "Whoso (according 
to the Papists) wishes to be occupied with God and spiritual 
things, may not be a married man or woman; therefore 
(have they) frightened the young people off from the married 
state, only to engulf them in whoreishness. ♦ * • Hence 
it is that they hold married life to be neither a Christian 
state nor a good work.""^ "Had God not hindered, all women 
would have taken the vows, that their sons and daughters 
might become 'clerics' ; ( each one thought : ) I was not chaste 
and a virgin, the children shall bring that in again.'"" Ac- 
cording to them a holy state was only the monastic state; 
in the married state, on the contrary, one lives only for the 

If this is true, there is no further room for the married 
state. It is done away with. Did Luther seek to maintain 
his premises, he was fairly compelled to confess to the fur- 
ther falsehood that the married state was forbidden by the 
Church, nay, more, was condemned by her as unchristian. 
And he knew how to acquiesce in this compulsion. In the be- 
ginning, it is true, it was to his interest to assert only that 
the married state was forbidden by the Pope, but not con- 
demned by him. 

A. Marriage Alleged to Have Been Forbidden by the Pope, 
BUT Not Condemned. 

When Luther wrote his book on the monastic vows, it 
became one of the several things he was busied about to 
prove that marriage was unjustly forbidden to monks. The 
vow of continency, he said, was based on the prohibition of 
marriage to monks. But this prohibition was characterized 
by St. Paul as apostasy from the faith. In proof of this 

'50 gee above, p. 78 sqq., p. 170, and below, under B. in this chapter. 
"1 Weim. XXIV, 55. 
752 Ibid. XXVII, 24. 
'53 Ibid. p. 26. 


Luther adduces the scriptural passage, 1 Timothy, 4, 1-3, in 
which Paul speaks of those who in the last times were 
to depart from the faith, and among other things should 
forbid marriage and the partaking of certain foods.'" Luther 
concludes that this one passage affords him grounds to ven- 
ture to free all monks from their vows, as he had already 
freed the secular clergy."''^ The passage from St. Paul, he 
asserted, was not aimed against the future Tatianists, as the 
Papists pretend, for Tatian did not only forbid marriage, but 
he condemned it as evil and sinful. The Pope and the Pa- 
pists condemned neither food nor marriage, but they only 
forbade them. Therefore not the Tatians but the Papists 
are to be understood to be among those spoken of by St. 
Paul. Luther was so enraptured with his exposition of this 
scriptural passage that at the close he apostrophizes the 
whole world: "Has anyone still an objection to raise here? 
Is it not wholly clear and irrefragable?"" The "Keformer" 
was wont to use similar expressions whenever his arguments 
were their weakest. And so it was here. 

Who, according to St. Paul, are those future heretics 
who are to forbid marriage? Perhaps such as ever preferred 
conttnency and virginity to marriage? Certainly not, for then 
he would be contradicting himself and what, in Chapter VI,'" 
we heard him teaching on virginity. He could only mean 
such as were free to marry or to remain continent, for the 
latter is not a duty. Here the same St. Paul's teaching is 
applicable: "melior est nubere quam uri""^ — it is better to 
marry than to burn. 

But Luther was not concerned about a correct under- 
standing and exposition of passages of Scripture. He merely 
looked upon words. He treated them in a purely mechanical 
way, otherwise he would have attained the opposite of his 
design. He set out to make the Church as despicable as pos- 
sible and to represent her teaching as contrary to Scripture. 

"■iWeim. VIII, 596. 
"5 Ibid., 597. 
756 Ibid., p. 597 sq. 
'57 See above, p. 87 sq. 
"8 I Cor. 7, 9. 


Hence here again he constantly repeats the same lie, as he is 
wont to do in other matters. In 1522 he hits anew on the 
first quoted passage from St. Paul, that teachers should come 
in hypocrisy, "teaching doctrines of devils, forbidding to 
marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created. Be- 
hold, he himself calls those teachers of devils' doctrines who 
forbid marriage. And here speaks not, as the lying mouth 
at Dresden says, of the Tatianists. The Tatianists did not 
forbid marriage, but they condemned it as a sinful thing. 
But St. Paul speaks here of those who only forbid it, but 
do not condemn it or regard it as sinful. * * * The Pope 
does not say, like the Tatianists, tJiat marriage is evil or a 
sin: item not: that meat, eggs, milk are evil or sins, but 
he forbids them only for a semblance of spirituality, as here 
St. Paul says,""" etc. He has the same passage in mind a 
year later when he writes: "Younker Pope has forbidden 
marriage, since such had to come who forbid marriage. The 
Pope has brought it about that man is not man, and woman 
not woman.""" In 1527, similar ideas, at least in part, still 
illumine his mind.'^' 

It is not necessary here to touch further on the absurdi- 
ties of Luther's method of argumentation, which he himself 
shortly thereafter overthrew, as shall be shown in the sequel. 

B. Maehiage Alleged to Have Been Condemned by the 
Pope as a Sinful, Unchaste State. 
He Avho tells a falsehood and lies, does not afterwards 
know what he had earlier asserted. Thus it was with Luther. 
He himself set up his trap and was caught in it. If he 
wrote, after 1521, that the Pope had only prohibited, but 
not condemned marriage or held it to be a sinful thing, like 
the Tatianists, we hear him as early as 1527 saying : "It 
was a sheer shame for a maid or a lad to take each other in 
marriage, as if it were not Christian.'""^ "The married state 
they give to the devil."^"^ Soon after, one hears worse. 

750 "Wider den falschgenannten geistlichen Stand," Erl. 28, 194. 

760 Weim. XIV, 157. 

7" Ibid. XXV, 19. 

'62 Ibid. XXIV, 123 sq. 

763 Weiin. XXVII, 26. And 1528 : "They annihilated it." Erl. 63, 273. 


For, whilst Luther still asserts, 1530, that the Pope 
did not respect woman-love, i. e., the married state, nay, more, 
forbade it,'" a year later he wrote that the Pope condemned 
marriage, (like the Tatianists) ; that the scholastics had 
viewed this state only from without and had spoken of it 
"as if it were another, common, immodest life.'"^' Therefore, 
Luther, according to his OAvn principles, must admit that 
Paul, in the passage first cited above (A), did not have the 
Papists in view. From now on his language grows ever 
wilder, but particularly in the year 1533. Once in a sermon 
he preached that the Pope despised, hated and eschewed the 
married state,'^* but in the "brief response" to Duke George 
of Saxony he went much farther, endeavoring among other 
things to prove that a religious by his vow of chastity re- 
nounces marriage as unchastity. The manner of his argumen- 
tation is as follows: "What did I vow by my chastity? I 
forswore marriage. In the cloister I cannot forswear what 
outside of marriage is unchastity, as, adultery, whorishness, 
impurity, etc., (i. e., I cannot vow not to do it), God having 
previously forbidden it to me, to the layman as well as to the 
monk. Indeed by just such a vow I have forsworn chastity, 
for God Himself calls the married state chastity, sanctifica- 
tion, and purity (1 Thess. 4, 3 sq., Hebr., 13, 4). Now such 
sanctification, purity, and honorable chastity I have forsworn, 
as if it were vain unchastity, and I could not be chaste if I 
forswore such chastity commanded by God and commanded 
to be held honorable. Therefore a monk, who in his chastity 
can forswear nothing more than the married state, must needs 
forswear marriage as unchastity. How could he otherwise 
vow chastity? But because he does, he first gives God the 
lie and blasphemes Him, His creature, and His word. Who 
lauds such a state as honorable, chaste, pure and holy; then 
he shames all the world in marriage, and, according to his 
vow, so that it is right, fatherhood and motherhood must 
be and must be called unchastity, and all children born in 
marriage children of unchastity, just as if they were whore- 

"*Erl. 41, 294. 
'«5 Ibid., 17, 271. 
766 Ibid. 1, 161. 


children. * * * Is not that a shameful, lying, blasphe- 
mous vow? Is not that called blindness?'"" Aye, indeed, is 
not what Luther here says blasphemous and mendacious, and 
a sign of extremest blindness? 

One who takes the perpetual vow of chastity certainly 
also vows abstinence from all inner and outer acts against 
the virtue of chastity. He is indeed already bound to such 
abstinence by the commandment and virtue of chastity, but 
by his vows he pledges himself to more. But this, not at 
all taken into account in Luther's fallacy, is only a conse- 
quence of the excellent, first object of the vow of chastity 
taken by a religious, namely, abstinence from marriage, re- 
nunciation of those carnal pleasures which in marriage are 
not unchaste but permissible. For this reason some scholas- 
tics preferred the term "votum continentiae," the vow of con- 
tinence,"'* or even "virginitatis," of virginity,^^^ to the term 
"votum castitatis," vow of chastity. They assigned renuncia- 
tion of marriage as the primary idea of the vow of chastity.'" 
And this is the expression explained by Luther in 1518, when 
hatred of the Church had not yet so taken hold of him."^ 
In 1533, when he finds no means evil enough to make the 
Church despicable, he does not even shrink from the calumny 
that religious renounce the married state as something not 
allowed and unchaste, whereas they simply give it its place as 
something less perfect after that which is more perfect, i. e., 

Luther's utterance of 1533 completely contradicts what 
he said in 1521 and the succeeding years, that the Pope only 

'«' Erl. 31, 297. 

'«s cf. e.g. St. Thomas, "De perf. vitae spirit.," c. 8, 9, \Yhere he uses 
only the expre.sslon, "propositum continentiae" in the sense of "a matrimonio 
abstinere." But see e.specially 2. 2. qu. 186, a. 4 : "utrum perpetua continen- 
tia requiratur ad perfectionem religionis," and here again only in reference 
to "matrimonlura." So also St. Bonaventure, 4 Sent., dist. 38, a. 2. qu. 1 ; 
qu. 3, etc. 

'"'^ St. Thomas, "Contra retrah. a religionis ingressu," c. 1, und 2. 2. qu. 
186, a. 4. 

^'"> St. Thomas, "Contra impugn, religionem," c. 1 : "votum castitatis, per 
quod airenuntiatiir conjugio." 

7^1 De decern praeceptis, Weim. I. 483, 21 : "Sacrllegium, quod est cum 
religiosus, sacerdos, monialis et omnes alii, qui deo continentiam voverunt, 


forbids the married state but does not condemn it or declare 
it to be sinful. At tbat time, too, Luther did not as yet 
have the notion that, by the voav of chastity, marriage was 
renounced as an unchaste state. After 1523 he character- 
ized it as the fruit and utility of virginity on earth, that 
one could so much the better keep up one's dealings with 
God. "For a married man cannot wholly give himself up to 
reading and prayer, but, as St. Paul here says ( 1 Cor. 7, 33 ) , 
he is divided, that is, he must devote a great part of his life 
to seeing how he may get along well with his wife, and thus, 
like Martha, he is tied to many cares which the married life 
demands. But a virgin is not divided by such solicitude. 
She can give herself wholly to God. Nevertheless the Apos- 
tle does not therefore wish to condemn the married state : 
he does not say that a married man * * * is separated 
from God, but that he is divided and bears much care and 
cannot always keep on praying and being occupied with 
the iDord of God; however good his care and work are, it is 
nevertheless much better to be free to pray and to practice 
God's word, for thereby he is useful and consoling to many 
people in all Christendom.'"'''^ In spite of these advantages 
of virginity, of freedom from marriage, especially to the ser- 
vants and preachers of the Divine Word, Luther teaches, 
Paul does not condemn the married state. But what follows 
from this? That neither does the Church nor the Pope con- 
demn the married state if they give a higher place to virgin- 
ity. It follows, too, that the religious does not hold the 
married state to be sin and unchastity if he forever renounces 

Luther's later charge is one wholly superficial, long ago 
threshed out and refuted since time immemorial. It is based 
on the wholly erroneous idea, conceived by Luther against 
the Church and championed by him in respect not only to 
marriage but to other points,'" that the recognition of a 
state of life as better, higher, and more perfect, involves as 
a consequence the condemnation of every other state of life 
as evil and to be detested. This false basic idea is defended 

"2Weim. XII, 138 sq. 
^73 See, e.g., above, p. 207. 


even to this day by Protestant theologians in certain cases 
against the Church."* But St. Augustine in his day writes 
in respect to the theme with which we are here busied: 
"Any chastity whatever, marital or virginal, has its reward 
with God. For, although the latter is greater, the former 
less, each is still pleasing to God, because each is God's 
gift.'"" Placing the one higher than the other does not con- 
demn the other. "Several who had read the praise of vir- 
ginity in Holy Writ, just for that reason condemned mar- 
riage ; and such as found chaste marriage lauded in the same 
place, therefore made it equal to virgiuity.""' The holy doc- 
tor has those in view who, like Luther and the Protestant 
theologians, always go to the other extreme in order to oper- 
ate against the Church. Does not St. Augustine seem actu- 
ally to talk about Luther and his followers when he writes 
that it was boasted there was no answering Jovinian by prais- 
ing marriage but only by blaming it?"^ 

St. Jerome, who heaps praises to overflowing upon vir- 
ginity, does not less clearly express himself. To the objec- 
tion: "Thou darest to debase marriage, which was blessed 
by God Himself?" he made answer: "It is not debasing 
marriage to give virginity the preference. No one compares 
the evil with the good.'"" "Shall those who can freely choose 
their consort," writes St. Ambrose, "not be permitted also 

"^E.g., Ziegler, "Gesch. der Bthik" (1886), II, 300; Seeberg. "Lehrbuch 
der Dogniengesch.," II, 2.58 : "Sin," says Seeberg, loc. cit., in respect to the 
alleged Catliolic ideal of life, "was found above all in the sensual instincts 
of nature. The natural as such was evil." And now the practical applica- 
tion : "Here Luther's thoughts worked powerfully to the contrary !" See- 
berg was unaware that Luther was only letting fly at a bugbear which he 
himself had created. 

^'5 Sermo 343, n. 4. He repeats the wholly like idea in "De bono con- 
jugal!," n. 9. 27. 28, and frequently elsewhere. 

''« De fide et operibus, n. 5 : "Quidam intuentes in scripturis sanctae 
vlrginitatis laudem, connubia damnaverunt ; quidam rursus ea testimonia 
consectantes, quibus casta coniugia praedicantur, virginitatem nuptiis aequa- 
verunt," etc. 

"7 Retract. 1. 2, c. 22, n. 1. 

^^8 Ep. 22 (ad Bustochium), n. 19: "Dicat aliquis: et audes nuptiis 
detrahere, quae a deo benedictae sunt? Non est detrahere nuptiis, cum illis 
virginitas antefertur. Nemo malum bono comparat Gloriantur et nuptae, 
cum a virginibus sint secundae. Crescite, ait (Gen. 1, 28) et multiplicamlnl 
et replete tcrram," etc. 


to prefer God above every other ?'"'° As Christ teaches that 
one should not reject marriage, since He approved it, so does 
He also teach^'° that the striving after virginal chastity is to 
be preferred to marriage, for only in this instance did He say : 
He that can take, let him take this word.''" "No one, there- 
fore, having chosen the married state," concludes Ambrose, 
"may reprehend virginity, and no one who follows virginity 
may condemn marriage.'"^^ The same principles prevail 
among the Scholastics. Marriage and solicitude about tem- 
poral affairs, writes St. Thomas, are not hindrances to the 
love of God, therefore sinful and to be condemned, but only 
hindrances to charity's easier and freer activity.'*^ The lit- 
urgy of the Church stands for no other principles. As far 
back as the "Sacramentarium Leonianum,'"** it is pointed out 
at the consecration of virgins that "the honor and dignity of 
marriage are lessened by no prohibition and that the prime- 
val blessing upon the married state endures, even if some 
higher souls renounce marriage, not choosing what occurs 
in matrimony but rather what it presignifies.'"*' 

As has been said, Luther in his later period, especially 
from 1523 on, wished to know no more about this aspect of 

''« De vlrglnitate, c. 5, n. 26 : "Quibus licet sponsum eligere, non licet 
deum praeferre?" 

'SO Matt. 19, 12. 

'81 De virgin., c. 6, n. 31. 

'82 Ibid. n. 34 : "Nemo ergo vel qui coniugium ellgit, reprehendat in- 
tregrltatem, vel qui integritatem sequitur, condemnet coniugium. Namque 
huius sententiae adversarios interpretes damnavit jam dudum ecclesia," 
namely the heretics Tatian, Marcion, Manichaeus, and the Gnostics generally. 

'83 See above, p. 154, note 404. 

'8<Bd. Ch. Lett Feltoe (Cambridge 1896). There it is said, p. 140: "Hoc 
donum in quasdam mentes de largitatis tuae fonte defluxit, ut cum honorem 
nuptiarum nulla interdicta minuissent, ac super sanctum coniugium, initialis 
tenedictio pennaneret, existerent tamen suilimiores anlmae, quae in viri ac 
mulieris copula fastidirent connubium, concupiscerent sacramentum, nee imi- 
tarentur quod nuptlis agitur, sed diligerent quod nuptiis praenotatur. Agno- 
vit auctorem suum beata virginitas et, aemula integritatis angelicae, illius 
thalamo, illius cubiculo se devovit, qui sic perpetuae virginitatis est sponsus, 
quemadmodum perpetuae virginitatis est Filius." 

'8» Cf . also Isidor. Hispal., De eccles. officiis, 1. 2, c. 20, n. 2 ( Migne, 
Patr., 1., t. 83, p. 810) : "Non tamen coniugiorum honorabilis torus et Im- 
maculatum eubile sine fructu est ; nempe soboles Inde sanctorum, et quod 
laudatur in virginitate, coniugii est. Ideoque nee peccatum nuptias dicimus, 
nee tamen eas bono virginalis continentiae vel etiam vidualis coaequamus." 


the subject. He does not even hesitate to ascribe to himself, 
as a one-time monk, a view which as such he had not held, 
but had straightforwardly antagonized: "The Papists for- 
bade the married state as condemned by God;'"'° "the most 
pestilential Papists and heretics made mortal sins of all the 
words and all the doings of married people. But I myself, 
lohilst I ivas still a monk, thought the same, that marriage 
was a kind of life condemned.'"" A year before his death he 
preached that the married state '^was not to be rejected and 
condemned as the stinking and unclean state which the Pope 
with all his following made it." Aye, "if it were in the 
Pope's hand and power to create human beings, he would 
neither create nor suffer a woman to be in the whole world. 
What would then become of it? Human beings would per- 
force cease to exist.""^ Luther gives the lie to himself. As 
we saw in the beginning of this chapter, in the year 1521 
and the years following, he still expressed himself to the 
effect that the Pope did not condemn the married state nor 
hold it to be sin. If Luther, as a heretic, still conceded this 
of the Pope, he could not only shortly before, as a monk, 
have condemned marriage and looked upon it as sin. This 
argument would really have been more efficacious than his 
assertion that the Pope had only forbidden marriage. But 
thus it is vdth the "Reformers" ; after 1530, from which time 
on he notably harshened his tactics against the Catholics, he 
himself made a romance of his earlier religious life, as shall 
be demonstrated in the second volume. 

In 1539 he expresses himself in this wise: "The Papists 
hold marriage to be out-and-out impurity and sin, in which 
one cannot serve God." "Pope, devil, and his church are 
hostile to the married state. » * * The married state, 
(according to them) is whore work, sin, impure, rejected by 
God. And although for all that they say besides it is holy 
and a sacrament, that is a lie out of their false hearts. If 

'86 Opp. exeg. lat., VI, 279, about 1540. 

'87 Ibid., p. 283 ; "Pe.stilentissimi papistae et haeretici fecerunt peccata 
mortalia ex omnibus dieti.s et factis coniugum. Atque ipse ego, cum essem 
adhuc monachus, idem sentiebam, coniugium esse damnatum genus vitae." 

'88 Eri. 20, 47. He preached the sermon in Merseburg "at the wedding 
of the Rev. Mr. Sigismund von Lindenau, dean of the Merseburg chapter." 


they held it to be holy and a sacrament, they would not for- 
Md marriage to their priests.""^ Who does not laugh at this 
rare logic of the Reformer? He had then already forgotten 
what he wrote in 1523, that a married man is tied to many 
cares which the married life demands,^'" or, as he expresses 
himself as early as 1521, that Christ and Paul praise celibacy, 
because the unmarried, free from the cark and cares of the 
flesh, can more easily and freely apply themselves to the word 
and the faith day and night, whilst a married man is kept 
therefrom by his household cares and is divided.'"^ Precisely 
on grounds of the utterances of the Saviour (Matt. 19, 12) 
and of the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 7, 7, 32-34), a higher moral 
value has at all times been ascribed to virginity and it has 
been held to be the more fit for the service of God and for 
the preachers of the Gospel. On the same grounds there was 
recognized a certain connection between the unmarried state 
and activity for the Kingdom of God. Without wishing to, 
Luther, as we have just seen, gave expression to this also. 
Therefore it was that even in the first centuries celibacy was 
actually observed by a great part of the clergy, before it took 
on the form of law. Did any prejudice to the sanctity of the 
married state occur in this? We already heard Luther an- 
swer in the negative : "In spite of this, the Apostle does not 
wish to condemn the married state.'"**^ 

To cover his oton lies and Ms own contradictions, he ac- 
cuses the Church of lying and of contradiction. Thus a 
short time before, he censured in this strain: "You want 
to be the lords of the Church ; what you say is to be supposed 
right. Marriage is to be supposed right and a sacrament, if 
you wish; again, marriage is to be supposed to be impurity, 
i. e., a befouled sacrament, which cannot serve God, if you 
wish.""^ By this smutty charge the "Reformer" seeks to 
withdraw attention from his own course of facing his cart 
about at pleasure. When he continues: "Because they for- 

789 Erl. 25, 369, 373. 

780 See above, p. 267. 

781 Weim, VIII, 585 and above, p. 89 sq. 
'82 Above, p. 267. 

783 Erl. 25, 374. There is a great deal in Luther "beschlssen und besch- 
missen," which may be euphemlzed, "bedefecated and pelted with excre- 


bid marriage to their priests, they must hold the married 
state to be impure and sin, even as they clearly say: Be ye 
clean, you that carry the vessels of the Lord,'"°^ he deceives 
again. For he must have Icnown well that this passage does 
not refer to abstinence from marriage, but that (like the quo- 
tation cited by him from elsewhere, "Be ye clean" j^"^ it refers, 
in the Old as well as in the New Testament, to the care and 
duty of those consecrated to the service of the altar to strive 
to be clean of heart and of conscience.""' When he concludes : 
"Thus let the Ass-pope and the Pope-ass and his juristic asses 
be welcomed this time,""" the "Reformer" brands himself, as 
so frequently he does, a low blackguard. 

With all of this, Luther does not come to a standstill. 
He even Itnows that "the Pope in his books calls the married 
state a sinful state, in which no pleasing service can be ren- 
dered to God."'"* Instead of Luther let Protestants answer 
me where the Pope says that. With the antecedent the fol- 
lowing conclusion is in keeping: "The Pope-ass sees only 
the outer form and likeness and not the difference between 
wife and whore. For the married state is a pure and holy 
state, not for itself but for the sake of the word which God 
spoke thereof. Otherwise it would be quite as unclean as 

'8* Ibid., p. 373. Luther cites only : "Mundamini qui fertis." The edi- 
tor, Irmischer knew neither what to make of it nor that the passage is taken 
from Lsaias 52, 11. 

'»5 Opp. eseg. lilt., I, 169. The scriptural passage is Levit. 11, 44. 

'">^ This is so true that Scholastics like Peter de Palude and Gabriel 
Biel, on the ground of this passage "Mundamini," required that those about 
to receive the sacrament of marriage should be so much the more pure: 
"Qui in mortal! contrahit per verba de presenti, peccat mortaliter pro eo, 
quod indigne suscipit sacrameutum. Esai LII ; mundamini qui fertis vasa 
domini. Multo magis qui suscipitis sacramenta, que sunt vasa gratie." Cf. 
Biel, "Sermones de tempore et de Sanctis" (Hagenau 1510), fol. 20. Luther 
on the contrary, remains consistent with himself until shortly before his 
death, inasmuch as, in 1545, he still lies : "By the saying : 'Be ye clean, 
you who carry the vessels of the Lord,' they desire to defend their celi- 
bacy, saying that priests cannot be married, and to condemn the married 
state as impure. * * * Tq ^e pure means to be unmarried and with- 
out a wife," etc. Erl. 20, 49 sq. There is no catching up with liars. There 
were some, of course, who also applied tlie "Mundamini" to abstention from 

"7 Erl. 25, 373. 

"8 Erl. 44, 376. 


the state of whoredom. But because God says: Thou shalt 
be husband, wife, they are more blessed than a nun. For the 
state of the married is founded on God's word; this the Pope- 
ass cannot understand.'"^^ Luther wrote this in 1539. The 
year before he avowed the very opposite: "The Pope recog- 
nizes that the married state is a good order of Ood and a 
godly thing"; but with the same breath he cries out that the 
Pope is worse than those heretics who held the married state 
to be adultery and desired that no Christian should enter it; 
thus does the Pope also condemn the married state as a car- 
nal and sinful state : one should not be married. For just 
this reason "the pious bishops had had enough to do in the 
Church to preserve marriage, and therefore they had made a 
sacrament of the married state."'"" Now we know. Accord- 
ing to the "Reformer," it was the bishops who, against the 
Pope, had maintained the marriage state in the Church, in- 
asmuch as they had made it a sacrament ! Well did he know 
how the then corrupted priests and monks could be caught; 
and quickly they let themselves be convinced that, having re- 
nounced marriage as a sinful, unchaste state, they could now 
make choice of it. 

C. Luther's Lies in Respect to His Eaelier Views 
ON Marriage. 

But let us turn back to the passage of 1540, in which 
Luther appeals to his earlier monkhood and says he had 
held the married state to be a condemned state of life. He 
seeks to prove this : "We were debating whether it was per- 
missible to love and seek an honorable maiden in marriage; 
whether it was a sin to joke with one's wife. I was greatly 
astonished at the view of Bonaventure, the holiest of monks, 
when he says, it is no sin to seek a woman in marriage, 
more, that it is allowed. He also says the husband may 
joke with his wife. I had expected an entirely different 
opinion, more worthy of his state; for I myself did not ap- 

'»» Ibid. 

800 Ibid., p. 170. 


prehend the matter otherwise than did the Jews."™^ By 
these words Luther again ensnares himself. Did St. Bona- 
venture among the Scholastics entertain a view on this mat- 
ter peculiar to himself? Not in the least, as shall be shown 
farther on. But whence did Luther, who, according to See- 
berg,^"^ was a "thoroughly trained scholastic theologian," 
who "had jiursued solid scholastic studies," takes his judg- 
ment? Whom could Luther cite as authority for his asser- 
tion that, as a monk, he had apprehended the married state, 
with all connected therewith and appertaining thereunto, not 
otherwise than did the Jews? 

Indeed, as early as the time in which he was a "young 
boy"'"^ the marriage state was held to be dishonorable on 
account of the godless, unclean celibacy, so that "I thought 
one could not, Avithout sin, think of the life of the married."^"* 
Luther -rn-ote this 1536-1537. He was then so debased that 
he was no longer conscious of how morally ruined a youngster 
he stamped the little Luther, by these words, if they have any 
sense at all. Of what life of the married can one hardly 
think, at least to some length, without sin? Every one knows, 
and I need not mention it. And of this the "boy" Luther 
is to be supposed to have already known somewhat? If this 
were true, Avhat would it prove? But perhaps the later 
Luther thinks that the boy Luther held it to be a sin to think 
about the married at all, because according to Catholic teach- 
ing the marriage state was a sinful state? In this case we 
get back to the lie already discussed, in behalf of which the 
Luther of 1540 brings Luther the monk upon the scene. The 
intention is clear. He wanted to say: "Why, look here, I 
know it of my oAvn experience, whilst I still lived in Popery, 

801 0pp. exeg. lat, VI, 238. St. Bonaventure writes, "Sent." IV, dist. 31, 
a. 2, qu. 3: "Licet viris cum uxoribus iocari et etiam delectari (et veniale 
est), ita tamen quod faciant affectu maritali." Ibid., a. 1, qu. 1, he teaches 
that "coniugium bonum est." What follows? "Ideo appeti potest." See 
dist. 30, dub. 6. 

802 "Die Theologie des Joh. Duns Scotus," p. 680 ; "Lehrbuch der Dog- 
mengesch." II, 206. 

s^s Opp. exeg. lat., I, 169 : "Me puero," is translated in "Luthers Tischre- 
den" (Table-talk) ed. Forstemann, IV, 152: "And Luther said: when he 
was o young boy." 

^o* Opp. exeg. loc. cit. : "ut putarem, sine peccato de conlugum vita me 
non posse cogltare." 


wtether as a monk, or as a youth before my entrance into 
the Order, that, according to the then Papistical teaching and 
conception, the married state was taken to be a sinful, con- 
demned state." That had considerably more effect. 

But Luther caught himself in the trap he laid. The 
writings of Luther the monk give the lie to the utterances 
of Luther the apostate. From 1516 to 1518, Luther wrote 
his, in many respects, beautiful treatise, at least in respect 
to its chief points, and lectured on the Ten Commandments 
Avith entire candor and freedom from assumption, so that we 
may learn with certainty Avhat his then view was. What he 
says there on marriage and the marriage state, Avhilst treat- 
ing the fourth and sixth commandments, reflects the Catholio 
doctrine of his time, and never do we learn that his own 
conception was different from it; on the contrary, both were 

The permissibility of marriage is presupposed by Luther 
throughout his treatise. Neither is there anywhere the light- 
est hint that the marriage state was forbidden by the Pope 
or, worse still, condemned by him, although Luther, on the 
sixth commandment, lauds virginity above everything and 
stigmatizes the violation of the vows in religious as well as 
in priests as a sacrilege.*"' In the first place his develop- 
ment runs that, in the Old Testament, virginity (on the 
known grounds) was the greatest opprobrium, whilst in the 
New Testament it was the greatest honor, at least for those 
who have not the intention of marrying. Those, however, 
who undertake matrimony do not, it is true, have so great 
an actual honor, but they can have it if they are encouraged 
to virginity, about which many have written many and mag- 
nificent things; for there can be no restitution made to a 
virgin, etc.^"' 

505 Weim. I, 488, 489. See above, p. 266, note 771. 

506 "Xunc (olim in lege) virginitas summum erat opprobrium, nunc autem 
summa gloria, tunc damnabile dedecus, nunc incomparabile decus, lis saltern, 
qui non proposuerunt nubere. Nam qui proponunt matrimonium, non habent 
actuate tantum decus, sed possunt habere, si ad virginitatem animentur, de 
qua multi multa et magnifica scripserunt, quia vere nulli virgini potest fieri 
restitutio. Sane tamen hoc Intellige, quia volenti non a deo tenetur, invitae 
autem non potest toUi, potest autem induci et sic tolli." Weim. I, 488. 


Luther liere says, in other words, the same things that 
•we heard above from Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome, as 
well as out of the "Sacramentarium Leonianum." Virginity- 
is higher than wedlock, nevertheless the latter is not there- 
fore sin, is not condemned nor debased. How otherwise could 
Luther assert that, if a virgin proposed to marry, she has not 
the same honor as those who have renounced marriage? 
Were wedlock a sin and condemned, a virgin proposing to 
marry would not only have no honor at all, but rather, by 
her striving after marriage, i. e., something sinful and for- 
bidden by God, she would be committing a sin. 

It does not surprise us, therefore, that the same Luther 
as monk and professor not only presupposes the permissibil- 
ity and the good of the marriage state, developing beautiful 
principles on the subject, how the married should live a good 
life together in peace and with merit for the Kingdom of 
God, but also shows it is nothing at all new to him, and 
does not seem a thing not allowed if a youth seeks a maiden 
in marriage or a maiden strives to acquire a youth as a hus- 
band. Rather does he give the maiden instructions what to 
do in order the more certainly to attain her object. A youth, 
he says, is deterred from taking to wife a maiden who makes 
too much of finery. "If you wish to catch a youth with 
love," he says to the maiden, "hear this most useful counsel: 
be retired and modest, adorn yourself moderately, speak lit- 
tle, and cast not your eyes upon his countenance. The high- 
est adornment of a maiden and of a woman is a modest 
diffidence; this charms and catches the hearts of the men 
more than all adornment; besides it strengthens marriage, 
whilst the carnal love called forth by external finery soon 
brings disgust with the marriage tie, because such a love 
is based not on good morals but on vain finery. Do as 1 
have advised you and you will acquire a husband; you will, 
indeed, under God's blessing, acquire him more speedily than 
by that unruly abyss of things whereby one resembles whores," 

Can this be the language of that monk who, according to 
the assertion of the later Luther, in the spirit of his time, 

8"Weim. I, 456. 


held the marriage state to be a condemned state of life and 
the utterances of St. Bonaventure on seeking marriage to be 
strange, hardly in keeping with the state of a mendicant 
friar? On the grounds of the beautifully expounded pas- 
sages, 1 Cor. 11, 7 and 1 Pet. 3, 7, the monk Luther says that 
the wife should honor the husband, who participates in the 
name and office of God ; but husbands should show themselves 
worthy, cohabiting with their wives, not for the sake of 
satisfying carnal lust, thereby doing away with the distiac- 
tion between wife and whore, as animals and pagans do, but 
the husband should hold his wife in honor as the weaker 
vessel and see in her a coheiress to the grace of life.^"^ 

It is just this that Catholic pastors in Luther's time 
used to say to the bridegroom in many German dioceses at the 
nuptial benediction. After admonishing him that "God had 
made him the head and administrator of his bride," they ad- 
dressed him further : "You also shall maintain your cohabi- 
tation with her, with reason in discipline and in sanctity, and 
be considerate with her as the weaker vessel, and as one 
also a coheir to the grace of life, to the end that your prayers 
be not frustrated."*"* They did not depart by a hair's 
breadth from the teaching of St. Peter. 

In the succeeding year, 1519, preaching the second Sun- 
day after Epiphany on the text, "Nuptiae factae sunt,""" 
Luther briags out no different language, although in conse- 
quence of his teaching on concupiscence he already shoots be- 
yond the mark. Still the monk Luther in this sermon agaia 

80S Ibid., p. 457. 

809 Thus, e.g. in "Agenda ecclesiae Moguntinens." (Mognntiae 1551), 
fol. 75'>. In the foreword. Archbishop Sebastian says that earlier "Agenda" 
or rituals, copies of which had become too worn or rare, had served as 
models. The same admonition is found in "Agenda ecclesiae AVircebergen." 
(Wyrzeburgi 1564), fol. 50. Bishop Frederick prefaces the edition with an 
observation similar to that of the Archbishop of Mainz. It is to be men- 
tioned, however, that, in the earlier "Agenda," the German addresses were 
not as yet printed ; but they were delivered, as is evidenced on p. 259 sq. of 
one to be later mentioned below, Surgant, as well as in notes, e.g. in the 
"Agenda secundum rubricam Numbergen. diocesis," Basilee impressa (1519), 
Fol. 34'': "hoc vulgariter, ut maris est, ab eisdem (sponso et sponsa) dili- 
genter inquirat. Postea iterum in vulgari commendet viro mulierem et e 

810 In both recensions, Weim. II, 166 sqq. ; IX, 213 sqq. 


gives the lie to the later Luther, when he asserted that, in 
the young Luther's time, it was the entire conviction of all 
that whoever desired to live a life holy and pleasing to God 
might not enter the married state, but had to lead a single 
life and take the vow of chastity."^ The monk Luther pre- 
sents it as an old scripture-grounded truth that "neither 
Christ nor the Apostles wished to command chastity (i. e., 
continence), but they counseled it and left it to each in- 
dividual's discretion to try himself: if he cannot be con- 
tinent, let him marry; but if, of God's grace, he can, chastity 
is better.""^ Quite in the spirit of the Church he says : "Beg 
God to send you into a state of life pleasing to Him and 
blessed for you."^^^ "Those who wish to enter the marriage 
state should be taught to pray to God with right earnestness 
for a consort. * * * A wife is given only by God, to each 
as he is worthy, just as Eve was given to Adam by God 
alone.'"" "One should beg the Lord Christ, saying : Behold, 
Lord, here I am. Thou Imowest I am poisoned in my flesh' 
and need Thy help. I pray Thee grant me a wife pleasing to 
Thee and blessed for me."^^^ 

With the Catholic Church, Luther recognized a three- 
fold good as the end of marriage — the sacrament, the cove- 
nant of fidelity, and progeny.^^^ He expressly refers to the 
authorities for this: "Now the doctors have found three 

8" 0pp. exeg. lat., I, 169. 
8i2Weim., II, 168. 
813 weim., IX, 214. 
8i*Weim. II, 167. 

815 Weim. IX, 215. 

816 St. Augustine in liis day (De Gen. ad litt., 1. 9, c. 7, n. 12) had al- 
ready written : "Id quod bonum habent nuptiae, et quo bonae sunt nuptiae, 
peccatum esse nunquam potest. Hoc autein tripartitum est : fides, proles, 
sacramentum." Tlie exposition of tliis threefold ionum by St. Augustine 
became the basis for later expositors. St. Augustine's gloss : "in prole at- 
tenditur ut amanter suscipiatur, benigne nutriatur. religiose educctur," 
more or less generally induced the doctors, and particularly preachers, in 
handling this question, to take up the fundamental principles of the educa- 
tion of children ; also in handling the fourth commandment, where the dis- 
cussion of the mutual relations of master and servant likewise found its 
place. Augustine's passage was familiar to all, at least through the medium 
of Lombard's Sent. 1, 4, dist. 31. 


goods and benefits in tlie marriage state/" by which sinful 
pleasure which accompanies it in an undercurrent is made 
amends for and kept from becoming damnable." He then 
enumerates these three goods, expounds them, especially that 
of the sacrament, on the basis of Ephes. 5, 32, and concludes, 
in St. Paul's words and commenting on them, that matrimony 
is a great sacrament : "The marriage state does truly signify 
great things. Is it not a great thing that God is man, that 
God gives Himself to man and wishes to be his, as man gives 
himself to his wife and is hers ? * * * Behold, for honor's 
sake, that the mingling of man and wife signifies so great 
a thing, the marriage state must enjoy such a significance 
that evil carnal lust, which no one is without, is not damnable 
in marital duty, which otherwise apart from marriage is al- 
ways mortal, if it is consummated. Thus does the sacred 
humanity of God cover ( !) the shame of evil carnal pleasure. 
Therefore should a married man have a care of such a sacra- 
ment, honoring such sacred things and keeping himself mod- 
erate in his marital duty, so that no unreasonable conse- 
quences happen to carnal lust, as is the case with animals."^^^ 

D. Ecclesiastical Practice and Tradition Refute the 
Calumnies Brought Forward by Luther. 

Whence did Luther the monk draw his conception of the 
permissibility, dignity, and sanctity of marriage? The an- 
swer is very simple: from Catholic teaching and liturgy. 
He learned the Catholic doctrine as a "young boy" at school ; 
for in 1531 he preaches : "Who does not know that the mar- 
riage state was founded and instituted by God, created in 
jjaradise and also confirmed and blessed outside of para- 
dise, as Moses indicates: 1 Moses 1, 2, and 2nd chapter? 

81^ Of these three goods, the above mentioned "Agenda" also speak, and 
that Is, in the address to the bridal couple. So also in "Agenda sec. rubri- 
cam eccl. Salisburg." (Salisburgi 1557), fol. 54-56: "Admonition to the 
couple before being joined in wedlock." First point, Gen. 2, 24 ; second point. 
Matt. 19; third point, grounds of the institution — propagation, purity, figure 
of the Church. 

818 Weim. II, 168. Here we glimpse Luther's un-Catholic doctrine that 
the fulfillment of the marriage duty is always a mortal sin, and that God 
only covers it, as will be more fully discussed below under E. 


Everybody knows that well. I also learned to repeat the 
ivords."^'"' But where, if not at school? So the later Luther 
also involuntarily makes a lie of what he had said of the 
boy Luther. As a monk he had but to turn to the "Missa 
pro sponso et sponsa" in the missal of his Order,*^" were the 
beautiful office "unius s. mulieris" in his breviary not enough, 
to inform himself that, in the Catholic Church, the marriage 
state is highly thought of. Only its holiness is the lesson of 
this mass, which implores God's blessing on the bridal couple, 

819 Erl. 18, 270 (1531). 

S20F01- Luther's time I cite the missal of the Order of Hermits, In 
manuscript form in Bibl. Angel., Rome, No. 1098 (at tlie close), of the end 
of the XV century, and in printed form, Venetiis 1501, where the missa is 
given, fol. 229. Catholics are familiar with it, of course, though, in general, 
in their controversies with Protestants, they have made too little use of their 
Catholic liturgy. But I will adduce some portions of this mass for the 
benefit of Protestants: Introitus (from Tobias, c 7 and 8) : Deus Israel con- 
iungat vos et ipse sit vobiscum, qui misertus est duobus unicis, et nunc. Do- 
mine, fac eos plenius benedicere te. Psalm. 127 : Beati omnes qui timent 
Dominum, qui ambulant in viis ejus. Oratio : Deus qui tarn excellenti mis- 
terio conjugalem copulam consecrasti, ut Christ! et ecclessiae sacramentum 
praesignares in foedere nuptiarum, praesta quaesumus, ut quod nostro min- 
Istratur officio, tua benedictione potius impleatur. Epistle Bphes. 5, 22 — 23 ; 
Gospel, Matt. 19, 3-6. In between, Graduale : Uxor tua sicut vitis abundans 
In lateribus domus tuae, filii tui sicut novellae olivarum etc., from Ps. 127. 
Post Septuages. Tractus : Ecce sic benedicetur omnis homo, qui timet do- 
minum. Benedicat tibi dominus ex Syon et videas bona Jerusalem omnibus 
diebus vitae tuae. Et videas Alios filiorum tuorum, pax super Israel. After 
the Pater Noster, prayers over the groom and bride. Over the latter, the 
priest reads : Deus, per quem raulier iungitur viro et societas principaliter 
ordinata ea benedictione donatur, quae sola nee per originalis peccati penam, 
nee per diluvii est ablata sententiam : respice propitius super banc famulam 
tuam, quae marital i jungenda consortio tua se expetit protectione muniri. 
Sit in ea iugum dilectionis et pacis, fidelis et casta ntibat in Christo, imi- 
tatrixque .sanctarum permaneat feminarum. Sit amabilis ut Rachel viro suo, 
sapiens ut Rebecca, longaeva et fidelis ut Sara. Nihil in ea ex actibus suis iUe 
autor praevaricationis usurpet. Nexa fldel mandatisque permaneat uni thoro 
iuncta, contactus illicitos fugiat. Muniat infirmitatem suam robore discl- 
plinae. Sit verecundia gravis, pudore venerabilis, doctrinis coelestibus eru- 
dita. Sit foecunda in sobole, sit probata et innocens, et ad beatorum requiem 
atque ad coelestia regna perveniat. Et videant ambo Alios filiorum suorum 
usque ad tertiam et quartam generationem et ad optatam perveniant senec- 
tutem. Per Dom. This mass, in part, especially the prayer over the bride, 
is found as far back as the "Sacramentarium Gelasianum" (see next note), 
the "Sacramentarium Leonianum" (ms. of the VI-VII century) ed. Lett. Feltoe, 
p. 141 sq., and was never after omitted. A German translation is given in 
"Seelen-Gartleln, Vollstandiges Gebetbuch fiir Kath. Christen," Augsburg- 
Munchen, Huttler, 1877, p. 304-309. 


that not only they may see their children and children's chil- 
dren unto the third and fourth generations, but, under God's 
protection and imitating the saints of the married state, they 
may also reach the heavenly fatherland. Luther found the 
■whole ^dew of the Church of his time thus beautifully ex- 
pressed in the secret of the mass : "Accept, O Lord, we be- 
seech Thee, the sacrifice which we offer Thee in behalf of 
the sacred covenant of marriage." 

Luther read the nuptial mass in the missal of his Or- 
der, and it is found in that of the Roman rite and in many 
others.'" How could the apostate monk, Luther, assert, that 
now for the first time it Avas laiown, i. e., through him, "that 
it is a good and holy state, when a man and a woman Uve 
together in peace in wedlock ?"^^^ Even in his one-time theo- 
logical schoolbook, the Sentences of Lombard, the monk 
Luther had read that the marriage state is a "good" thing, 
not only because God instituted it, but also because Christ 
was present at the wedding of Cana, approving the marriage 
by the working of a miracle, and later He forbade any man 
to leave wife, except on account of adultery.^" 

The married could themselves tell Luther that, at their 
nuptial benediction in Church, in the very beginning of the 
sacred ceremony, they had heard from the lips of their 
pastor, acting for the Church, the words addressed to them 
in their tongue: "That you may accept this holy state loith 

821 Above we speak only of the nuptial mass which Luther had at hand 
in his missal. But In more ancient times, there v.'ere various such masses, 
about which see Martene, "De antiquis ecclesiae rit., lib. 1, c. 9. The "actio 
nuptialis" from the "Sacramentarium Gelasianum" (Jlistne, Patr. 1. t. 74, p. 
1213 sqq. ; see also U. Chevalier, "Sacramentaire et martyrologe de I'abbaye 
de Saint-Remy," Paris 1900, p. 354 sq. ) is reckoned amongst the most an- 
cient, and, no less than the nuptial mass cited, refutes the lies of the later 
Luther. In Luther's time, too, there were various other nuptial masses in 
various dioceses, as is evident from, e.g., "Manuale curatorum sec. usum 
eccles. Rosckildens. (ed. J. Freisen, Paderborn, 189S, after a printed copy of 
1513), p. 18 sqq.; also from "Liber agendorum eccles. et dioc. Sleszwicens. 
(ed. J. Freisen, ibid, after a printed copy of 1.512), p. 65. Everywhere are 
found the beautiful prayers over the groom and bride, as cited in the fore- 
going note. 

822 0pp. exeg. lat., 1, 170. 

823 4 Sent., dist. 26 cited by Hugo of St. Victor, in "Summa Sent," tr. 
7, c. 2, in the following sentence: "Quod autem res iona sit coniugium, non 
modo ex eo probatur," etc. 


more consolation and be able to keep it up in due honor, 
you shall know that the marriage state is not a trifling cere- 
mony or an evil custom instituted by men, but one of the 
holy sacraments, through which Almighty God charitably and 
in many ways dispenses the rich, salutary treasury of His 
graces to the faithful unto their salvation.'"^* The couple 
would have told him that they had heard only of the "holy 
state of matrimony ordained by God,"^^° and that the same 
pastor said to the people : "Because these two have here 
openly consented to and accepted the holy state of matri- 
mony according to God's ordinance, * * » we desire in 
Christian charity to wish them God's grace for this godly 
state and all health, happiness, and welfare, and to beseech 
Almighty God from our hearts to bestow His divine grace 
upon this married couple and to deign charitably to main- 
tain His institution between them » • » also to protect 
them from sin and harm," etc.^^^ 

From remotest days, the second Sunday after Epiphany 
(i.e., the first after the octave), with its Gospel about the 
marriage feast at Cana in Galilee, gave occasion to preachers 
to treat on the dignity and sanctity of the sacrament of 
matrimony*" on the education of children, on family life, 
and on kindred themes. Luther himself but kept up the cus- 
tom of those preachers. One will not find a single one of 

824 Agenda eeclesiae Moguntinensis (Moguntiae 1.551), fol. Tl^ (see also 
above, p. 277, note 809. Likewise In the Wiirzburg "Agenda ecclesiastica" of 
1564, fol. 4.5^ This German exhortation was widely current ; in its underly- 
ing principles it is still to be found in the later edition (1572) of the "Forma 
vernacula lingua copulandi rite desponsatos et legitime proclamatos," per 
I, Leisentritium, eccl. Buddis.senen. decanum (Budissinae), p. 5 sqq., and it 
is in use to this day in the diocese of Mainz. 

825Agenda eccl. Mogunt., fol. 74. 

826 Ibid., fol. 77 ; Wirceburg., fol. 51. 

827 Very interesting in this respect is the sermon on the gospel men- 
tioned by Radulphus Ardens (XI century) in Migne, Patr. 1. t. 155, p. 1742. 
Cf., e.g. p. 1743: "Quid est conjugium? Legitlma coniunctio maris et fem- 
inae, individuam vitae consuetudinem retinens. Si igitur coniugium legiti- 
mum est, utique bonum est. Quae sunt bona coniugii? Tria, fides scil., sac- 
ramentum et proles." And p. 1744 : "Accessurl igitur sponsus et sponsa 
ad sacramentum nuptiarum debent de praeteritis poenitere excessibus, et pec- 
cata sua confiteri. Non enim potest novam vitam inchoare, qui veterem non 
deponit hominem. Nee potest recipere benedictionem, qui in corde suo re- 
servat iniquitatem," etc. 


them, either in the fifteenth century or in the beginning of 
the sixteenth, in any way justifying the assertion of the later 
Luther that the marriage state was condemned in the Church 
as a sinful, illicit state. On the contrary, referring to Bede, 
they viewed the circumstance of Christ's working His first 
miracle at the wedding as a plain proof that He had con- 
demned future heretics like the Tatianists, Marcionites, and 
others who were inimical to the marriage state.'^* For lack 
of space I can only refer briefly (chiefly in the note), to a 
few of the very many medieval preachers who unitedly extol 
the dignity and sanctity of the sacrament of matrimony. 
Not a few of them speak of the Order of the marriage state. 
Thus, as early as the thirteenth century, Berthold of Regens- 
burg said in a sermon: "God has more sanctified holy mar- 
riage than any order the world ever received, more than 
the barefooted friars or the preaching friars or the gray 
monks; in one respect these orders cannot be measured up 
to holy matrimony. Since this Order cannot be dispensed 
with, God commanded it ; but other orders he only counseled," 
etc.'^° Some, like the Dominican Brother Peregrinus (13-14 
century) call the married happy because they have God Him- 
self, who instituted marriage, "as their abbot."*^" The force 

828 Very beautifully Johannes de Turrecremata, "Quaestiones Evangel- 
iorum tarn de tempore quam de Sanctis" (ed. Hain 15713), for this Sunday. 

829 See, more extensively, Michael, "Gesch. des deutschen Volkes," II, 172. 

830 In his sermon on the first Sunday after the octave of Epiphany 
among his "Sermones de tempore et de Sanctis" (Edition in Hain 12580). 
In the "Sermones mag. Nicolai de Niise, s. pagine professoris, fr. Min. de 
observ. patris et provincie Francie provincialis viearii, De tempore hyemale 
(Hagenau 1510), fol. 83'>-89t'," for the second Sunday after Epiphany, there 
are no less than six sermons on marriage and the married state. They treat 
either of the dignity of marriage or of the preparation for so great a sacra- 
ment, which must be received in a state of grace, or they give instruction on 
how grace is given in this sacrament, etc. This Nicholas de Nizza, whose 
commentary on the sentences was widely published in Germany, died when 
Luther had already been in his Order four years. When the latter was a 
boy of twelve years, the German scholastic, Gabriel Biel died, leaving some 
much sought sermons after him (e.g. "Sermones de tempore et de Sanctis," 
Hagenau, 1520). A wholly excellent sermon is that for the second Sunday 
after Epiphany on marriage. He counts the institution of the sacrament of 
matrimony among the chiefest goods of God's Providence for the salvation 
of man. "Inter cetera bona, que pro homine divina providentia, cui cura est 
de nobis, ordinavit, non minimum immo precipuum est matrimonii sacramen- 
talis institutio, quo convenient! ordine humana species conservatur, indlv- 


of my demonstration is in no "wise weakened by the circum- 
stance that frequently one preacher utilized and copied the 
sermon collections of another and presented the same 
thoughts as someone who had preceded him. On the contrary, 
my argument is strengthened, because that circumstance 
proves how the preachers of the Church always kept to the 
same doctrine. Does anybody believe that a preacher of the 
fifteenth or sixteenth century would use and copy a sermon 
on marriage composed by a thirteenth-century divine if the 
teaching of the Church in the fifteenth century had become 
other than that in the thirteenth? 

idua multiplici adiutorio consolantur, contra carnis incentiva et fomitis ty- 
rannldem remedium prestatur, ad summa del collata nobis beneficia intelligen- 
dum illuminativa significatio instituitur, et ad politicum homo convictum 
saeramentali gratia roboratur, in quo magna et singularis dei cura pro nobis 
carnalibus declaratur. De cuius matrimonii commendatione, quemadmodum 
denique in matrimonio vivendum sit, nunc pauca dicenda sunt. Nuptias itaque 
esse licitas ad litteram satis probat Christi matris et disclpulorum presentia 
ac primi miraculum per Christum exliibitio : si tamen secundum legem nup- 
tiarum coniuges conversentur, ut ibi maneat Jesus cum matre et discipulis 
domini." This is developed, other points are discussed, and then he takes 
lip the education of children. Biel's teaching was not new. His older con- 
temporary, the Augustinian Hermit, Gottschalk Hollen (though not the first 
to do so), called matrimony an Order, which surpassed the Order of Bene- 
dictines, Franciscans, and Augustinians in so far as it was founded by God 
Himself. The married may break their rule even less than religious. 
"Super epistolas dominicales," Hagenau 1517 ; dom. 5, post epiphan. Cf. also 
Landmann, "Das Predigtwesen in Westfalen," p. 180, where, in the next to 
the last line of the 4 note, the text should read "praeter" instead of "prop- 
ter." Berthold of Regensburg and Brother Peregrinus, both already men- 
tioned, are the earliest ones in whom I found this thought. It was adopted 
by later writers, in the XV century by .loh. Herolt (same Sunday after 
Epiphany, ed. NUrnberg, 1480 ; concerning him see Paulus, "Zeitschr. f. kathol. 
Theol." xxvi, p. 439), and by the older contemporaries of Luther, the Passau 
canon, Paulus Wann (Hain 16144) and the Franciscan, Pelbartus von 
Temeswar, in his (Pomerii) Sermones reportati de tempore (Hagenau 1502, 
Sermo 27). Wann assigns eight grounds for the dignity of marriage, the 
last one as given above, p. 269, note 785, to the effect that marriage fills para- 
dise with its denizens and engenders virgins. In his "Sermones de tem- 
pore" for the Sunday mentioned, Johann Nider sums up no less than four- 
teen goods or blessings of the married state (Sermo 13, Ed. Hain 11799). 
The mystic, Heinrich Herpf, of the Franciscan Order, in his "Sermo 16" on 
the same Sunday, simply sets forth the doctrine of St. Thomas, to which 
he repeatedly refers (Ed. Hain 8-527). A beautiful sermon on marriage is 
the thirty seventh in "Sermones thesauri novi de tempore," (Argentine 1489). 
In this sermon, I Tim. 4, 1-3, is the authority for characterizing the pro- 
hibition of marriage as heresy and for saying: "ideo voluit Christus in- 


Wliat I have said of the preachers applies also to prac- 
tical handbooks for pastors, universally current in Germany 
in Luther's day, for instance, the "Parochiale curatorum" by 
Michael Lochmayer, which in the section on Marriage is 
based mostly on the Scholastics and canonists; and the 
"Manuale curatorum" by John Ulrich Surgant. The latter 
is particularly interesting, since it contains addresses in 
German as formularies. Surgant speaks only of the "Sacra- 
ment of holy marriage," or of the "holy sacrament of mar- 
riage.""^ He calls it the "praiseworthy sacrament of mar^ 
riage," the "laudable, worthy sacrament of marriage."^^^ The 
priest is to draw the attention of the couple to the three 
goods of marriage: "Fidelity, offspring, and indissolubility," 
which three goods are symbolized by the "golden wedding 
ring." This sjTubolical meaning is then explained. The 
pastor is to give this admonition: "And now that Almighty 
God has ordained your union, let nothing part you, neither 
love nor sorrow, health nor sickness, friendship nor enmity, 
until death, according to the purport of the divine law. For 
this reason does the wedding ring, to be given by the groom 
to the bride, belong on the fourth finger of the left hand, 

teresse ad ostendendum hoc sacramentum salviflcum ct non criminosiim, ut 
dixerunt Tatiani ; si enim nuptiis rite celebratis culpa adesset, nunquam 
Christus interesset." This idea is especially developed in Socci "Sermones 
de tempore" (Argent. 1485), in which sermons 52 to 54 treat of marriage. 
But let us close. To tarry longer on the subject were equivalent to carrying 
water to the ocean. An older contemporary of Luther, Marcus von AVeida, 
of whom some account has already been given in Chapter 7, wrote a "Spiegel 
des ehelichen Ordens" — Mirror of the Order of Marriage. All these writers 
and preachers at the same time handle the subject of the education of 
children — a subject to which various works of the middle ages, some of them 
by great savants, were devoted. They also treated of the art of governing, 
of public and family life, etc. One needs but to keep his eyes open and to 
search with an honest will, and one will do justice to the Church. Pro- 
testants also may see that it was not Luther first, but many before him who 
spoke about the Order of Marriage, or, in the words of Raulin ("Itinerarium 
Paradisi," Lugd. 1518, fol. 93 sq.) about the "Ordo matrimonii a Deo insti- 
tutus," or "Ordo matris Dei." God was the "minister primus, quando ad- 
duxit Evam ad Adam." Raulin discusses no less than twelve "dignitates 

831 Manuale curatorum, Argentine 1506, and with the same paging, Basl- 
lee 1508. Its author was Surgant, according to the preface, in the year 1502. 
References for the above expressions, fol. GSb, 941) sq., 99. 

832 Ibid., fol. 98'', 99. 


whither the heart-artery has its right course, to betoken that 
your hearts ought wholly to be united with each other like 
one heart and one body. And the holy sacrament of mar- 
riage signifies for us the union of our dear Lord Jesus Christ 
with His holy Christian Church, which Church is to keep the 
Lord God in her love without all stain of sin, as He keeps 
her in His incomparable love. And thus your love shall 
be cro"vvned and ordered in God, to persevere with each other 
in virtue at all times ever more and more without all stain 
of sin."^^^ Like every other sacrament, so shall this of mar- 
riage "attain to a special grace from God.'"^* But precisely 
for this reason, "one is not to cherish any obstruction of 
grace, but beforehand being contrite and having confessed, he 
should have a pure conscience and a good intention.""^ 

Far from being regarded in the Catholic Church of 
Luther's time as a sinful state, marriage, then, passed for a 
holy state, nothing less, and for its reception hearts free from 
sin were required of the couple, so that, after the marriage 
service, the priest could direct his prayer to God to bless 
them both, "that they may persevere in Thy love, keep to 
Thy will, and in Thy love live, grow old, and have in- 
crease."^" In all truth the Catholic Church did not require 
purity of heart in those about to contract marriage that they 
might enter upon a sinful state, but a pure, holy state. This 
ought to be clear to even a Protestant. 

833 Ibid., fol. Q&> sq. 

»34 Ibid., fol. 99. See also below, p. 292, note 857. The celebrated "Surama 
Angelica," (Argentine 1502), fol. 211'', says: "confert, si digne contraliitur, 
gratiam gratum facientem." 

835Manuale, fol. 94b. 

836 This is also required in the old diocesan "Agenda," e.g. in "Agenda 
Maguntinensis" (1.513), fol. 40": "Expedit omnino, ut volentes contrahere 
matriomnium prius confiteantur peccata sua, ut penitentiali absolutione mun- 
dati non-ponant obicem gratie sacramentali, et eo salubrius inchoare valeant 
novum Vivendi statum." Thus also Radulphus Ardens In his day. See above, 
p. 282, note 827. 

837Manuale Curatorum, fol. 97. Surgant only took these prayers from 
the "Agenda," thus also the prayer which reads: "Augeat Deus incrementa 
frugum iustitle vestre, ut cum iustis Deum timentihus securi astare mereamini 
in die iudicii." Cf. Agenda sec. ritrnn et ordlnem eecl. Wormaciens. (s. 1. et 
a.) after fol. d llij. 


In the German postils of the closing middle ages, serving 
those who could read as devout reading for Sundays and 
holidays, like say Goflfine and Gueranger of today, we find 
no other view on marriage than that it was a holy life and 
that it ought to he held in great honor.^^^ Marriage receives 
the same promises in the German marriage booklets of 
Luther's epoch ;'^'' so it is simply ridiculous, or quite border- 
ing on insanity, indeed, when Luther wants to he the first 
to teach the "Papists" that, by the arrangement and ordi- 
nance of God, Adam and Eve were joined together.'^" 

There is furthermore not a single scholastic of name, 
who on this point has varied either from the view of Hugo 
of St. Victor and of Lombard,^*^ or from the entire ecclesi- 
astical tradition in general. Though there are points of dif- 
ference in some details, there prevails but one voice with 
regard to the permissibility, good, dignity, and sanctity of 
the sacrament of matrimony. 

There was naturally still less possibility of the later 
Luther's quoting a Pope who had forbidden or even con- 
demned the marriage state, and had counseled a general flee- 
ing from the world. On the contrary, when once, for in- 
stance, there were those in Brittany "who sought to persuade 
men and women that virginity, widowhood, and celibacy were 
necessary to salvation," Pius II, on Dec. 17, 1459, raised his 
voice against them, ordered a strict investigation of these 
"errors in the Christian faith," and commanded that the 
guilty be severely punished."*''^ About the same time, Car- 
dinal Nicholas von Cues, bishop of Brixen, reminds his dio- 
cese that the sacrament of matrimony, instituted by God in 
paradise, is in the New Testament to be reverenced as much 

838 See the proofs in Paulus, "Die Ehe in den deutschen Postillen des 
ausgehenden Mittelalters," in "Liter. Beilage No. 14" of tlie Koln. Vollis- 
zeitung," 1903. 

839 Paulus, ibid., No. 20. Cf. also the teaching on this subject of Theo- 
dorich Engelhus in Langenberg's "Quellen u. Forsch. zur Gesch. der deut- 
schen Mystik," p. 101 sq., 103, 156. 

8^» 0pp. exeg. lat. IV, 70. 
«« See above, p. 281. 

842 Arch. Vat., Keg. Pii II., n* 502, fol. 232b sq. ; RaynaU, Ann. ad. an. 
1459. n* 30 ; D'Argentr4, Coll. jud., I. 2, p. 253. 


the holier as tlie truth, of what matrimony signifies, namely 
the union of Christ with the Church, excels in dignity the 
figure of the Old Testament.'" All this Catholic teaching in 
respect to the dignity and sanctity of marriage was set forth 
by the councils in Germany before the Council of Trent, as, 
to name but one and the most important, the Proviacial 
Council of Mainz, 1549."* 

But has the later Luther any basis of support, perhaps, 
in the monks he so highly esteemed, in those who lauded vir- 
ginity above all things? One would believe so, for to whom 
else could he cling? Yet St. Bonaventure must be excluded 
beforehand. We saw above how Luther's own words shut 
him out. But what says St. Bernard, to whom, according to 
the Protestant view, Christianity and monasticism amounted 
to one and the same thing? He, if any one, must have 
taught, not the world, but flight from the world, not the 
marriage state but the cloister, the only place where one 
gives pleasing service to God. Yet what do v/e hear from 
him? He turns to certain heretics of his time, who were 
forbidding niariage, and adduces against them as apostates 
from the Catholic Church, the very passage from I Timothy, 
4, 1-3, which, as was set forth in the beginning of this chap- 
ter, Luther had mendaciously directed against the Pope and 
the Papists. It was only at the prompting of the devil, says 
St. Bernard further, that they forbade marriage and pre- 
tended that they did so out of love of chastity, whereas it was 
to foster and to increase immorality. "Take from the Church 
honorable marriage and 'the bed undefiled' (Hebr. 13, 3), are 
you not filling it with concubinaries, the unchaste, ♦ » * 
and with every kind of the impure? Choose now one of the 
two (alternatives), namely, that either all these abomina- 
tions of human beings will be saved, or that the number of 
those to be saved is limited to the few who are continent. 

8*3 Document in the Agenda seu liber obsequiorum iuxta ritum et con- 
suetudinem diocesis Brixinensis (1543), fol. 6V>: "Sacramentum matrimonii 
in primordlis a Deo in paradlso Institutum, in novo testamento tanto sanctiiis 
est venerandum, quanto Veritas signlficati elus, Christi scilicet et ecclesie, 
supra flguram veterls testamentl dlgne exaltatur. 

8*< See Constitutlones Concilli provlnclalis Moguntinl * * * anno 
Dom. MDXLIX celebratl (Moguntiae 1549), fol. 244" sqq. 


Neither of th.e two becomes the Saviour," etc.*" What fol- 
lows from tMs? Just the Catholic doctrine significantly 
enunciated by an encomiast of virginity and of the monastic 
state not inferior to Bernard, namely, St. Basil the Great, 
spealdng as early as the fourth century iu a sermon on re- 
nunciation of the world: "The good God, solicitous for our 
salvation, divided the life of man into two modes of living, 
the marriage state and the state of virginity. So that he who 
cannot persevere in the fight of virginity may be consorted 
with a woman, but in such wise that he knows he must give 
an account of his continence and holiness, as well as of his 
likeness to those saints who lived in marriage and begot chil- 

The later Luther therefore lied again when he charged 
the Church with forbidding, aye, and with condemning, the 
marriage state as sinful, and with demanding, aye, command- 
ing, flight from the world and the abandonment of public life, 
and so on. These assertions together with all their fallacies 
have been taken over into the Confesison of Lutheranism.'*' 
It is assuredly high time that such stuff should become too 
idiotic for even Protestants. 

E. It Is Precisely According to Luther's Principles That 
THE Marriage State Is Sinful and Illicit. 

Luther's lie stands out the more glaringly because just 
he, not the Church, debased marriage to an impure, sinful 
state, and therefore at bottom condemned it, though however 
"scholastically well educated a man" he was, he did not ob- 
serve that. In his treatise on the monastic vows he had 
already written: "God does not at all impute the conjugal 
debt to the married, which, however, according to Psalm 50, 
1 is a sin and" he quite ravingly continues, "is in no wise 
distinguished from adultery and whorishness, so far as sexual 
passion and abominable lust are concerned; and this is of 

8*5 Sermo 66 in Cant. (Migne, Patr. I., 183, p. 1094, n. 2, 3). 

8*» Mlgne, Patr. gr., t. 31, p. 628. 

8*' About Luther, see also above, p. 170-1; about Melanchthon In the 
"Augustana," see above, p. 222, from the 16 article. 


God's pure mercy, since it is impossible for us to avoid those 
things, though we are in duty bound to deprive ourselves of 
them."^*^ The year following he wrote : "Spite of the praise 
of married life, I do not wish to have given to nature that 
there is no sin there, but I say: flesh and blood are there, 
corrupted by Adam, conceived and born in sin (Ps. 50, 7), 
and that no conjugal deht takes place without sins; but God 
spares them of His grace, because the marital order is His 
work and, in the midst of and throughout sin, preserves all 
the good which He therein implanted and blessed.'"" The 
next year he repeats that God blessed marriage, although He 
knew that "nature, corrupted, full of evil passion, cannot con- 
summate such a blessing without sin." "God covers up the 
sin without which the married cannot be" he writes later.°°° 
Now who reduces marriage to a merely tolerated, yes, to 
a sinful state? The Church? No. The monk Luther has 
quite sufficiently enlightened us on the matter. The Church 
does not teach "that no conjugal debt takes place without sin." 
Rather is that taught by the apostate monk Luther,^" who at 
the same time, by his low conception of it, degrades mar- 
riage to such a degree that, according to him, there were 
no difference between the married state and whoredom, were 
God not willing to close His eyes to it. 

8*8Weiin. VIII, 654. In the text, Kawerau chose the inferior (third) 
recension, and interpolated the verb "vocant" : "Tale est et lllud opus, quod 
debitum coniugale (vocant) : cum teste psalmo L. sit peccatum » * * 
nihil differens ab adulterio * * * quantum est ex parte ardoris * * *, 
prorsus non imputat coniugibus, non alia causa nisi sua misericordia," etc. 
But in this form, the clause "quod debitum coniugale" would refer to "tale 
est et illud opus," leaving "prorsus non imputat coniugibus" up in the air. 
(without relation to the rest of the sentence). As a matter of fact, the 
relation is as follows : "tale est illud opus" stands connected with "opera 
dei," mentioned just before, in which Luther shows the "misericordia" and 
"bonitas dei," and he wishes to say : "It is a similar work of God that He 
does not impute the 'debitum coniugale,* sin though it Is, and that He does 
not impute it is of His mercy." If the third recension comes down from 
Luther, he must later have read that section but hastily, not noting that he 
himself earlier had used the misleading "quod" after "opus," not as a rela- 
tive pronoun (which), but as a conjunction (that). Kawerau should have 
noted this. 

8*»"Vom ehelichen Leben," Erl. 20, 87 (1522). 

850Weim. XII, 114 (1523). 0pp. exeg. lat. IV, 10. 

«"K. Bger, "Die Anschauung Luthers vom Beruf," (1900) wholly In- 


He stated this expressly in the passage first adduced 
above, and he repeats it frequently, and in a manner even 
more drastic. The conjugal act, according to him, is ma- 
terially the same as the act of -whorishness ; it is only "per 
indulgentiam" that no adultery, no pollution occurs. "Be- 
cause the commerce is of God's ordaining, He does not im- 
pute what is odious and impure in it."^" The mutual com- 
merce is only a concession "per indulgentiam divinam," says 
Luther, yet there is sin in the flesh on both sides."" Who, then, 
makes the conjugal act materially the same as the act of 
whorishness? The Church? Scholasticism? Just the con- 
trary. Scholasticism never departed from the principle ut- 
tered by St. Augustine: "The conjugal act for the sake of 
begetting children or of rendering the marriage debt entails 
no fault or sin."^'* For God Himself instituted marriage for 

capable of seeing through Luther's principles and ignorant of Catholic doc- 
trine, has asserted that, according to the Catholic notion, the married state 
is only tolerated on the part of God. No, rather is that precisely Luther's 
doctrine ! 

8" See the passage first cited and "0pp. exeg. lat. VI, 285 : Concessit 
deus securitatem quamdam, sed secundum indulgentiam. Et sic intelligenda 
est Augustini sententia : "qui amat uxorem, securus exspectat extremum 
diem." Quomodo? Secundum indulgentiam; si abesset ilia, esset adulterium 
et pollutio. Sed quia divinitus coniunctio haec ordinata est, ideo non im- 
putat Deus, quidquid ibi foedum est aut immundum. Luther is wholly 
wrong in his interpretation of Paul's "secundum indulgentiam," (I Cor. 7, 6.) 
The connection with the preceding, and with verse 7, quite excludes the ren- 
dering of "indulgentia" as remission of fault; rather does it demand this 
exposition : "Not commanding do I say to you to return to the use of mar- 
riage, but I say it out of consideration; for I wish that all men observed 
perpetual chastity after my example." It is true that some Catholics have 
likewise not correctly grasped this passage ; but it was not their opinion, as 
it was Luther's, that every realization of the matrimonial act, even though 
effected with reference to the principal end of matrimony, implied sin, even 
a mortal sin. In contradistinction to others, their position was, that a 
venial sin, needing forgiveness, occurred in the sexual commerce of mar- 
riage only then when the pleasure sought was its chief motive. On the pas- 
sage and its interpreters see Comely, "Comm. in ep. prior, ad Cor., p. 169 
sqq. J. Beclier, "Die moralische Beurteilung des Handelns aus Lust" in 
"Zeitschr. f. Kath. Theologie," XXVI (1902), p. 692 sqq. 

"3 Ibid., p. 284 : "Ego quidem per indulgentiam divinam babeo uxorem, 
sed tamen peccatum est in utriusque carne." 

«'* De bono coniugali, c. 6, n. 6 : "Coniugalis concubltus generandi gratia 
non habet culpam ;" c. 7, n. 6 : "Reddere debitum coniugale nullius est 
crlminis." The Scholastics knew the passage from Lombard's "4 Sent. dist. 


the propagation of the human race, and after the fall He also 
gave the commandment of the procreation of children/" 
•which commandment, however, cannot be kept without the 
conjugal act. From this alone it follows that if everything 
is done in the proper manner and in the order instituted by 
God, sin is excluded. Indeed, this being presupposed, far 
from its involving a question of sin, marital intercourse can 
even be meritorious, as St. Thomas demonstrated*''* and 
others set forth at length.*" Many Scholastics mentioned 
venial sin only, then, when the conjugal act is primarily per- 
formed, not on the two grounds adduced, but only for the 
sake of the sensual pleasure connected therewith.*^* 

How then can Gottschick assert : "According to Chris- 
tian opinion, the conjugal act, because materially the same 
as the act of whorishness, is ignominious. "^^^ To whom does 
Ms assertion apply? Only to the "Reformer." According to 
him, sin, grievous sin, is equally present in the marriage act 
and in the whorish act; therefore the former is as ignomini- 
ous as the latter. "If you wish to consider cohabitation," he 
says another time, "and merely direct your eyes to the outer 
copresence, there is no difference whatever between the mar- 
ried and the whorish life; they are very near to each other 
and they look almost alike, that this one has a wife, that one 
a whore."*™ 

31, c. 5. Cf. also Thomas, "Siippl." qu. 49, a. 5; qu. 64, a. 4, who expressly 
says : "ut sibi inviccm debitum reddant." 

853 Gen. 8, 17 ; 9, 1. 

856 Supp., qu. 41, a. 4. Let this reference suffice. 

85' The strict Dominican, Johann Nider, e.g., in his "Praeceptorium 
divinae legis, G, praec, c. 4, enumerates the cases in which the conjugal act 
is virtuous and meritorious; the same can even become an act of religion 
and of divi7ie service: "Est igitur concubitus in matrimonio meritorius et 
virtutis actus, que dicitur castitas coniugalis, quando fit solum causa prolis 
procreande et religiose educande ad ampliandum cultum divinum. Et si 
tunc assunt alie debite circumstantie, est actus virtutis, que dicitur religio." 

858 See P. Jeiler in "Bonaventurae 4 Sent., dist. 31, a. 2, qu. 1, Scholion," 
where at the same time the Scholastics are adduced, grouped according to 
their views, and compared with later opinions. 

859 "RealenzyklopiidJe f. protest. Theol. u. Kirche," 3 ed., V, 191. Gott- 
schick only copied Luther's lies. See above, p. 265, note 765. See also Weim 
XXVII, 28, 13: "formerly It was quite the same thing to take a wife or a 
paramour to one's house." 

860 Erl. 18, 270 sq. 


According to Luther, God does not impute the conjugal 
act, which he says is always a sin, but covers it up. Luther 
was compelled to teach this to keep in harmony with his 
doctrine on original sin. According to him, as I shall show 
in the next section, concupiscence in its full reach is original 
sin; since the former remains after baptism, the latter does 
likewise. It is only covered up, but not taken away. Since 
the conjugal act cannot take place without the satisfaction 
of concupiscence, its performance, according to Luther's prin- 
ciples, involves a two-fold sin — the concupiscence itself, i.e., 
the enduring original sin, and the satisfaction of concupis- 
cence. And as God closes His eyes in respect to original 
sin, so also with regard to the conjugal act, of which endur- 
ing original sin is the underlying ground. 

This covering up, or non-imputation of original sin, spite 
of its remaining, is one of the greatest contradictions in the 
Lutheran "system." Either God hates original sin, or He 
does not. If not, then it is no sin; but if he hates it, how 
can He fail to impute it as sin? Indeed, how is it true 
that sin is forgiven in baptism? God must hate sin as long 
as it is present; for either He must forgive it, and then 
hatred is gone from God's heart, and consequently sin is no 
longer present,*^^ or He must hate it. Enduring sin cannot 
be viewed as not present. That is a contradiction. Should 
one retort that, according to Luther, the sin is present but 
God covers it, no point would be gained. God cannot cover 
sin as present. He must hate it. If He forgives it, it is no 
longer present. Luther makes God a hypocrite of the worst 
stamp: the Lutheran God outwardly feigns to be indifferent, 
tolerant, having His eyes closed, in the face of that which 
He inwardly hates. 

God acts in like fashion, according to Luther's prin- 
ciples, in respect to the conjugal act. He institutes marriage, 
He commands it, He blesses it. He requires the conjugal act, 
spite of its being sin and necessary to the fulfilment of mari- 
tal duty! As God's saving means given against original sin, 

861 Hence, on Romans, c. 4, fol. 154, Luther is much more logical when 
he writes : "Nunquam remittitur omnino, sed manet et indiget non impu- 


namely, baptism, cannot take that sin away, nay, more, as 
God must have recourse to artifice, lest the scandal be too 
great, covering the original sin so as not to see it, so here the 
Lutheran God's remedy instituted for the "necessity" — when 
"nature seeks egress and to be fruitful and to multiply" and 
"in order to live with a good conscience and to fare with 
God"'"^ — is a straight-out sin. And lest He too grossly com- 
mit Himself by the institution and blessing of something that 
can never be realized without sin, grievous sin, too, lest it be 
too conpicuous. He takes refuge in artifice again and nicely 
covers the sin up! In the face of this Lutheran hocuspocus, 
Gottschick has the temerity to assert that "in opposition to 
the religious and secular contempt of marriage (on the part 
of Christ, Paul, the Fathers, and Scholasticism), Luther 
stood up for the full honor of the marriage state, and thereby 
placed it in a wholly new light !""^ Luther did indeed put 
marriage in a new light, but only in this that he stripped it 
of honor. By way of contrast, it is interesting that Kolde, 
taking an opposite stand, as we shall presently see, denies 
to Luther and to the reformers generally, a full insight into 
the true moral nature of marriage. 

According to Luther's principles, marriage is illicit be- 
cause sinful. Following his teaching, he who, in his "neces- 
sity," enters the marriage state, Imows beforehand that he is 
putting himself in the way of an act that is always a griev- 
ous sin : "there is no marital commerce without sin." Before 
God and his conscience, therefore, he dares not enter upon 
marriage, for one dares not do evil, that good may come of 
it."* Hence it also folloAvs that the differentiating point set 
lip by the Reformer between married life and whoredom is 
valid, not in Lutheran but only in Catholic teaching, namely, 
that "a married man is certain and can say: God has given 
me this wife, with her am I to live; and a married woman 
can say: God has given me this husband, with him am I to 
live.""*' God gives to no man a wife with whom he cannot 

B62 Weim. XII, 114, 29 sq. 32. 
««3Loc. cit., p. 192. 
8«*Kom., 3. 8. 
8 6 5 Erl. 18, 271. 


live in marriage without sinning, and vice-versa.'" But, ac- 
cording to Luther, man and wife do sin in the practice of 
their marital commerce. But just as God inmates nobody to 
sin, so also may no man take sin upon himself. 

According to the Reformer's principles, followed out to 
their consequences, the marriage state, because sinful, is 
therefore an illicit, a condemned state, as Tatian said, and 
there is no difference between the marriage state and whore- 
dom. As happened so often, Luther fell into precisely those 
errors with which he insidiously charged the Church — a just 
judgment of God! 
F. Luther's Wholly Material, Sensual Conception of 

Marriage. Kolde's Caluminations of the Catholic 

In respect to marriage, Luther, from the time of his 
apostasy, had a low, indeed, the lowest notion, and it was 
just this notion that he set up before the dissolute priests 
and religious when he was spurring them on to violate their 
vows and to marry. He then looked upon sexual intercourse 
as a necessity by reason of the Adolence of sexual lust, which 
could not otherwise be resisted. Before his apostasy, he had 
openly acknowledged that this should not dominate, and he 
gave maidens desiring marriage directions to perfect them- 
selves morally and to strive after virtue.*^' After his apostasy 
there was no more of that. The Wittenberg traffic in nuns 
was of itself enough to open the eyes of anybody.**' As a 
consequence of Luther's fundamental teachings, the marriage 
of Christians went down to a brute standpoint. The "Re- 
former" does not shrink from putting this down in writing: 
"God does not take male or female form, members, seed, and 
fruit away from human beings, and thus the body of a Chris- 
tian must propagate, increase, and discipline itself as well 
as other humans, birds, and all animals, for to that end it 
was created by God, so that of necessity man must hold to 
woman and woman to man, unless God work a miracle," 
etc.'** Everything tends towards the satisfying of the 

866 Cf. Hugo of St. Victor, "Summa Sent., tr. 7, c. 3. 
*«' See above, p. 275 sqq. 
86S See above, p. 15 sq. 
869 Weim. XII, 113. 


sexual instinct, just as eating and drinking tend to satisfy 
hunger and thirst. This is openly declared by Luther."" For 
this reason he repeatedly brings up carnal desire, which he 
himself excited in others by his writings, to prove the neces- 
sity of marriage. But of this, as of the entire theme gen- 
erally, we have already treated.^'^ 

After sending his letter of renunciation to the Church, 
Luther deliberately omitted to cause it to be observed that 
the commandment of God, so insistently urged by him, "In- 
crease and multiply and fill the earth," was given to the 
human race, as such, for its organic preservation as a whole, 
but that, except after the creation and the flood, when there 
were few people on earth,"^ it did not of itself obligate each 
individual. Now marriage is never necessary to the preser- 
vation and perfection of any single individual, otherwise God 
would be in contradiction with Himself both in the Old Tes- 
tament and in the New, in which last, freedom of marriage 
as well as of virginity for all is proclaimed. Luther himself 
still used openly to say this as late as 1519-1520,'" a time 

870 "It is not free choice or counsel, but a necessary, natural thing that 
all that is a man must have a woman, and what is a woman, must have a 
man. For the word which God speaketh : "Increase and multiply," Is not 
a commandment, but more than a commandment, namely, a Divine work. 
* * * It is just as necessary as * * * and more necessary than to 
eat and drink, purge and eject, sleep and icake. It is an implanted nature 
and manner, just as well as the members which belong thereto." (Sermon 
on the Married Life," 1522 Erl. 20, .58). "If it is a shame to take wives, 
why are we not ashamed of eating and drinking, since in both parts there is 
a like great need, and God desires to have both?" (an Reisenbusch, 1525, De 
Wette, II, 639). The "Reformer" has an even more drastic and signiiicant 
comparison: "Whoso were obliged to retain his dung or urine, when he 
is unable to do so anyhow, what would become of him?" (Weim. XII, 66, 
for the year 1.523). These two comparisons he had already adduced, 1520, 
in his writing "An den christlichen Adel" (Weim. VI, 442), when he was 
blustering against the celibacy of priests: The Pope has no power to en- 
join the same on priests, "as little as he has power to forbid eating, drink- 
ing, the natural discharge or to have an e n." 

8'i See above. Introduction and chapter 6. 

872 This was beautifully set forth by Thomas Aquinas in his day, 2. 2. 
qu. 1.52, a. 2, ad 1; Suppl. qu. 41, a. 1, particularly 2. Besides, all sensible 
persons are in complete agreement with this. 

8" It was expected I should write : "at least till 1523" ; for then 
Luther teaches * * * "that the marriage state Is good, i.e., without sin 
and pleasing to God, and is free to every one; but the state of chastity is 


in which his thinking was clearer, even with regard to the 
Old Testament. For, he writes, "it is certain that none of the 
ancient holy fathers would have taken a wife, if they had not 
believed the promise made to Abraham : In thy seed shall all 
the generations of the earth be blessed. It was only on ac- 
count of Christ, in whose coming they believed, that they in- 
dulged in carnal desire.'"'* A year or two later, however, 
there is no more of this. Then he charges the Papists with 
not having seen how "in the Old Testament, the most exalted 
patriarchs, who had rendered the most exalted service to God, 
had been married and often had many wives," etc.*" It was 
necessary then to reply to him with Usingen : "What has it 
to do with the case that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the 
marriage state were pleasing to God? Who is finding fault 
with marriage? Who is belittling and dishonoring it?""' 

If Luther had only commended marriage as a universal 
human and Christian duty, at least for the sake of its moral 
dignity! If he had only placed in the foreground the three- 
fold good mentioned above, which as late as 1519 he had still 
acknowledged, namely, the sacrament, offspring, and fidelity, 
instead of his "impossibility" of continence or of resisting the 
sexual instinct except by marital cohabitation, which never- 
theless, according to him, was always a grievous sin! Poor 
human race, on which it never rains but it pours! What is 
become of the moral nature of marriage? Consistently 
Luther had to divest matrimony of its sacramental character 
and to degrade it to the level of "an external bodily thing, 

more calm and freer." (Welm. XII, 141). Yet in these two clauses the 
word "free" has an entirely different meaning. It is just Luther who is 
talking ! 

87* Weim. IX, 374, 2 in Gen. c. 2.5, where he writes ; Praeterea certo con- 
stat, nullum sanctorum patrum duxisse uxorum, nisi credidissent promissioni 
factae Abrahae: "in semine tuo benedicentur omnes gentes." Solum enim 
propter Christum, quem futurum credebant, libidini indulserunt." Cf. also 
Augustine, De bono coniugii, n. 15. 

875 Weim. XXIV, 55, in Gen. c. 1 of the year 1527. He frequently recurs 
to this. Cf., however, in the same vol. p. 427, where he speaks and writes 
of Abraham and his many wives. No one should think, he says, "that the 
holy patriarch was so carnal, that he took pleasure in sensuality." 

878 "Liber de falsis prophetis," fol. 43. See the passage above, p. 93, 
note 180. 


like any other secular affair," so that a Christian can marry 
a heathen, a Jew, or a Turk."' The results of such teachings 
are known. *'^ 

If in respect to marriage the gratification of the untamed 
sexual instinct, of carnal desire, is the chief thing, there will 
be a speedy end of the other good of marriage, fidelity and 
indissolubility. As a matter of fact, as early as 1520, Luther 
advised the Avoman who could get no children by her hus- 
band but could not keep continent,"' to seek a divorce from 
him, so as to be free to marry another. If the husband was 
unwilling, she should get his consent — for after all he was 
no longer her Avedded spouse — to her cohabiting (misceatur) 
with another or with his brother, in secret marriage, and the 
child should be ascribed to the first husband. If he is unwill- 
ing to give such consent: "Rather than permit her to burn 
(with lust) or to commit adultery, I would advise her to 
marry another and to flee to some unknown place. What 
else can be advised to one who continually suffers from the 
danger of carnal lust?^^" To fly into a strange country, and 
there, should he be unable to keep continent, to marry, is 

8" Erl. 20, 6.5 (1.522). As early as iri20, he robs marringe of its sacra- 
mental character, by asserting that marriage, as a sacrament, is a human 
invention (De capt. babylon., Weim. VI, .5.50 sq.) although the year before 
he had still acknowledged it as a sacrament. See above, p. 278. The dead 
ride swiftly ! 

8^8 How matters stood in thi.s respect with the apostate priests and 
religious, was briefly discus.sed by me above, p. 102 sq., pp. 121, 129. One who 
returned to the Mother Church, the Lutheran Professor Fr. Staphylus, 
wrote in 1562 : "As long as marriage was regarded as a sacrament, chastity 
and honorable marriage-life were held dear and of worth, but since the 
people have read in Luther's books that the marriage state is a human in- 
vention, Luther's counsels * * * have at once been carried out to such 
a degree that there is absolutely more chastity and honor in the married 
state in Txirkey than among our ExiangeUcals in Germany." "Nachdruck zur 
Verfechtung des Buchs vom rechten Verstand des gottlichen Worts," etc. 
Ingolstadt, 1562, fol. 202''. Other examples below, subdivision H. 

8'8 "Aut non possit continere," in Luther's language : "could not suffi- 
ciently satisfy her pruriency, and therefore had to run to another." 

880 De captiv. babyl., Weim. VI, 558, repeated in Erl. 20, 60; Duke 
George, cited above p. 17, has reference to this. As we saw there, the 
"Reformer" advised something similar to the husband in the case of hin- 
drances on the wife's part. Luther had the assurance to qualify those who 
charged him with a doctrine like that cited above from "de captiv. babyl.," 
as "perverse liars." 


likewise Luther's advice to an adulterer, if lie is not killed.'" 
If a wife is unwilling to do her marriage duty, let the hus- 
band think "that his wife has been abducted from him by 
robbers, and he must set about getting another."'" To marry 
again is generally permitted to the one who, after the separ- 
ation of a couple, wishes to be reconciled to the other, the 
other not consenting to the reconciliation. The ground of 
another marriage on the part of the one willing to be recon- 
ciled, according to Luther, is, as always, the same: if such 
a one cannot keep continent, the impossibility, to which God 
will force no one.*'^ 

He who has only the sensual side of marriage in view, 
who, with Luther, makes of man's natural potency and inclina- 
tion an irresistible natural instinct which must be gratified, 
goes, under circumstances, to extremest lengths. And this in- 
deed the "Reformer" did, in fullest keeping with his funda- 
mental teachings, and first of all in Wittenberg itself. As early 
as 1525, the Elector directed among other things a complaint 
to Luther, according to which both burgomasters of the city, 
where the married priest and intimate friend of Luther, 
John Bugenhagen, was pastor, had given information "that 
at Wittenberg matters were being handled rather triflingly 
with regard to divorces, and that the parties were secretly 
being given to each other in their homes without previous 
publication of banns.'"'* But the example of Wittenberg 
spread everywhere, rather than that there was any return, 
even after bitter disillusionments, to the ecclesiastical, or 

881 Erl. 20, 71. 

882 Ibid. 

883 -weim. XII, 119: "How, if one party (husband or wife) was unwill- 
ing to be reconciled with the other (after they had separated), and simply 
desired to remain apart, and the other could not keep continent and had to 
have a consort, what should the latter do? Is there any change possible? 
Yes, without doubt. For, since it is not commanded that they live chastely, 
and one has not the grace either, and the other is unwilling to come and 
thus deprives the consort of the body which the consort cannot do without, 
God will not compel the impossible for the sake of another's misdeed ; the 
(injured) party, not being to blame that they do not come together, must 
then act as if the other were dead. But the unwilling party is to remain 
without marriage, as St. Paul here says." But I Cor. 7, 10 and 11, run quite 

884 Burkhardt, "Martin Luther's Briefwechsel," p. 96. 


"Komisli" principle: "Once validly married, married for 
life." It is a universally accepted principle of experience 
that easy divorce is attended by out-and-out licentiousness of 
morals, to say nothing of its direct ruination of home life.**' 

He who, like Luther, assigns the leading role in mar- 
riage to sensual gratification, will not recoil from a "con- 
fession counsel," such as was given by the "Reformer" to the 
Landgrave Philip von Hessen in respect to his bigamic mar- 
riage.**' This "confession counsel" is very inconvenient to 
the Protestants, but unprejudiced thinking would make them 
find it quite consistent with Luther's "system." 

Kolde writes on it with shame: "No Evangelical (?) 
Christian will be willing to approve or even to palliate that 
pernicious decision."**' Only the Evangelical, i.e., Protestant 
Christian? Even so, for "clearly the reformers lacked a com- 
prehensive insight into the true moral nature of marriage — 
an inheritance, of course, that came to them from Gatholic- 
ism."^^^ What, an inheritance from Catholicism? Such is 
the assertion of Kolde, and elsewhere he proceeds to dilate on 
the subject: "In this respect (i.e., with regard to marriage), 
there remained something of the medieval view with Luther, 
and, it must be added, with all the reformers. At that time 
at least (1522 and 1523), it is always the sensual side of 
marriage, to which nature urges, that determines his manner 
of viewing the subject. That marriage is essentially a most 
intimate communion of person with person, and for that rea- 
son alone, according to its nature, is enough to exclude all 
plurality, did not clearly dawn upon either him or the rest 
of the reformers. To this is added that he nowhere in the 
Scriptures saw polygamy expressly forbidden but permitted 
to many of the Old Testament devout personages * * * 
That was a lack of grave moment, "but it was not associated 
with the '^new gospel," as opponents of then and today so 
willingly calumniate, hut, as said, it was based on the medi- 
eval vieio of the nature of marriage. Why, even an Augus- 

885 See below, subdivision H. 

'8' See above, p. 128 sqq. 

88' "Martin Luther," II, 488. 

888 Italics bere and following are mine. 


tine explained polygamy as permitted in certain circum- 
stances, because it was not 'contrary to tlie nature of matri- 
mony.' "°°° 

We shall see who calumniates, Kolde or the opponents 
of Luther and of the "great reformation." For the present, 
leaving aside his assertion about St. Augustine, I ask if it 
is not remarkable that Luther, just in his Catholic days, 
pushes the sensual side of marriage more into the background 
and after his apostasy from the Church appears upon the 
scene preferably with the sensuality attaching to marriage? 
— an observation we also make in respect to his obscene lan- 
guage. But what does this prove, Herr Kolde? Further- 
more, which recognizes marriage as a most intimate com- 
munion of person with person, the Catholic or the Protestant 
conception? The former and only the former, for only in it 
has the ideal comparison of the marriage bond with the 
indissoluble covenant between Christ and His Church any 
meaning, because only according to Catholic, but not accord- 
ing to Protestant teaching, is marriage a sacrament, whence 
in a particular manner the indissolubility of marriage fol- 
lows.*^" Christ Himself taught and required this indissolu- 
bility, whereas Protestanism teaches the dissolubility of mar- 
riage, and permits the divorced to marry again accordingly. 
More than from anything else, from the sacramental char- 
acter of marriage and from its likeness to the covenant be- 
tween Christ and His Church, there follows its monogamic 
character, i.e., the complete exclusion of polygamy;^" for 
Christ cleaves only to the one Church and bestows His whole 
love upon her. In like manner man and wife become one 
flesh and are one in love like Christ and His Church. 

889 Kolde, loc. cit., p. 196 sq. 

890 The indissolubility of marriage is based by St. Augustine De nupt, et 
concupisc, I, n. 11, on Ephes. 5, 2 (Viri diligite uxores vestras, sicut et 
Christus dilexit ecclesiam) "huius procul dubio sacramenti res est, ut mas 
et femina connubio copulati, quamdiu vivunt, inseparaMliter perseverent 
* * * ut vivens cum vivente in aeternum nuUo divortlo separetur * * * 
nee sterilem coniugem fas sit relinquere, ut alia fecunda ducatur," etc. 

891 Thus St. Thomas says Cont. Gent., IV, c. 78 : "Quia per coniunctio- 
nem maris et feminae Christi et ecclesiae coniunctio designatur, oportet, quod 
flgura signlficato respondeat ; coniunctio autem Christi et ecclesiae est unius 
ad unam perpetuo habendam." 


But such are the tactics of Luther's adherents. If their 
"Reformer" writes something that brings the blush of shame 
to their cheeks, they foist the responsibility of it either upon 
the Church or ujion the past ; or they twist and drag Luther's 
words around until finally they get some sort of rational 
meaning out of them. 

Now, however, I hereby openly challenge Kolde to prove 
that the "confession counsel" given by Luther and his asso- 
ciates to the Landgrave, their sanction of polygamy, "is based 
on the medieval view of the nature of marriage," and is "an 
inheritance from Catholicism," which lacked a comprehensive 
insight into the true moral nature of matrimony. After more 
fundamental, unbiased study, Kolde will perceive that the 
"medieval view" was not uniform, indeed, as to whether and 
how far polygamy was contrary to natural law, but that it 
was uniform in this, that the sacrament of matrimony of the 
New Testament wholly excludes poly gamy. ^^^ Luther's con- 
fession counsel is absolutely his own creation, a sequel to his 
unblushing and wanton undertaking to rob marriage of its 
sacramental character.*^^ It was accordingly given out that 
now and then a second wife was even for Christians a whole- 
some medicine, a sacred remedy against whorishness.'^* In 
addition to all this, Kolde was not even able to understand a 
simple text of St. Augustine.^*' 

8!>2Cf. e.g., St. Thoma.s, "Suppl-," qu. 65, a. 1, at the close of the article; 
St. Bonaventure, on "4 Sent," dist. 33, a. 1, qu. 1 and Scholion, further qu. 2 ; 
Capreolus on "4 Sent," dist. 33, qu. uniea. 

8'3 See on this, Denifle, "Luther in rational, und Christl. Belenchtung, 
p. 39, note 1 ; p. 61, where Luther's crass sophism in this respect is given. 

894 "Argumenta Bucerl, pro et contra," ed. by L(6wenstein), Kassel 1878, 
p. 49. In the above words, Bucer again gives his view in 1539. 

895 -v^Tg jjgjjj. Kolde assert that even an Augustine declared polygamy 
permissible under certain circumstances. This is wholly untrue! Kolde, in- 
deed, cites "De bono coniug., c. 17, for his assertion, but the only thing there 
is, that, in the interest of the increase of the human race, God tolerated 
polygamy on the part of the Fathers of the Old Testament. Augustine 
writes to the contrary — what Kolde did not observe — "Non est nunc propa- 
gandi necessitas, quae tunc fuit, quando et parientibus coniugibus alias 
propter copiosiorem posterltatem superducere licebat, quod nunc certe non 
licet." To do this now would be a crime ("crimen"), he writes "contra 
Faustum" lib. 22, c. 47. Similarly "De nupt. et concupisc." I, c. 8, n 9- c 
9 n. 10. 


When lie then asserts : "What a wonderful standpoint it 
is, after all, to assign the role of concubine to a woman in 
order to help her husband out of a necessity of his conscience ! 
The injustice to the Landgravine is scarcely touched upon. 
Here again is an echo of the medieval disregard for woman 
easily recognized." I once more openly challenge him to 
prove that, as he says, woman was depreciated in the middle 
ages. This assertion of Kolde's shows him mired in the 
prevailing Protestant prejudices and distortions since the time 
of Luther. 

Still more inconceivable and unhistorical is Kolde's state- 
ment proved to be, when we contemplate the Christian woman 
of the middle ages, to whom the Church gave the Virgin and 
Mother of God, Mary, as her pattern and model. The honor 
paid to the Woman in heaven passed over to woman on earth, 
as Henry Sense strikingly teaches. ^°° The Christian Church 
further laid the foundation for the uplifting of woman by her 
doctrine on duty, and inasmuch as she placed woman on a 
footing of equality with man in respect to moral capability, 
so that rights and duties on both sides are equalized.*" 

G. Contempt foe Woman and the Demoralization of Fe- 
male Youth a Sequel op Luthek's Principles. 

When, at the close of the middle ages, did contempt for 
woman take its rise? Then when Luther began his warfare 
against virginity, and not only asserted that "God so created 
woman that she shall and must be on account of man," but 
also set before woman the alternative of marriage or of vice. 
"God's Avork and word lie before our eyes; women must be 
used either for marriage or for lohorishness."^^^ He thus no 
longer recognized the exaltation of virginity as "opening to 
woman an ideal career and affording an opportunity of re- 
ligious perfection as well as of charitable activity, indepen- 

899 Denifle, "Seuses Leben und deutsche Schriften," I, 72 sq. 

89T gee Weiss, "Apologie des Christentums," 3 ed., I, 357 sqq. ; 302 sq. ; 
805 sqq. 

8«8Weim. XII, 94 (1523). See my work just cited, p. 81 sq., 83. 


dent of the will of man."^'^ Though Luther praises virginity 
as a "rare, noble gift," yet, as we have earlier heard him say, 
nohody possesses it.""" Contempt for woman began then, when 
Luther and his associates began to deride the Blessed among 
women, Virgin and Mother, and despoiled both virgin and 
wife of their most beautiful exemplar; then, when the "Ke- 
former" allotted to woman, "a mad animal/'""^ the part of a 
mere instrument for the gratification of man's sexual instinct : 
"If anyone feels himself a man, let him take a woman and not 
tempt God. Therefore has a maiden her little paunch, to 
afford him a remedy by which pollutions and adulteries may 
be avoided."""^ The "stimulatio carnis," "temptation, can 
easily be relieved, the while there are still young wives and 
women. "^"^ Man himself cannot respect the woman in whom 
he sees only an instrument of his sensual pleasure. It was 
as such that Luther represented her in the first years after 
his apostasy, during his warfare against virginity and the 
celibate life. 

Contempt for woman began then, when Luther coarsely 
and unfeelingly degraded her to the level of a breeding cow: 
"If women breed themselves sick and eventually to death, 
that does no harm; let them breed themselves to death, that 
is what they are for. It is better to live a short time in 
health than a long time in sickness." According to state- 
ments of physicians, "unhealthy, weak, stinking bodies would 
be the result, if one restrained functions of this nature by 
violence."*"* Woman began to sink then, when Luther by 
word and in writing fairly goaded nuns and virgins into 
sensuality and its gratification with his descriptions of the 
human body, and of marital cohabitation, and with his doc- 

8»!> Mausbach, "Die Kathol. Moral, ihre Methoden, Grundsatze und Auf- 
gaben," 1901, p. 131. 

»»» See above, p. 103. After 1537, he says again that "many" were found 
"who had this gift." Erl. 44, 148. 

801 Weim. XV, 420. 

'"2 Lauterbach, "Tagebuch zum Jahre 1588," ed. Seidemann, p. 101. 

"OS "Analecta Lutherana et Melanthoniana," G. Losche, p. 73. Also ad- 
duced by Melanchthon in "Corp. Ref. XX, 567, n. 170: "Temptation is still 
easily given help the while young virgins and women are at hand." 

00* Erl. 20, 34 ("Predigt vom ehelichen Leben." 1522). My work already 
(dted. p. 83. 


trine on sexual lust, hitherto in great part unknown to them, 
a doctrine which invited every one of them to marriage ac- 
cording to God's command and ordinance.""^ Womanly mod- 
esty, worthy morals, were lost. 

Luther himself had to acknowledge this, after it was too 
late, although he took good care to shift the responsibility 
of it from his course of action. He calls his Wittenberg a 
"Sodom," from which he advised his Bora to fly; in which 
"the women and girls begin to bare themselves behind and 
in front, and there is nobody to punish and hold in check, 
and, besides, God's word is mocked."""® Nevertheless the de- 
cline of womankind got the upper hand all over Lutherdom. 
"Few are the women and maidens," he writes, "who would 
let themselves think that one could at the same time be joyous 
and modest. They are bold and coarse in their speech, in 
their demeanor wild and lewd. That is now the fashion of 
being in good cheer. But it is specially evil that the young 
maiden folk are so exceedingly bold of speech and bearing, 
and curse like troopers, to say nothing of their shameful 
words and scandalous coarse sayings, which one always hears 
and learns from another."""^ "It is a great complaint and all 
too true, alas! that our young are now so wild and dissolute, 
and will no longer permit themselves to be brought up."°°* 

^"5 See above, p. 122 sq. and p. 15 sq. In the yefir 1522, he says : 
"Behold now a part of the misery. The greater part of our lasses are in 
monasteries, they are fresh and healthy, created ty God to te icives and to 
hear children, are not aBle, either, willingly to put up with their state ; for 
chastity is a grace above nature, if It were equally pure. * * * Now if 
you had a daughter or a friend, gone into such a state, you ought, If you 
were honest and devout, to assist her out of it, even if you had to apply 
for the purpose all your goods, your body and life." Erl. 28, 198. 

906 De Wette, V, 753, for the year 1545. In 1531 he complained about 
the whores and rascals, debauchers of women and girls, blasphemers, gamb- 
lers, and carousers there. Erl. 18, 193. Scheurl, in 1508, had still lauded 
Wittenberg, hyperbolieally to be sure, as a city which the university had 
converted "from a drunken to a sober one, from a place unholy to a holy 
one." Under Luther it became worse than ever. And still it is alleged that 
"with hunger and thirst for the living God, he had brought along his de- 
vouring yearning for peace of soul !" Thus writes Hausleiter, "Die Universi- 
tat Wittenberg vor dem Eintritt Luthers" (1903), p. 48 sq. See alsQ mj; 
above-cited work, p. 72 sq. 

907 Erl. 6, 401. 

»°8 Erl. 44, 67. More on the subject, Erl. 15, 457 sq. 


But whose is the fault, particularly that the young girls are 
so unruly? "The cause of that is, that their mothers show 
them such example at home."^"" The bringing up of children 
is wont to fall on the women folk; "for the children turn out 
like their mothers, and the maids get their knowledge from 
the women." Aye truly, and the reformed, mothers and 
women among them, turn out like the Reformer. Who in all 
creation gave a worse example to the world and its adherents 
than Luther, in respect to coarseness and \Tilgarity, smutti- 
ness, blasphemy, insult, outbursts of rage, insolence, and the 
like? When in the end he complained that unfortunately, in 
his day, it was seen that neither discipline nor honor re- 
mained in any state of life, he himself had the responsibility 
of it. He himself had demoralized his followers. Evil ex- 
ample corrupts good manners, and woe if evil teaching is still 
added thereto. 

On the corruption at that time of the young of both 
sexes, we have the reports of eyewitnesses wholly above sus- 
picion. Only a few of them can be admitted to tell their 
story here. "Youths are now hardly weaned from the cradle," 
writes John Brenz in 1532, "when they want to have a wife; 
and girls, not at all marriageable, already permit themselves 
to dream about husbands.""^" "A little lass or lad now at 
ten years of age knows more about wantonness (i. e. whorish- 
ness), than formerly the old knew at sixty," writes Wald- 
ner.°" The most distinguished of the Danish theologians, 
Nicholas Hemming, thus expressed himself in 1562: "Once 
modesty was the most precious treasure of the young women, 
but now in dress and demeanor they betray all shameless- 
ness.""" Indeed, "when unchaste pleasure has brought them 
to their downfall, or they live otherwise in shameless licen- 
tiousness, they become so bold that they allege Luther's law 
as a pretext; a chaste, continent life is impossible to man. 

""^Erl. 6, 401. 

910 "Homiliae XXII sub Incurslonem Turcarum in Germaniam, ad popu- 
lum dictae." Vitebergae 1532, page before fol. D.-With a preface by Luther. 

p" "Bericht etllcher Stiicke den jUngsten Tag betreffend," Regensburg, 
1565, Fol. E iiij. 

""In Dollinger, "Die Reformation," II, p. 674. 


the gratification of the sexual instinct is as necessary as food 
and drink."'^^ "The young learn from the old," writes E. 
Sarcerius in 1554 ; "thus one impurity furthers another, and 
the young are so crafty in it all that they are better informed 
on the subject than the oldest people of former days. What 
vice is growing more riotously (than unchastity) ?°" "We 
all exclaim and complain," writes General Superintendent of 
the mark, A. Musculus, 1561, "that the young were never more 
mischievous and wicked since the world began than just now, 
and they cannot well become worse." He calls them "ill-bred 
children steeped in all vice and wickedness.""' Let Kolde 
answer me how it accords with his theory that precisely 
Luther's contemporary followers and Luther himself associate 
the complete degeneration of the female sex, in truth of both 
sexes generally, with the time of the appearance of the "pure 
Gospel." By scientific research, disinterested and unbiased, 
Kolde would reach the conclusion that not much more than 
the rubbish and the refuse in the medieval Church constituted 
the dowry to Luther's doctrine and that Lutherdom was the 
full measure of the decline. 

H. The Lewd and Adulterous Life, the Contempt of the 

Marriage State at that Time, are Consequences 

OF Luther's Course and Teachings. 

Although in the year 1520 Luther stated that he so 
abominated divorce as to prefer bigamy to it, and although 
he dared not decide if the latter was permitted,"' nevertheless 
both divorce and bigamy, especially the former in the sense 
of adultery, increased in a frightful manner as a consequence 
of his teaching. In 1522, after he had developed his theory 
on divorce, he himself posed the objection: "Evil men and 
women will thereby be given chance and scope to leave each 

"^3 See Ozecanovius (Staphylus), "De corruptis moribus utriusque par- 
tis," after fol. F. iij. 

914 "Von einer Disziplin, dadurch Zucht, Tugend und Ehrbarkeit mogen 
geflanzt werden * » * ", Eisleben, 1555, fol. 39''. 

915 "Von des Teufels Tyrannei" published in "Theatrum diabolorum", 
Frankfurt 1515, fol. ISTi". 

9"Weim. VI, 559. 



other and to change, i. e., to marry again, in strange lands 
while the other consort is still liAdng. Luther can only an- 
swer: "What can I do. The authorities are to blame. Why 
do they not strangle the adulterers? I should not then need 
to give such advice. Of two evils there is always one better, 
namely, that whorishness does not take place than that adul- 
terers go to other lands and change," i. e., marry."" 

Whilst the "Eeformer" is seeking to rid himself of one 
blame, he incurs another. Duke George of Saxony complains 
of the increase of adulteries in consequence of Luther's teach- 
^g 919 rpj^j^g teaching was to blame that man took more than 
one wife, inasmuch as they "absconded to parts unknown, 
and let themselves be given other wives. A number of women 
do the same. Hence there is no end nor limit to the run- 
aways of husbands and wives.""^" But this occurred not only 
after emigration to "parts unknown," but in the very place 
and spot, and generally in Germany; it even, or rather natur- 
ally, was rampant in Luther's own district, where he was 
born, where he died, in the county of Mansfeld. Touching 
this matter the superintendent of the place wrote: "In many 
places there is fearful whorishness and adultery going on, 
and so common have these vices become that a number do not 
consider them sins.""" "Hence there is everywhere a dis- 
orderly and scandalous fashion at the beginning and carrying 
out of marriage, so that the holy marriage state is dishonored 
and trampled under foot." "And thus almost everywhere 
there are now secret betrothals, aye, one is engaged to more 
than one person.""" "Of adultery, unchastity, and inc^t 
there is no end.""^^ 

»"Erl. 20, 72. 

018 Ibid. 

0" See above, p. 16. Cf. Janssen-Pastor, VIII, 14 ed., p. 473 sq. 

"20 This was written by no less a personage than the Superintendent of 
the county of Mansfeld, E. Sacerius in "Von werlicher Visitation," printed 
at Eisleben, (1555), fol. M 2. In accord with this are Luther himself and 
Czecanovius (Staphylus). See above, p. 102 sqq. 

621 E. Sarcerius, ibid. Fol. K 3. 

»22 Ibid. Fol. M 2. 

»23Waldner, "Berlcht etlicher fiirnemesten Sttlcke," fol. B iiij*. 


Both in Luther's time and immediately afterwards, we 
hear but one voice from the mouths of the most distinguished 
of Luther's followers on secret, vicious engagements, which 
came to be regarded as quite no sin at all; on the rapidly 
growing lasciviousness and sexual boldness, on the ubiquitous 
increase of the vices of whorishness and adultery, which 
came to be considered not only a matter for mirth but as no 
sin at all. Quite every married woman wants to live the life 
of a whore, and hence let no one wonder that adulterous 
homes have so powerfully and so mightily multiplied, more 
than among our ancestors, aye, more than among the heathens. 
"Oh," it used to be said, "God is a breaker of marriage, I 
only bend it." Even the young carried on whorishness, and 
then when it was sought to get them away from it, nothing 
would do but they must have wives. To be unchaste is to be- 
long to the bon-ton, and adultery is the order of the day. In 
most cases of marriage, the marriage bond was looser than 
ever it was among the Jews, so that to contract such an alli- 
ance was rather to be viewed as being put on the rack than 
as entering true marriage,^^* etc. 

It was a just judgment of God! Luther had trampled 
celibacy under foot, held it up to universal contempt, and 
against it had lauded marriage as the highest, the only state 
indeed. And now, throughout Protestant Germany, led astray 
by him, marriage bears the character of a chamber of tor- 
ture ! Luther had mendaciously charged the Pope with having 
despised and condemned the marriage state. And now we not 
only hear from the mouths of those misled by Luther that they 
contemned marriage, but the facts themselves outshout the 
Lutheran moralistic preachers proclaiming in every highway 
and byway that whorishness and adulteries are preferred to 
well-ordered, honorable, and chaste marriage. What Luther 
knavishly charged against Catholics was itself verified in Luth- 
erdom: it seemed almost to belong to perfection to go from 

*24 The exact proofs of all this have already been furnished in detail 
and for each proposition by DoUinger, "Die Reformation," II, p. 427-452. I 
have not adduced anything above for which the authority indicated has not 
fully cited authentic witnesses, especially for Niirnberg. 


the marriage-bed to the Avhore house."" Luther's degrada- 
tion of marriage to an external, bodily thing, like any other 
secular affair, was everywhere put into practice. Like an 
artisan not seldom abandoning his present occupation and 
turning to another, or even to two or three together, for the 
sake of the advantage or on account of the cares of his main- 
tenance, so in Lutheranism husbands left their wives or wives 
their husbands to try another; nay, more, "and a shame it 
is to say it, they have not only given two wives to one man, 
but, what the world has never heard and heathens never per- 
mitted, they have given two men to one woman; they have 
alloAved the man, when the wife was refractory, to go to the 
maid-servant, and where the man was impotent, the wife might 
go to another,""''' as the Dominican, J. Mensing, writes."^' 

Things of this kind and even worse occurred likewise 
among the Protestant "clergy" and preachers. And Luther's 
principles were to blame. The first preachers were mostly 
"married" priests and religious, who, with Luther, held the 
oath they had once sworn to God to be nothing. Were they 
to have more regard for the oath they swore to their wives? 
Why should one be astonished if, in the end, such a "clergy- 
man" had three living "wives," like Pastor Michael Kramer? 
Why should one marvel that Luther, in his decision of Aug- 
ust 18, 1525, approved Kramer's second divorce and his "mar- 
riage" to another woman, just as he had approved the first 
divorce and his "marriage" to his second wife?"^' Principles of 
that kind led the one-time Lutheran preacher, Sebastian Flasch, 
a native of Mansfield, to complain in 1576: "Although even 
the preachers are 'married,' they are nevertheless so little 
contented with their better halves that, under Luther's guid- 
ance, to satisfy their insatiable desire, they often misuse their 
maid-servants, and, what is shameful, they do not blush to do 
violence to the wives of others, and to arrange among them- 

»2» See above, p. 209. 

820 See above, p. 16 and p. 298 sq. 

927 "Vormeldunge der Unwahrheit Luther'scher Klage" * * * Frank- 
furt a. O., 1532, fol. G. Concerning the author, see N. Paulus, "Die deutschen 
Dominikaner im Kampfe gegen Luther," p. 16 sqq. 

»28 See De Wette, III, 22 (No. 734) and also Enders, V. 228 sq. 


selves for an exchange of wives ( commutationem uxorum ) . I 
should not make bold openly to assert and write this about 
them if, during my long association with them, I had not had 
frequent and certain experience of this and much else." He 
also tells of a leading preacher "icho icanted to conclude an 
agreement with me for the barter of our icives, and sought, as 
it were, to compel me thereto, when he saw that under no con- 
sideration could I be persuaded into such a misdeed. A sense 
of shame forbids any further dwelling on other nefarious deeds 
of the sort.'""'" 

Now who was the spiritual father of that generation? Was 
it not Luther? Who invited priests, religious, and nuns to 
violate their God-sworn vows? Was it not he? But that was 
paving the way to the violation of the matrimonial vows as 
Avell, and to general unfaithfulness, about which Luther later 
so complained,"^" without making himself responsible therefore. 
He himself, by his wiving in 1525, only set a seal on his in- 
fidelity to God. I have already observed elsewhere''^ that it 
makes no essential difference if, before his "marriage," he had 
already sinned with a Avoman, and his saying, "sic misceor 
feminis"^^^ is to be interpreted strictly or as a joke. One thing 
is certain — "Luther," as his associate Melanchthon writes, "was 
an exceedingly wanton"" man, and the nuns, (led astray by 

929 "Professio catholica M. Seb. Plaschil" ( Coloniae 1580, reproduction in 
a collection), p. 219 sq. ; of. Janssen-Pastor, loc. cit., p. 4.56. 

^2° Opp. exeg. lat., V, 167 sq. : "In nostro saeculo nulla pactorum fldes, 
nullae syngraphae, nulla sigilla satis sunt, fraude eluduntur at vi turbantur 
omnes contractus." 

831 "Luther in rationalistischer und christlicher Beleuchtung," Mainz, 
1904, p. 84. 

832 Enders. V, 157 (April 16, 1525). Nov. 6, 1523, he already uses "misceri 
feminis" for "fluxus seminis alicuius si mulierl misceretur" (Enders IV, 
255). He also uses the expression, 1520 (Weim. VI, 558) to mean carnal 
intercourse. Hutten translates "stuprum inferre" by "sich 'verinischen' ", 
or, after Barnbuler, by "schiinden" to ravish. (Szamatolski, "Ulrichs v. 
Hutten Deutsche Schriften" (1891), p. 12. Naturally, according to the 
Protestant Luther-researchers, the above admission on the part of Luther 
was made only jokingly, and is to be taken seriously only in the case of a 
"Komish celibate", to use the irate word of a well-known Lutherophile, 
(Walther). "Das sechste Gebot und Luthers Leben" (1893, p. 51). Luther's 
"misceri feminis" is very inconvenient to him. See ibid. p. 80. 

933 This is the most considerate rendering of the Greek ianr 6 ivTjp uj 


him),^'* who in all cunning spread their nets, ensnared him. 
Perhaps frequent association with them would have effeminated 
a more sturdy and high-minded man (not a moral weakling 
like Luther), and caused the fire to flame up within him.'"'' 
One needs not therefore urge the words written August 10, 
1528 by Joachim von der Heyden to Catherine Bora, to the 
effect that she had betaken herself to Wittenberg like a dancing 
girl and had lived with Luther in open and flagrant immorality 
before taldng him as her husband."^" But something suspicious 
must have been made manifest, otherwise he would not have 
dared to write this to the Bora woman herself. Besides, Me- 
lanchthon has it that the nuns had "effeminated Luther and 
and caused the fire to flame up within him." Was that all at 
once, just before his wiving? Let him who will believe it. 
From 1523, two full years therefore, Luther had been in close 
relations with brazen runaway nuns in Wittenberg."" He 

934 These and other words following in parentheses are mine, used for 

^35 "Melanchthons Brief an Camerarius iiber Luthers Heirat vom 16 Junl 
1525" von P. A. Kirsch (Mainz 1900), p. 8, 11. Kolde, "Martin Luther," II, 
203, naturally characterizes this letter as "hateful." Although he had already- 
known the correct genuine text of Melanchthon's letter, restored by W. Meyer 
and Druffel in the "Miinchner Sitzungsber. der philos-philol. Kl.," (1876), 
Vol. 1, p. 601 sqq., and although he must have known that Camerarius often 
had Melanchthon saying just the opposite of what he had actually written 
(see Druffel ibid. p. 495), Kolde nevertheless makes bold to fuse both texts 
together and to write : "The nuns had ensnared the excellent and otherwise 
so high-minded man, but who is easily got round, and emolliated him." By 
falsification of the text, Camerarius succeeded in getting the words, "the ex- 
cellent and otherwise so high-minded man," to refer to Luther, whereas 
Melanchthon, according to the true text, sets them up in direct contrast with 
Luther. Kolde knew the true text and still follows the falsifier Camerarius! 
With what words shall one qualify so deceitful a procedure? When he then 
writes of the "unchristianness of the Papacy and its celibacy of seeming 
holiness" I willingly concede that these words give testimony, not of deceit 
but of his ignorance. In this he does not stand alone. With him is to be 
ranged "Lutherophilus", i.e. the university professor, W. Walther, collaborator 
on the Weimar edition of Luther's works, with his "Das sechste Gebot und 
Luthers Leben" (Halle 1893). On p. 73 he calls this letter of Melanchthon's 
a "very hateful", on p. 93, "the fatal letter". It was fatal indeed ! Walther's 
gyrations and tricks of translation fully sufiice to justify this expression. 

e36Enders, VI, 334. 

837 One needs not therefore assume that he lived with them under the 
one roof. We have already heard, p. 116, what Boban Hessus writes about 
these very nuns : "Nulla Phyllis nonnis est nostris mammosior." 


would have had to be an angel to stay wholly unspotted in 
such danger. One having only a little knowledge of humanity 
and aware at the same time that, as a rule, God punishes pride 
and haughtiness with this sin, will not be provoked against 
such as entertain some doubt about Luther's blamelessness 
before his wiving. Nevertheless I am far from giving un- 
qualiiied credence in everything to Simon Lemnius when, in 
his satire on Luther, the wives of Luther, Justus Jonas, and 
Spalatin surpass themselves in unchaste confidences and in- 
telligences, and the Bora woman, whom Luther at his wiving 
is represented as seeking to elude, is described as bitterly lip- 
braiding him for his faithlessness and dragging him away with 
her."^' It is still remarkable, nevertheless, that the letters of 
both Melanchthon and Joachim, and the satire of Simon Lem- 
nius as well, indicate fatal points in Luther's life precisely in 
respect to the nuns. The fact is that there were evil reports 
about his life, and he believed there was no avoiding the sting 
of them except by a speedy wiving.'^' 

s^' Monachopornomachia (copy in the Stadtbibliothek of Mainz). Cf. 
Hofler, In "Sitzgsb. der. K. bohm. Ge.'^ellsch. der Wis.sensch," 1802, p. 110 sq. 

939 Without entertaining any mental reservation, I simply report that 
Luther's wiving took place in all haste (Enders V, 201). "On account of 
(wagging) tongues, he most hurriedly took her to wife" (ibid. p. 19.5, De 
Wette III, 2). He stopped the mouth, it is said, of those who bring him into 
evil repute on account of the Bora woman (p. 197). Even his own thought 
evil (p. 199). The Lord suddenly threw him into "marriage" in a wonder- 
ful manner ("subito mire") (201). Is it remarkable that this "wonder" 
was also repeated in the case of others of his associates? The apostate 
Franciscan, Eberlin von GUnzburg writes that he observed how the devil 
everywhere busied himself "to bring evil, scandalous suspicion upon him, 
to calumniate him, etc." He also knew how to stop the mouth of these 
calumniators ; therefore he "wedded a wife." "Job. Eberlin v. Gunzburg 
Samtliche Schriften," edited by L. Enders, III, 16.5. Also M. Radlkofer, 
"Johann Eberlin v. Giinzburg," Nordlingen 1887, p. 150. Of course I do not 
wish to couple these two "reformers" with the "reformer of Wiirtemberg", 
Erhard Schnepf, who, like Zwingli, also married suddenly In a quite wonder- 
ful manner, because of the too early heralded birth of a child by his concu- 
bine, Margaretha Wurzelmann — a somewhat fatal matter. Of. Frohnhauser, 
"Gesch. der Reichsstadt Wimpfen," Darmstadt, 1870, p. 154. It is only gossip 
that Bora was brought to bed only a fortnight after her "marriage" to 
Luther, although even Erasmus believed it (Opp. Lugduni Batav. 1703, t. 
Ill, ep. 781, p. 900), but afterwards denied it (ep. 801, p. 919). Still, nobody 
doubted Luther's too pronounced intimacy with women before his wiving. 


Sarcerius finds a chief cause of the prevalent whorishness 
and many adulteries of his time in the circumstance that "there 
was neither limit nor measure to drinking and gormandizing." 
It is justly said : a drunken man, an unchaste man ; a drunken 
woman, an unchaste woman."^" And Luther had it: "a 
drunken sow cannot have Christian life.'"" Unfortunately, 
however, it was just under Luther's gospel that in Germany, 
the demon of drink, though he did not come into existence, 
nevertheless attained his groivth. "Every country must have 
its own devil. • • • Our German devil will be a good 
wine-bibher and must be named Guzzle (Sauf), being so dry 
and thirsty that he cannot be refreshed with such great 
guzzling of wine and beer. Guzzle will remain an almighty 
idol among us Germans, and he acts like the ocean and like 
dropsy. The ocean does not get full on all the waters that 
flow into it; dropsy gets thirstier and worse by drinldng.®*' 
That the "man of God" was a child of the times in the mat- 
ter of drinking, as in others, has already been noted.*" Even 
his father was given to drunkenness, but it made him jolly, 
not rabid, as it did Luther's sister's son, Hans Polner, pastor 
of Jessen.^" But Luther did not want everyone to follow 
him in his potations, "quia non omnes ferunt meos labores.""'" 
— "not all sustain my labors." Soon there was talk in Ger- 

940 "Von werlicher Visitation, etc.," the leaf before L. Husbands them- 
selves contributed towards their own wives' practising vice by talsing them 
into public taverns. "And the husbands are particularly pleased if tlie wifles 
can have a hand at quints, be jolly, and guzzle stoutly. Good ! And thus it 
goes that evenings these are perhaps devout wives; on the morrow come 
care and labor, and men and the poor children have a wife in shame and a 
whore-mother. I know whereof I write. I have seen and learned it. In like 
case are the maid-servants and little misses, guzzling and carousing in the 
taverns, dancing and skipping; they lose chastity and honor, and know not 
mornings what has happened them * * * That nothing may be wanting 
to lewdness, there is absolutely not a tavern in the villages but the keeper 
maintains a number of public whores and shameless trulls to serve his 
beer, etc." Ten years later in the same land, this is acknowledged by A. 
Hoppenrod, "Vt'ider den Hurenteufel," Eisleben 1565, leaf after D 5. 

8"Erl. 19 (2 ed.), 419. 

»« Erl. 39, 353. Cf. "Luthers Tischreden in der Mathesischen Sammlung," 
edited by E. Kroker (1903), p. 376, No. 311". Cf. No. 1, 60. etc. 

»"P. 110. 

»« Luthers Tischreden, etc. (Table-talk) No. 198. 

»*= Ibid., No. 318. Cf. also Kostlin-Kawerau, "M. Luther", II, 497 sq. 


many of an Order of Guzzlers."*' Other nations, writes 
Luther, "call us the drunken Germans, for they still possess 
the virtue of not being such drunken, full people.""*^ Ac- 
cording to his own admissions, it had not always been so, 
but the old evil took on growth under him: "When I was 
young, 1 remember the majority, even among the rich, drank 
water and used the simplest foods which were easily obtained; 
a number hardly began to drink wine in their thirtieth year. 
But now even the young habituate themselves to wine, (not 
to a poor, inferior sort but) to strong, foreign wines, and in 
addition to that to distilled wines and brandies, which they 
drink on an empty stomach."'** What wonder, then, that 
guzzling came to be a common custom of the country, not only 
among the peasants but among the nobility as well, but this 
custom first came in Luther's day. For, "when I was young, 
it was a great disgrace among the nobility * • * • but 
now they are worse and more addicted to it than the peasants. 
It has also seized upon the young, who are neither shy nor 
ashamed of it; they learn it from the old. For this reason 
is Germany a poor, punished, plagued country on account of 
this drink devil and is fairly drowned in this vice." Still, 
"children, maidens, and women were a little shy of it, al- 
though under cover one finds here and there some filthy sows ; 
but they still persevere. For there is yet that much breeding 
left, that every one must say, it is especially shameful if a 
woman drinks herself full."'*' But whence was so much 
breeding still left, if not from the days of the Papacy? 

Luther's doctrine on faith was also a contributing factor 
to adultery. The Protestant rector, J. Eivius, writes in 1547 : 
"If you are an adulterer, say the preachers, or one given to 

"««0f this new Lutheran Order (a substitute for the monastic orders?), 
an account is given in the boolilet, "Wider den Saufteufel," appendix in the 
form of a circular letter to the "full brethren," 1552 (printed in 1562). "The 
first condition for reception into this order was that one can guzzle well" 
(Blatt K iiij.). 

»■" Erl. 8, 293. "Nos Germani sumus ventres ac proci Penelopes, fruges 
consumere nati." 0pp. exeg. lat., X, 40. 

9*8 "Me puero * * * ; nunc pueri * * * •• Opp. exeg. lat.. Ill, 59. 
Erl. 8, 293. 

B"Ibid. p. 293 sq. 


whorisliness, * « » only believe and you will be saved. 
You need not let yourself be frightened by law, for Christ 
fulfilled it and made satisfaction for man. * * * Such 
talking misleads to a godless life," etc."'" Such was also the 
case when a common man heard Luther preaching: "No 
work is evil enough to be able to damn a man (only) disbe- 
lief damns us. If one falls into adultery, that action does not 
damn him"; he only evidences his fall from faith.*'^ 

Hand in hand with these there were other causes. To 
these belong the depreciative manner in which the "Eeformer" 
spoke of matters moral. This was better understood by the 
common folk than learned disquisitions, and they apprehended 
words in their obvious sense, though Luther's intention may 
not always have been so evil. "The mass (of the people)," 
he wrote September 14, 1531, to Margrave George von Bran- 
denburg, "have now (so) gone the way of carnal liberty, that, 
for a time, one must let them indulge (i. e., satisfy) their 
lust. Things will certainly be different, once the visitation 
is well started.""" That the mass of the people should give 
way for a time to the satisfying of their lust, is no harm, 
according to Luther. And what, according to him, is carnal 
lust and its gratification? Sin? Oh, no; just a remedy, al- 
though not an infallible one, against temptation to sadness 
and sin ! "In expelling sadness I did not meet with success," 
he once expressed himself, "although I went to the length of 
embracing my wife, so that at least the carnal titillation thus 
excited might take those thoughts of Satan away."^*' But 

850 De Stultitia mortalium (Basileae 1557) 1. 1, p. 50 sq. Also above p. 18. 

851 Erl. 13, 238, for the year 1522. See also below p. 321. 
652 De Wette IV, 308. 

853 Cordatus, "Tagebuch fiber Martin Luther," edited by Wrampelmeyer 
(1885), p. 450. On these rather inconvenient passages and on others still 
more inconvenient, but less authentic, the editor discourses copiously, and 
naturally not without side thrusts at Catholics. But if anyone should have 
kept hands off this subject, it is Wrampelmeyer, the more so because he has 
given so much evidence of his incompetency. On p. 282, No. 1089, for in- 
stance, commenting on Luther's words : "One ought in reason assiduously 
to conserve ("behalten") all the "Regulas monachorum in perpetuam igno- 
miniam et gloriam Evangelii ; ego quinque habeo cum statutis Ipsorum," 
he explains "behalten" by the words "to adhere to, not to give up", and 
"quinque" he supplies with the word "regulas". Continuing he says: "Does 
Luther mean poverty, chastity, obedience, prayer, and work?" Then he ex- 


perhaps this passage is not sufficiently authentic? It may 
be. But there is a wholly authentic one that only makes 
matters worse. To act toith anothe'r^s wife as Luther did 
with his, to commit sin in order to overcome the devil, is one 
of the highly paradoxical counsels which the "Reformer" gave 
to one Avho has tempted to sadness, and assuredly the advice 
was not given to him alone. 

Writing to Hieronymus Weller, 1530, he says: "You 
ought to get up some jokes and games with my wife and the 
rest of them." But nothing sinful? Let us hear the "Re- 
former" : "As often as the devil vexes you with those 
thoughts, seek immediately the company of people, or drink 
harder, joke, make fun or get jolly. At times one has to 
drink more copiously, jest, play the fool, and commit some 
sin or another out of hatred and contempt of the devil, so 
that we leave him no room to create a conscience in us on 
the least things, otherwise we are 'beaten, if we wish too 
anxiously to make provision lest we sin. Therefore if the 
devil says: 'drink not,' answer him: 'precisely because 
you forbid it, will I particularly drink, yes, and all the more 
copiously.' Thus must one always do the opposite of what 
the devil forbids." To arouse the troubled one's courage, 
Luther sets himself up as an example: "What else do you 
think were the reason why I drink so much harder, prate 
the more loosely, gormandize the more frequently, if not to 

plains the whole passage : "Luther seems to want to saj' : 'I, for my part, 
observe five rules of living, which are in accord with the monastic statutes, 
which have their good and their evil sides ; all the others, on the contrary, 
which do not redound to the honor of the Gospel but are rather to its igno- 
miny, I reject.' " Is a thing like this possible? Does Herr Wrampelmeyer 
stumble over so simple a passage? He took "behalten" for "observare" in- 
stead of for "conservare", to preserve, or to conserve; so also "habere" How 
little solid he is in what he knows of Luther ! Luther aims to say the same 
thing that he writes with regard to the works of the Scholastics which he 
had once studied: "I still keep (conserve) the books, which were such a 
torture to me" (Lauterbach's Tagebuch p. 18) ; or what he expresses in 0pp. 
exeg. lat. XI, 140: "Evertantur monasteria, nisi forte relinquantur quaedam 
in memoriam peccatorum et aiominationum, quarum domicilia fuerunt." The 
passage in question, therefore, is intended by Luther to mean : "Let everyone 
conserve or keep, as I do, the monastic rules and constitutions as an ever- 
lasting remembrance or souvenir of the one time obscuration of the Gospel 
and of the present splendor of the same." 


mock and vex the devil who set about mocking and vexing 
me? Oh, if only I could point out something particular about 
sin, merely to mock the devil, so that he might be aware that 
I recognize no sin and am not conscious of any! The entire 
decalogue is wholly to be dismissed from sight and mind by 
us, ivhom the devil so threatens and vexes."^" 

In what an abyss we here find the "Reformer" ! Yet he 
it was who, a year or two later, ascribed to himself as a 
young monk a conscience so tender that he had wondered at 
St. Bonaventure, "holiest of monks," for saying it was per- 
missible for a man to joke with his wife. He had looked for 
an opinion more worthy of Bonaventure's state.*" Now, as 
a means of dispelling sadness, he advises joking with some 
one else's wife — using the word in the sense of sinning. From 
out the same abyss he writes in 1523 : "Though it happened 
that one, two, a hundred, a thousand and even more coun- 
cils decreed that the clergy might marry, • • ♦ i -wrould 
look through my fingers and entrust God's grace to him who 
all his life had had one, two, or three whores, rather than to 
him who would take a woman to wife after such a council 
decree and otherwise, apart from this decree, dared not take 

And (if I were) in God's place, I would command and 
counsel all, that no one should take a wife in virtue of such 
a decree on pain of losing his souVs salvation, but that he 
should first of all live chastely, or, if that were impossible to 
him, he should not despair in his weakness and sin and should 
invoke God's hand."""* 

No word shall be wasted here on how this unauthorized 
apostle presumes, in God's place, on pain of loss of the soul's 

»=* Enders, VIII, 159 sq. Kostlin, "Martin Luther," II, 214, writes : "Sucli 
an exhortation to .sin has naturally been eagerly seized upon by Luther's 
opponents ; but for its meaning we have only to point to the context." But 
what would any Ijind of context whatever .show, except that Luther seeks 
to exorcise one devil by another? From such and similar utterances on the 
part of Protestant Luther-researchers, there is one thing evident : they would 
like to have their "Reformer", from a moral point of view, something other 
than he really is and proves to be; they therefore seek to save him at any 

»" See above, p. 273 sq. 

»»« Weim. XII, 237. On similar outbursts of petulance, see Chapter 14. 


salvation, to give a command, to do which he disallows to 
the Church of more than a thousand years and to her right- 
ful authorities; but let it be well noticed that here, under 
circumstances, the "Reformer" prefers whorishness, ever 
forbidden by God and His Church, to lawful marriage; that he 
permits the former, condemns the latter. What he adduces 
as an explanation is null and void. Luther always caught 
himself in his own trap. 

His hatred towards the Church, which impelled him to 
do just the opposite of what the ecclesiastical laws prescribed, 
exacted a bitter penalty. 

But with what words is Luther to be characterized in 
view of the sentence he later addressed to the "silly, lascivi- 
ous swine," namely the religious and priests : "greater is the 
chastity of Jacob, who had four, five, or a hundred wives, 
than that in all their celibacy, eve^i if they did not practice 
whorishness. Let us suppose a true celibate, who is wholly 
continent; yet it is certain that Jacob is a hundred times 
more chaste; for that continent one burns day and night, is 
inflamed with lust, in his sleep patitur pollutiones, waking 
sentit pruritum. What kind of chastity is that, to live and 
burn in the midst of the flames of sensuality? Once he looks 
upon a pretty woman, he is all set on fire; and even if he 
masters himself and refrains from action, yet those flames 
cause him pollutiones, not only in sleep but also waking, as 
Gerson bears witness. "'''^ 

I will not at all dwell on Luther's outrageous reference 
to Gerson, who, as is known, gives advice on the case, if it 
should happen, or to those momentarily tempted, but in no 
wise gives occasion to believe that that is the life of all who 
are continent. But where did Luther get this view? Only 
out of his own earlier life, as he gradually got to the propo- 
sition that concupiscence is irresistible, and then, in much 
grosser fashion, saddled his own unchastity upon all. What 
an influence must not such accounts and views as those just 
described have had upon public morality? Not only con- 
tinence, but the virtue of chastity itself had to fall into abso- 

9" 0pp. exeg. lat. XII, 277. 


lute contempt. For, after such expositions, any one had to 
say to himself: chastity is an impossible thing; a chaste man 
is the most unhappy mortal; why shall I bother about it? 
And so it really fell out. Superintendent Sarcerius thus 
expresses himself on the subject: "We Germans of the pres- 
ent truly know little to boast about of the virtue of chastity, 
seeing that it is so dying out that there is sheer nothing 
more knoivn to he said ahout it." "Of those who still love 
chastity, there are so few that one must not only wonder 
at it but be shocked as well, and all immorality thrives apace, 
unabashed and unpunished.""^^ About the same time, 1554, 
Kector Konrad Klauser of Zurich ascribes the then contempt 
for true chastity and continence to the warfare thus far 
waged against the celibacy of the monks.''^' Protestants are 
unwilling to see that their "Keformer" was to blame above 
all others. They likewise do not see that, for the contempt 
in which the Lutheran preachers were held, on which Luther 
and his associates uttered bitter complaints, it was precisely 
the earlier blustering of Luther and his associates against 
Catholic priests and religious that was responsible. And yet 
this would have been much easier to understand. Nobles and 
commons alike made no distinction between priests and 
preachers. "Priesthood is despised," it was said, "not only 
under the Papacy but also under the holy Gospel.'"^" In the 
same fashion, there was no distinction drawn between mon- 
astic chastity and chastity in general. When from the begin- 
ning the people heard celibacy, not only as it was observed 
here and there in practice, but in general, decried as "impure, 
godless, and abominable,""" they held that to apply to chas- 
tity as well, the more so as they had to hear from the same 

958 Yon einer Disziplin, etc., fol. 39^. 

»59 De educatione puerorum. Basileae 1.554, fol. 76. 

"soCh. Mai-staller, "Der Pfar-und 'Pfrund-Beschneiderteufel" (Ursel 
1575), Fol. A 5. "Just because the pastor said something, a counterplay was 
made." Erl. 6, 8. 

9«i "Impurus, sceleratus, abomlnabills coelibatus"— these were the Shib- 
boleths of which Luther and his fellows made constant use after 1521 Cf 
Enders III, 241, 247 ; V, 280 ; 0pp. exeg. lat. V, 90. Bugenhagen, Brisman', 
and others copied it after him. 


lips tliat the sexual instinct is irresistible and that, to the 
Papists, celibacy and chastity meant the same thing. 

Once the heart has simply lost its regard for chastity, 
conjugal chastity dies out also, and there is an end to the 
dignity of matrimony. But woe if there are still added to 
that doctrines making for the dissolution of the marriage 
bond, affirming Christian liberty, denying free will, and as- 
serting the nothingness of works, etc., as Luther gradually 
developed them. As a matter of fact the "Eeformer" wrote 
in 1523 f^' Christian liberty makes it possible "that all outer 
things are free before God and a Christian can use them as 
he will; he may accept them or let them pass. And Paul 
adds: 'with God,""^ i.e., as much as matters between you and 
God. For you render no service to God because j^ou marry 
or stay single, become a servant, free, this or that, or eat this 
or that; again you do Him no annoyance nor sin if you omit 
or put off one of those things. Finally, you do not owe it to 
God to do anything but to believe and confess (Him). In 
all other things He sets you unbound and free, so that you 
may do as you will, without any peril to conscience; nay 
more, so that, on His own account. He asked no questions 
whether you let your loife go, ran from the Lord, and kept 
no covenant. For what is it to Him that you do or do not 
do such things?" According to Luther, then, God makes no 
inquiry about us, whether we are whoring or murdering. This 
of itself does not concern Him! Of the contradiction in 
which he thus entangled himself, Luther was unaware. If 
God has joined a married couple together — ^which Luther 
must admit on the authority of Christ's words : "What God 
hath joined together, let no man put asunder," (Matt. 19, 6) 
— ^how is it conceivable that an adulterer, as such, is not to 
be thought sinning against God?^"* 

Luther continues: "But because you are thereby bound 
to your neighbor, to whom you have come to belong, God does 

962 Weim. XII, 131 sq. on the seventh chapter of the first Epistle to the 

s«3 In the passage 1, Cor. 7, 24 : "Let every man wherein he was called; 
therein abide with God." 

s«* See also above, p. 315 sq. 


not wish througli anyone's liberty to take Tvliat is his, but 
He wants it to be kept for your neighbor. For, although 
God does not consider it on His own behalf. He does con- 
sider it on behalf of your neighbor. That is what He means 
in saying: 'with God,' just as though He wanted to say: 
'with man or with your neighbor I do not set you free; for 
I do not wish to take from him what is his, until he himself 
also sets you free. But with me you are free {and) unbound 
and you cannot in anything ruin that, whether you leave go 
or keep what is external.' " 

From this it necessarily follows that, when a woman 
releases her husband, he is also set free with God; both are 
lawfully divorced! Rightly therefore does the famous Pis- 
torius say: "All external sins therefore depend solely on the 
consent of that person against whom the act is committed. 
If this person is satisfied, it is no sin before God or the world 
to take many wives, to divorce wives from one's self, to violate 
an oath, to murder, whore, or steal !"^'' The above teaching 
of Luther's is also at the same time the best commentary on 
his proposition, that marriage is an external thing like any 
secular affair. The readers now also understand that, by such 
principles, all fear of God was violently torn from the hearts 
of the married and consequently the door to all vices was 
opened to them. 

This audacious "Reformer" concludes : "It is nothing to 
God that a man leaves his wife, for the body is not bound to 
God, but is set free by Him in all external things, and be- 
longs to God only interiorly by faith. But before men the 
covenant is to be kept * * * Herein one cannot sin against 
God, but against one's neighbor." 

What a shocking moral doctrine on the part of the father 
of the "Evangelical Reformation!" "Should not the earth 
have opened and swallowed such a Tartar or living evil 
spirit?" exclaims Pistorius. "Could anything more Turkish 
or more devilish be taught? And is not Mahomet to be held 
even holy as compared with Luther? Do but open your eyes 

885 "Anatomiae Lutheri, pars prima, "Koln 1595, p. 147. Pistorius, him- 
self once a Protestant, became the feared. Invincible opponent of the Protest- 
ant pastors and theologians after his return to the Church. 


and your hearts, you dear Germans. Use only your human 
reason; do not let yourselves be drawn about even like fools, 
that you are not to recognize this gross Turkish spirit. Ac- 
cording to natural understanding (to say nothing of the 
spiritual), is it to be supposed that Luther had even a blood- 
drop of honor in him — I will not say of the fear of God? 
God pity the miserable blindness I"**" 

What indeed could more weaken the marriage bond than 
such a hair-raising doctrine? If the fear of God has disap- 
peared from the hearts of the married, the one will not even 
await the other's consent to the dissolution of the marriage 
tie. Whether the latter be obstinate or not, the former will 
go the ways forecast by lust. 

That is quite logical, however, if marriage is looked upon 
as an affair like any other. In 1522, Luther knows no higher 
point of comparison for it than that of eating, drinking, 
sleeping, walking, riding, buying, talking, and trafficking.''^'^ 
But something else follows from this. If the chief principle 
for the permissibility of a marriage was, that one could marry 
the person with whom he could eat, drink, sleep, walk, etc., 
then the marriage impediments, recognized up to that time, 
had to fall as the work of fools,'"'^ and one would wonder 
greatly if Luther had not allowed the marriage bond between 
brother and sister. But to this proposition he likewise agreed. 

In 1528, all the marriage impediments juris ecclesiastici 
were declared by him to be dead, i.e., set aside ; also even such 
as are juris naturalis, or nearly akin to it, consanguinitas, 
affinitas, and publicae honestatis. This follows from Luther's 
marginal note, "dead," on Spalatin's general paragraph: 
"What blood-relationship, marriage-relationship, and spiritual 
affinity hinder marriage." In an incredible but logical man- 
ner, he then declares "dead," i.e. set aside, the impedimenta 

»«« Ibid. p. 149. 

*«^Erl. 20, 65: "Now as I may eat, drink, sleep, walk, ride, buy, speak, 
and traffic with a heathen, Jew, Turk, or heretic, so likewise may I marry one 
£ind stay married with him. And give no heed to the fool-laws which forbid 
the like." 

9«8 Ibid. p. 62 sqq. 


consanguinitatis""^ also consanguinitas in linea recta, at least 
insofar as it forbids marriage in infinitum (a), and consan- 
guinitas in linea obliqua, even in tlie first degree between 
brother and sister (b). Naturally tbere was less difficulty in 
the cases of marriage with the daughter of one's brother or 
sister, and with the sister of one's father or mother (a), or 
in the degrees of affinitas or marriage relationship (c, d), or 
in puhlica honestas (e). 

All this was included in Luther's conception of Christian 
liberty, i.e., unbounded and unbridled licentiousness, not less, 
indeed, than in his endeavor to do the opposite of the provi- 
sions of the laws of the Church. Of the permissibility of mar- 
riage in the first degree of blood-relationship, Protestants of 
that time said nothing, as neither did Luther to my Imowl- 
edge. But here and there in the circles of his followers, peo- 
ple were scandalized on account of the marriages of persons 
related in the second or third degree, such marriages being 
considered contrary to natural decorum.^" 

seo On Jan. 3, 152S, .Tohn, Elector of Saxony, asked Luther to revi-se and 
correct Spalatin's memorial on marriage matters. Luther did so. Spalatin's 
memorial, with Luther's corrections and marginal notes, was printed in 
Burkhardt's "Martin Luthers Briefwechsel", p. 123-130 (thence taken by 
Enders, VI, 182-186). The portions that interest us are found on p. 130. The 
general section in Spalatin's memorial reads : "Welche Sippschaft und Mag- 
schaft nach Vermuge und Ordnung die Ehe verhindern." On this Luther 
wrote the all-annihilating word "tod" — dead, i.e., set aside. In detail: (a) 
"Zum ersten so ist den Personen, so einander in der aufsteigenden und 
neidersteigenden Linie verwandt, die Ehe in infinitum durch und durch allen- 
thalben verboten." On this proposition Luther made the marginal annota- 
tion, "tod." Spalatin continues: (b) "Zum andern : Bruder und Schwester 
mogen sich nicht verehelichen, so mag einer auch seines Bruders oder 
Scliwester Tochter oder Enkel nicht nehmen. Desgleichen ist verboten seines 
Vaters, Grossvaters, der Mutter, Grossmutter Schwester zu heiraten." Luther 
wrote on the margin of the first line, and at the same time for the whole 
proposition, "tod." Propositions on afflnitas (c, d) and puMica honestas 
(d) follow. Moreover, the lawfulness of marriage between brother and sister 
according to Luther is a consequence of his principles, and only the imperial 
law would have been able to determine him for its unlawfulness. From his 
"tod" on proposition a, it would also have been possible to prove that, ac- 
cording to him, even marriage between father and daughter, mother and son 
was lawful. 

»'» Thus, e.g., there appeared in Wurttemberg, 1534, an ordinance against 
such "brutish, bold, and shameless persons, as, contrary to natural decorum, 
marry each other within the second or third degree of blood or marriage 
relationship." See Dollinger, loc. cit., II, 445 and note 30. 


I. How Conditions weee Bettered. The Soul Naturally 
Catholic, not Lutheran. 

To the great multitude of present-day Protestants, it is 
not Imown to what principles, in respect to marriage, their 
father once gave expression, and how those principles, if they 
had been put into practice for a longer time, would needs 
have led human society to its utter ruin. Merely with refer- 
ence to the universal corruption among their own fellow be- 
lievers, the very preachers and reformers of the Lutheran 
denomination had pronounced the judgment: "We must in 
truth * « * confess: that, as every possible thing that 
means and can be called sin, vice, and shame has risen to its 
highest in Germany, it is much to be presumed that the evil 
spirits are nowhere else in the world save * * * in Germany 
alone." "The people would simply have to turn into devils; 
in human form there is no getting any worse."®" 

Owing to the Luther biographers and pastors, the Protes- 
tant public is led astray. It has been brought to believe 
that the well-ordered family life of today, as one does meet 
it to a considerable extent among Protestants and as I myself 
have witnessed it in my relations with them, goes back to the 
principles which Luther set up in his warfare against the 
Church. It has been kept unaware of how unjust and falla- 
cious Luther's warfare was against the marriage laws of the 
Church and against marriage as a sacrament, and how dis- 
integrating his principles were in their effect upon marriage 
and the family life of his time and the time immediately fol- 
lowing. It may be that some Luther-researchers, at least 
many pastors, too much used to celebrating beforehand the 
"moral achievement of Luther" and the "blessings of the Re- 
formation," handle their subject in good faith. But one 
thing is nevertheless certain. They all overlook the fact that 
Luther, in setting up his teachings, scarcely ever thought of 
the consequences resulting from them, least of all the prac- 
tical ones. Thus it was at the beginning of the Peasants' 
War in respect to his teaching on Christian liberty. It was 

9'i Thus the Lutheran A. Musculus, "Von des Teufels Tyrannei" in. 
"Theatrum Diabolorum," fol. 128, ISTb. 


also the case with regard to his principles on marriage. When 
the practical consequences became manifest and were ma- 
tured, he spoke and preached and blustered against them, so 
that one could have thought he was the most innocent man 
in the world, full of moral earnestness, whereas he did not 
attack the root, the cause, at all, namely, his teachings, and 
indeed, at times, he held to them all the more firmly. By 
what course did Protestants reach bettered conditions? 
Chiefly through the interposition of the secular authority, 
which, to avoid its being irremediably swamped, had perforce 
to look after public morality and did look after it. Again 
through the endeavors of earnest Protestant theologians, fol- 
lowing the same course that had enabled them to reach a bet- 
terment in many another point, when, partly in their symboli- 
cal books but even more in after times, they more or less un- 
consciously returned to Catholic principles. 

This very thing happened in respect to the article of the 
standing and falling Church, Luther's doctrine on justifica- 
tion by faith alone. Who among Protestants accepts it today, 
as Luther taught it? Not rarely, in their camp, one glimpses 
justifying faith in the faith that is active in charity. The 
simple thought and feeling alone of the individual leads 
thither. Such was the case, speaking quite generally, with 
contrition, with many another doctrine, and even partly with 
marriage. After bitter experiences, there was an approach 
in this point, too, to Catholic principles,"" from which, as 
from their conscience as well, many families had never 
swerved — although with Luther, the dissolubility of marriage, 
so contrary to Scriptures, is still always taught and its sacra- 
mental character is rejected. 

The phenomenon just briefly touched on proves at least 
one thing — that the human soul is natively Christian in the 
sense of Catholic; for the approach on the part of the Pro- 

^'2 I say that there was a return to principles, for the practice, as among 
Catholics even, is often not conformed to the principles of their Church. 
What Jacob Rabus said in his account of his conversion, 1567, is to the 
point : "Among Catholics, faults are to be laid at the door of persons, among 
Protestants at the door of doctrine and persons." In Rass, Convertitenbilder, 
I, 512. The good Lutheran always stands higher by far than Luther and his 


testant theologians, as described, was unconscious. Luther 
himself could not escape being interiorly driven back, against 
his striving and his teaching, into his Catholic consciousness, 
even on leading points. There was no avoiding it. The soul 
is naturally Catholic. Nevertheless Protestant theologians 
absolutely do not wish to be Catholic, and, far from admit- 
ting that they had made any approach to Catholic funda- 
mentals or principles, they suffer their people to remain in 
the belief that such doctrines, more resembling Catholic teach- 
ing than Luther's, are Lutheran, while at the same time they 
give out as Catholic some doctrines which Luther falsified 
and garbled beyond recognition. For, however much they 
otherwise get away from him, to this day they are steeped in 
the wholly false conceptions of Catholic doctrine which were 
foisted upon them by Luther. The very children at home 
and in the schools are thereby poisoned. If Protestants knew 
the true being and nature of Catholic doctrine, an under- 
standing, assuming good will, would be possible. In that 
case, they would not say with Bugenhagen : "God Himself is 
Lutheran";"'^ rather would they confess with us: "Like the 
soul, so is God also Catholic." They would needs confess that 
the pure Lutheran doctrine is something unnatural, contrary 
to reason."'* 



Luther's Debased Stand in His Judgment of and Opposi- 
tion TO the Religious State and Religious. 

Looking over the thirteen chapters of this section, we get 
worse than a bad impression of Luther's principles, demeanor, 
and character. We hit, not upon a man who even half de- 
served the title of a reformer, but upon an agitator, an over- 
thrower, to whom no sophistry is too audacious, no artifice 

973 "Von dem ehelichen Stande der Bischofe und Diaken," Wittenberg 
1525, fol. F. 

87* In this chapter I have entered upon Luther's marriage doctrine only 
insofar as It included his utterances on the vows. 


too bad, no lie too strong, no calumny too great, to justify 
his apostasy from the Church and from his own earlier prin- 
ciples. The entire Catholic doctrine on the counsels, on the 
vows, in a word, on the whole religious state was distorted 
by him and made contemptible before the whole world. The 
hearts of the religious were thus to be estranged from their 
state, to be incited to the violation of their voavs and to 
marriage, or, if they had already ventured upon that step, to 
be confirmed in it. Luther does not shrink even from giving 
himself the lie by the statutes of his own Order, to ascribe 
words and views to himself as a young monk which he had 
never entertained; he does not disdain to falsify Catholic 
doctrine, even to hold up to his contemporaries as universally 
valid, propositions which not a soul either then or earlier had 
even thought of. The better to draw priests and religious, 
already decadant, into his toils, he represents to them the 
"impossibility" of resisting their sexual instinct, and mar- 
riage as a conscientious duty. And what principles he de- 
veloped on the latter, i.e., on marriage ! The more his follow- 
ing increased, the more boldly and audaciously he took his 
stand. The better to be able to show this, I took up, besides 
Luther's treatise on the vows, his other and later writings. 

The same means as those against Catholics were at bot- 
tom employed by Luther against all his opponents. To cite 
but one example, that was the experience of one of his re- 
cruits, the apostate Dominican, Bucer, when he allowed him- 
self to contradict Luther in his teaching on communion; 
Bucer did not therefore hesitate to tax him with shameless- 
ness for alleging something against him out of a preface, as 
widespread as it had been in many copies, which he (Bucer) 
had never even thought of."" He charges him ivith raging 

s'5 In 1526, Luther was justly angered against Bucer (on the occasion 
thereof see Enders, V, 388, Note 2). But in the controversy witli him, Luther 
showed himself the same insidious man as always. He charged Bucer with 
having written and printed things which in his work were nevertheless of an 
entirely different purport. Thus Bucer is alleged to have written : "Miracula 
Christ! fuerunt talia, ut cum diceret : hoc est illud, raox sensibile quoque 
fuerit. Ideo et Christi corpus oportere esse visibile in sacramento, aut non 
est in sacramento." Bucer would thus be drawing a conclusion from the 
particular to the universal, which would make even a freshman laugh (Enders 
V, 386). Bucer replies: "Quid ad haec dicendum? Si legit mea, rursus 


against the known truth^" But why did Bucer and his fel- 
lows not rise up when Luther acted even worse towards the 
Church than against themselves? Because Luther stood forth 
against him, Bucer became sensible of how far it was from 
the spirit of Christ to answer with abuse and reproaches.^" 
But, from 1520 on, what means did Luther employ against 
the Church, the orders, and the priesthood? Words of con- 
tempt, abuse, calumnies were with him the order of the day. 
Then Bucer and his fellows found all that to be quite in 
order; with Luther they recognized therein the spirit of 

In the preface referred to Bucer also took the part of 
Oecolampadius against Luther.^™ This was the same Oecol- 
ampadius who had written to the apostate Benedictine, Am- 
brose Blarer: "Yield to the dirty Papists in nothing, for, if 
they are not hindered and caused to be hated by the people, 
they, personified wolves that they are and the most injurious 
of all, will sweep a great part away Avith them. If they are 
properly painted to the people from the very beginning, no 

haereo, etenim tam confessae impudentiae, ut extantibus tot cxemplaril)us 
audeat mihi impingere, quod nunquam in mentem niihi venit, profecto grava- 
tim ipsum insimularim." Bucer, however, had precisely argued from the 
universal to the particular, when, instead of the proposition foisted upon 
him by Luther, he wrote: "Omnia opera domlnl, quae scriptura corporalia 
commemorat dicendo : hoc est illud, ut cun aquam in nuptiis memorat 
vinum factum * * * vere corporalia, hoc est sensibilia adparuerunt." Bucer 
justly queries : "ubl hie argumentum huiusmodi : aliqua Christi miracula 
sunt visibilia, ergo necesse est omnia esse visibilia? Cur omissum est 'cor- 
poralia', in quo tota vis argumentationis?" But when Bucer writes: "Ma- 
liciously to misrepresent (calumniari) the writings of brethren in that man- 
ner becomes the enemies of the truth but not Luther," (Enders, loc. cit., p. 
390, note 8), he should have been asked: "Is it only so late you begin to 
know Luther?" Did not Bucer and his like shout their applause, when 
Luther went to far worse lengths and was still doing so in respect to the 

S76 Enders, V, p. 390, note 7. 

9^^ Bucer, in his preface, had called Luther a vehement opponent of his 
sect ; Luther wished "utinam per negotia liceret esse vehementiorem !" 
(Enders, V, 387). Bucer replies: "Si de vehementia argumentorum intel- 
ligit, optarim idem et ego ; sin conviciorum, optarim agnosceret, quam alienum 
id sit a spiritu Christi" (loc. cit., p. 391, note 11). Seeing Luther and 
Bucer engaged in disputation, one is involuntarily reminded of the first words 
of the third antiphon of Lauds on Good Friday : "ait latro ad latronem." 

878 Ibid., p. 390, note 7. 


one will believe them any longer/'"" Luther was the one 
who set the tunes of this kind. His entire treatise on the 
monastic vows and his subsequent productions verify the old 
saying: "Every apostate is a slanderer of his Order." 
Luther could have seen the allusion to this saying in the acts 
of the general chapter of his Order, held under the master- 
general, James of Siena, at Toulouse in 1341.'*° The proverb, 
founded on experience: "Every apostate is a persecutor of 
his Order," was held up by the first opponents of Lutheran- 
ism to their one-time brethren, now fallen away and given to 
measureless, shameless vilification.®'^ 

In the following pages, I offer a necessary supplementary 
addition to my previous investigations, so that the reader 
may have the fullest possible idea of the debased standpoint 
which Luther took in relation to religious after his apostasy. 

A. Luther's Wanton Extravagance and Vulgarity in His 
Judgment of Religious and Priests. 

The older Luther got to be, the more outrageous he was. 
We hear from his lips : "Nuns are so called from a German- 
ism : for that is what castrated sows are denominated, as 
monks from horses (i.e., castrated ones.) But they are not 
yet healed. They have to wear breeches as well as other 
people."'*^ What vulgarity! Wrampelmeyer teaches us that 
the words, nun and monk, are not derived, as Luther thought^ 
from the German."" What an ignoramus the Protestants 
brand their clean "Reformer," "the greatest man of Ger- 

"^8 In Herzog, "Das Leben des Joh. OecoIompacUns und die Reformation 
zu Basel," 1843, II, 291. 

s'8» Ms. Virdun, 41, fol. 197 : "Quoniam effrenata apostatarum dampnata 
temeritas nonnunquam, in Romana praecipue curia, ordinis famam denigrat 
vel obnubilare frequencius posset, quapropter statiiimus * * « Apostatae 
fratres et ordinem infamantes, quos a malo timer dei non revocat" * * * 

°*i Ttius Scliatzgeyer and Usingen. See N. Paulus, "Kaspar Schatzgeyer," 
p. 69 sq. ; "Der Augustiner Barthol. Arnoldi v. Usingen," p. 37, .50. 

982 "Nonnae sic appellantur a germanismo, quia castratae sues sic vocan- 
tur, sicut monachi ab equis. But they are not quite healed, have just as 
much to wear breeches as other folks." Wrampelmeyer, "Tagebuch iiber Dr. 
Martin Luther gefuhrt von C. Corbatus," p. 340, n. 1275 ; Losche "Analecta 
Lutherana et Melancthoniana," p. 252, n. 391. 

"83 Loc. cit. But Losche does not venture to correct his "Reformer." He 
only explains Luther's etymology in a note! 


many" when they assume that Luther did not know that the 
term "monk," "monachus," comes from the Greek uovaxo?, 
"living alone?" Furthermore, if it was unknown to Luther that 
the inmates of the convent, founded in the fourth century by 
St. Pachomius on the island of Tabennae in the Nile in Upper 
Egypt got the name "nun," i.e. lady,"" for "nonna" in the 
language of the land meant "lady," just as "nonnus" meant 
"sir," it must at least have been known to him that St. 
Jerome, in his day, used the name, "nun," for consecrated 
virgins,®^" as St. Benedict used "nonnus" for "paterna rever- 
entia""'* paternal reverence. 

The same ribald character of Luther forced itself upon 
our notice in our earlier chapters. To him priests and 
monks are "devils in disguise," "coarse, fat asses, adorned 
with red and brown (i.e. violet) birettas, like the sow.""" 
Perhaps Luther was here thinking, not of the life of a priest 
but of his ordination. "If for their priesthood they can only 
show tonsure, anointing, and the long cassock, we allow 
them to glory in this filth, since we know one can also easily 
shear, anoint, and clothe with a long robe a sow or a block.""^^ 
"The monks define a priest as one who wears a long dress, has 
a shaved head, and reads the canonical hours. Apart from 
this idea they know no priest, just as if God approved those 
mass-priests howling in the churches. These are priests of 
the devil * * * They did not esteem Abraham highly, be- 
cause he had no tonsure, no mass-vestment, nor anointed 

»s* See F. X. Funk in T. X. Kraus, "Real-Encyklopadie der christllchen 
Altertiimer," II, 403. 

»85 Ep. 22, n. 16, and also the note of Ballarsi in Migne, Patr. lat., t. 22, 
p. 404 (c). Thus also does the Bishop of Chartres, St. Fulbert, of the XI 
century, in the section "de penitentia laicorum," count it a peccatum capitate: 
"si quis nonnam corruperit." Migne, Patr. lat., t. 141, p. 339. 

38* Reg. c. 68 : "iuniores priores sues nonnos vocent, quod intelligitiur 
paterna reverentia." See further proofs in Migne, Patr. lat., t. 66, p. 876 sq. 

9"Weim. XV, 51. 

88S Ibid. XII, 189. Another time it is an ass. "Why, I will clothe an 

ass with such a frock, gird him with a rope, shave a tonsure on him, stand 

him in a corner, and he shall also fast and celebrate (in honor of) the 
saints." Erl. 13, 256. 


fingers; he nourislied a beard and was married. If lie had a 
whore and spurious children, they would praise him more."°^° 

It was this vulgar, ribald character that, as early as 1521, 
inspired the "Eeformer" to utter the counsel: "I consider 
it the best that, in the future, the priesthood be called not 
priests but shavelings ( "Plattentrager," wearers of a bald 
pate), and that the useless folk be driven out of the land. Of 
what use to us is the shaveling-gang, priests neither spiritually 
nor corporeally? And what need have we of them, since we 
ourselves are all corporeal, spiritual, and every kind of priests? 
Like alien useless guests, they gobble our bread. Therefore 
out with them, out with the rascals".°°° Hence, in 1540, he 
could say in his foul manner: "Where, in the long run, will 
the Papists get monks and priests? Here in Wittenberg there 
are many students, but I do not believe a single one would let 
himself be anointed and hold his mouth open for the Pope to 
void his dirt into it.'"" (The original German here, as in 
many other places, is too vulgar to be tolerated in its corre- 
sponding equivalent in English. — Translator's note.) 

In the face of such trivialities, one is not astonished on 
hearing the "Eeformer", in 1530, telling at length how the 
Pope "bespattered" everything: "Thus the Pope bespatters 
even the bodies of the priests. For the natural growth and 
creature of God, the poor hair of the head, had to be sin. They 
had to wear tonsures, shear their beards ; then they were holy. 
And, in sum : all Christians' body and life had to be called 
unholy, his anointed alone were holy. I will not say how eas- 
ily a laic could profane a consecrated person, place or thing. 
Thus the Pope bespatters clothing as well ; for whatever monk 
or nun did not wear their capuches of special cut and color, 
the same was a sinner and lost, as also the priests with their 

089 "Monachi sacerdotem definiunt, qui habet longam vestem, rasuin 
caput, qui legit lioras canonicas. Extra hanc idearn nullum sacerdotem 
norunt, quasi vero deus sacrificos istos ululantes in templis probet ; DiaboU 
sacerdotes sunt * * * Abraham non magni faciunt, propterea quod non 
habet rasum caput, non habet casulam aut unctos digitos, allt barbam et est 
maritus. Si habuisset scortum et spurios, magis laudarent." 0pp. exeg lat , 
V, 213. 

eeoWeim. VIII, 251. 

«oi"Luthers Tischreden in der Mathesischen Sammlung" edited by 
Kroker, N. 235. 


clothes."^'^ Thus runs the account of that which the Pope, the 
"devil's head," "bespatters". 

A ribald, whose only concern is to make a whole state of 
life ridiculous, must needs have recourse to lies, if he is to suc- 
ceed. For, that one cannot and may not condemn a whole 
state of life, Luther himself in his better days proved with 
drastic effect.''^ Now what a higgledy-piggledy of ribaldry, 
trifling, and lying do not the above-cited words of Luther 
contain? We find him therein in his own true humor to de- 
liver priesthood and monasticism over to the mockery of the 
world and to do everything to vex the hated Papists. "The 
while they, in their judgment, are triumphiug over one of my 
heresies, I, in the meantime, Avill produce a new one."'** It is 
that humor in which he acted on the principle of making a 
"counter-play", of doing the precise opposite of the "mad laws 
of the Pope",'*' even of scheming what scandal he might set 
up, in order to anger them and at the same time to please 

In August, 1525, he writes that he took the Bora woman 
to wife out of contempt for the Papists, and that, if he can, he 
will do more to spite them and that they may confess the 
word.''*^ On January 5, 1526, writing to Marquard Schuldorp, 
who had married his sister's daughter, he gives expression to 
these hair-raising words, which manifest the state of his soul 
to the whole world: "I also took a nun to wife, however I 
might have been able to arrange and had no particular reason 
except that I did it to spite the devil with his scabs, the big 
Jacks, princes, and bishops, who are like to be downright 
crazy because ecclesiastics are to be free. And I would gladly 
set up more scandal, if only I knew of something more that 
pleased God and annoyed them. For thereby do I vent my 
feeling at their raging against the Gospel that they are an- 
gered, and I do not care and always keep on and do it all the 
more, the more they do not want it. They boast of might, I 
trust to right ( !) and shall wait to see whether might or right 

«s2Erl. 41, 298. 

»»3 See above, p. 213 sq. 

»9*Weini. VI, 501, 7, ad an. 1520. 

095 VS^eim. VIII, 143, 172, ad an. 1521. 

»»8Enders V, 226. 


will finally go or stay. Therefore I advise you to do the same. 
You should be sorry if they did not get vexed with you, other- 
wise it were a sign that you lived to please the enemies of the 
Gospel. But that they are vexed ought to make you laugh and 
be cheerful, since you Imow that it pleases God."°" Such was 
the quality of Luther's frame of mind. All clear, quiet think- 
ing must have been lacking there. It was about the disposi- 
tion of those of whom the Saviour foretold that they would 
think they did a service to God, if they killed His apostles 
(John 16, 2). 

B. Luther's Line of Action to Move Eeligious 
TO Apostatize. 
In his warfare against the orders ( especially the Francis- 
can and the Dominican ) , Luther desired to deal a blow to the 
Papacy. He knew well that precisely the orders, especially the 
mendicant, and among them again the Franciscans and the 
Dominicans, are the most powerful auxiliary forces of the 
Church, as Luther himself confesses.'"' To hit the Church 
most effectively, he had to make an end of the orders. This 
could succeed only if, on the one side, the religious could be 
brought to violate their vows and to abandon their monas- 
teries and, if on the other hand, they could be made hateful 
to the people, who clung more to the religious, especially the 
mendicants, than to the pastoral clergy. 

s^'De Wette III, 84; also Eiiders V, 303 sq. Lutlier manifested the same 
disposition when his dispensation for the bigamic marriage of Philip of 
Hessen became public. "With the most beaming countenance and not with- 
out strong laughter," he spoke of the matter In a smutty manner, and made 
merry over the foreseen uproar of the "Papists," concluding thus : "I would 
not show the devil and all the Papists so great a favor as to be bothered 
about it. God tcill make it all right." "Luthers Tischreden in der Mathesis- 
chen Sammlung." No. 241. 

^ssin the "Tischreden" (Tabletalk), ed. Forstemann, III, 286, he says: 
"The Augustinians and the Bernardine monks were nothing against these 
shameful lice." P. 288 : "Among all the monks the Preachers and the Slinorites 
or Barefooters were the most distinguished and the most powerful aids and 
representatives of the Pope. The dominicastri * * * are the most famed 
and glorious Atlantes and bearers of the Pope. They were glad to hunt honor 
in the shame of others, when they scorned the people ; could not tolerate 
learned folk, they wanted to be so alone." P. 290, he is of the opinion that 
both these mendicant Orders had been the columnae of the Papacy. P. 289 : 
"The monks had the common people in their hands." "The monasteries were 
the Pope's best fowling decoys." 


^'Between Philip (Melanclitlioii) and myself," wrote Lu- 
ther from the Wartburg to his friend Gerbel, as we already 
know,'""' "there is a powerful conspiracy on against the vows 
of the religious, namely, to do away with and to nullify them. 
Oh, that criminal Antichrist with all his scabs ! How through 
him Satan has made all the mysteries of Christian piety deso- 
late ! Greetings to your wife * * » Happy are you that, by 
honorable marriage, you have overcome that unclean celibacy, 
which, partly on account of constant sexual desire and partly 
immundis fiuxihus, is to be condemned * » * / hold marriage 
to he a paradise."'^"'"' Thus did he write as he was about to 
compose his treatise on the monastic vows, after at the same 
time acknowledging that in the Wartburg he "was exposed to 
a thousand devils" and that he came "frequently to fall".'""'^ 

Some months previous, before he had published his theses 
on the vows, Luther writes : "I also wish to set celibacy free, 
as the Gospel requires, hut hoio to accomplish that I do not 
yet sufficiently knoiv."'^°"^ But if he was already convinced 
that the Gospel demanded the liberty of celibacy, how could 
he say that he did not yet know how to bring it about that 
celibacy might be set free? All he needed to do was to step 
forward with those words of the Gospel which in his opinion 
demanded the liberty of celibacy, and the thing was done. 
But therein lay the difficulty. Well did Luther know that the 
Gospel, the sacred Scripture, was not on his side. So he con- 
sidered how he might get it on his side. This he did in the 
same wise as in the case of the utterances of Bernard, of the con- 
stitutions of his Order, of the teachings of the Church, namely, 
hy falsification and contradictions, hy trickery and sophistries. 

On this head I need not in any particular manner waste 
further words. We find the evidences at every crook and 
turn. "Luther is ashamed of no lie," wrote the Dominican 
John Mensing of his tirne.""^ He made no scruple of mislead- 
ing priests and monks into dissimulation, into restrietio men- 

899 See above, p. 43. 
1000 Enders, III, 241 of Nov. 1, 1521. 
looi Ibid., p. 240. 

loos Ibid., p. 219 of Aug. 15, 1521. 

1003 Vormeldunge der Unwahrheit Luther'scher Klage," etc., 1532, fol. 
J. ij. 


talis in the worse sense of the word,""* and finally of expressly 
declaring a lie permissible.""^ It is evident what one can ex- 
pect of such a man and what one can think of him. He falsi- 
fies and distorts ideas, and then assails the caricature he has 
made, as Catholic doctrine. The reader finds enough instances 
of this above. Against all the testimony of antiquity, Luther 
does not shrink from the mendacious assertion that the vows 
lead away from Christ, that, according the Catholic teaching, 
they talie the place of baptism, that they are contrary to faith 
and reason, and so on. His sophistically formulated premises, 
to attain their result, had to hold up the vows as made in an 
evil, unchristian manner, and as therefore to be broken. 

That his representations of these matters involved him in 
contradictions he does not observe at all. Thus he once has 
it that Catholics were obliged to keep even foolishly made 
vows : "if you had vowed to kill a fly or to pick up a straw, 
you would have to keep your vow.""°^ Here he slyly poses 
as one who had never heard the Catholic teaching that a 
foolish vow is invalid, and that a vow must be '^de bono 

Luther made use of sophistries, distortions, and lies in 
order to set hated celibacy free. This was the aim of the 
conspiracy upon which he entered with Melanchthon. He 
knew well that if he adhered to the truth he could not ac- 
complish his purpose. But he also knew that a great part 
of the members of the orders had already fallen away from 
the idea of the religious life, were in the condition of the 
"uri," and ripe for their lapse. In this condition, as Luther 
says, "one forgets everything, law, nature. Scripture, books 

If"* See above, p. 95 sqq. 

1005 Above, p. 132. Other proofs ia Paulus, "Litt. Beil zur Kolner 
Volksztg," 1904, No. 8. I am well aware that nowadays this no longer pro- 
duces an impression upon many Protestant moralists. On this see Maus- 
bach, "Die Kathol. Moral," etc., p. 65 sq. But this phenomenon proves to 
those of good will how deep it is possible to sink in moral consciousness under 
the influence of Luther's principles. 

1006 Weim. VIII, 638. 

1007 In Eccles. 5, 3, it had already been said : "an unfaithful and foolish 
promise displeaseth him." And Thomas Aquinas 2. 2, qu. 88, a. 2 ad 3 says : 
"Vota quae sunt de rebus vanls et Inutilibus, sunt magis deridenda quam 


of God and of His commandments: tliere is nothing there 
but constant striving after the satisfaction of evil desire."""* 
That was the state in which a great part of the religious were, 
and for them were Luther's arguments against the vows 

"The world wishes to he cheated," he once wrote; "if one 
wants to catch many redbreasts and birds, one must put an 
owlet or an owl on the block or lime-twig; then there will 
be success."""^ First Luther distorted the doctrine on the 
counsels and vows and their relation to the commandments. 
He did this in such wise as to make the vows appear to be 
contrary to faith. At the same time he aroused carnal lust 
in the dissolute monks, and especially the nuns, mirrored to 
them the impossibility of resistance, and the uselessness of 
prayer, which they had neglected anyhow, and deceived them 
with the thought that God could not even help them to be 
continent, since He had instituted marriage as a remedy 
against "impossibility." He represented the violation of 
the vows as a work pleasing to God, marriage as God's com- 
mandment.^"^" His conclusion was: "It is wholly and com- 
pletely evident that your vows are null, not permitted, god- 
less, running counter to the Gospel. Therefore one may not 
even debate whether you took them with a devout or with 
a godless intention, since it is certain that you vowed godless 
things. Consequently you must put your trust in the Gospel, 
abandon your vows, and turn back to Christian liberty.""" 
Those who were ripe for their fall heard this gladly. This 
was the "owlet" which the ungodly, conscienceless apostate 
had "set upon the block and upon the lime-twig"; religious 
who were already worm-eaten, who knew no logic but that 
of the flesh, and those nuns who could not say with the good 
that they had grown too strong for the wicked enemy,"" then 
"fell in heaps and with all their might from their Christian 

iios See above, p. 87. 

1009 Eri. 25, 237. 

1010 On this see the entire sixth chapter. 

10" At the close of his treatise on the monastic vows, Welm. VIII, 668. 
loi^ In the ms. of the sermon "Audi filia," presently to be cited, this 
saying is several times applied to the faithful nuns. 


faith upon the devil's block and lime-twig.""^^ Luther 
achieved this desired result the more certainly because many 
religious as well as particularly a great part of the secular 
clergy, were then living their lives in great ignorance. "I 
had then in all my days (when Wicel apostatized to Luther) 
never seen, to say nothing of reading, an instructor of the 
Church, on which account I was easily to be misled," writes 
Wicel ; "besides, the German proverb may here be true : It is 
easy piping to him toho loves to dance."^"^* 

A Protestant head-master recently wrote in this connec- 
tion: "To what a sad pass monastic discipline had come, 
how little the monastic life was capable of affording true 
satisfaction and peace of soul, we know best from the ex- 
ceedingly rapid decline of the monasteries in the regions 
which were caught up by the Wittenberg reform move- 
nient.""^^ What a perversion and confusion of ideas domi- 
nates those heads! It might have passed, had this savant 
said, to what a sad pass the spiritual condition of some and 
the religious discipline of many a monastery had come, we 
Imow from the fact that they so soon permitted themselves 
to be convinced by Luther's frivolous and mendacious words. 
But when he also alleges as an explanation of the rapid de- 
cline of the monasteries, "how little the monastic life was 
capable of affording true satisfaction and peace of soul," he 
only proves his incapability of thinldng, for it is not malice, 
as it is in Luther, who does the same thing. He identifies 
the religous state with the evil religious exactly in the same 
manner as if one were to identify an adulterer with the mar- 
ried state. Just as the Christian religion is not at fault if 
one who hypocritically feigns religion wallows in vice, as 

lois Erl. 25, 237. The above sense Is more correct than that which Liither 
himself gives to his comparison. 

i°i* In Riiss, "Convertitenbilder," I, 1G8. The meaning is : "It is easy 
to persuade one to do a thing, when he has a mind to do it." See E. Thiele, 
"Luthers Sprichwortersammlung", No. 108, p. 124. Thus does Wolfgang 
Mayer also say : "Quomodo post se tantam apostatarum turbam traheret 
Ijutherus, nisi placentia doceret?" Votorum monast. tutor (Cod. lat. Monac. 
2880, fol. 67"). 

ii'is J. H. Gebauer, "Zur Geschiclite der letzten Monche in der Mark," In 
"Ztschft. fiir Kirchengeschichte", 1901, Vol. XXI, p. 380. 


St. Jerome writes/"^ so neither is the religious state to be 
blamed for tlie corruption of its members. Is true monastic 
life or the idea of the religious life one with and the same as 
apostasy from this idea? Is life, conformed to the duties of 
a state, one and identical with the life which runs into con- 
stant unfaithfulness and mistakes? That such is not the case 
is admitted by almost every Protestant, if the Catholic Church 
is not in question; but let her appear on the scene, and they 
straightway are minus a little wheel, and the greatest non- 
sense and contradiction seem to them to be apposite and 
reasonable. They were inoculated with this by the Father of 
the "Evangelical Reformation." Yet he spoke in a manner 
entirely different, before satanic hatred of the Church, whose 
ruin he had sworn, guided him. 

Above^"" I have already quoted his words out of the 
year 1516, to the effect that religious could be the happiest, 
the most blessed (of people), if they wished, i.e., if they lived 
like true religious. According to even Luther's admission, 
therefore, the religious life was able to afford true satisfac- 
tion and peace of soul. As a true religious, one has but "to 
take upon one's self the sweet cross of Christ, obedience ac- 
cording to the rule, to follow His will and Him whom the 
heart desires, not like a cross that the thief on the left bore 
with murmuring, but like the one which St. Andrew received 
* * * The mouth of truth promised you it will be light and 
joyous, when He spoke : 'my yoke is sweet and my burden 
light, and you shall find rest to your souls.' Believe those 
who have experienced it. If there is a paradise in this 
world, it is either in the cloister or in study in g."^"^^ Such 
also was once the judgment of Luther, when he still grasped 
the idea of the religious life; but now he held marriage to be 
paradise, as we saw above,"^" i.e., the giving up of the monas- 

101' Ep. 125, n. 6 : "Nee haee eulpa est Christiani nominls, si simulator 
religionis in vitio sit." 
iMTp. 38. 

1018 Sermon "Audi fllia" to the Dominican nuns of St. Catherine's monas- 
tery in Niirnberg, Fol. 104", ms. of the XIV century, which once belonged to 
that monastery and then came into the possession of the Seminary library of 
Mainz from the estate of F. Schlosser. 

1019 See p. 335. 


tic life by the violation of the vows and by wiving. For be 
was already mired. He bad fallen away from tbe idea of tbe 
true religious. Through his own fault he now found every- 
thing that was once a pleasure to him burdensome, and he 
cast it off for tbe gratification of tbe lusts of tbe flesh.""" 
Luther knew bis reading public. He knew how to arrange 
to catch them. He attained this in great part in Germany, 
among both the secular and the regular clergy, under the pro- 
test of the true clergy, secular and regular. 

C. Luther's Tactics to Estrange the People from the Ee- 

LiGious. Monkish Carousing, Holiness, and 

"Justice by Works." 

It was not enough for Luther's purpose to inveigle tbe 
religious. He bad also to estrange tbe people from them. 
As I have already remarked, tbe people were very fond of 
the religious, especially tbe mendicants. This, as Luther 
often repeats, was on account of their alleged hypocritical 
sanctity, on account of their fasting, their coarse habiliments, 
their apparently secluded manner of life. This could not 
be permitted to remain so. There is nothing to be done with- 
out tbe people. If they were fond of tbe orders, they would 
also be fond of tbe Church, whose destruction Luther bad 
sworn. It was therefore necessary to cause tbe Church to be 

1020 This was well expressed by the theologian William Gometius in 
Vienna in his rare treatise: "Apologia contra Martinum Lutherum," (1525), 
fol. B ij*. After summarizing Luther's appeal to the religious in the words: 
"Papa nos in servitutis jugum submisit," he continues : "Ad banc vocem 
monachos sub obedientiae vinculis clauses ac foeminas deo dicatas in claustris 
(quia experientia novit magnum eorum esse numerum, qui non voluntarie, sed 
Invitl deo serviunt) eos allicere facile putat, ut sibi militent, et amarissiml 
toxici poculum sub hac mellis dulcedine vulgo nihil altius consideranti propl- 
net * * * ut hac insana libertatis voce lllecti Innummerosus facinorosus- 
que exercitus sub eius insanae libertatis signis militet, quo optimos quosque 
expugnare facile possit, dicens illud Pauli : 'vos enim in libertatem vocati 
estis fratres' (Gal. 5, 13) ; sed sacrae scripturae corrupter subticet quod 
sequitur: 'tantum ne libertatem in occasionem detis carnis, sed per charita- 
tem spiritus servite invicem'." As a matter of fact Luther does omit the con- 
cluding sentence In his treatise on the monastic vows (Weim. VIII, 613, but 
unconsciously adduces it at the close of his entire book (ibid. p. 669) — a 
sentence oj condemnation o/ his treatise and its ensuing consequences. 


hated by the people. The means to this end varied according 
to circumstances. 

At times Luther depicted the monks as gormands, guz- 
zlers, rakes, libertines, and idlers. The ancient fathers 
"neither ate nor drank the livelong day, slept little, and went 
about like men suffering pain and denying the body every- 
thing, as much as nature could tolerate. One does not find 
much of such fasting now, especi-ally among our ecclesiastical 
monks and priests. For the Carthusians, who aim to lead the 
strictest life,^"" do not do it, although for the sake of appear- 
ances they carry out a part of it by going about in haircloth; 
nevertheless they gorge their bellies full of the best food and 
drink, and live without care in the softest manner pos- 

"I may freely say that / never saw any right fasting 
under the Papacy, such as was truly called fasting. For 
what kind of fasting is that to me when at noon they prepare 
a meal with delicious fish, seasoned in the best manner, more 
copious and lordly than two or three other repasts, and the 
strongest drinks added thereto, with an hour or three at table 
and one's paunch filled till it rumbles! Yet that was gen- 
eral and of little moment even among the strictest monks." 
Naturally bishops and abbots went to greater excesses. "My 
dear Papists have now all become good Lutherans, so that 
not one of them any longer thinks of fasting.""^^ "Did not 
the monks sell the rest of their sanctity, there would be 
few of them left and the lazy greedy bellies would get 
thin."^"^* "The mad saints fast one day on bread and 
water, and then the fourth part of a year daily gorge and 
guzzle themselves full and foolish. Some also fast by not 
eating evenings, but they sate themselves with drink.'""^^ "It 
is all pure deception when one breaks off a meal for show, 
but still daily well tickles the body otherwise * * * The 
Carthusians and our filthy rabble (monks and others) in their 

1021 Thus he also says on Gal. c. 5, t. Ill, 43, ed. Irmischer : "quorum ordo 
rlgldissimus est." 
i»22Erl. 43, 199. 
1023 Ibid. p. 195 sq. 

102* Erl. 31, 300. 
1025 Erl. 7, 45. 


hair shirts and grey frocks are to cause open eyes and 
mouths, so that it will be said: 'O what holy people they 
are! How bitter and fearful it must be for them to go so 
ill and rudely clad !' And yet evermore they gorge and guz- 
zle their paunches full!"^'"'^ Luther bluntly calls the monks, 
nuns, and priests, "belly-servers," "greedy guts.""^' "Nasty 
sows are they altogether. "^°^* In the Tabletalk the language 
is even worse. "^° 

On such occasions Luther is most fond of dealing with 
the abuses in the orders. Who denies them? Who has ever 
denied them? There was no one who denied them before 
Luther's time. They were openly acknowledged, but opposed 
at the same time — opposed by the orders themselves. It was 
sought to do away with them, but not in a manner to empty 
the tub of bath and baby at once. That abuses do not make 
the things themselves evil, and that the latter are not to be 
done away with or to be disturbed on account of the former, 
Luther himself had repeatedly declared.^"'" If there was any 
state of life in Luther's day to be suppressed on account of 
its prevalent degeneration, it would have been, not the re- 
ligious state, but the marriage state, which, as we saw in 
Chapter XIII, was profaned by the many adulteries in con- 
sequence of Luther's exceedingly lax morality, or rather his 
annihilation of all morality. There is no state of life that 
makes a pious man of him who is a rascal. 

If, on account of abuses and the practice of some few, it 
had been necessary to do away with the thing itself, then, in 
Luther's day, all vineyards should have been rooted up, all 
breweries — and Luther was not averse to them — should have 
been torn down, for, according to his own admission, the 
demon peculiar to Germany at that time was called "a good 
wine pipe," or "Guzzle.""" Nevertheless Luther did not 
plead for so radical a remedy. 

1026 Erl. 43, 200. 

1027 Erl. 44, 381. 
1028-vveim. XII, 135. 

1020 E(j. Forstemann, III, 299, 302; Losche, "Analecta Lutherana et 
Melanthoniana" (1892), p. 203, n. 314. 
1030 See above, p. 72 sq. 
i»3i See above, p. 314. 


If ever one should have kept silent about abuses in the 
orders, it was the father of the "Evangelical Reformation," 
whose adherents were first recruited from among those very 
priests, secular and regular, icho were the supporters of the 
abuses in the secular and regular priesthood. Once Luther's 
setting forth the abuses in the Church proceeded from the 
endeavors which he in common with many of his contempo- 
raries made to fight against degeneration for a better con- 
dition. Now, since 1520, their setting forth was solely a 
means of agitation with him, in order to make the hated Pap- 
ists the object of universal mockery and to divert eyes from 
the far worse corruption, the boundless immorality, and the 
unchristian life of his own house. 

"Under the pretext of religion," writes Luther, "one may 
not fly from political and household life, as the monks do, 
who therefore withdraw into monasteries that they may serve 
no one, — a blind generation of men given over to a perverted 
sense; therefore they are not concerned about either the first 
or the second table (of the laws). But they also receive the 
reward that is due to their godlessness. Avoiding all eco- 
nomic and political troubles, they go down in most terrible 
and abominable vices, more so, indeed, than any worldlings, 
as they call them.""^^ Such, after 1520, especially after his 
apostasy, is the key-note of his calumnies. They properly be- 
gin with his treatise against the monastic vows and do not 
cease on his part until his death. It gave him no concern 
that he heaped lie upon lie. Now if some one or another 
entered the monastery on the grounds indicated by Luther, 
did all do it? Did this correspond with the idea of the re- 
ligious life? Did not Luther in a better day turn against 
those who charged the faults and sins of a few to all in the 
same state of life?"^^ It gave him no concern that he laid 
at the door of the religious something that was not included 
in his "system," namely, they did not fulfil the command- 
ments of God. The contradiction is quite characteristic of 

i»32 Opp. exeg. lat., V. 172, for the year 1538-1539. 
1033 gee above, p. 213. 


Luther quite consciously set forth the "most terrible and 
the most abominable vices of the religious." To him and his, 
these were an excellent means of agitation, to incite all 
against the orders. Luther did this even in his treatise on 
the monastic vows. "Nowhere is chastity less observed," he 
writes there, "than by those who have vowed chastity. Al- 
most everything is stained vel immundis fluocibus vel perpetua 
ustione ct flamma inquieta libidinis."^"^* Twenty years later 
he repeats this. He calls the Catholic celibates "genus homi- 
num perditissimtmi libidinibus, scortationibus et adulteriis, 
qui dies noctesque tantum ludos suos venereos somniant ac 
imaginantur, quid ipsi facturi essent, si talis licentia [ut 
patriarchis) concederetur, ut singulis noctibus conjuges per- 
mutare possent, et cum eis ludere secundum flammas et ar- 
dorem carnis, sicut cum scortis suis ludent."^°^'^ — ( "a class of 
men most abandoned to libidinousness, whorishness, and 
adultery, who day and night only dream of their lustful 
diversions, and imagine what they would do, if such pri\dlege 
were granted to them (as to the patriarchs), so that they 
could exchange consorts every night, and could sport with 
them according to the flames and ardor of the flesh, as they 
sport with their whores." ) But how does this immaculate re- 
former know what the countless celibates represent to them- 
selves, dream, and think at night? In 1521, he still held to 
the truth of St. Paul's dictum and even applied it to his own 
ignorance of the interior life of the religious : "For what 
man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man 
that is in him?"""" The father of the "Evangelical Keforma- 
tion," therefore, could write down the above horrible words 
and charges only insofar as he identified himself with all^°" 
Spite of this he wrote again in 1521 : "Beware lest you be- 
lieve they live chastely, of whom it is certain they live god- 
lessly; fattened by other's goods, they live on securely in 
idleness, satiety, and superabundance," etc.^"'^ Similar state- 

1034 weim. VIII, 649. 

1035 opp. exeg. lat., VII, 277. Cf. above, p. 319 sq. 

1036 1. Cor. 2, II. Cf. above, p. 75. 

1037 That this impure dreaming by day and by night was a Lutheran sin 
we learn farther on from a Lutheran table of sins. 

1038 Weim. VIII, 650 * * * "quos constat impie vivere." 


ments we have already learned to knoAV above and it is not 
necessary to multiply them.""" They recur in Luther's writ- 
ings in every possible variation. 

How do these foul-mouthed fulminations accord with his 
utterances on monastic justification by works, much acclaimed 
by Luther, and on the strict life of the religious about which 
we shall presently hear him speak? On the latter point he 
does not stand alone either. A witness not less suspected, 
the apostate Franciscan, Eberlin von Giinzberg, who makes 
out St. Francis of Assisi to be a "great harmful fool," an 
"archknave," a "trickster of the people," a "murderer of 
souls," was nevertheless inclined to give the majority of his 
former confreres of the Franciscan Observantines most splen- 
did testimony with regard to their chaste and worthy con- 
duct and their strict mode of living. Without seeking to do 
so, he, as an eye-witness and on the grounds of his own ex- 
perience, gives the lie to Luther's accusations above in their 
universality."*" His testimony is not weakened by the fact of 

"39 See p. 101, sq., 123. 

1040 "Wider die falschscheynende gaystlichen, etc.," in J. Eberlin v. Gunz- 
burg, "Samtliche Schriften", by Enders, III, 45. Eberlin writes two years 
(1523) after Luther's charges: "They pursue a chaste way in words, v.nrks, 
and behavior — I speak of the greater part ; if one in a hundred does other- 
wise, it is no wonder ; if one oversteps herein, he is severely punished, as a 
warning to others. The rough gray habit they have, the hempen girdle, their 
being without shoes, trousers and jacket, without furs, without linen shirts, 
to go without bathing, sleep in their clothing and not upon feather beds but 
upon straw in the monastery, to fast half the year, daily and long to sing 
and read in choir, etc., this sho-ws all men that they have little or no heed 
of the need of the iody. Simplicity of clothing and of adornment, great 
obedience, to take no degrees in high schools, even though they may possibly 
be learned, to travel rarely and inexpensively, this shows they are desirous 
of neither honor nor show. That they have nothing of their own either in 
general or in particular, take no money, touch none, do not force the people 
to give tribute or levy, but live solely on alms, which the people willingly 
bestow upon them, shows a contempt of all the riches of the ivorld. And so 
the world wonders at these people, who foster no lust of the iody with 
women, in eating and drinking — they fast much and do not everywhere eat 
meat — in soft clothing, in long sleeping, etc. They are heedless of honor, of 
temporal good, whereas all men strive after these things. Presently the 
world judges that these people are more than men and observes besides 
how these people, rich in virtue, preach and hear confessions, deter others 
from vice, exhort them to virtue, move them to fear hell, and God's judgment 
and to desire the kingdom of heaven ; how they bear the name of God and the 
word of God much on their tongue, so that it seems they are wholly well 


his nevertheless representing his brethren as seducers of 
souls; for, with Luther, he condemns all "justification by- 
works" and sees in it apostasy from Christ. And the people, 
as he says, looked upon them with favor. By their worthy 
conduct they succeeded in gaining the whole world to them- 
selves. "The crowd," says Luther in agreement with this, 
"always holds life more than doctrine;" and "there is no bet- 
ter misleading a man than by such semblant life.""" 

At times, however, the same Luther blustered against 
the monks as those who truly deemed themselves self -justi- 
fied and holy by their works, putting themselves above the 
people by holding faith in Christ a common thing and in- 
ferior to their works. In this respect Luther went so far that 
one might have believed there were monks in Luther's day, 
who, almost without exception, kept vigil and mortified them- 
selves day and night, shortened their life by rigorous fasting, 
prayed diligently even though thoughtlessly, and spent the 
livelong day doing nothing but good works for the sole pur- 
pose of propitiating the stern Judge. As often as Luther 
speaks of the Papists' justification by works — and that is 
times without number — one gets this impression. I adduce 
only a few of the many illustrations. 

"Christ"" did not come that he might ruin body and 
soul. He is everywhere fain to help. There is no reason, 
then, why a Carthusian should fast and pray himself to death. 
Labor is well imposed upon the body, that it may not remain 
idle but may exercise itself; but the exercise should still be 
such that the body keep well in doing it. But whoever 
does harm to his body, as has happened in the case of many 
in the cloisters of the Papacy, who have ruined themselves 
by altogether too much praying, fasting, singing, keeping 
vigils, chastising themselves, reading, and ill sleepi/ng, so that 
they had to die before their time, he is a murderer of him- 
self. Therefore beware of these things as of a great mortal 
sin. * * * God is no murderer like the devil who busies 

Instructed in Holy W^rit ; how they also carry out in works and the course 
of their life what they teach in words, etc." 

i»*i Erl. 34, 241 ; Weim. XIV, 465. 

1042 Erl. 2, 464, of the year 1533. 


himself trying to get those holy-by-works to fast, pray, and 
wake themselves to death." He counts himself among those 
devout and just monks of his day, "who were in earnest in 
the world, who let life become bitter, and who tormented 
themselves.""*^ According to Luther, he who chastises him- 
self day and night is quite the monk. "It is pitiable that the 
monk, who does nothing else day and night but chastise his 
body, brings nothing else to pass by his pains save to be cast 
into hell.""** "In the inimical cloister life and ecclesiastical 
state, there are fasting, celebrating festivals, sleeping on hard 
beds, keeping vigils, observing silence, wearing harsh cloth- 
ing, being tonsured, kept locked in, and living without mar- 
riage, none of which was commanded by God."^°*° Thus we 
turn from the Divine will to our cursed will and invented 
works, "put gray frocks on, sleep in monasteries, let our pates 
be tonsured like fools, torture our bodies with fasting, and 
of the like false show we do much without God's command- 
ment."^"*^ "Before this time, in the Papacy, we mortified our 
bodies with fasting and corporal chastisements.""*' And the 
monks did this, not a year or two, but twenty, thirty, and 
even forty years.^"*^ It is particularly the Carthusians who 
are truly murderers, whose cloisters are dens of murder. 
Luther himself tells about one such murderer, whom he knew 
in Erfurt.^"*' Their abstinence killed many, who would have 
been saved from death by a broth, a piece of meat, and cleaner 
dress.^"'" "A Carthusian in the agony of death dared not eat 
a spoonful of chicken-soup, even if the doctor recommended 
j^ )no5i «2e wears a hair shirt, keeps early hours, rises at 
night, chants five hours, fasts, and eats no meat."^"^^ 

"*3Erl. 48, 317. 

^"** 0pp. exeg. lat. XVIII, 124 : "Miserabile est quod monachus, qui 
noctu diuque aliud nihil agit quam ut affiigat corpus, aliud hac diligentia 
non efficit, quam ut subiciatur gehennae." 

lots Weim. XXIII, 593. 

1046-vveim. XX, 517. 

""0pp. exeg. lat. VII, 72. 

1048 In Gal. c. 3, ed. Irmischer, II, 55. 

io« Erl. 25, 339. Cf. 7, 44. 

1050 opp. exeg. lat. XI, 123. 

losiErl. 19 (2 ed.), p. 420. 

1052 Erl. 19 (1 ed.), p. 353, 354. 


All these mouthy outpourings, which could be multiplied 
by many more, served Luther's conclusion that this penitential 
life of the monks pertains to the devil, for by it the monks 
thought to receive forgiveness of their sins and to become 
just before God. "To fast every day and to eat no meaf, 
to keep torturing my body — God will have regard for such 
strict spiritual life and will make me blessed," says Luther's 
Carthusian.^°°^ "No Carthusian and barefooted monk, though 
he tortured and prayed himself to death, can say an Our 
Father that would be called good before God, or do a little 
good work. On the contrary, the more he does and becomes 
anxious to do good works, the worse he succeeds. "^"'^^ The 
monks generally, those "poorest of men, long chastised their 
bodies, according to the prescription of human ordiaances, 
by vigils and fasting, and have no other gain than that they 
know not if their obedience is pleasing to God.""°° 

From Luther's lips the people had already heard the 
calumny that the papistical doing of good works took place 
irrespective of Christ, that it aimed to effect salvation, attain 
to forgiveness of sin, and to merit heaven without Christ. 
Since therefore this doing of works was directed against the 
Saviour, Who anyhow had abrogated all law, there was no 
state of life that gave better occasion for Luther's blustering 
against Catholic holiness-by-works, as he called it, than the 
religious state with its laws. The more he piled up the 
"holy-by-works" in it, the more merry and urgent his bluster- 
ing became. Consequently it did not abash him in the slight- 
est degree at such an opportunity and for the purpose named, 
to depict all, or most, or many religious of his time who 
lived strictly according to their rule, as holy by works, and 
self-justified. On the contrary, that served him before the 
people for the conclusion: they all, because being deniers of 
Christ, belong to the devil. More than that, in order to con- 
demn all, he made them all saints according to his own no- 
tion. The more universal he formulated the antecedent prem- 
ise, the more universal, the more fearful and therefore the 

1053 Erl. 49, 45. 

1054 Erl. 43, 334. 

1055 In Qai_ ed. Irmischer, II, 175 sq. 


more cogent the consequence became. For Mm tlie holy one 
by works is precisely the monk that every one carries within 
himself, insofar as there is a question of good works."^* 

"The Carthusian wants to merit heaven with his gir- 
dle."^°" "All Benedictines, Carthusians, Barefooters, Preach- 
ers, Augustinians, Carmelites, all monks and nuns are cer- 
tainly lost and only the Christians are saved; St. John the 
Baptist himself,"^* who lived so strict a life in the wilder- 
ness, cannot help those who are not Christians. It is the 
name of Christ that He is the Redeemer, Who without merit 
in us justifies and condemns all our works and presents us 
with His. The Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans and 
others lost this name, for they have, whereby they wish to be 
saved, their rule and their vows." "With his strict life the 
monk will be damned anyhow. Therefore, instead of his hair 
shirt, he might better be wearing a silken coat, for his holy 
devotion does not in any case do him any good."^"'*" For this 
reason the ancient "Lives of the Fathers" contain but "little 
good." The work is nothing but "praise of the cloister and 
is against the article of justification."'^''^^ "The two things 
cannot stand together, that I should remain a monk, and 
nevertheless preach Christ. One must give way to the 
other.""" "There can he no remaining together of Christ 
and my work: if the one stands, the other must go under 
and be ruined."^"*^ "We are called Christians because we 
have Christ with all His merits, not because of our doing and 
works, which may indeed make a holy Carthusian, Franciscan, 
or an Augiistinian monk, or an obedient man or a faster, but 
cannot ever yield a Christian.""^* "As little as Christ is not 

1056 Opp. exeg. lat. XVIII, 227 : "Unusquisgue nostrum gestat in sinu 
suo magnum monachum, hoc est, singuli vellemus tale opus. In quo possemus 
gloriari : ecce hoc feci, satisfeci hoclie deo meo orando, benefaciendo, ero 
igitur animo magis otioso." 

""ErI. 19 (2 ed.), 418. 

1058 Erl. 10, 87. 

1059 Opp. exeg. lat., XXIII, 178. 

1060 Erl. 47, 31.5. 

1061 "Luthers Tischreden in der Mathesischen Sammlung," No. 467. 
i»e2 Erl. 17, 141. 

1063 Erl. 14, 377. 
i»o* Ibid. p. 218 sq. 


Christ, a monk or a priest can just as little he a Christian, 
lie preached in 1522."^^ Let it not be objected that chastity 
and continence are something good. By his Gal. 5, 20, (the 
sects also belonged to the works of the flesh), "Paul con- 
demns all manners of living and all orders, continency, and 
the seemingly honorable conduct and the holy life of all Pa- 
pists and of the sectarians," etc."'^ No theologian in the 
Papacy, (it was asserted), understood that. Certainly not. 
For the Catholic theologian read from Gal. 5, 23, that Paul 
counts continency, chastity, and honorable conduct among 
the fruits of the spirit. He read in Gal. 5, 23, that those 
who are of Christ crucified their flesh together with their 
vices and concupiscences, whereas in Luther and Lutheranism 
he discovered just the contrary: violation of the vows for 
the sake of the satisfaction of carnal lust. 

They preach against the true doctrine: "If you wish to 
be saved, enter this or that state of life or order, do this or 
that Avork. They thus draw people from faith to works, yet 
at the same time utter the words : 'Christ is the Lord,' at 
bottom, however, they deny Him, for they say not a word 
about His forgiving sins and redeeming from death and hell 
by grace alone, but speak in this wise: through this Order, 
by such a work must one do penance for sin, make satisfac- 
tion, and attain grace. Which is just as much as though 
you said : Christ did not do it, is not the Saviour ; His pas- 
sion and death can do no good. For, if your work is to do 
it. He cannot do it by His blood and death. One of the two 
things must always be futile.""^^ As many lies are here as 
there are sentences! With the Papists and monks, he writes 
again, their works alone were everything. "They trod the 
blood of Christ under foot, they deemed Him of the thieves, 
i.e., Christ is not enough with His blood, I will go a better 

1065 Erl. 12, 246. 

1066 In Gal., ed. Ermlfcher, III, 47: "Certe nullus theologus In papatu 
Intellexlt, Paulum hoc loco domnare omnes cultus et rellglones, continentiam 
et In spaeciem honestam conversationem et sanctam vitam omnium papistarum 
et sectariorum." 

los'Erl. 14, 377. Cf. also 43, 75 sq. 0pp. exeg. lat. XXIII, 44 sq. 
Justification was also attributed to the cowl. See above, p. 168 aq. and 0pp. 
exeg. lat., loc. cit. p. 10 ; Erl. 25, 337 sq., etc. 


way.'""*' Nobody said: 'if you have sinned, believe in 
Christ'; but we were simply thrown upon our works. '"°°® 
"The religious do not even know that when they give their 
names to Francis or Dominic, they depart from God and 
violate their baptismal covenant, otherwise they would do 
penance."^°^° If in the end Francis and Dominic did not 
therefore hold to Christ and if they did not doubt their own 
holy life, "I would not willingly go to the heaven to which 
they went.""'^ Getting into the same heaven in which Fran- 
cis and Dominic are, or whether they and those good religious 
who, to their last breath, were true to God in the fulfilment 
of the duties of their order, got to heaven, ought not to have 
occasioned any anxiety to this "most iniquitous of bipeds," 
as the grave and famous jurist, U. Zasius, called Luther.^"'^ 
In that heaven there was no place for Luther and his apos- 
tate religious, if they, in their last hour, did not condemn 
their abominable errors and life. 

The reader will realize the magnitude of the charges and 
calumnies vented against the religious by Luther above only 
in the next section, when he recognizes and realizes Luther's 
relation to the doctrine of good works, and that Luther in- 
tentionally passes over in silence the ground of all good works 
and of every possible deserving, namely, Jesus Christ, His 
blood, and His merits. 

D. Calumny of Luther in Eespect to the "Monastic Form 

OF Absolution." 

There is one thing connected with all the foregoing, 
namely, how Luther imposed upon the people, in a hair-rais- 
ing manner, when he came forth with the form of absolution 
alleged to be used among the monks, merely to prove that the 
monks sought to be absolved from their sins on the ground 
of their own works. In his second commentary on Galatians, 

1068 Weim. XX, 670, 15. 
io«9 Ibid. 670, 9. 

JO'" Opp. exeg. lat., XXIV, 184 sq. 
io"ErI. 45, 356. 

1072 "Omnium bipedum nequissimus," in J. A. Riegger, "U. Zasll Epls- 
tolae," Ulmae, 1774, p. 79. Cicero applies the expression to Regulus. 


he gives one section the title: "The form of monastic abso- 
lution. God spare thee, brother." Then he adduces this 
alleged form of absolution,^"" which, however, is not a form 
of absolution, but a wholly unessential appendage, and, as I 
shall presently set forth, has nothing to do with absolution, 
but with satisfaction. The one sole form of absolution in use 
in the whole Church teas passed over in silence by Luther. 

In one of his sermons, 1540, he ascribes this form of 
absolution to the "barefooted shavelings" ; "for their absolu- 
tion runs, (as one may still transcribe it from their letters 
which, in their confraternity, they sold the people) : 'May 
the merit of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the 
Blessed Virgin, and of all the saints, the merit of this hard 
and severe Order, the humility of your confession, your sor- 
row of heart and all the good works you have done or will do, 
redound to the forgiveness of your sins and to life everlast- 
ing,' etc. This is nothing but idle, abominable blasphemy 
of Christ and a perversion of the right absolution; for, al- 
though they are mindful of His passion, they are not in 
earnest about it, do not hold it good and powerful enough 
for the forgiveness of sin, but must have in addition, and 
make equal to Christ's, the merit of Mary and of all the 
saints and most of all of their own Order and monkery."""* 

"^2 In Gal. I, 225 f. : "Formula absolutionis monasticae. Parcat tlbl 
deus, frater. — .Meritum passionis domlni nostri Jesus Christi, et beatae 
Mariae semper virginis, et omnium sanctorum, meritum ordinis, gravamen 
religionis, humilitas confessionis, contritio cordis, bona opera, quae fecisti 
et facies pro amore domini nostri Jesu Christi, cedant tibl in remissionem 
peccatorum tuorum, in augmentum meriti et gratiae et in praemium vitae 
aeternae.' Hie audis quidem meritum Christi, sed si diligentius verba ex- 
penderis, intelliges Christum plane otiosum esse et ei detrahi gloriam et 
nomen iustificatoris et salvatoris, et tribui monasticis operibus. Num hoc 
non est nomen dei in vanum sumere? Num hoc non est Christum verbis 
fateri, vim autem eius abnegare et blasphemare? Ego in eodem luto haest- 
tavi, putabam Christum esse judicem (esti ore fatebar eum passum et mor- 
tuum pro redemtione generis human!) placandum observatione regulae meae. 
Ideo cum orabam aut celebrabam missam, solitus eram semper adiicere In 
fine : Domine Jesu ad te venio, et oro, ut gravamina ordinis niei sint com- 
pensatio pro peccatis meis. Nunc vero gratias ago patri misericordiarum, qui 
me e tenebris vocavit ad lucem evangelii et donavit me uberrima cognitione 
Christi Jesu domini mei etc. * * * non habens meam iustltlam ex regula 
Augustini, sed eam, quae est per fidem Christi." 

1074 Erl. 11, 361 sq. 


^'ow how does tlie true absolution run? Luther continues: 
"If the absolution is to be right and potent, it must proceed 
from the mandate of Christ, running to this effect: 'I absolve 
you from your sins' not in my name nor in that of some 
saint nor on account of any human deserving, but in the 
name of Christ and in virtue of the command of Him who 
commanded me to say to you that your sins should be for- 
given you," etc. Christ Himself absolves by the mouth of 
the priest. 

But whence did Luther borrow the correct form of abso- 
lution, namely: "I absolve you from your sins," (ego absolvo 
te ab omnibus peccatis tuis)? From no other than the 
Church, indirectly from his Order; for the essential form of 
absolution, everywhere the same and usual, ran, after the 
pronounced invocation (Misereatur and Indulgentiam) : 
''The Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, absolve thee 
by His gracious mercy, and in virtue of His authority I ab- 
solve thee from all thy sins, (that thou mayest be absolved 
here and before the judgment seat of Christ, and mayest have 
everlasting life, and mayest live for ever and ever), in the 
name of the Father," etc. Thus was it also in use among 
the secular clergy, and so did the theologians teach before 
him.^"^ It is impossible to point out a single ecclesiastical 

lo^s In the "Agenda Moguntin.", so important for Germany and giving 
it its standard, there is, e.g., of the year 1.513, fol. 27, the "Modus absolvendi, 
quem tenere debent cm-atl circa confessos," as follows : "Misereatur tul 
omnipotens deus, dlmittat tibi omnia peccata tua, custodiat te ab omni malo, 
conservet te in omni bono, perducat te in vitam eternam. Amen. Oremus : 
Indulgentiam et remissionem peccatorum tuorum tribuat tibi plus pater et 
misericors dominu.s. Amen. (Delude imponat sibi penitentiam pro qualitate 
peccatorum et conditione persone salutarem ; qua imposita et a coufitente 
suscepta absolvat eum, primo ab excommunicatione minori, delude a peccatis 
ita dicendo) : Dominus noster Jesus Christus per suam magruim misericordiam 
dignetur te absolvere et ego autoritate ipsius qua ego fungor {seguitur 
forma, quam dicat cum intentione absolvendi) absolvo te a vinculo excom- 
munieationis minoris, si ligaris, et absolvo te a peccatis tuis. In nomine 
Patris et Filtt et Spiritus sancti. Amen." Hence, as so often, without any 
additions. Quite the same form is prescribed fol. 28'>, for the absolution of 
the sick or dying. In the Praenotamenta, the forma, the essential words of 
the absolution are given: "Ego absolvo te a peccatis In nomine Patris, etc." 
To say nothing of other rituals, the "monkish" doctors are all In accord 
with the above. St. Bonaventure says, 4 Sent., dist. 17, parte 2, dub. 5: 
"Sacerdos primo absolutionem dat per modum deprecativum, dicens : 'Indul- 


form of absolution for absolving from sin in tbe confessional, 
in which mention is made of the works of one's self or of 
others. Everywhere we find only this : Ego absolvo te a 
peccatis tuis — I absolve thee, in the virtue of the authority 
of Jesus Christ, not on the ground of works.'"'" Never and 
noivhere, in absolution, is there mention made of works, 
whether up to Luther's time or to our own day. Gerson, for 
instance, knows no other form of absolution than Ego ab- 
solvo te a peccatis tuis, etc}"'''' The practical handbooks, like 
Nider's Manuale Confessorum,^"^^ the Spanish Bishop Andrew 
de Escobar's Modus Confitendi,^°''^ the discalced Angelus de 
Clavasio's Summa Angelica, most widespread of all in Luther's 
day'"*" and the Summa Gaietana,^"^^ etc., know no other form 
of absolution. Even on the sick-bed or in the hour of death, 
though after a long life rounded out with good works and led 
in faithful fulfilment of the rule of the Order, the sick or 

gentiam tribuat, etc.,' et post: 'Et ego absolvo te." Nothing else is added! 
St. Thomas, 3 qu. 84, a. 3 (and like him the rest) linows no other form of 
absolution than : "Ego te absolvo," etc. ; it is not enough merely to say : 
"Misereatur * * * Indulgentiam." * * * ibid ad 1. He treats the 
subject extensively in Opusc. 22, "De forma absolutionis," where, in chapter 
2, he cites at the same time the common view of the Parisian professors on 
the essential words of the form of absolution, viz. "Ego te absolvo." Eu- 
gene IV again declared the form of absolution (Concilia, ed. Coleti XVIII, 

^"'^ See also the form of absolution in Martfene, "De antiquis eccl. rltibus, 
lib. 1, c. VI, a. 6 (Antverpiae 1T63, t. I, p. 272) : "et ego te absolvo auctori- 
tate Domini nostri Jesu Christi et beatorum apostolorum Petri et Paull et 
officii mihi commissi ab lis peccatis, quae confessus es et aliis oblitis." 

i"" De decern praeceptis, in 0pp. omn. (Antverpiae 1706), I. 447. 

lo's s, 1. et a., 2> pars, c. 9 : "Est igitur forma absolutionis pro peccatis, 
presupposita intentione bona, sufBciens in omni casu ista : 'Dominus noster 
Jesus Christus te aisolvat, et ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine 
Patrls'." The copy which I used is in the Dominican library of Vienna and 
was corrected as early as 1476 by Michael v. Briinn. Nider in his "Tractatus 
de morali lepra" (s. 1 et a. ), c. 12, cites the same form of absolution. 

1079 Nurnberge 1513, Fol. after A iii.1 : "auctoritate Dom. n. Jesu Ch. ab- 
solvo te ab omnibus peccatis tuis mortallbus, criminalibus et venialibus mihl 
confessis. Absolvo etiam te ab omnibus allis peccatis oblitis, confessis et non 
confessis, commissls et obmlssis ac neglectis, quantum possum et debeo in 
virtute passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et in nomine Patris," etc. 

1080 Argentine 1502, fol. 49, under "Confessio," v : "Ego te absolvo." 

1081 Written by Cardinal Cajetan in 1523, printed at Rome 1525. On 
absolution (see Atsolutio) he says: "Consistit, ut in Concilio Florent. sub 
Eugenic IV, legitur, In his verbis : 'Ego te absolve'." 


dying religious, on the priest's absolving him before giving 
him the Viaticum, heard nothing of his good works. Absolu- 
tion was given to him under a sole appeal to Jesus Christ. 
Such was the practice among