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Iberoes ot the IReformation 


Samuel flftacaules Jackson 


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Entered at Stationers' Hall, London 

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BY far the larger part of the materials used in the 
composition of this book were taken from Me- 
lanchthon's own writings as contained in the Corpus 
Re format or um. Bindseil's Supplementa and the Wit- 
tenberg edition of Melanchthon's works (1562-64) 
were also used. Besides the other sources of inform- 
ation noted in the margin, the standard Church 
histories, the Real-Encyclopddie of Drs. Herzog and 
Plitt, and many pamphlets originating in the memo- 
rial year of 1897, were employed. Neither labour 
nor expense of travel in Germany has been spared in 
getting accurate information and in ascertaining the 
opinions of the best and wisest Melanchthon scholars. 
Galle's Charakteristik Melanchthons (1840), Herrling- 
er'sDie Theologie Melanchthons (1878), and Hartf eld- 
er's Philipp Melanchthon als Praeceptor Germaniae 
(1889), have been very serviceable. For information 
in regard to the publishing operations of the Witten- 
berg Press, I am indebted to Mr. G. H. Putnam's 
Books and tJieir Makers during the Middle Ages. 

The author has aimed throughout at objectivity 
of presentation, and has given his authority for all 
important facts and statements. It is believed that 

iv Preface 

thus the book will be accepted as authentic, and 
will serve as a guide to those who wish to make an 
independent study of the life and theology of the 
Protestant Preceptor of Germany. ' Care has been 
taken, by means of many and often lengthy quotations 
from Melanchthon's letters and other writings, to im- 
part the characteristic features of ah autobiography 
to the work. 

Thanks are hereby tendered to the several persons 
who by words of encouragement and by wise sug- 
gestions have helped to make the book more worthy 
of its theme. 



October i, 1898. 



C. i. = Corpus Re for mat or um. (In Latin and Ger- 

man.) See p. 3, note. 
CAMERARlUS=Li/e of Melanchthon. By Joachim 

Camerarius. Leipzig, 1566; also in Vitce Qua- 

tuor Re for mat or urn, edited by Neander. Berlin, 

1841. (In Latin.) 
MATTHES =//<? and Works of Melanchthon. By 

Carl Matthes. Altenburg, 1841. 2d ed., 1846. 

(In German.) 
SCHMIDT = Life and Writings of Melanchthon. By 

Carl Schmidt, Professor of Theology in Strass- 

burg. Elberfeld, 1861. (In German.) 
SECKENDORF^ History of Lutheranism. By Vitus 

Ludwig von Seckendorf. Frankfort and Leip- 

zig, 1692. (In Latin.) 
WALCH = L2tt/ier's Works, edited by J. G. Walch in 

24 parts. Halle, 1740-50. (In German.) 
DE W. = Lut/iers Letters, edited by W. M. L. De 

Wette and J. K. Seidemann. Berlin, 1825-56, 

6 vols. (In German and Latin.) 
ERLANGEN ED. = Erlangen edition of Luther s Works, 

edited by Plochmann, Irmischer, and others. 

1829-86. (In German and Latin.) 





Bretten Glaus Schwartzerd His Sons Philip Schwartz- 
erd Born His Brother and Sisters His First School 
John Unger Death of Philip's Father and Grandfather 
Reuchlin Pforzheim Studies Greek Name Changed. 



Universities Heidelberg Scholasticism Melanchthon 
Matriculates at Heidelberg His Studies His Compan- 
ions The New Learning Becomes Bachelor of Arts. 


Melanchthon Leaves Heidelberg and Goes to Tubingen 
Life and Studies at Tubingen Melanchthon Becomes 
Master of Arts Is Licensed to Teach Lectures on the 
Classics Becomes Proof- Reader, Editor, and Translator 
Obscurantism Melanchthon Attracts the Attention of 


Wittenberg Founding of the University Luther Called 
to Wittenberg The Ninety-five Theses Melanchthon 
Called to Wittenberg Journey to Wittenberg Personal 
Appearance Liberal Spirit at Wittenberg Melanch- 
thon's Inaugural ^Luther's Delight Luther and Mel- 
anchthon Compared Increase of Students Literary 

viii Contents 



Effects of Luther's Theses Progress of the Reformation 
John Eck Controversy Leipzig Disputation Eck, 
Carlstadt, and Luther Melanchthon Attends the Leipzig 
Disputation Controversy with Eck. 



Becomes Bachelor of Theology Doubts the Doctrines of 
the Church Writes Theses His Marriage Family 


Luther Burns the Pope's Bull, and Writes two of his Most 
Important Works Melanchthon Approves Luther's 
Course Controversy with Rhadinus, and with the Sor- 
bonne Luther Praises Melanchthon's Apology Fanat- 
icism at Wittenberg Melanchthon's Distress. 


The Zwickau Prophets Increased Confusion at Witten- 
berg Luther's Return His Eight Sermons Quiet 
Restored New Order of Service Translation and Pub- 
lication of the New Testament. 


THE " LOCI COMMUNES " ..... 94 

The "Loci Communes" or "Theological Common 
Places" The Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul- 
Luther's Preface. 

Contents ix 



PRIVATE LIFE DURING 1522-1525 . . . . 107 

Melanchthon Wishes to Relinquish Theology and to 
Teach Greek and Literature Only Luther Interferes 
A Compromise Melanchthon Opens a School in his 
own House Visits his Mother Honoured by the Uni- 
versity of Heidelberg Cardinal Campeggius Contro- 
versy between Luther and Erasmus on the Will 
Melanchthon Meets Philip, Landgrave of Hesse. 



Death of Nesen Melanchthon's Discomforts Call to 
Nuremberg Oration on Education Services in the 
Cause of Education. 



Death of Frederick the Wise Melanchthon's Funeral 
Oration Insurrection of the Peasants Luther's Advice 
Melanchthon's Confutation Luther's Marriage Mel- 
anchthon's Letter. 



Melanchthon's Labours in Teaching and Writing Opin- 
ion on the Reformation of the Churches Treatise on the 
Mass and Celibacy Melanchthon's Isolation The Visi- 
tation Articles. 



Controversy with Agricola Tracts against the Anabap- 
tistsThe Affair of Pack War Threatened. 





Diet of Spires The Protest and Appeal Doctrine of 
the Lord's Supper Controversy withZwingli The 
Marburg Colloquy Articles of Agreement Schwabach 


The Evil Aspect of Affairs The Emperor Orders a 
Diet at Augsburg Protestant Princes and Theologians 
Gather at Augsburg Melanchthon Writes the Augsburg 



Correspondence with Cardinal Campeggius The Papal 
Confutation The Apology of the Confession Publica- 
tion of the Confession and its Apology. 


Schmalkald League Peace of Nuremberg Melanch- 
thon 's Opinion Melanchthon Called to England, to Tu- 
bingen, and to France Negotiations with Henry VIII. 


New Edition of the Loci Exposition of Melanchthon's 
Theology : The Will, Good Works, the Number of Sac- 
raments, Infant Baptism, the Lord's Supper Luther's 
Approbation of the Loci. 



Melanchthon and Bucer at Cassel Oberlanders Come to 
Wittenberg Articles of Union Internal Feuds. 

Contents xi 



MELANCHTHON'S WILL . . . . . . 260 

Schmalkald Convention Melanchthon's Subscription and 
Appendix to the Schmalkald Articles Frankfort Con- 
vention Calvin Melanchthon Plans the Reorganisation 
of the Leipzig University Melanchthon's Will. 


Colloquy of Hagenau Melanchthon's Sickness The \/ 

Landgrave's Bigamy Confessio Variata The Tenth y 

Article of the Confession. 


The Diet of Worms The Regensburg Diet The Re- 
gensburg Book The Partial Agreement Melanchthon's 
Aphorisms His Steadfastness and Independence His 
Report on the Regensburg Book Publication of his 


Melanchthon Invited to Bonn Hermann's Consultation 
Controversy Strained Relations between Melanchthon \i 

and Luther. 



Luther and Melanchthon's Last Correspondence Lu- v 

ther's Death Melanchthon's Funeral Oration over 
Luther His Letter about Luther Alliance against the 



Melanchthon's Opinion concerning the Threatened War 
Defeat of the Protestant Forces Capture of the 
Elector The University Closed Melanchthon an Ex- 
ile Return to Wittenberg. 

xii Contents 




The Augsburg Interim Letter to Carlowitz Several 
Formulas The Leipzig Interim. 



The Reaction Flacius Illyricus The Adiaphoristic Con- 
troversy Melanchthon Defamed His Letter of Defence. 



Various Writings The Saxon Confession Council of 
Trent The Treaty of Passau Examen Ordinandorum 
More Controversies. 



Naumburg Convention Augsburg Religious Peace 
Controversies on the Lord's Supper Attempts at Recon- 


Frankfort Recess The Flacian Party Melanchthon 
Attends the Colloquy of Worms The Weimar Confu- 
tation Book The Bavarian Articles The Heidelberg 
Scandal Last Sickness Death and Burial. 


INDEX .... . 393 


PHILIP MELANCHTHON . . . Frontispiece 
From a painting by Albrecht Dlirer. 





BORN ........ 4 


From a drawing by Merian, 1620. 


From an engraving in Kreussler's " Andenken 
in Miinzen." 


From a contemporary wood-cut. 

JOHN AGRICOLA ...... -5 

After a contemporary copper-plate. 



xiv Illustrations 



From a painting by Albrecht DUrer, 1524. 


NUREMBERG IN 1519 . J 3 

After a painting by Albrecht Diirer. 


THE PEASANTS IN ARMS IN 1525 . . . 142 

From a contemporary wood-cut. 


From a contemporary wood-cut. 


From a picture by Lucas Cranach in the Parish Church 

in Wittenberg. 





Traditional portrait. 



After the copper engraving by G. Pencz, 1543. 


DR. MARTIN BUCER . . . . . . 258 

TO THEIR SUPPORT r ... . . 272 





CHARLES V. IN 1547 ...... 330 

From the painting by Titian in the Pinacothek 
at Munich. 

From a painting by Cranach, the Younger. 



From a contemporary copper-plate. 


After a contemporary engraving. 

In the Castle Church in Wittenberg. 


From a wood-cut after Lucas Cranach in the Luther 
Hall at Wittenberg. 


ON LUTHER, 1546 . ... 382 






Bretten Claus Schwartzerd His Sons Philip Schwartzerd Born 
His Brother and Sisters His First School John linger Death 
of Philip's Father and Grandfather Reuchlin Pforzheim 
Studies Greek Name Changed. 

NEAR Carlsruhe, the capital of Baden, in the 
beautiful valley of the Kraichgau, is the little 
city of Bretten, with five thousand inhabitants. 
Four hundred years ago it belonged to the Palat- 
inate, and numbered three hundred families as the 
sum total of its population. For a town so small it 
enjoyed much intercourse with the outside world, 
since through its principal street passed a large part 
of the merchandise carried from Italy to the lower 
Rhine. But the inhabitants of the town lived 
mostly from the produce of their fertile fields. They 
were simple in their manners, upright in their lives, 
and warmly attached to the Church. Their relig- 

2 Philip Melanchthon 

ious faith was sincere; but it was coloured by the 
superstitions of the times, since in that little Pala- 
tine city so late as 1504, five persons were convicted 
of witchcraft and burned to death. However, the 
fame of Bretten does not rest on the beauty of its 
situation, nor on the probity of its inhabitants, nor 
on the number of witches it burned four hundred 
years ago; for as much could be said of many 
another town in the Palatinate. Its fame rests on 
the fact that on Thursday, the sixteenth of Febru- 
ary, 1497, at just six minutes past seven o'clock in 
the evening, it gave birth to Philip Melanchthon, 
the Preceptor of Germany. An authentic old ac- 
count runs thus: 

" In the days of Count Palatine Philip, Elector on the 
Rhine, there lived in Heidelberg, at the foot of the 
mountain, an upright, pious man named Claus Schwartz- 
erd, who, by his wife Elizabeth, had two sons, John 
and George, who from their youth up were carefully 
trained in the fear of God and in the practice of every 
virtue. John learned the trade of a locksmith; but 
George, who did everything which was bidden him with 
the utmost alacrity, and was a very active boy, so won 
the favour of the Elector, that his Electoral Grace took 
him to Court, and had him shown all kinds of handiwork, 
that he might learn what he most delighted in, and what 
could be made of him. Now, when the boy took delight 
in armour, and associated most with armourers, the 
Elector placed him under a master at Amberg to learn 
the trade. He learned so rapidly as to astonish every- 
one; and his companions grew so jealous of him that one 
day one of them burned him so dangerously with hot 

1509] Birth and Early Years 3 

lead that his life was despaired of. It was only by 
divine grace and special care that he was saved. 

"When the Elector learned what had happened he 
took him away, and sent him to Nuremberg to a master 
skilled in all kinds of armour, even to its most obscure 
parts. When the master showed special interest in the 
boy, the latter gave all the more heed and soon compre- 
hended whatever was shown him, for he had so much 
skill that he could imitate with his hands whatever his 
eyes saw. He could forge his work as smooth as though 
it had been filed. He pursued his trade for several 
years, and was at length able to make everything per- 
taining to armour in the very best style. The Elector 
now called him back to Court and made him his armourer, 
or armour-bearer." 1 

The old account goes on to say that George 
Schwartzerd became so celebrated for his skill in the 
manufacture of armour, that such foreign potentates 
as the King of Poland, the Duke of Wurtemberg, the 
Elector of Saxony, the Margrave of Baden, impor- 
tuned the Elector Philip for his services. 

" But the Elector, in order that he might attach 
George, who was now thirty years old, the more surely 
to his own country, began to look out for an honourable 
marriage for him, and to that end he negotiated with 
Hans Reuter, a distinguished citizen of Bretten, for his 

1 Short Report . . . written by the Professors of the Univer- 
sity of Wittenberg, Corpus Reformatorum, 10:255. The Corpus 
Reformatorum, hereafter referred to as C. R., contains in twenty- 
eight volumes, edited by Bretschneider and Bindseil, the works of 
Melanchthon, and many other valuable documents of the Reformation 

4 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

daughter Barbara, a virtuous, well-bred maiden, who, by 
the providence of the Almighty God, and the negotia- 
tions of the Elector, was promised to him in marriage. 
They were married at Spires in the* presence of many 
knights who assembled to do them honour. 

" The two loved each other dearly ; for George 
Schwartzerd was an upright, pious, God-fearing man, 
who served God earnestly, prayed devoutly, and ob- 
served the hours of prayer as diligently as a minister. 
Often would he rise at midnight, fall upon his knees, and 
offer devout prayer. No oath ever escaped his lips, and 
no one ever saw or heard of his being drunk. He lived 
in wedlock four years without children; but after the 
close of the fourth year, which was 1497, on Thursday 
after Invoeavit, his first son, Philip, our dear master and 
teacher, was born in Bretten, in the house of the father- 
in-law and grandfather, Hans Reuter. Thus God blessed 
this pious and God-fearing man with the gift of a son, 
whom not one land, but many, yea, all Christendom, has 
enjoyed and without doubt will enjoy to the end of the 
world." 1 

Other children were born to George and Barbara 
Schwartzerd, as, in 1499, a daughter named Anna, 
who was married to Chilian Grumbach, and died in 
Heilbronn ; George, about four years younger than 
Philip, who became mayor of Bretten and wrote 
several histories; Margaretha, born in 1506, married 
first to Andrew Stichs, and, after his death, to the 
electoral secretary, Hawerer, died in 1540; Barbara, 
born in 1508 and married to Peter Kecheln. The 
grandchildren were many, and all shared that divine 

1 C. j?., 10 : 256. 


1509] Birth and Early Years 5 

blessing promised to them that love God and keep 
His commandments. 

The fame of " the Heidelberg armourer," as 
George Schwartzerd was called, still grew, and 
foreign princes still sought to profit by his skill. 
When the Emperor Maximilian, " the last knight," 
was holding a diet at Worms, he was challenged to 
single combat by a bold young Italian hero named 
Fandius Mandari. After he had assured himself of 
the rank and valour of his challenger, Maximilian 
ordered a suit of armour from George Schwartzerd, 
entered the lists, and gained an easy victory. As a 
consequence he was so much delighted with the 
armour that he presented its maker with a coat of 
arms, which represented a lion sitting on a shield 
and helmet, holding tongs in the right fore-paw, and 
a hammer in the left. 

George Schwartzerd was retained in the service of 
the Emperor Maximilian until the breaking out of 
a war between Bavaria and the Palatinate, when 
he took leave of his royal master, and returned to 
the Elector Philip, who employed him in the secret 
service against the enemy. Drinking water from a 
poisoned well, he fell sick, and after lingering four 
years, he died, at the age of forty-nine years, October 

This was a sad year for Barbara Schwartzerd and 
her five little children. Only eleven days before the 
death of her husband, her father had passed from 
earth. Thus the boy Philip was bereft of his grand- 
father and of his father in his eleventh year. The 
latter, three days before his death, called his children 

6 Philip Melanchthon 

to his bedside, and after bestowing his paternal 
blessing and commending them to the protection of 
their Heavenly Father, said: " I have seen many 
and great changes in the world, but greater ones are 
yet to follow, in which may God lead and guide 
you. Fear God, and do right." 1 

In order that Philip might not witness the death of 
his father, his mother sent him for a few days to Spires; 
but he never forgot the dying counsel of his father. 

The education of his two boys was a matter that 
lay near the heart of George Schwartzerd. But 
being much from home he committed their intel- 
lectual and religious training to their grandfather, 
" a fine, intelligent man, who himself had studied," 
with the strict injunction that they should be kept at 
school and taught something useful. Accordingly 
Philip and his little brother George were sent to the 
town school, where they were well drilled in the rudi- 
ments of knowledge, and made rapid progress. But 
when the French plague broke out in the town, and 
the school-teacher was attacked by it, the grand- 
father took the boys out of school, and applied to 
his brother-in-law, the celebrated John Reuchlin 
(1455-1523), for a teacher who should instruct them 
at home. Reuchlin sent him John Unger of Pforz- 
heim, who had acquired a good knowledge of the 
ancient languages. Unger was a conscientious, 
pious man, and a faithful teacher. He laboured 
earnestly to promote the moral and intellectual im- 
provement of his pupils. He inculcated modesty, 
honesty, and the love of truth. His frequent com- 

1 C. *., 8 : 367. 

isog] Birth and Early Years 7 

mand was, " Be prudent and ready to yield." He 
drilled the boys thoroughly in grammar and syn- 
tax, using as a text-book the poems of the Italian 
Carmelite, Baptista of Mantua, since at that time 
very few of the Latin classics had been printed in 
Germany. Every mistake was corrected with the 
rod. Yet, notwithstanding the severity of his dis- 
cipline, Unger enjoyed the confidence and affection 
of his pupils. In after years, when Philip had him- 
self become the greatest linguist and the most illus- 
trious scholar and teacher in Germany, he wrote 
thus of his own first preceptor in language: 

" I had a teacher who was an excellent linguist. He 
died two years ago. 1 He was an honest man. He 
taught the Gospel and suffered much for the Gospel's 
sake. He was pastor at Pforzheim. He drove me to 
the grammar, and required me to construct sentences. 
He made me give the rules of construction by means of 
twenty or thirty verses from the Mantuan. He would 
not allow me to pass over anything. Whenever I would 
make a mistake he plied the rod, and yet with the 
moderation that was proper. Thus he made me a lin- 
guist. He was a good man. He loved me as a son, 
and I him as a father. In a short time we shall meet, I 
hope, in eternal life. I loved him notwithstanding that 
he used such severity; though it was not severity, but 
parental correction which urged me to diligence. At 
evening I had to hunt the rules in order to recite. You 
see discipline was stricter then than now." 

The young Philip was a worthy pupil of so excel- 

1 Unger died at Pforzheim in 1553. 
C. ., 25: 448. 

8 Philip Melanchthon 11497- 

lent a teacher. In disposition he was modest and 
amiable. Though he would sometimes become 
irritated, he not unfrequently applied to himself the 
saying, " He cuts and stabs, and yet hurts nobody." 
In matters of intellect he had a quick perception, an 
acute penetration, a retentive memory, an ardent 
thirst for knowledge, and the ability to express his 
thoughts with accuracy and precision. In school 
and out he was incessantly asking questions, and 
often would gather a few schoolfellows around him 
for the purpose of discussing what had been read 
and learned. Philip was noted for proficiency in 
grammar; and when their grandfather observed the 
diligence of the boys, he bought them a Missal, that 
along with their other studies they might acquire a 
knowledge of the choral services of the Church. 
He also required them to take their place in the 
choir on all the Holy Days. 

" At that time the great Bacchanti were roving through 
the country. Whenever one came to Bretten the grand- 
father sent Philip to dispute with him. It was seldom 
that anyone could withstand him. This pleased the old 
man; and he took special delight in these contests. The 
boy, too, became more confident, and grew in fondness 
for study. The grandfather took care to buy books and 
other things, that the boy might not be impeded." ' 

And now that both the father and grandfather of 
Philip and George had departed this life, the educa- 
tion of the boys devolved upon their grandmother, 
Elizabeth Reuter, the sister of Reuchlin, who was 

1 C, R., 10 : 258. 

1509] Birth and Early Years 9 

then reckoned the best Greek and Hebrew scholar 
in Germany. He had studied Greek at Paris, Or- 
leans, and Poictiers, had taught at Basel and Tu- 
bingen, and had learned Hebrew in Rome. He was 
Philip's granduncle, being the brother of his grand- 
mother. Hence it was no small circumstance in the 
boy's education when the grandmother determined 
to remove with him to her native town of Pforzheim, 
for here he would be sure to come more or less under 
the influence of Reuchlin, who, though he resided 
in Stuttgart as president of the Swabian Court of 
the Confederates, frequently returned to his native 
Pforzheim, in whose splendid Latin school he had 
begun his education. The school at Pforzheim was 
still one of the most celebrated in the Palatinate. 
Its Rector was George Simler, a scholar of the cele- 
brated Ludwig Dringenberg, and an alumnus of the 
University of Cologne. Simler was an excellent 
Latin scholar, and, besides, had a good knowledge of 
Greek and Hebrew a rare accomplishment at that 
time. His assistant and co-labourer was John Hilte- 
brant, also a fine scholar, who during the vacation 
lectured privately on the Greek language. It was 
the custom to admit to the study of Greek only 
the brightest and best pupils. Philip Schwartzerd 
was soon selected as one of the favoured few. He 
used his opportunity with so much diligence and 
profit that in a short time he became tolerably pro- 
ficient in Greek. Long years afterward he wrote : 

" When a boy I heard two very learned men, George 
Simler and Conrad Helvetius, alumni of the University 

io Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

of Cologne; the one first explained to me the Latin and 
Greek poets, and introduced me to a purer philosophy, 
often referring during the lecture on Aristotle to the 
Greek. The other at Heidelberg first taught me the ele- 
ments of astronomy." 

Simler also gave instruction in versification, and 
expounded the school-comedies of his friend Reuch- 
lin, two of which he published at Pforzheim in 1508, 
with a commentary, and a dedication to their author. 
He and his assistant were exactly such teachers as 
are needed to prepare young men for the university. 
Under their efficient instruction Philip Schwartzerd 
surpassed all his schoolfellows, among whom were 
Simon Grynaeus, the linguist and theologian of 
Basel, Berthold Haller, the Reformer of Bern, 
Francis Friedlieb of Ettlingen, who wrote a historico- 
geographical work on the German Empire, Nicholas 
Gerbel, and John Schwebel, natives of Pforzheim, 
the former afterward a jurist at Strassburg and the 
latter the Reformer of the territory of Zweibriicken. 
But the most important influence exerted on the 
mind of the future Preceptor of Germany at this 
time was the intimate relations with Reuchlin which 
he now enjoyed. He was brought in direct contact 
with this great Aristarchus of the literary world in 
the house of his grandmother. When Reuchlin saw 
that the twelve-year-old boy possessed such excel- 
lent talents, and showed such industry in study, he 
praised him, called him his son, placed his own 
red doctor's hat on his head, gave him a Greek 

1 Declamatt. , 135. 

1509] Birth and Early Years n 

Grammar, and promised to send him a copy of his 
own Graeco-Latin Lexicon, yet upon the condition 
that when he came again, Philip should present him 
with some Latin verses of his own composition. In 
a short time Reuchlin returned to Pforzheim, where- 
upon Philip presented the verses and received the 
promised Lexicon, the first of its kind that had ap- 
peared in Germany. As a further mark of his grati- 
tude, Philip, with some of his schoolfellows, studied 
one of Reuchlin's school-comedies, and while the 
author was at a banquet given by the monks of the 
place, he and his companions came and rendered 
the comedy so elegantly that all were pleased, espe- 
cially Reuchlin, who declared that so clever and 
learned a young man should no longer bear the 
homely name of Schwartzerd, meaning black earth, 
but shoud be called by its Greek equivalent, Me- 
lanckthon, the name by which he has since been 
known, and by which he shall henceforth be desig- 
nated in this book, though he himself after 1531, no 
doubt because of the easier pronunciation, wrote it 
Melanthon. 1 

1 See C. R., I : cxxxi. Melanchthon is the spelling employed by 
Camerarius and by M.'s friends generally, though it does not appear 
that he himself was at any time pleased with it, since he rarely used 
it in early life, and throughout life signed the most of his letters 
simply Philippus, or $i\.iitito'->. 



Universities Heidelberg Scholasticism Melanchthon Matricu- 
lates at Heidelberg His Studies His Companions The New 
Learning Becomes Bachelor of Arts. 

AT the beginning of the sixteenth century the 
German universities were by no means what 
they are now, the seats of the highest culture and 
of the most advanced methods of instruction. In 
the grade of their scholarship and in the character 
of the work done by them, they were about equal 
in the department of arts to the middle and upper 
classes in the German gymnasia of the present time. 
Boys then went to the university to learn what they 
are now required to carry thither with them. All 
the instruction was given in the Latin language; 
but it was chiefly, if not exclusively, the corrupt 
monks' Latin of the Middle Ages. 

The Latin classics were but little read. Greek 
and Hebrew were almost entirely ignored, and in 
some places violently opposed. The philosophy 
taught was that of Aristotle, exhibited for the most 
part by means of defective and barbarous Latin 


s I 

3 I 

fe S 

i5i2] Student at Heidelberg 13 

translations ; and theology had not yet been emanci- 
pated from the scholastic method. The old contests 
between Realism and Nominalism were still raging, 
and when these contests could not be settled in the 
lecture-room, they were fought out by the students 
on the streets with their fists and canes. Then little 
attention was given to composition and rhetoric. 
Logic was studied, not so much as an instrument for 
finding out truth, as for use in subtle and hair- 
splitting disputations. The manners of the students 
were coarse, and their morals corrupt. So much 
may be said of the universities in general. Of 
Heidelberg in particular, though it was the oldest 
university in Germany west of Vienna and Prague, 
having been founded in 1386, it must be said that 
in learning and culture its relative rank was not 
high. The Elector Philip, who had been quickened 
by the rising spirit of humanistic culture, had indeed 
sought to awaken a new intellectual life in his uni- 
versity. His efforts in this direction had been nobly 
seconded by the Bishop of Worms, John von Dai- 
berg; by John Wessel, a forerunner of Luther, who 
had sought to introduce a more liberal philosophy ; 
by Rudolph Agricola, the dialectician ; by Conrad 
Celtes, the poet; and especially by Jacob Wimpfel- 
ing, who sought to join humanistic learning to the 
scholastic theology. John Reuchlin himself had 
for a time been a professor at Heidelberg, and his 
brother Dionysiushad begun to introduce the study 
of Greek there. But these friends and promoters of 
a broader and more liberal culture had been opposed 
and hindered in their work by the older professors, 

14 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and had made very little impression on the courses 
of studies, or on the methods of teaching them. 

Nevertheless, following the advice of Reuchlin 
and Simler, Philip Melanchthon, now in his thir- 
teenth year, turned his steps to the paternal city, 
and on the fourteenth day of October, 1509, was 
matriculated under the philosophical faculty in the 
University of Heidelberg. 1 He found a home with 
Dr. Pallas Spangel, professor of theology, at whose 
house he served wine to the Pomeranian guests on 
the occasion of the marriage of Duke George of 
Pomerania to the daughter of the Palatine Elector. 3 
The young and inexperienced student received as- 
sistance and encouragement from the learned doctor, 
whom in after years he remembered with affection 
as more favourable to the study of the liberal arts 
than the rest of his colleagues who taught theology. 3 

Melanchthon's opinion of the studies and the 
methods of study at Heidelberg is expressed in the 
Preface to the Basel edition of his works, published 
in 1541 : 

" While yet a boy I was sent to the university, but the 
young men were taught scarcely anything except garrula 
dialectice and particula physice. Inasmuch as I had 
learned to write verse, with a kind of boyish avidity I 
began to read the poets, and also history and the drama. 
This habit gradually led me to the ancient classics. 

1 The record in the University Album is, " Philippus Schwartzerd 
de Brethenn Spir. dyoc. xiiii. Octobris." Bretten lay in the diocese 
of Spires. Hartfelder's Philipp Melanchthon, p. 12. 

* C. R. , 1 1 : 1094. 

3 Declamatt., ii . , 204. 

Student at Heidelberg 15 

From these I acquired a vocabulary and style, but we 
boys had no instruction in composition We read every- 
thing without discrimination, but especially did we pre- 
fer modern works like those of Politian. My style took 
its complexion from these, and reproduced these harsher 
and less polished authors rather than the grace and 
beauty of the ancients." 

He tells us further that about this time he received 
as a present from CEcolampadius the three printed 
books of Rudolph Agricola's Dialectics, by the 
reading of which he was not only instructed, but 
also incited to examine and inquire more diligently 
into the order of the arguments in the orations of 
Cicero and Demosthenes. " In this way I was en- 
abled to understand those orations better, to read 
them easier, and to comprehend their instruction." 

It is evident from these reminiscences that Me- 
lanchthon pursued his studies largely by himself; 
and yet he acquired such a reputation for proficiency 
in Greek while at Heidelberg that when one day a 
professor proposed a question the solution of which 
required a knowledge of Greek, and cried out, 
' Where shall I find a Grecian ? " the students an- 
swered with one voice, " Melanchthon ! " " Melanch- 
thon ! " 

Yet Melanchthon did not occupy himself wholly 
with the ancient languages and with dialectics. He 
also studied philosophy, and when Conrad Helvetius 
came to Heidelberg and lectured on mathematics 
and astronomy, he found in Melanchthon one of his 
most appreciative hearers. 

1 C. tf.,4: 715- 

1 6 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

At this time, about the year 1510, he formed the 
acquaintance of Jacob Wimpfeling, who was at 
Heidelberg superintending the education of several 
young men from Strassburg. Here Wimpfeling re- 
ceived intelligence of the death of Geiler von Kais- 
ersberg. Immediately he wrote a biographical sketch 
of the renowned Strassburg preacher, and to it 
added a number of elegies, including one from Me- 
lanchthon, whom he recommended to Count von 
Lowenstein as private tutor to his two sons. It was 
in this same year that Wimpfeling published a book 
in defence of the scholastic theology against the 
satirical attack of Jacob Locker of Ingolstadt, and 
put into it a poem by Melanchthon, in which the 
young scholar calls upon the gods and heathen 
muses to yield to the true wisdom which alone can 
teach us who made the universe, and can show man 
how to lead a pious life. 1 

Melanchthon also at this time enjoyed the friend- 
ship of the poet Sorbil, of whom he said, nearly fifty 
years later, that no one in Germany had a better 
poetic vein. 9 

But the young Melanchthon was not an exclusive 
devotee of literature, philosophy, and science. The 
deep religious sense of his innermost being, and 
the pious training of his childhood, found support 
and development in the sermons of Geiler, which 
had been commended to him by his uncle Reuchlin. 
In these sermons he came in contact with a devout 
and pious spirit which did not waste its energies in 

1 C. K., 20: 765. 

' Schmidt's Philipp Melanchthon, p. 7 

Student at Heidelberg 17 

doubtful disputations, and in recounting old monks' 
fables, but rebuked sin and reasoned of righteousness 
and judgment to come in the homely and familiar 
language of every-day life. The impression made 
on the young student by the reading of these ser- 
mons was never effaced. In his Postils he refers 
to Geiler as saying that B isc ho ff (bishop), which ac- 
cording to German etymology means bei den Schaf- 
fen (ivith the sheep), according to its usage had come 
to mean beiss das Schaff ' (bite the sheep). 

This narrative of facts shows that Melanchthon, 
though but a boy in years, had taken rank among 
the learned, and that his associates were of that new 
generation which had risen to herald the coming of 
a brighter and better day for science and religion in 
Germany. Indeed he now stood on the dividing 
line between the Middle Ages and the modern era. 
But the day dawned so speedily, and the sun shot 
up toward the zenith so rapidly, that before Me- 
lanchthon had passed the meridian of his life, he 
had witnessed, and had acted a large part in effect- 
ing, one of the mightiest revolutions in culture, and 
one of the most beneficial reformations of religion, 
that the Christian world has ever known. The 
times were ready for the change, and the men were 
at hand to produce it. At the very time that 
Luther was expounding Aristotle in Wittenberg, 
and visiting Augustinian cloisters in Saxony, and 
climbing up Pilate's staircase at Rome, at that 
very time, in the academic city by the Neckar, Philip 
Melanchthon, fourteen years his junior, was laying 
~C.., 24:85. 

1 8 Philip Melanchthon [1512 

that foundation in Latin, Greek, Logic, Rhetoric, 
Philosophy, Mathematics, and Astronomy, which 
qualified him to stand by the side of the solitary 
monk that shook the world. At this same time 
Melanchthon was forming friendships with young 
men, who, like himself, were destined to play an 
important part in the events of subsequent years, 
such as Peter Sturm, brother of Jacob Sturm, the 
celebrated statesman of Strassburg; Theobald Billi- 
can, Reformer of Nordlingen, then professor at 
Heidelberg and Marburg; and John Brentz, whose 
name will be forever associated with the renovation 
of Christianity in Wtirtemberg. Of Billican, Me- 
lanchthon wrote: " He was my schoolfellow, and 
in talents and eloquence he greatly surpassed me." 
Luther compared Brentz, in relation to himself, 
" to the still small voice following the whirlwind, 
earthquake, and fire." 

And now, after two years of study, the young 
Bretten matriculate, not yet fifteen years old, stood 
his examination under the rectorate of Dr. Leon- 
hard Dietrich, and on the eleventh day of June, 
1511, was made Bachelor of the Liberal Arts. Urged 
on by a noble thirst for knowledge, by a pardonable 
pride of his attainments, and by an ambition to be- 
come a teacher, he devoted himself with new zeal to 
the study of the scholastic philosophy, with the inten- 
tion of taking the degree of Master of Arts. But at 
the end of a year his application was denied " on ac- 
count of his youth and his boyish appearance." a 

1 Krauth's Conservative Reformation, p. 76, n. 
* C. A'., 10 : 260. 



[elanchthon Leaves Heidelberg and Goes to Tubingen Life and 
Studies at Tubingen Melanchthon Becomes Master of Arts 
Is Licensed to Teach Lectures on the Classics Becomes Proof- 
Reader, Editor, and Translator Obscurantism Melanchthon 
Attracts the Attention of Scholars. 

F^IQUED by the rejection of his application to 
become a candidate for the Master's degree, 
and thinking, doubtless, that there was not much 
more to be learned at Heidelberg, and believing 
that a change of climate might improve his health, 
Melanchthon resolved to emigrate to another uni- 
versity. Again following the advice of Reuchlin 
and Simler, he went to Tiibingen, where he matric- 
ulated, September 17, 1512, John Schemer being 

The University of Tubingen was founded in the 
year 1477 by Duke Eberhard the Bearded. It also 
was yet under the domination of the scholastic 
philosophy; but it had given a larger place than 
Heidelberg to humanistic culture. Here John 
frassican, of Constance, taught Latin Grammar by a 


20 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

simple and practical method. Heinrich Bebel, in 
1501 laureated by the Emperor Maximilian, lectured 
on poetry and eloquence. 

Melanchthon heard these two with special delight, 
but he supplemented their deficiencies by reading 
Virgil and Cicero. He heard Francis Stadian on 
the philosophy of Aristotle, Simler on Jurisprudence 
and Logic, and Stoffler on Mathematics and As- 
tronomy. He also heard lectures on Medicine, and 
read the words of Galen. Greek he pursued pri- 
vately, assisted by CEcolampadius, who was fifteen 
years his senior. Hebrew he began at the sugges- 
tion of Reuchlin, who had written the first Hebrew 
Grammar that appeared in Germany. By the aid 
of this book Melanchthon pursued the study of 
Hebrew as far as was possible without further assist- 
ance. To this list of studies, already long, he joined 
that of Theology, which he always regarded as the 
crown of the sciences. Both Realism and Nominal- 
ism then had their representatives in the theological 
and in the philosophical faculty. At the close of 
the preceding century Gabriel Biel had taught 
Nominalism, and John Heynlin, Realism, both with 

The students lived in special quarters called Bur- 
sen, according as they belonged to the old school 
(Realism) or the new school (Nominalism). The 
symbol of the former was the eagle, that of the 
latter the peacock ; and many were the battles 
fought under the rival banners. Melanchthon read 
Occam assiduously, and became imbued with Nom- 
inalism. He also heard Jacob Lemp, " the old 




Student and Teacher 21 

Doctor of Theology, who pictured transubstantia- 
tion on the blackboard." 1 At the same time he 
deepened his spiritual life by reading Gerson, and 
found theological instruction in the writings of John 
Wessel, of whom he wrote in his Postils : " On many 
points of evangelical doctrine he taught exactly as 
we do, now that the Church is reformed, and that 
God has caused the glorious light of the Gospel to 
shine again in marvellous ways." 2 He also kept 
up his intercourse with his learned uncle; often 
visiting him at Stuttgart, where he regaled himself 
in his uncle's library, or listened to his account of 
the persons and things he had seen in his wide inter- 
course with men. And often did Reuchlin visit his 
nephew at Tubingen, living with him in his Burse 
and eating with him at the same table, " because he 
delighted in intercourse with young men." Reuch- 
lin gave Melanchthon a Latin Bible, which the 
latter carried with him whithersoever he went, " and 
read it carefully day and night." Even during the 
church service, while the preacher was discoursing 
on the ethics of Aristotle, or relating monkish fables, 
he was reading in his Bible such explanations as no 
priest and no professor at Tubingen could give him. 
Thus again it will be seen that Melanchthon's 
studies took a wide range. He sought to know 
everything and to be a master in every science. 
Bretschneider sums up his student career at Tu- 
bingen as follows : 

" He gave attention chiefly to Greek and Latin litera- 

1 C. X., 4: 718. 
5 C.R., 24:309. 

22 Philip Melanchthon 

ture, to philosophy, history, eloquence, logic, mathe- 
matics, heard the theologians (particularly Lemp, who 
taught the scholastic theology), the lecturers on law and 
medicine, and read Galen so carefuliy that he could re- 
peat most of his works from memory." 

His seventeenth birthday was now approaching, 
and with it the fulfilment of the wish which had 
been denied him at Heidelberg. On the twenty- 
fifth day of January, 1514, as first among eleven 
candidates, he received the degree of Master of the 
Liberal Arts, and with it license as a Privatdocent to 
lecture on the ancient classics to his own Burse, of 
which he was regent. vHe began with Virgil and 
Terence, to which Livy and Cicero were soon after 
added. His didactic skill, his extraordinary thor- 
oughness, his enthusiasm for classical literature, 
awoke a new life in the university. Not content 
with the discharge of his official duties, he gathered 
round him a select circle of students for the cultiva- 
tion of a purer Latinity, and for the study of the 
Greek language. 

He also became corrector to the printer, Thomas 
Anshelm a position which could be held then only 
by a learned man. Here he had an opportunity to 
employ his great learning in the interests of science. 
He edited and almost completely re-wrote the 
Chronicon, or Universal History, by John Naucler, 
the Rector of the university, and made it one of the 
most serviceable and widely read books of the age. 
In March, 1516, he published, with Preface, a metri- 

1 C. R., i : cxlvi. 

s] Student and Teacher 23 

cal arrangement of the Comedies of Terence, which 
had been hitherto published only as prose. In No- 
vember of the same year he gave out a Preface to the 
Dialogus Mythologicus of Bartholomew of Cologne. 

The next year, besides other literary labours, he 
translated a portion of Plutarch ; and at the instance 
of Professor Stoffler he undertook the translation of 
Aratus, a part of which he put into Latin verse, and 
ceased only because he had resolved to undertake a 
greater work. 

Stadian had been lecturing on Aristotle's Analyt- 
ica Posteriora, which was then regarded as belong- 
ing to the Metaphysics. Melanchthon became 
convinced that this work belonged to Rhetoric, and 
succeeded in convincing his former professor of the 
correctness of his conclusions. Stadian then pro- 
posed that Melanchthon should prepare a new edi- 
tion of Aristotle in the original, for the purpose of 
exhibiting, in his own true form, the great philo- 
sopher, " who, maimed, mutilated, and translated 
into barbarous Latin, had become more obscure 
than a sibylline oracle." 

Stadian, Reuchlin, Simler, CEcolampadius, and 
others, promised him assistance. But the work did 
not advance very far, as soon Melanchthon found 
his life-work in another field. 

Meanwhile, and since 1509, Melanchthon had 
been a spectator, and more than a spectator, of one 
of the most shameful and bitter literary contests 
known to history. John Pfefferkorn, a converted 
Jew, and Jacob Hochstratten, a Dominican Inquisi- 

1 C. R., i : 26, and n : 17. 

24 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

tor, had insisted on the banishment of the Jews and 
the destruction of most of their writings. 

The Emperor Maximilian, through the Elector of 
Mayence, required an opinion from Reuchlin. The 
great Hebraist defended the Hebrew literature 
against these self-appointed watchers on the walls of 
Zion. Pfefferkorn published Reuchlin's opinion 
with abusive comments, denounced him as a heretic, 
and had him brought to trial before the Bishop of 
Spires. The whole literary and theological world 
was now drawn into the contest. On the one side 
were the monks. On the other side were the brave 
and spirited champions of Humanism, such as Count 
Hermann of Neuenar, John Crotus, Peter Eber- 
bach, Eoban Hess, Wilibald Pirkheimer, John Brassi- 
can, Richard Crotus, and the brave and brilliant 
Ulrich von Hutten. Reuchlin was acquitted by 
the court, but still the battle raged, until the valiant 
Francis von Sickingen forced the obscurant monks 
to pay the cost of prosecution, and to make the 
amende honorable. 

What part Melanchthon took in this contest is 
not clear. He and his former teacher, John Hilte- 
brant, wrote Prefaces to The Letters of Illustrious 
Men, addressed to Reuchlin, and published by 
Anshelm in March, 1514, in order to show to the 
learned world the kind of man these Cologne 
obscurantists had attacked. Melanchthon praises 
the letters as models of epistolatory style, and adds 
that " Germany can behold nothing more glorious 
than the person of Reuchlin, whom the goddess of 
wisdom has adorned with the most splendid gifts/' 

Student and Teacher 25 

As a counterpart to this book there soon appeared 
Epistola Obscurorum Virorum ( The Letters of Obscure 
Men). It is a book of satires, the most natural, the 
most cruel, and hence the most effective ever writ- 
ten. The very names of the writers, Hasenfusius, 
Hasenmusius, Dollenkoppius, Lumplin, Schnar- 
holtzius, Buntschuchmacherius, Eitelnarrabienus, 
and the like, bespeak sarcasm and irony. The book 
was written in the barbarous monks' Latin of the 
period, sometimes interlarded with German, as 
follows : 

" Et ivi hinc ad Hagenau, 
Da wurden mir die Augen blau, 
Per te, Wolfgange Angst ; 
Gott gib, dass du hangst, 
Quia me cum baculo 
Percusseras in oculo." 

The satires mirror the ignorance, arrogance, im- 
morality, and barbarity of the monks, their hate 
of heretics and humanists, in a style which might 
have tortured them to death had their ignorance 
and stolidity not been so great that some of them 
actually thought these letters had been composed 
in their honour. Hence they even assisted in their 

The question of the authorship of thes letters 
has not been settled. They have been attributed 
to Hutten, to Crotus Rubianus, and to other old 
and young humanists. One of the most amusing 
and effective of the entire collection is entitled 
Carmen Rithmicale Magistri Philippi Schlauraff, 
quod compilavit et comportavit, quando fuit Cursor 

26 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

in Theologia, et ambulavit per totam Alamaniam 
superiorem. 1 

Some have supposed that Melanchthon was the 
author of this piece, and under this supposition 
Bretschneider put it in the Corpus Reformatorum, 
though it is far more likely that it was written by 
Ulrich von Hutten. It represents a young Cologne 
Magister travelling over Germany in search of 
" poets," and everywhere treated with insults and 
blows. The prominence given to " Philip Melanch- 
thon," in this poem shows that the young Tubingen 
Magister occupied a conspicuous place among the 
authors and humanists who were particularly hostile 
to the monkish pedantry of the day. A few extracts 
from this characteristic poem will interest the reader: 

" Tune prseterivi Studgardiam, quia habet ibi stanstiam 
Reuchlin ille hsereticus, qui fuit mihi suspectus. 
Tune ad Tubingam abii, hie sedent multi socii, 
Qui novos libros faciunt et theologos vilipendunt : 
Quorum est vilissimus Philippus Melanchthonius, 
Sicut ego cognovi : et igitur Deo vovi, 

Si viderem ilium mortuum, quod irem ad Sanctum Jacobum. 
Et Paulus Vereander, die schwuren alle mit einander, 
Quod vellent me percutere, si non vellem recedere. 
Sed quidam hie theologus cum nomine Franciscus 
Sua cum cavisatione portavit me ex ilia regione. 
Tune cogitavi ire, et ab illis poe'tis venire." 

Finally this wanderer in search of " poets" comes 
back to Cologne : 

" Sic ivi ad Coloniam, et inveni bonam componiam, 
Quamvis mihi Buschius cum suis auditoribus, 

1 See C. ./?., 10 : 472 et seqq., and Rotermund's edition of the Epis- 
tota, pp. 142 et seqq. 



IBIS] Student and Teacher 27 

Et Joannes Ctzsarius, qui legit ibi Plinius, 

Facerent instantias, quia non curavi has : 

Sed steti cum Theologis, et vixi in laetitiis, 

Und gab nit ein Har auff den Graven von newen Ar, 

Quamvis sit Poeticus, quia Pepercornus 

In suis dictaminibus dicit de nobilibus, 

Qui quamvis sunt clari, non possunt excusari, 

Et debent sibi solvere, pro sua obscuritate, 

Et sic est finis propter honorem Universitatis." 

Melanchthon's participation in the controversy 
brought him more discomfort than praise. The 
spirit of Tubingen was still mainly subservient to 
the old learning. The " heresy " of Luther was 
combated by Jacob Lemp ; and humanists and 
grammarians were viewed with an evil eye. Even 
Simler and Stadian clung to the old rather than ad- 
vanced with the new. Melanchthon was satirised 
and described as a dangerous man. Hence Tubingen 
was no longer a comfortable place for him. In 
1518, he wrote to Bernhard Maurer: " The method 
of teaching which ought to improve both the under- 
standing and the manners is neglected. What is 
called philosophy is a weak and empty speculation, 
which produces strife and contention. The true 
wisdom come down from Heaven to regulate the 
affections of men is banished." 

There was nothing more for him to learn from 
Tubingen, and he could not be content to remain 
where the new learning did not have free course. 
Moreover, he had already attracted the attention of 
foreign scholars. Erasmus, then the literary mon- 
arch of Europe, in his notes on the New Testament, 

1 C. ..i: 25. 

28 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

had written the following encomium on him: " Eter- 
nal God, what expectation does not Philip Melanch- 
thon raise, who though a youth, yea, rather, scarcely 
more than a boy, deserves equaf esteem for his 
knowledge of both languages! What sagacity in 
argument, what purity of style, what comprehension 
of learned subjects, what varied reading, what deli- 
cacy and almost royal elegance of mind! " ' Wili- 
bald Pirkheimer of Nuremberg, scholar, statesman, 
humanist, to whom Melanchthon had addressed a 
Greek ode, had placed him among his most intimate 
friends, " on account of his studious habits, his 
learning, and his talents." 2 A call to a professor- 
ship at Ingolstadt had reached him. This he de- 
clined upon the advice of Reuchlin. 

Philip Melanchthon, now in his twenty-second 
year, was beyond question the best humanistic 
scholar in Germany. He could not longer remain 
4< in a school where it was a capital offence to study 
polite literature." Greater and better things were 
in reservation for him elsewhere. 

1 Com. on Thessal., p. 555, Basel, 1515. 
2 C /?., i: 23. 



Wittenberg Founding of the University Luther Called to Witten- 
berg The Ninety-five Theses Melanchthon Called to Witten- 
berg Journey to Wittenberg Personal Appearance Liberal 
Spirit at Wittenberg Melanchthon's Inaugural Luther's De- 
light Luther and Melanchthon Compared Increase of Stu- 
dents Literary Activity. 

WITTENBERG, situated on the right bank of 
the Elbe, was founded in the twelfth cent- 
ury by Wendish fishermen. Built on a low, sandy 
plain, and surrounded for miles by sandy plains and 
a rocky, sterile soil, it has never been distinguished 
for commerce or manufactures. It owes its fame 
entirely to the fact that it was the cradle of the 
Reformation. At the beginning of the sixteenth 
century it had a population of about three thousand 
souls, who were described by Luther as " disoblig- 
ing and discourteous, without any regard for the 
finer and higher culture, and dwelling on the bord- 
ers of civilisation." Myconius says: " The houses 
were small, old, ugly, low, wooden, more like a vil- 
lage than a city." But it was the capital of Electo- 


30 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

ral Saxony and had a castle to which was attached a 
church known as the Church of All Saints, a parish 
church, and an Augustinian monastery. When, in 
1490, the Saxon territory was divided between the 
Ernestine and the Albertine lines, the Electorate 
was left without a university. As it soon became 
necessary to provide for higher education, Frederick 
the Wise, who had himself been liberally educated, 
selected Wittenberg as the location of his university. 
Here was the Castle Church with five thousand re- 
liques, and with provision for ten thousand masses 
per annum. Here also was the monastery, which 
could furnish a part of the teaching force, and thus 
reduce the expenses. Accordingly, October 18, 
1502, the University of Wittenberg was opened. 
Frederick spared neither pains nor cost to make his 
university equal, or even superior, to its rivals at 
Leipzig and Erfurt. He called it his daughter, and 
sought to bring into its faculties the best scholars 
he could find. Dr. Martin Pollich, physician, 
jurist, theologian, called Lux Mundi, because of 
his much learning, was made Rector, and Dr. John 
von Staupitz, a Saxon nobleman, Vicar-General of 
the Augustinian Monasteries of Germany, was ap- 
pointed Dean of the theological faculty. The latter 
soon fixed his eye on his young friend, Martin 
Luther, an Augustinian brother at Erfurt, as a 
proper person for a professor. In 1508, Luther was 
called to Wittenberg, and began his work by lectur- 
ing on the Aristotelian philosophy. 

In 1512, he was graduated Doctor of Theology, 
and thenceforth devoted himself to the sacred 

isi8] Early Wittenberg Days 31 

science. In his doctor's oath, he obligated himself 
to defend the Holy Scriptures against all errors, and 
also to obey the Roman Catholic Church. He 
preached much, heard confessions, and said mass as 
became a devout Catholic. Unexpectedly to him- 
self he woke the theological world out of its slumbers 
by the sound of the hammer strokes which fastened 
the Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Castle 
Church on the thirty-first of October, 1517. Hence- 
forth Wittenberg was committed to the new learning, 
and was now prepared to furnish a fit working- 
place for the literary head of the Reformation. 
The fame of the university was growing, and it 
became necessary to have professors for Greek and 
Hebrew. Frederick, who was becoming proud of 
his" high school," inquired of Reuchlin in April, 
1518, for suitable persons to fill the proposed chairs. 
The old " phoenix of Germany " rejoiced that " the 
University of Wittenberg was to rise to the honour 
and praise of all Germany by the use of the Latin, 
Greek, and Hebrew tongues." For Hebrew he 
suggested Dr. Paul Riccius, a converted Jew, physi- 
cian to Cardinal von Gurk, or Conrad Pellican, a 
Barefoot prior, one of his own pupils, who, in 1507, 
had published a Hebrew Grammar. For the chair 
of Greek he proposed his own nephew, " Master 
Philip Schwartzerd of Bretten," stipulating only 
that if Master Philip should not fill the place accept- 
ably he should be returned free of expense. He 
further suggested that Philip's books could be taken 
to Saxony in September by the merchants of Frank- 
fort, and he could ride with them, as he " did not 

32 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

know the way." ' In a subsequent letter to the Elec- 
tor he commended Philip, saying: " He will serve 
the University and your Electoral Grace with honour 
and praise. Of this I have no doubt, for I know no 
one among the Germans who surpasses him, except 
Erasmus of Rotterdam, who is a Hollander." 2 For 
a time the decision hung in the balance. Peter Mo- 
sellanus, the celebrated Greek scholar of Leipzig, had 
sought the place for himself, and had found advo- 
cates in Luther and Spalatin. The latter had spoken 
of him as pious, peaceful, upright, and able to trans- 
late from Greek into Latin, and had expressed some 
scruples against Melanchthon. It is probable that 
regard for the authority of Reuchlin decided the 
matter, and sent Melanchthon to Wittenberg, where 
he became the companion of Luther and the chief 
promoter of his work. What would Christendom 
be to-day had Melanchthon gone to Ingolstadt and 
become the companion and supporter of Eck ? 

On the twenty-fourth of July, Reuchlin forwarded 
the formal call to Melanchthon, saying: 

" Here you have the letter of the pious Prince, signed 
with his own hand, in which he promises you his favour 
and protection. I will not address you in the language 
of poetry, but will quote the faithful promise of God to 
Abraham : ' Get thee out of thy country, and from thy 
kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I 
will shew thee; and I will make of thee a great nation, 
and I will bless and make thy name great, and thou shalt 
be a blessing' (Gen. xii., i, 2). So my mind forecasts, 

1 See Reuchlin's letter in C. Jt. , I : 27 et seq. 
J C *., 1:34. 

Early Wittenberg Days 33 

and so I hope it will be with thee, my Philip, my work, 
and my consolation." 

Then after advising him about his effects and his 
leave-taking of friends at Tubingen, Bretten, and 
Pforzheim, and inviting him to come to Stuttgart, 
he adds: " Such is my advice. Be of good courage. 
Be not a woman, but a man. A prophet is not 
without honour save in his own country. Fare- 
well." 1 

Thus dismissed with a prophetic anticipation, and 
with the assurance of the divine blessing, Melanch- 
thon visited his mother and grandmother, and then 
hastened to Stuttgart to take a final farewell of his 
illustrious relative, friend, patron, and counsellor, 
who from " his youth had taught and instructed him 
in the Greek language," and whom he should never 
see again in the flesh. 

Urged by the Elector, who was at that time at- 
tending an imperial diet at Augsburg, to come to 
him at once " with his books," early in August 
Melanchthon mounted a horse and set out for Augs- 
burg, which twelve years later was the scene of his 
greatest achievement, the composition of the first 
and most widely endorsed Confession of Protestant 
Christendom. Here he saluted the Elector, and 
formed the acquaintance of Spalatin, with whom he 
travelled into Saxony, and with whom he formed a 
lasting friendship. The die was cast, but no human 
mind could foresee the result. It could only have 
been said that Philip Melanchthon, the best product 

~ '.*., 1-32. 

34 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

of the German Renaissance, had left his land and 
kindred, the fertile fields and balmy climate of the 
South, for an academic home among strangers in 
the cold and crude North. 

But the change was a relief, since he wished not 
longer to remain and be tormented in Tubingen, 
where his eminent scholarship and rising reputation 
had excited the jealousy of the older professors. 1 
Nor was his departure deplored by his colleagues, 
because, as Simler said, " though there were many 
learned men there, they were not learned enough to 
understand how great was the learning of him who 
had gone from the midst of them." a Yet our old 
account relates that 

" in the meanwhile Duke Ulrich of Wtirtemberg, who 
wished to retain Philip in his own country, sent Conrad 
von Sickingen, then in his service, to Philip's mother to 
inform her that if her son was minded to enter the 
priesthood, he should apply to his Princely Grace. Then 
he would provide him with a good benefice on account 
of the faithful service of his sainted father. However, 
Philip was not inclined to become a priest; but intended 
in accordance with the invitation of the Elector of Saxony 
to serve his Electoral Grace and the University; and so 
it came to pass." 

After tarrying a few days at Augsburg, where 
again he declined a call to Ingolstadt, Melanchthon 
started directly for Wittenberg. At Nuremberg he 
made the personal acquaintance of Wilibald Pirk- 

1 See his letters to Reuchlin in C. R., i : 31. 
9 C. R., 10 : 299. 

Early Wittenberg Days 35 

heimer, and of Christopher Scheurl, who from 1505 
to 1512 had been a professor of law at Wittenberg. 
Both received the young professor with open arms. 
August 20th he reached Leipzig, where he met for 
the first time Peter Mosellanus, the young professor 
of Greek, and Andrew Francis Comitianus, who 
afterward became counsellor to several Saxon 
dukes. Camerarius, his lifelong friend and bio- 
grapher, relates the following anecdote : 

" Philip used to tell what occurred at a banquet given 
in his honour by the University. The courses were 
many, and as each was served, some person would get 
up with a prepared speech and address him. Having 
observed this for a while and having responded once and 
again, Philip said: ' I pray you, illustrious sirs, allow me 
to respond once for all to your speeches, for I am not 
prepared to speak so often with the proper variety.' " 1 

Schmidt remarks that Melanchthon was not so 
lusty a drinker as the Leipzig professors were. 

In addition to this good cheer, the Leipzig pro- 
fessors sought, more earnestly than honourably, to 
retain him in the service of their own university. 
They spoke disparagingly of Wittenberg, and offered 
larger pay than had been promised him one hun- 
dred florins by the Elector. But, though fearing 
lest his salary might not be adequate for his main- 
tenance, he nevertheless stood firmly by his promise, 
and on the morning of the 24th pushed on toward 
the end of his journey. He passed the night at 
Duben, and on the next day, August 25, 1518, at 

1 Vita Melanchthonis, p. 26. 

36 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

one o'clock in the afternoon, he entered " the white 
city " by the Elbe, where he was destined to labour 
for forty-two years, and where hi^ body, worn out 
by toil and suffering, was to find its last resting- 

Melanchthon's fame had preceded him to Witten- 
berg, but his appearance disappointed expectation. 
He was young, below middle size, diffident, hesitat- 
ing, of frail body and stammering tongue, and 
carried one shoulder higher than the other. As he 
passed along the street it may have been said with 
a wink of the eye and a wag of the head, " There 
goes Melanchthon, the new professor"; but those 
who took a closer look, and judged not by the out- 
ward appearance only, remarked the high forehead, 
the large, clear, blue eyes, the thoughtful face, the 
animated gesture, all of which gave intimations of 
the lofty intellect which used that frail body as its 
instrument. August 26th, under the rectorate of 
Nicholas Gingelm, Master of Arts, " Philip Mel- 
anchthon of Bretten, a Tubingen Master of Arts, 
was registered as the first professor of the Greek 
language. ' ' So runs the record in the Codex Bavari, 
t. i., p. 1003. 

Melanchthon is\iow installed a professor at the 
new University of Wittenberg. No restrictions are 
imposed on his teaching. He came as a pronounced 
humanist, but a humanist of a loftier purpose, who 
is to use humanistic learning in the service of re- 
ligion ; and Wittenberg is exactly the place for the 
execution of such a purpose. From its very begin- 
ning a liberal spirit had prevailed in the Saxon uni- 

Early Wittenberg Days 37 

versity on the Elbe. The first rector had favoured 
classical studies in opposition to the current subtle- 
ties of the scholastic method. The first dean of the j 
theological faculty had laid more stress on practical / 
piety than on the dogmas of the Church. Luther/ 
had already raged against Aristotle and the scholas- 
tics, and by his lectures on the Psalms and Romans 
had carried the study of Theology back towards its 
sources. John Rhagius and Otto Beckman were 
lecturing on the Latin classics. Jerome Schurf, from 
Tubingen, lectured on Law. Caspar Borner taught 
Astronomy. These friends of advanced methods 
were more than odds for the few remaining Thom- 
ists and Scotists who taught physics and logic in the 
old way. In addition there was in the theological 
faculty Andrew Bodenstein, a man of ample learn- 
ing, and of controversial spirit, but with his eye to 
the future rather than on the past. Surely no uni- 
versity in Germany furnished at that time such an 
opportunity and such congenial companionship for 
the young humanist as Wittenberg. All had awaited 
his coming with anxious expectation, and all had 
been disappointed in his appearance. But the 
disappointment was of short duration. August 
29th, four days after his arrival, the new professor 
ascended the rostrum in the presence of the as- 
sembled University and delivered his Inaugural. 
His subject was " The Improvement of the Studies 
of Youth ' ' (De corrigendis adolescentia studiis}. He 
said : 

Only regard for the proper studies and the du- 
ties of my office, illustrious Rector and Heads of 

38 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the University, could induce me to commend to 
you the study of classical literature, which is so 
much opposed by rude and uncultured men, who 
declare that classical studies are more difficult than 
useful; that Greek is studied only by disordered 
intellects, and that, too, for display ; and that 
Hebrew is of little account. To contend with such 
teachers one needs to be a Hercules or a Theseus. 
Even before me I see those who are annoyed by this 
innovation. But hear me patiently, as my relation 
to you and the dignity of literature require. 

In the Middle Ages Roman literature went down 
with the Roman Empire. Only in England and 
Ireland did learning flourish, as with the Venerable 
Bede, who was master of all the knowledge of his 
times. The Germans were better acquainted with 
war than with literature. Charlemagne revived the 
study of literature. He called Alcuin from Eng- 
land to France. Under his leadership Paris became 
distinguished for culture. Then came a period of 
relapse, and Aristotle, mutilated and translated into 
bad Latin, became more obscure than a sibylline 
oracle. This was followed by the race of scholastics, 
more numerous than the seed of Cadmus. Law, 
Medicine, and Theology alike suffered from the 
decline of classical study. Good literature was 
supplanted by the bad; the pristine piety was ex- 
changed for ceremonies, human traditions, constitu- 
tions, capitularies, pilgrimages, and glosses. 

There are three kinds of studies : Logic, Physics, 
and Oratory. Logic teaches the force and differ- 
ences of words, and also the limits, origin, and 

Early Wittenberg Days 39 

course of things. But the science has been cor- 
rupted by many of its modern teachers; and endless 
disputes arise, as between Nominalism and Realism. 
Yet Logic is of great service. There is also great 
confusion among theologians. The Philosophers, 
Orators, Poets, Theologians, and Historians of an- 
tiquity must be studied. All public and private life 
is profited by the study of history. Homer is the 
source of all learning among the Greeks, and Virgil 
and Horace among the Latins. Theology must be 
studied by the aid of the Greek and Hebrew. When 
we go to the sources, then are we led to Christ. I 
shall begin my work with Homer and the Epistle to 
Titus. Cultivate the old Latins and embrace the 
Greeks. To the inculcation of such studies I now 
devote myself. 

This oration, of which we have given a brief 
synopsis, at once points out the relation of Melanch- 
thon to the great intellectual and religious movement 
of the age. No similar programme had ever been 
exhibited to the professors and students of a German 
university. What had lain in the author's mind at 
Tubingen as a fruitful seed, now in the congenial 
atmosphere of Wittenberg blossomed out in strength 
and beauty. In the face of remnants of obscurant- 
ism which may have lingered in this newest univer- 
sity, the young professor announces the mission of 
classical studies. He conceives that they are to 
regenerate society, and to lead to a better theology. 
The Erasmian thought that the Church must be 
reformed by means of classical study takes a step 
forward, and joins Homer and Paul. It does not 

40 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

have that deeper knowledge of the Scripture into 
which its author was yet to be led, nor that living 
relation to the saving doctrine whjch alone can free 
the Church from its Babylonian captivity; but it 
points significantly and positively in the right direc- 
tion, and marks the inauguration of a new era in 
culture and religion. In Italy the Renaissance 
brought in scepticism and Epicureanism. In Ger- 
many it was to bring faith and a higher morality. 
The difference in results lay in the fact that in Italy 
culture was sought as an end in itself. In Germany 
it was used as a means for the cultivation of theology 
and for the advancement of piety. And this differ- 
ent use of a revived antiquity has been one of the 
most potent factors in making Protestant peoples so 
much superior to their Roman Catholic neighbours, 
both in theology and in religion. For very much 
of this superiority the world is indebted to Melanch- 
thon. His Inaugural is an open declaration of war 
against the " men of darkness," and a protest 
against the traditional methods in theology. It 
enunciates distinctly the evangelical principle: the 
Bible as the means and Christ as the goal of truth 
and wisdom. 

The impression made by the oration was extraor- 
dinarily great. A new star, destined to shed its 
light wide over the world, had risen in the North. 
Luther was in ecstasy. Two days later he wrote to 
Spalatin : 

" As regards our Philip Melanchthon everything shall 
be done as you suggest. On the fourth day after his 
arrival he delivered a most learned and chaste oration to 

Early Wittenberg Days 41 

the delight and admiration of all. It is not now neces- 
sary for you to commend him. We quickly retracted the 
opinion which we had formed when we first saw him. 
Now we laud and admire the reality in him, and thank 
the most illustrious Prince and your kindness. Be at 
pains to commend him most heartily to the Prince. I 
desire no other Greek teacher so long as we have him. 
But I fear that his delicate constitution may not bear the 
mode of life in this country. Also, I hear that because 
of the smallness of his salary the boastful Leipzig pro- 
fessors hope soon to take him from us. They solicited 
him before he came here." l 

Luther then exhorts Spalatin not to despise Mel- 
anchthon's appearance and age, " for he is worthy of 
all honour." Two days later he wrote again: " I 
most heartily commend Philip. He is a most 
thorough Greek scholar, very learned and highly 
cultured. His lecture-room is filled with students. f 
All the theological students, the highest, middle,) 
and lowest classes, study Greek." 

The two great men were at once drawn to each 
other. Luther's clear understanding, deep feeling, 
pious spirit, heroic courage, overwhelmed Melanch- 
thon with wonder, so that he reverenced him as a 
father. Melanchthon's great learning, fine culture, 
philosophical clearness, his beautiful character and 
tender heart, acted as a charm upon Luther. Each 
found the complement of his own nature in the 
other. God had joined the two with marvellous 
adaptation. If Luther was a physician severer than 

1 De W. (De Wette's Luther's Briefe), I : 134, 135- 
2 De W., i : 140. 

42 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the diseases of the Church could bear, Melanchthon 
was too gentle for the hurt of the declining Church, 
which could not easily bear either, her diseases or 
the remedies required to heal them. Together they 
achieved what neither could have done without the 
other. Hence they are entitled to share equal hon- 
ours for the work of the Reformation. Without Mel-~^ 
anchthon the nailing up of the Ninety-five Theses \ 
had ended in a monkish squabble, to be followed per- 
haps by a new school of theology in the old Church. 
Without Luther the teaching of Greek at Witten- 
berg would have ended in a higher and purer human- 
istic culture. Their combined labours produced the 
Protestant Church, changed the course of history, 
and introduced the modern era. Luther by his fiery 
eloquence, genial humour, and commanding per- 
sonality commended the Reformation to the people. 
Melanchthon by his moderation, his love of order, 
his profound scholarship, won for it the support of 
the learned. Luther himself has put their gifts in 
happy juxtaposition : 

"I am rough, boisterous, stormy, and altogether 
warlike. I am born to fight against innumerable mon- 
sters and devils. I must remove stumps and stones, cut 
away thistles, and thorns, and clear the wild forests; but 
Master Philip comes along softly and gently, sowing and 
watering with joy, according to the gifts which God has 
abundantly bestowed upon him." ' 

The sowing was just as useful and indispensable 
as the removal of the stumps and stones. The 

1 Preface to Melanchthon's Com. on Colossians. 

Early Wittenberg Days 43 

work of the one, especially at the beginning, was 
predominantly the work of destruction; that of the 
other, as predominantly the work of construction. 
Luther tore down the idols of the Roman Catholic 
Church. Melanchthon laid the foundation of the 
dogmatic system of Protestant theology, and wrote 
the first Confession of the Protestant Church. Their 
combined labours brought into existence the Evan- 
gelical Lutheran Church. Also the friendship es- 
tablished between these great men forms one of the 
most pleasing features of the religious drama of 
the sixteenth century. Luther loved Melanchthon 
as a son, and yet he often sat at his feet as a pupil, 
and preferred the opinions of Master Philip to his 
own. Melanchthon learned his theology and his 
spiritual apprehension of divine truth from Luther. 
Each esteemed the other better than himself. Each 
saw in the other a wonderful instrument of Provi- 
dence, and each had the consciousness that he had 
been providentially joined to the other for the exe- 
cution of a common commission. At one time the 
ardour of their friendship was slightly damped, but 
the warmth of earlier attachment was soon rekin- 
dled, and then it endured to the end. Lovely and 
pleasant in their lives, they toiled, prayed, and suf- 
fered for the same great cause, and in their death 
they are not divided, since they sleep together under 
the same roof in the Castle Church at Wittenberg, 
on whose door Luther nailed the first battle-cry of 
the Reformation. 

A new era in academic culture had now begun at 
Wittenberg. For some years theology had been 

44 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

taught in an independent and liberal way; but Mel- 
anchthon was the first to lead the students to the 
original sources of theology and to train them by 
means of logic and classical literature to system- 
atic thinking and to the clear expression of their 
thoughts. The result was that from all parts of 
Germany, and from foreign lands, students flocked 
to Wittenberg, chiefly to hear Melanchthon. In 
the winter semester of 1518-19, there were only one 
hundred and twenty students. The next semester 
the number was doubled. In the summer semes- 
ter of 1520 there were three hundred and thirty- 
three; and in the autumn of the same year Spalatin 
saw six hundred present at one of Philip's lectures. 

" Sometimes he had nearly two thousand hearers, 
among whom were princes, counts, barons, and other 
persons of rank. He taught over a wide range of sub- 
jects, including Hebrew, Latin, and Greek Grammar, 
rhetoric, physics, and philosophy; thus serving the com- 
mon weal of Church and State, and in teaching accom- 
plishing as much in all his subjects as other professors 
did in one subject." * 

So splendid was his success that Luther exclaimed : 

" Whoever does not recognise Philip as his instructor, 
is a stolid, stupid donkey, carried away by his own vanity 
and self-conceit. Whatever we know in the arts and in 
true philosophy, Philip has taught us. He has only the 
humble title of Master, but he excels all the Doctors. 
There is no one living adorned with such gifts. He 

1 C. R. t 10: 301. 

Early Wittenberg Days 45 

must be held in honour. Whoever despises this man, 
him will God despise." 

Melanchthon also continued his literary activity. 
In the year 1518 he edited and published the Epistle 
to Titus, and wrote to Spalatin that he was ready to 
publish, among other things, a Greek dictionary, 
two treatises of Plutarch, a Greek hymn, Athenag- 
oras, Plato's Symposium, and three books on 
Rhetoric. 2 He was body and soul devoted to Wit- 
tenberg, with the double purpose of bringing honour 
to the university and of disseminating knowledge. 
He declared that he should be wanting neither in 
faithfulness, nor in study, nor in zeal, nor in labour, 
to increase the splendour of Wittenberg, and to 
meet the expectations of the Elector. 3 

Thus with his hands full of work, and with his 
reputation as a scholar and teacher fully established, 
Melanchthon closed the year 1518. 

1 C. R., 10: 302. 
2 C. *., 1:44,50,52. 

3 Ibidem. 



Effects of Luther s Theses Progress of the Reformation John 
Eck Controversy Leipzig Disputation Eck, Carlstadt, and 
Luther Melanchthon Attends the Leipzig Disputation Con- 
troversy with Eck. 

LUTHER'S Theses had excited great commo- 
tion throughout Christendom. Those who felt 
themselves oppressed and scandalised by the papal 
corruptions, hailed the Saxon monk as the coming 
deliverer of the Church. Those who were content 
with the existing order of things proclaimed him a 
heretic, schismatic, babbler, and blasphemer. The 
Dominicans complained that their order had been 
insulted, and yet they rejoiced that the Augustin- 
ians were about to be brought into disgrace. The 
Pope, Leo X., who at first thought the commotion 
was only an insignificant quarrel between the monks, 
soon learned that it threatened the stability of his 
throne. Early in February, 1518, he had called on 
the General of the Augustinian Order to extinguish 
the fire which Luther had kindled. He then cited 
Luther to appear in Rome within sixty days to have 


Progress of the Reformation 47 

his case tried before three judges. And when 
through the good offices of the Elector it was de- 
cided to have the case tried in Germany, Luther 
was ordered to appear before Cardinal Cajetan with- 
out delay. The order was promptly obeyed, and, 
October 7, 1518, Luther arrived at the cloister of 
the Augustinians in Augsburg. The interview was 
continued through several days, but without results. 
Fearing violence, Luther left Augsburg secretly, 
and October 3ist he was again in Wittenberg. Mel- 
anchthon had attended his friend on the dangerous 
journey with his best wishes and prayers; and now 
he rejoiced at his safe return. Luther had written 
him to play the man, and to teach the young men 
properly, as he himself was going to the sacrifice, if 
it pleased God, and adds: " I 'd rather perish, and, 
what is more grievous to me than all, be deprived 
forever of your delightful companionship, than to 
recant things fitly spoken, and be the occasion of 
putting an end to profitable studies." * A few days 
later he- wrote to Carlstadt that he would rather die, 
be burnt, expelled, and anathematised than recant. 
He begs all his friends to pray for him; " yea for 
yourselves, since your own cause is at stake here, 
viz., faith in Christ the Lord, and the grace of 
God." 2 

Luther's danger and his courage drew the young 
scholar still more closely to him, and helped to iden- 
tify him with the new movement. Hence when, on 
the twenty-eighth of November, 1518, Luther pub- 

1 De W., i: 146. 
2 De W., i: 161. 

48 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

lished his Appeal to the Pope for a general council, 
Melanchthon sent a copy of it to Spalatin, saying: 

" I send you Martin's Apology. *There is no reason 
why you should dread the rage of the Romanists. That 
is what such men are wont to do. Unless they play the 
tyrant they do not think they rule; though in the name of 
God what a difference there ought to be between ruling 
and being stewards! But ambition and avarice are seen 
in everything. Martin defends himself so well that they 
are not able to invent a new accusation against him." 

Luther and Melanchthon, though fully convinced 
of the corruptions of the Church, and of the right- 
eousness of what had now become their common 
cause, had no intention of separating from Rome, 
or of changing the constitution of the Church or her 
order of worship. They hoped that the ecclesiastical 
authorities could be led to see the errors and abuses 
which prevailed everywhere, and could be induced 
to correct them. The old institutions and orders 
might remain. They only needed purification. 
Melanchthon even praised Frederick for having pro- 
vided for the priests, built new monasteries, and 
restored old ones. 2 But the two Wittenberg profess- 
ors, who had been so powerfully drawn together, 
were not allowed to rest. They had begun an irre- 
pressible conflict. The truth itself was now fighting. 
Every day " the Pope's crown and the monks' 
bellies, ' ' to use the words of Erasmus, were incurring 
greater danger. The threats and denunciations of 

'C. J?., i: 58. 
2 C.*., 1:47- 

1519] Progress of the Reformation 49 

Cajetan had not silenced " that child of Satan and 
son of perdition," as the Pope had called Luther. 
Another method must be tried. Miltitz, the papal 
chamberlain, was despatched to Altenburg to flatter 
and conjure the bold monk into silence. He suc- 
ceeded, but with the distinct understanding, on the 
part of the monk, that he would observe silence 
provided that his enemies would also do the same. 
Here, it was thought, the whole matter would rest. 
But a new actor now came on the stage. Dr. John 
Eck, Pro-chancellor of the University of Ingolstadt, 
was one of the most learned men and eminent theo- 
logians of his age. He had studied at Heidelberg 
and Tubingen, had visited other celebrated univer- 
sities in Germany, and had made the acquaintance 
of the most illustrious scholars then living. Wher- 
ever he went he gained applause as a debater. At 
the age of twenty he began to lecture on Occam 
and Biel, on Aristotle's philosophy, on dogmatics, 
and on the nominalistic morality. He sought to 
master every subject and to surpass every other 
scholar. To increase his reputation as a disputant 
he visited Vienna and Bologna. He was as vain as 
he was learned, and delighted in recounting his 
victories. He saw in the Ninety-five Theses, which 
had been sent him by Luther, a subject for a new 
debate and a chance for an additional triumph. 
Against the Theses he published animadversions 
under the title of Obolisci. These were answered 
by Carlstadt in 406 theses, in which both the learn- 
ing and the orthodoxy of the Ingolstadt professor 
were boldly assailed. Luther himself finally replied 

50 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

in the Asterisci. The result was a challenge to Carl- 
stadt for a public disputation. Over the shoulders of 
Carlstadt Eck wished to chastise Luther. He chose 
Leipzig as the place for the disputation, and June 27, 
1519, as the time for beginning it. But already in 
February he had published thirteen theses which he 
proposed to defend. Some of these were directed 
against Luther. As his enemies had now broken 
the peace, Luther was no longer bound by his 
promise to keep the peace. Hence he began to pre- 
pare to meet the challenge, with the declaration that 
he feared " neither the Pope, nor the name of the 
Pope, nor popelings, nor puppets." Eck came to 
Leipzig early, and made a great display of himself, 
so as to attract attention. On June 24th the Wit- 
tenbergers entered the city. Besides the two 
champions, Carlstadt and Luther, there came Dr. 
John Lange, Vicar of the Augustinians, Philip 
Melanchthon, Nicholas Amsdorf, John Agricola, 
three doctors of law, and about two hundred stu- 
dents. Eck disputed with Carlstadt four days on 
the freedom of the will ; then with Luther on the 
Pope's primacy, purgatory, penance, absolution, and 
satisfaction. Luther drew his arguments against 
the Pope's primacy from the Scriptures and from the 
fact that the Greek Church had never acknowledged 
the Pope's primacy. These were his strong points; 
and in this part of the discussion he evinced his 
superiority. He went so far as to declare that a 
General Council could not create an article of faith, 
and could give no guarantee against error. Eck 
now proclaimed him a heathen and a publican. 



1519] Progress of the Reformation 51 

The disputation was continued for some days on 
other subjects, and then brought to a close. Eck 
claimed the victory, was applauded by his friends, 
and rewarded by Duke George, in whose Castle of 
the Pleissenburg the disputation had taken place. 
Luther departed for home displeased, exclaiming 
that Eck and his friends had not sought the truth, 
but fame. Yet the disputation was helpful to 
Luther. He had now reached the sublime conclu- 
sion that in matters of faith the authority of the 
Roman Church was not to be recognised. He had 
also discovered that henceforth his chief weapon 
must be the Word of God, which alone can make 
articles of faith. 

Melanchthon describes himself as "an idle specta- 
tor " of the Leipzig disputation. But he was more 
than that. He did not indeed take public part in 
the debate, but he furnished his fellow-professors 
with arguments in the intervals of the discussion, 
and made suggestions sotto voce while the debate 
was in actual progress. This displeased Eck, who 
cried out, " Keep silent, Philip; mind your own 
studies, and don't disturb me." 

Eck was already displeased with Melanchthon, 
because in his Inaugural Melanchthon had classed 
him with the perverters of Logic. He now describes 
Melanchthon as a " nephew of Reuchlin, very arro- 
gant. ' ' But for Melanchthon the Leipzig disputation 
was a turning-point in life. It marks the real begin- 
ning of his active participation in the work of the 
Reformation. His faith in the authority of the 
existing Church is now completely shaken, and his 

52 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

studies henceforth take a more decidedly theological 
direction. The personality of each of the disput- 
ants, and the great questions of the debate, awaken 
in him the liveliest interest. 

Four days after the disputation had closed, that 
is, July 2 ist, Melanchthon published a letter to his 
friend CEcolampadius, then preacher at Augsburg, in 
which he gave an account of the debate, but refrained 
from expressing a judgment on the result, or on the 
direction matters were taking. He says that the 
object of the discussion was to state the difference 
between the old theology of Christ and the Aris- 
totelian innovations. He also relates that in the 
dispute about the Pope's primacy, Eck had spoken 
with bitterness and rudeness, and had sought to 
prejudice Luther in the eyes of the people. Of the 
disputants he says: 

' They displayed talents, varied erudition, and much 
learning in the debate, from which I hope religion will 
be well served. Eck was greatly admired by many 
among us on account of his varied and splendid gifts. 
Carlstadt you know from what he has written. He is a 
good man, having rare and unquestioned learning. In 
Martin, with whom I have long been well acquainted, I 
admire the quick intellect, learning, and eloquence, the 
sincere and excellent Christian spirit. I cannot help 
loving him." * 

This letter falling under the eye of Eck, so excited 
his ire that on the 25th he sent forth from Leipzig a 
reply against " the Wittenberg Grammarian, who 

1 C. /*., I : 87 et seq. 

1519] Progress of the Reformation 53 

knows some Greek and Latin." He calls him " the 
literalist," " the bold little man who assumed to 
play the role of the judge." Once he addresses 
him as " thou dusty schoolmaster," and tells him 
that he might have gained some reputation had he 
minded his own business, but that now he has " con- 
signed himself to obscurity." Finally he says: 

"Though Philip is not a person whom a theologian 
should meet in a matter of theology, yet had I kept silent 
I should have seemed to acknowledge what he has 
charged me with. Hence I resolved to meet him, just 
as Augustine did not hesitate to write against Crescon, 
the grammarian." 

The letter as a whole exhibits a spirit of proud con- 
tempt for the Wittenberg Grammarian, who is re- 
garded as incapable of expressing an opinion on 
subjects of theology. But Eck had mistaken his 
man. In August, Melanchthon sent forth a reply 
" from the renowned Wittenberg of Saxony," 
" dedicated to the candid reader." He makes no 
reference to the personal indignities heaped upon 
him by Eck, further than to say that he does not 
mean to return evil for evil, and railing for railing. 
He then reviews the Leipzig disputation in a way 
that evinces a clear insight into the questions at is- 
sue, and shows that the writer is a master of trench- 
ant logic. He not only sustains and justifies the 
positions of Carlstadt and Luther, but what is of far 
greater significance, he declares that the Church 
Fathers on whom Eck relied in his interpretation of 

1 C. R., i: 103. 

54 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Scripture and in his defence of the Pope's primacy, 
can have no binding authority. He says: 

" Far be it from me to detract from* the authority of 
anyone. I revere and honour those lights of the Church, 
those illustrious defenders of Christian doctrine. Inas- 
much as the Fathers differ in opinion they are to be 
judged by the Scripture. The Scripture is not to be 
wrenched by their different opinions. The meaning of 
the Scripture is one and simple; and as the revealed 
truth is very simple anyone can understand it by follow- 
ing the text and context. To this end we are bidden to 
study the Scripture, viz., that to it as to a Lydian stone, 
we may apply the doctrine and opinions of men. If the 
Fathers are to be employed in judging the Scripture, it 
were better to take their opinion from those passages in 
which they simply narrate, than from those in which they 
orate and give way to their feelings. We know that we 
ourselves understand the Scripture differently, accord- 
ingly as we are differently affected. Every person is led 
by his own feelings, and as the polyp reflects the colour 
of the stone to which it clings, so we strive with all our 
might to reproduce what we have studied, as we are led by 
inclination. Often we get the right meaning and pursue 
a proper method, such as we cannot afterward recall. 
So with the Fathers. Often when led away by feeling 
they abuse the Scripture by giving a meaning, not exactly 
bad, but inappropriate." 

He then goes on to say that the scholastics, by 
their allegorical, tropological, anagogical, literal, 
grammatical, and historical interpretation, have 
turned the sacred Scripture into a very Proteus. 
He asks : 

1519] Progress of the Reformation 55 

" How often did Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose fall into 
error ? I am not so ignorant of them that I may not 
venture thus to speak. I am perhaps better acquainted 
with them than Eck is with his Aristotle. How often do 
they differ from each other and retract their errors ? 
But why say more ? The canonical Scripture alone is 
inspired, is true and pure in all things." ' 

This reply, in which the Ingolstadt professor is so 
thoroughly refuted, shows not only that Melanch- 
thon was profoundly acquainted with the Fathers, 
but that he based the study of theology on the sure 
foundation of the Word of God, and understood the 
correct principle of Hermeneutics, viz., that the 
Scripture has only one sense. Eck made no reply, 
but hastened off to Italy to seek aid and comfort 
from the Holy Father. 

Melanchthon's tractate was received with loud 
applause by the friends of evangelical truth. He 
was recognised at once as worthy to stand with the 
theologians of the first rank. On the fifteenth of 
August Luther wrote an account of the Leipzig 
disputation to Spalatin, in which he declares that 
Melanchthon is three or four times more learned in 
the Scriptures than all the Ecks. He says expressly : 

" I return to Philip, whom no Eck can make me dis- 
like, since in all my teaching I know of nothing better 
than his approval. His opinion and authority have more 
weight with me than many thousand miserable Ecks. 
Though a Master of arts, of philosophy, and of theology, 
and adorned with nearly all of Eck's titles, I should not 

'(7. ^., i : 108 et seg. 

56 Philip Melanchthon [1519 

hesitate to yield my opinion to that of this Grammarian, 
should he dissent from me. This I have often done, 
and I do it daily on account of the divine gift which God 
with his bountiful blessing has deposited in this frail 
vessel, though it be contemptible to Eck. I do not 
praise Philip. He is a creature of God. I revere in 
him the work of my God." 1 

1 De W., i : 305. 



Becomes Bachelor of Theology Doubts the Doctrines of the Church 
Writes Theses His Marriage Family Salary. 

MELANCHTHON was rapidly growing in the 
love of the Scriptures, and was devoting 
more and more of his time to their exposition, 
especially as since the beginning of the year 1519 
he had also taught Hebrew, and had expounded 
portions of the Old Testament. On the twenty-fifth 
of January, 1519, Luther had written to Spalatin: 
" Our Philip is engaged on the Hebrew with greater 
fidelity and also with better results than that John ' 
who left us. The faithfulness and diligence of the 
man are so great that he scarcely takes any leisure. ' ' a 
On the nineteenth of December Melanchthon him- 
self wrote to John Schwebel that during the summer 
he had expounded the Epistle to the Romans, and 
that he was then engaged in expounding Matthew, 

1 Luther means John Boschenstein, who came to Wittenberg as 
professor of Hebrew in November, 1518, and left after a few months. 
2 DeW., 1:214. 


58 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and meant to publish a commentary on Matthew. 
He adds: " I am wholly engaged on the Holy 
Scriptures, and wish you would also, devote yourself 
wholly to them. There is a wonderful charm in 
them ; yea, a heavenly ambrosia nourishes the soul 
which is engaged on them." ' The estimate which 
Luther placed on these lectures on Matthew is 
shown in a letter which he wrote to Lange on the 
eighteenth of December: "I am sorry that I cannot 
send all the brethren to Philip's theological lectures 
on Matthew at six o'clock in the morning. The 
little Grecian surpasses me also in theology." a 

Melanchthon was now in the theological faculty. 
On the nineteenth of September, 1519, in company 
with John Agricola, he was made Bachelor of The- 
ology. This was the only theological degree he ever 
accepted, not because he affected to despise higher 
degrees, as we learn from one of his letters, but partly 
because he thought they ought to be conferred with 
great discrimination, and partly because he did not 
wish to be responsible for what was involved in the 
theological doctorate, though Luther pronounced him 
a doctor above all doctors; and he certainly was the 
doctor of the German Evangelical Church, 3 though 
he was never ordained to the office of the ministry. 

1 C. R., i : 128. 

2 De W., i : 380. 

3 In 1542, Melanchthon wrote: "Titulus aliquid habet oneris. 
Vides meum exemplum : nemo perpellere potuit, ut ilium quemlibet 
honorificum titulum Doctoris mihi sinerem. Nee ego gradus illos 
parvifacio ; sed ideo, quia judico esse magna ornamenta et necessaria 
Reipublicae, verecunde petendos esse, et cpnferendos, sentio," (7. 

His Theses and Marriage 59 

Among the subjects which he discussed at his 
promotion, were : ' That the Catholic Christian 
needs no articles of faith except those furnished by the 
Scripture. That the authority of councils is inferior 
to the authority of the Scripture. Whence it follows 
that it is not a heresy not to believe Transubstantia- 
tion and the like. 

Luther wrote to his old teacher, Staupitz : 

" You have seen, or will see, Philip's theses. They 
are bold, but they certainly are true. He defended them 
in such a way that he seemed to us all a veritable wonder, 
and such he is. Christ willing, he will surpass many 
Martins and will be a mighty foe of the devil and of the 
scholastic theology. He knows their tricks and also the 
Rock Christ. He will powerfully prevail." a 

The admiration which Luther constantly ex- 
presses for his young friend does not rise out of the 
dark and dubious region of sentiment, but from the 
firm belief that Melanchthon is a chosen instrument 
of God for carrying on the work of reforming the 
Church. In a letter to Lange he describes himself 
as the forerunner, come in the spirit and power of 
Elijah, but says that Philip will overthrow Israel 
and the followers of Ahab. 3 And not less deep and 
sincere was the admiration which Melanchthon had 
for Luther: " Martin is too great and too wonder- 
ful for me to describe in words," he writes to 
Schwebel; and again: " You know with what as- 

1 C. ., i : 138. 
2 De W., i : 341. 
3 De W., 1:478. 

60 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

tonishment Alcibiades regarded Socrates. .Much in 
the same way, but in a Christian sense, I regard 
Martin. The more I contemplate him, the greater 
I judge him to be." 

Of the relation which they sustained to each other 
at this time, and indeed during most of the time 
they lived together, it may be said that Luther relied 
on Melanchthon, and used his great learning for the 
promotion of the cause with which he had identified 
himself body and soul; while Melanchthon by con- 
tact with Luther grew in courage against Rome, and 
in that spiritual perception of the essential quality 
of Christianity which brought him to sharper anti- 
thesis with the doctrines and practices of the Church. 
In tne sarr 3 letter to Schwebel he says: " We do 
not fear the dregs of Rome. If God be for us who 
can be against us ? " His letter of February, 1520, 
to John Hess, of Nuremberg, is taken up largely 
with doubts about Transubstantiation and the teach- 
ing of the Scholastics, and with an exposition of the 
teaching of Paul in opposition to the teaching of 
the councils. He is not willing to number Tran- 
substantiation among the articles of faith ; or to say 
that anything is an article of faith which cannot be 
proved by the Scriptures; or to allow that the 
authority of councils is equal to that of the Script- 
ures. Nor. is he willing to confess that it is a heresy 
not to concede both swords to the Pope; nor not to 
agree with Peter Lombard touching the number of 
the sacraments; nor to withstand the bulls of Indul- 

1 C. *.. i : 264. 

His Theses and Marriage 61 

gence. 1 .But at the same time that he was express- 
ing his doubt in regard to many doctrines of the 
Church, he was advancing to clearer conceptions of 
the scriptural doctrine of faith; of the sacraments; 
of the keys; of eternal life. In July of this year, 
perhaps earlier, he wrote eighteen theses for aca- 
demic discussion. They are as follows: 

"Justification takes place through faith; love is the 
work of faith; there is no difference between fides 
formata &&& fides informis; fides Informix, as it is called, 
is not faith, but a vain opinion ; love necessarily follows 
faith; faith and love are works of God, not of nature; 
Christianity is a Sabbath and perfect freedom; satis- 
faction is not a part of penance; there is no external 
sacrifice in Christianity; the Mass is not? fa worlc the 
benefit of which avails for another; Baptism benefits only 
him who is baptised, and the Mass only him who par- 
takes. Baptism and the Mass are sacramental signs by 
which the Lord witnesses that he will pardon sins; inas- 
much as the sum of our justification is faith, no work 
can be called meritorious; hence all human works are 
only sins; the keys are given to all Christians alike, nor 
can the Primacy be allowed to Peter by divine right; 
Aristotle's notion of blessedness agrees neither with 
Christian teaching nor with the common sense of men; 
it is better to derive our notion of blessedness and like 
things from the Holy Scripture than from the nonsense 
of the vain sophists." 2 

In these theses on justification by faith, the sac- 

1 C. R., I : 138 et seq. 

2 C. R. , i : 126. For a discussion of the date of these theses, see 
ibid., i : 126. 

62 Philip Melanchthon 

rament, the keys, the Pope's primacy, et cetera, 
we have the central doctrines, both material and 
formal, of the Great Reformation. The rapid 
advance made by Melanchthon in'evangelical con- 
ceptions is doubtless due mainly to his study of the 

In the years 1519 and 1520, Melanchthon was 
very active with his pen. At the beginning of the 
latter year he published two treatises on the doc- 
trines of Paul, and a handbook on Dialectics. In 
April he is engaged in writing a commentary on 
Matthew. He published for the students the Greek 
text of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, an edition of 
the Clouds of Aristophanes, and a new edition 
of his Greek Grammar, besides other treatises, some 
of greater, others of less, importance. His industry 
was amazing. He began his work at two o'clock in 
the morning and continued it until evening. Luther 
and others feared for his life. Even the Elector 
wrote him to take care of his health. 1 Luther felt 
that with his hard work and the poor comforts pro- 
vided by his meagre salary, together with the sever- 
ity of that northern climate, Melanchthon could not 
long remain at Wittenberg. Consequently he not 
only begged the Elector through Spalatin for an in- 
crease in Melanchthon's salary, but urged him to 
get married, in order that he might have someone 
to take care of his weak body. Melanchthon at first 
rebelled at the suggestion of marriage ; not because 
he hated women, or esteemed marriage lightly, but 

C. R., 10 : 193. 

His Theses and Marriage 63 

because he loved study more. 1 At length he gave 
a reluctant consent, saying, " I am robbing myself 
of study and of pleasure in order to follow the 
counsel and subserve the pleasure of others." 2 

Luther does not deny that he made the match. 
He wishes to do the best he can for his friend, and 
invokes God's blessing upon him. 3 Finally, on the 
fifteenth of August, Philip announces to Langethat 
he is going to marry Katharine Krapp, daughter of 
Hieronimus Krapp, Mayor of Wittenberg. He de- 
clares that she is a young lady possessing such man- 
ners and qualities of mind as he should desire from 
the immortal gods. 4 Soon gossips were busy, as 
ever they are, and the marriage was hastened. On 
the twenty-fifth of November, 1520, Melanchthon 
posted the following verses on the bulletin board : 

" A studiis hodie facit otia grata Philippus, 
Nee verbis Pauli dogmata sacra leget." 

" Rest from your studies, Philip says you may, 
He '11 read no lecture on St. Paul to-day." 

This was the day of his marriage. Luther's father, 
mother, and two sisters, and other persons, some of 
whom were illustrious and learned, attended the 

1 In 1540 he wrote to Veit Dietrich : "I am really indignant at 
those misanthropes who regard it as a special mark of wisdom to 
despise women, and to sneer at marriage. Women may have their 
own infirmities, but men also have vices." C. JR., 3 : 1172. 

2 C. R., i: 265. 

3 De W., i : 478. 

4 C. R.,i: 212. 

64 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Melanchthon in his four-and-twentieth year is a 
married man, and begins to experience the trials and 
pleasures of married life, though the latter greatly 
preponderated. He declares that his wife is worthy 
of a better man. She is described by Camerarius 
as " a most pious woman, ardently devoted to her 
husband, liberal and kind to all." 

The happy pair lived together thirty-seven years, 
and became the parents of two sons and as many 
daughters: Anna, born probably in 1522, was highly 
accomplished and very dear to her father. Luther 
calls her " Melanchthon's elegant daughter." At 
the age of fourteen she was married to George Sa- 
binus, a gifted but wayward poet, who neglected 
her and her children. She died at Konigsberg in 
1547, and was buried in the cathedral there. Philip 
was born January 13, 1525. He was good-natured, 
but " weak in body and mind." He lived to be 
eighty years old, and died as notary of the Univer- 
sity of Wittenberg. George was born November 
25, 1527, and died when two years old. He had 
already begun to display extraordinary talents. His 
death brought Melanchthon inexpressible sorrow. 
Magdalena was born July 18, 1533. She was mar- 
ried to Caspar Peucer, who was a professor of medi- 
cine in the university, and afterwards became court 
physician. She died at Rochlitz, July 18, 1576, 
through excess of grief for her husband, who was 
cruelly kept a prisoner for twelve years by the 
Elector of Saxony. 

To Melanchthon's family belonged, also, John 
Koch, a Swabian, who entered his master's service 


1520] His Theses and Marriage 65 

in 1519. He was a man of some culture, " chaste 
and a lover of chastity." He trained the children 
and managed the affairs of the house as a steward. 
When he died, in 1553, Melanchthon invited the 
academicians to his funeral, and delivered an oration 
over his grave. Afterwards he wrote an epitaph for 
his tomb. 

The house in which Melanchthon lived in Witten- 
berg is still standing. A tablet high up on the 
front bears the following inscription : 

Hier wohnte, lehrte und starb PHILIPP MELANCHTHON. 

That is : 

" Here lived, taught, and died PHILIP MELANCHTHON." 

The front room on the second story was Melanch- 
thon's study, and finally the place of his death, as 
we learn from two Latin inscriptions : 

Ad Boream versis oculis hac sede Melanchthon Scripta 
dedit, quae nunc praecipua orbis habet. 

That is : 

" At this place Melanchthon, with his eyes turned 
towards the North, wrote those works which the world 
now holds in high esteem." 

Siste viator 

Ad hunc parietem stetit lectulus in quo pie et placide 
expiravit vir reverendus PHILIPPUS MELANCHTHON. 

Die XIX. April, dodrante horse post VII. Anno 

66 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

That is : 

" Stop traveller! 

" Against this wall stood the coucji on which the 
venerable PHILIP MELANCHTHON piously and peacefully 
died, April 19, 1560, at a quarter past seven o'clock." 

The study, the dining-room, the nursery, the 
school-room, and the chambers have all, until re- 
cently, been preserved in their original condition. 
The entire house is now " the Melanchthon Mu- 

In this house Melanchthon dispensed a liberal 
hospitality. Exiles, wandering scholars, comers 
and goers of every age, sex, and condition, were in- 
vited to his house, or imposed themselves upon him. 
One day at dinner he heard eleven or twelve lan- 
guages spoken at his table. At first his salary was 
one hundred florins, equal to about four hundred 
dollars; in 1526 it was raised to two hundred ; in 
1536 it was increased to three hundred; and from 
1541 it was four hundred, which at that time was 
regarded as a very large academic salary. He re- 
ceived many presents from the city council and an 
eighth interest in the water company. He also 
received frequent gratuities from princes whom he 
had in some way served, or to whom he dedicated 
editions of his works. 

By his marriage, Melanchthon became firmly an- 
chored at Wittenberg. Every attempt to drive or to 
draw him away failed. The first effort in the direc- 
tion of his removal came from Reuchlin, who in 
1519 had accepted a professorship at Ingolstadt. 

1520] His Theses and Marriage 67 

Desiring to have his nephew with him, and wishing 
doubtless to detach him from Luther's influence, he 
wrote him to come to Ingolstadt, and promised him 
the forgiveness of Eck. But the young man was now 
too ardently devoted to Luther and the Elector, and 
was too closely identified with the Wittenberg move- 
ment to be influenced by the claims of friendship, or 
by the love of country. He wrote to his uncle: 

" I have been brought to Saxony. Here I will do my 
duty until the Holy Spirit to whom I shall commit my- 
self shall call me away. I have such a love for my native 
land as the gods might envy; but in all things I must 
consider the call of Christ, rather than my own inclina- 
tion." 1 

This letter settled the matter, but it cost Mel- 
anchthon the love and devotion of his uncle. The 
aged Reuchlin, who was simply a Catholic humanist, 
fearing lest he should be suspected of sympathy 
with his heretical relative, requested Melanchthon 
not again to write him ; and despite his promise, 
made in the presence of witnesses, to give his splen- 
did library to Melanchthon, he gave it to the monks 
at Pforzheim. Thus, like Erasmus, he drew back 
from the Reformation which by humanistic studies 
he had helped to introduce, and, like Erasmus, he 
died in the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church; 
while Melanchthon, " his work and his consolation," 
became one of the chief actors in exposing the cor- 
ruptions of that Church, and in showing the more 
excellent way of the Reformation. 

1 C. ^., i: 151. 



Luther Burns the Pope's Bull, and Writes two of his Most Important 
Works Melanchthon Approves Luther's Course Controversy 
with Rhadinus, and with the Sorbonne Luther Praises Mel- 
anchthon's Apology Fanaticism at Wittenberg Melanchthon's 

IN the year 1520, affairs reached a crisis at Witten- 
berg. Eck had returned from Rome with a 
papal bull which he sought to have executed against 
Luther at once. But on the morning of November 
nth, just outside the Elster gate, Luther burned 
the Pope's bull, together with certain books of the 
canon law, with the bold declaration, "' Because 
thou hast vexed the Holy One of the Lord, be thou 
consumed with everlasting fire." This was the 
most courageous act of his life, and it completely 
cut him off from hope of papal clemency. For this 
he had already prepared himself by one of his most 
powerful and influential writings, The Address to the 
Christian Nobility of the German Nation concerning 
the Reformation of the Christian Estate. In this book 
he demolishes the walls with which the Romanists 


Melanchthon the Ally of Luther 69 

had surrounded themselves, and calls upon the tem- 
poral Christian power to exercise its office without 
let or hindrance, or without considering whether it 
may strike pope, bishop, or priest. In a word, he 
seeks to make the Church and the Empire free from 
the dominion of the Pope. In the accomplishment 
of this object he had the support of Melanchthon, 
who wrote to John Lange, who thought that Luther 
had done better had he kept quiet : 

" The purpose of writing the letter to the German 
nobility 1 approved from the beginning. Luther was 
encouraged in it by those on whom we both rely. Be- 
sides, it is of a nature to glorify God. I was not willing 
to have it delayed. I did not want to curb the spirit of 
Martin in a matter to which he seems to have been 
divinely appointed. The book is now published and 
circulated, and cannot be recalled." 

In October of the same year Luther published his 
Babylonian Captivity of the Church, in which he 
attacks and overthrows the Romish sacramental 
system. About the same time he wrote the book 
entitled, Against the Execrable Bull of Anti-Christ. 
In a letter to Spalatin, Melanchthon said: " Martin 
seems to me to be impelled by a spirit. He ac- 
complishes more by prayer than we do by counsel. 
Nothing worse could befall us than to be deprived 
of him." 2 

Luther's publications of this year threw all Ger- 
many into a ferment. The people thought they 

1 C. R., i : 211. 
2 C. /?., i : 269. 


70 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

heard the tocsin of war. But the excitement was 
increased by the Oration of Thomas Rhadinus 
against the Heretic Martin LutJicr, zvko is destroy- 
ing the Glory of the German Nation, published at 
Leipzig in October, 1520. Its author was Thomas 
Rhadinus Todiscus, born at Placentia. The Oration 
had been published at Rome in August. Luther 
and Melanchthon, who knew nothing of the author, 
nor of the Roman edition, thought it had proceeded 
from Jerome Emser, a Leipzig canon. It is ad- 
dressed to the princes and people of Germany, and 
covers forty pages in the Corpus Re format or um. 1 It 
is full of falsehoods, and of coarse abuse of Luther, 
whom it calls the pest of theology, the disgrace of 
the Augustinian family, the destroyer of Germany, 
the bane of the Christian state, the tainted wether 
which has infected the entire flock. It charges him 
with resisting the Turkish war, with opposing phi- 
losophy, and with setting at naught the teaching of 
Christian antiquity, the decrees and laws of the 
Church. It classes him with the apostates, schis- 
matics, and heretics of all ages, and closes by calling 
on all the gods and goddesses, on whose temples 
and rites this Luther, ignorant of philosophy and of 
sacred letters, has declared sacrilegious war, to drive 
away this enormous mass of wickedness, and pre- 
serve intact the glory of the Christian name in Ger- 

Melanchthon, under the name of Didymus Faven- 
tinus, now took up his pen to defend his friend and 
colleague. Rewrote, and in February, 1521, pub- 

1 C. R., i : 212 et seqq. 

Melanchthon the Ally of Luther 71 

lished, an Oration which covers nearly seventy-one 
pages of the Corpus Reformatorum. 1 It is learned in 
form and matter, but bitter and sarcastic in tone. 
It is directed against Emser, whom it never wearies 
of calling the he-goat. It declares that Luther has 
sought only to remove the abuses in the Church; 
that he is not opposed to the Turkish war, nor hos- 
tile to all philosophy; but only to that philosophy 
which treats falsely of the origin of things; and to 
such ethics of Aristotle and of other ancient philo- 
sophers as disturb the consciences of men. It shows 
that Luther asserts the authority of the Gospel over 
against the authority of councils and popes. The 
Pope is called a tyrant, and his primacy is disproved 
both from history and Scripture. An appeal is 
made to the princes to remember that they are 
Christians and rulers of the Christian people, and 
are to rescue the miserable remnants of Christianity 
from the tyranny of Antichrist. The Oration is a 
fit companion to the Address to the German Nobil- 
ity, and to The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, 
with the difference that whereas Luther's pieces are 
addressed chiefly to the unlearned, this is addressed 
to scholars. 

By this time the danger to the Pope's crown had 
grown so great that the Wittenberg arch-heretic, 
who had resisted admonition and defied threats, and 
had burned the sentence of excommunication, must 
be summarily dealt with. On the third of January, 
1521, the Pope issued another bull against Luther, 
and urged the Emperor to enforce it. March 6th 

1 C. R., i: rtb et seqq. 

72 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

an imperial mandate ordered Luther to appear at 
Worms by April i6th " to give information con- 
cerning his doctrines and books." On the second 
of April, attended by Nicholas Amsdorf and a few 
other friends, he set out for Worms. When parting 
from Melanchthon he said : 

" If I should not return, and my enemies should kill 
me at Worms, as may very easily come to pass, I conjure 
you, dear brother, not to neglect teaching, nor to fail to 
stand by the truth. In the meantime also do my work, 
because I cannot be here. You can do it better than I 
can. Therefore it will not be a great loss, provided you 
remain. The Lord still finds a learned champion in 

Of Luther's heroic stand at Worms; of the im- 
perial edict hurled against him ; of the sojourn at 
the Wartburg; and of the many things done and 
suffered by him during the next eleven months, 
this is not the place to speak. Gladly would Me- 
lanchthon have accompanied his friend to the South, 
but permission to do so was denied him. His place 
was at Wittenberg, as a part of Luther's labours 
had fallen on his shoulders, and his advice and 
help were needed in starting Aurogallus, the new 
professor of Hebrew, in his work. He also rendered 
valuable assistance to Justus Jonas, who in June 
came as Provost of the Castle Church and as pro- 
fessor of canon law. And most of all did he serve 
the common cause by taking up his pen again in 
defence of Luther. 

The theologians of Cologne and Louvain had 

Melanchthon the Ally of Luther 73 

already condemned the doctrines of Luther. Now 
on the fifteenth of April, while he was on the way 
to Worms, the theological faculty of Paris issued a 
Determination on the Lutheran Doctrine * This cele- 
brated faculty, known as the Sorbonne, was the 
theological oracle of the age. Its judgment of a 
theological question was supposed to be final. In 
the plenitude of its wisdom it calls Luther an arch- 
heretic ; a virulent renewer of the ancient heresies; 
a pernicious enemy of Christ ; an execrable restorer 
of old blasphemies, who has approved, commended, 
and extolled the madness of the Bohemians, the Al- 
bigensians, the Waldensians, the Heracleans, the 
Pepucians, the Arians, the Lamperians, the Jovin- 
ians, the Artotyrians, and other like monsters. It 
then extracts twenty-four propositions from Luther's 
writings. These are treated one at a time, and are 
summarily declared false, schismatic, impious, her- 
etical. Not a word of proof is offered from the 
Sacred Scriptures. The condemnation is dogmatic 
and oracular. 

The Determination is an out-and-out defence of the 
old Scholasticism, of which the Sorbonne was now 
the chief representative. Well did Luther say on 
reading it: "I have seen the Decree of the Paris 
sophists, and am heartily glad for it. The Lord 
would not have smitten them with such blindness, 
had he not intended to make an end of their ty- 

The bitterness and ignorance shown in the Deter- 

1 C. R., i : ifrb 
'D<?W., 2:30 

74 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

mination might have been its condemnation, had not 
the authority of the Sorbonne been so great, and 
had not Eck translated it into German and circulated 
it among the people. The Sorbonne Decree had to 
be answered. 

Now it is that the courage of Melanchthon reaches 
its highest tide. Undismayed by papal bulls and 
imperial edict, he enters the lists alone against the 
Paris corporation. He advances to the battle not 
with the arrogance of youth, but with the confidence 
of the experienced warrior who knows that he has 
his quarrel just, and knows, too, that he stands 
on the sure foundation of truth. In June, 1521, the 
answer was ready, entitled, Apology for Luther 
against the Furious Decree of the Parisian Theologas- 
ters. 1 It begins by asserting that these Paris theo- 
logians have prefixed a bloody letter to their Decree, 
and have added impious and atrocious notes on 
single sentences taken from Luther's writings and 
perversely distorted. It then declares that instead 
of theologians, sophists, instead of Christian doctors, 
calumniators seem to rule at Paris where formerly 
were men like Gerson, full of the Christian spirit. 

" It is evident that a profane Scholasticism has sprung 
up at Paris, which is called theology, but which leaves 
nothing salutary to the Church. The Gospel is obscured ; 
faith is extinguished; a doctrine of works is introduced; 
instead of a Christian people we are a people not subject 
to law, but to the ethics of Aristotle, and instead of Christ- 
ianity, a kind of philosophical mode of life has been in- 
troduced in opposition to the whole mind of the Spirit." 

1 C. J M I : 398 et seqq. 

i52i] Melanchthon the Ally of Luther 75 

Luther, it says, is accused of heresy, not because 
he departs from the Scriptures, but because he op- 
poses the universities, the Fathers, and the councils. 
But these have erred, and cannot make articles of 
faith. In very many things Luther agrees with the 
ancients. The Parisian theologians themselves are 
in many things directly opposed to the Fathers, as 
in the doctrines of sin and human ability. But an- 
tiquity did not have the tyrannical laws of the popes, 
nor the Parisian masters, nor the Parisian articles, 
which obscure the Gospel. 

" Let us now look at the councils. By which councils 
is Luther condemned ? You make out of Luther a 
Montanist, a Manichaean, an Ebionite, and the like, and 
want to have it appear that his doctrine has been con- 
demned by the councils of the ancients. Unless the 
author of the Epistle wishes to play the orator here, 
there is nothing so malignant, so impudent, as the Paris 
Sorbonne. It is easy to discover why they wish to asso- 
ciate Luther with the ancient heretics. It is that his 
name may become odious. The Parisian theologians are 
blind in that they see no difference between the doctrines 
of Luther and those of the Manichoeans. The Mani- 
chseans denied freedom to the human will in such a way 
as to deny that there is any substance which can be re- 
newed, and therefore it is incapable of liberty. Luther 
denies freedom in such a way as to maintain that there 
is a substance which when it is renewed by the Spirit, is 
freed from bondage." 

They also think that because Luther has con- 
demned the councils and the holy Fathers, he is a 

76 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Montanist, a Manichaean, an Ebionite, an Artotyrite 
et hoc genus aliis. 

41 There have been several papal ccAincils during the 
reign of the Roman antichrists, which Luther con- 
fessedly does oppose; but in this he follows the plain 
Scripture. And why should he not oppose them, since 
so many things were done in them contrary to the 
Gospel ? The Council of Vienna denied that the keys 
of the Church are common to all. The Council of Con- 
stance denied that the Church consists of the whole body 
of the predestinated. It also decided that there are some 
good works apart from grace. Such doctrines are directly 
opposed to the Gospel. These councils Luther has op- 
posed, following the lead of Christ. They who decide 
against him are not Christians, but antichrists. 

" The Sorbonnists blame Luther because he has not 
followed the Church. What do you call the Church ? 
The French Sorbonne ? But how can that be the Church 
which is hostile to the Word of Christ, who declares that 
his sheep hear his voice ? We call that the Church which 
is based on the Word of God, which is fed, nourished, 
sustained, ruled by the Word of God; in fine, which de- 
rives everything from the Gospel." 

Luther, who was now at the Wartburg, was 
greatly delighted with Melanchthon 's Apology. As 
a mark of his approval he translated it into German, 
and added to it a translation of the Paris Decree, 
and published the two together, with a preface and 
an appendix, as the best means of opening the eyes 
of the people. He says that " although my beloved 
Philip has answered these sophists so well, he has 
touched them too gently, and has run over them 

Melanchthon the Ally of Luther 77 

with a light plane. I see I must come down upon 
them with the farmer's axe, otherwise they '11 think 
they 've not been hurt." 1 

Besides much hard work, this year 1521 brought 
great anxiety to Melanchthon. He felt that he 
could not take the place of Luther. He could 
teach, and could write more learned controversial 
tracts than Luther could; but he could not lead in 
the work which Luther had begun. Hence, when 
he learned that Luther had been outlawed, and had 
disappeared after leaving Worms, his soul was filled 
with sadness. Great was his joy when he received 
Luther's letter from the Wartburg, May I2th. a 
He wrote to Link, " Our most dear father still 
lives." 3 

But Luther's letter must have filled him with 
forebodings : 

" Be thou a minister of the Word. Defend the walls 
and towers of Jerusalem until they also attack you. I 
pray for you, and I doubt not that my prayer avails. 
Do thou likewise, and let us bear the burden together. 
Hitherto I have stood alone in the battle. After me 
they will attack you." 

Melanchthon longs for the companionship of Lu- 
ther. To Spalatin he writes that all things go 
well at the university, except that Luther is want- 
ing. He then exclaims: " Oh happy day, when I 
shall be permitted to embrace him again! " 4 

1 Erlangen ed., 27 : 408. 
2 De W.. 2: i. 
3 C. X., i : 389. 
4 C. R., i : 396. 

78 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Still greater troubles were in store for the tender- 
hearted Melanchthon. The man who was instant 
and fearless in controversy, was hesjtant and timid 
in action. Hitherto the Reformation at Wittenberg 
had been a war of words, though many of the words 
were half battles. Luther had preached, and Mel- 
anchthon had taught, that the authority of popes 
and councils must yield to the Word of God ; that 
vows of celibacy are not binding; that the sacra- 
ments do not justify ex opcre operate ; that faith 
alone justifies; that the cup ought to be given to 
the laity ; that private masses ought to be abolished ; 
that the Lord's Supper ought to be administered 
according to primitive simplicity. Men were be- 
ginning to demand the practice of what had been 
preached. The monks knew that celibacy had been 
one of the greatest curses to the Church. The 
question arose : Is celibacy better than marriage ? 
It was answered : It can be better only when one has 
the gift for it. Many now felt that they did not 
have this gift. Then it were better to marry than 
to burn. Acting on this principle, Jacob Seidler, 
pastor at Glasshiitte, in Meissen, Bartholomew Bern- 
hard, of Feldkirch, provost at Kemberg, and a Mans- 
feld pastor had married. They held that marriage 
was not forbidden by their vows of ordination. In 
Meissen the vow required the observance of chastity 
only in so far as human weakness should permit. 
Seidler held it more honourable to explain this in 
the sense of marriage than in that of unchastity. 1 
Bernhard had pledged himself to follow the tradi- 
1 C. R., i : 420. 

i 5 2i] Melanchthon the Ally of Luther 79 

tions of the Fathers ; and these had not bound them- 
selves by the law of celibacy. Hence marriage is 
permitted, he argued. Seidler and the Mansfeld 
pastor were imprisoned. 

Melanchthon, Carlstadt, and Agricola sent a letter 
of intercession for Seidler to the bishop of Meissen, 1 
but without effect. Duke George, to whose domin- 
ion Seidler belonged, was an implacable foe of the 
reformers. He had a great personal dislike for 
Luther, called Carlstadt " a loose, frivolous man," 
saw in Melanchthon only " a young fellow who ap- 
plied himself to things beyond his power." Seidler 
was executed in prison, one of the first of the German 
evangelical martyrs. 

What became of the Mansfeld pastor is not known. 
For Bernhard, Melanchthon wrote an Apology a in 
the name of the Wittenberg doctors of law, in which 
he showed that neither the law nor the Gospel for- 
bids marriage to layman or to priest ; and that 
Bernhard had not perjured himself by taking a wife. 
Melanchthon also wrote to the Elector in the interest 
of Bernhard. As a result, the matter was dropped, 
and Bernhard remained an evangelical pastor. This 
Apology of Melanchthon, translated into German, 
was widely scattered. It awakened thought. The 
abolition of celibacy, one of the chief supports of 
the hierarchy, was a long step in the direction of 
practical reformation. 

The leaven of sound doctrine was also working 
in other directions. In October, the Augustinian 

1 C. R., i : 418. 

2 C. R. t I : 421 et seqq. 

8o Philip Melanchthon 

monks in Wittenberg, under the advice and leader- 
ship of Gabriel Zwilling, their preacher, conceived 
the purpose of abolishing private. masses, and of 
restoring the cup to the laity. When this came to 
the knowledge of the Elector at Lochau, he directed 
his chancellor, Bru'ck, to inquire into the matter, and 
to report to him. On the eleventh of October the 
chancellor reported that Zwilling had declared in a 
sermon that the adoration of the sacrament is idol- 
atry ; that private masses should not be held ; and 
that the sacrament should be received in both kinds. 
It was also discovered that the theologians were in 
sympathy with these movements toward practical 
reform. A committee was appointed to take advise- 
ment of the matter. On the twentieth of October 
a report, 1 signed by Jonas, Carlstadt, Melanchthon, 
Pletner, Amsdorf, Doltsk, and Schurf, was sent to 
the Elector. It recites: (i) that the Mass has been 
abused and changed into a good work for the pur- 
pose of reconciling God. Hence the Augustinians 
desire to hold no more such masses, but to introduce 
such as Christ and the apostles held; (2) that the 
masses as they are now held are contrary to the 
usages of Christ, and of the apostles, who always 
communicated to a company, and never to a single 
person ; (3) that Christ had appointed both forms to 
be used. The report then appeals to the Elector 
to abolish the abuses connected with the Mass, even 
though he should be called a Bohemian and a here- 
tic, since all who would obey the Word of God must 
bear reproach, lest they be cast off by Christ in the 
1 C. R., i : 466. 



i52i] Melanchthon the Ally of Luther 81 

last day. Though it would not be a sin to hold 
private masses, if they be not abused. 

The Elector was not wholly pleased with the re- 
port of the committee, and preferred to advance 
with caution. He communicated his mind to the 
committee through Dr. Baier, insisting that in so 
grave a matter they should proceed with great de- 
liberation, since they were the smaller party ; other- 
wise serious consequences might follow, as the Mass 
had existed for hundreds of years, and the churches 
and cloisters had been founded for holding masses. 1 
The committee replied with that joyful courage 
which only the Gospel can inspire : 

" That though they are the smaller party they could 
not despise the truth of the Divine Word, which is above 
all angels and creatures, and is clearly revealed in the 
Gospel. Besides, the smaller and despised party has 
always preached and accepted the truth, and so will it 
be to the end of the world. Christ sent into- the world 
the despised, poor, simple, unlearned people, to preach 
the truth; and he has revealed to them the divine truth 
which he has concealed from the great, the high, the 
wise of this world." 

They proceed to show that the Mass as then held, 
especially masses for the dead, and with one form, 
is an innovation, for which they are not responsible. 
Finally they say : " Let no one hesitate because this 
will bring great offence; for Christ came into the 
world, and was given to those who believe on him 

l c. R., i : 471. 


82 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and his Word, that they might be benefited in him 
and have everlasting life." 

Nearly all the professors favoure4 reform in the 
Mass. But the chapter, Jonas, the Provost, ex- 
cepted, opposed the reform. The canons wrote to 
the Elector, and begged him not to change the Mass 
in the churches and cloisters. 8 As opinion was thus 
divided, Frederick wisely recommended that they 
should continue to discuss the matter and further 
instruct the people before changes were introduced. 

Meanwhile the excitement had spread through 
Meissen and Thuringia. On December 3 2oth of 
this year the Augustinians of these districts held a 
provincial convention at Wittenberg, at which they 
resolved formally to abolish private masses, clois- 
teral coercion, and other unchristian customs. 
Melanchthon was especially anxious to have the 
Mass changed, since he thought that the priests 
were destroying legions of souls by their masses. 4 
But Melanchthon was not the man to introduce the 
desired changes, though the times were ripe for a 
reformation. He was not a minister. He could 
not preach, nor serve at the altar. He must natur- 
ally give place to his older colleague, Carlstadt. 
This man, violent, eccentric, and ambitious of 
leadership, smarting no doubt under the conscious- 

1 C. K., i : 494. 

* C. /?., i : 503. 

3 This is the date given by Matthes in Melanchthon 's Leben, p. 48 ; 
and by Schmidt in Philipp Melanchthon, p. 82. See Seckendorf, i : 
p. 214. KOstlin places it in January, 1522, Luther's Leben, I : 503. 

*C. J?., 1:477,478. 

Melanchthon the Ally of Luther 83 

ness of his ill-success in the Leipzig disputation, 
undertook to revolutionise everything. 

He not only made a complete change in the order 
of worship, by seeking to return to original simplic- 
ity, but he tried to bring all learned studies into 
contempt, and advised the students to leave their 
books and learn trades. He announced in a ser- 
mon that on the first of January he would cele- 
brate the Mass in both kinds, and would omit the 
Canon. Though warned by the Electoral counsel- 
lors, he did as he said he would do, and also pub- 
lished a treatise on the abolition of pictures and 
begging among Christians. So matters stood at 
the close of the year 1521. Melanchthon had urged 
the changes in the Mass, but, as the representative 
of order and science, he could not approve Carl- 
stadt's revolutionary violence. With Schurf he 
threw the whole weight of his authority against the 
dissolution of the university and the abolition of 
learned studies. In this he succeeded fairly well. 
But he did not have the age and experience to take 
command in practical matters against the chief agi- 
tator, between whom and himself strained relations 
had for some time already existed. His place was 
the professor's chair, not the pulpit ; the instrument 
of his power was the pen, not the voice. In a storm 
the pen is impotent, the voice omnipotent; the 
chair is silent, the pulpit is heard. 1 That he did 

1 Melanchthon once said : "I cannot preach. I am a logician, 
Bugetihagen is a linguist, Jonas is an orator, Luther is all in all. I 
can write in the presence of the whole Roman Empire, but I am 
dumb in the presence of an audience." Planck's Melanchthon, pp. 

84 Philip Melanchthon [1521 

not quiet the storm, nor guide it to salutary results, 
was his misfortune rather than his fault. Even 
Luther at Melanchthon 's age and. with Melanch- 
thon 's environment could scarcely have controlled 
the wild passions of students and populace, which 
burst forth now that the burden of centuries had 
been lifted. 

62, 63. After 1540 Melanchthon delivered lectures in Latin, Sunday 
afternoons, to those foreign students who did not understand 



The Zwickau Prophets Increased Confusion at Wittenberg 
Luther's Return His Eight Sermons Quiet Restored New 
Order of Service Translation and Publication of the New 

THE revolutionary movement at Wittenberg was 
reenforced at Christmas, 1521, by the arrival 
of three of the Zwickau prophets, Nicholas Storch, 
a weaver, another weaver, and Marcus Thomas 
Stubner, who had been a student at Wittenberg. 
They were soon joined by Thomas Mu'nzer, an elo- 
quent demagogue who subsequently figured in the 
Peasants' War. One of their first disciples in Wit- 
tenberg was Martin Cellarius, a private teacher. 
These prophets were more radical than Carlstadt. 
They rejected the written Word, the regular minis- 
try, and infant baptism ; boasted of dreams and 
special revelations, and of communications with God 
and the angel Gabriel ; and predicted the overthrow 
of the existing civil government. 

In the new government Storch was to be God's 
vicegerent, for the angel had told him, " Thou 
shalt sit on his throne." 


86 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

The prophets sought and obtained an interview 
with Melanchthon, who listened with astonishment 
to their claims of inspiration and oMnterviews with 
God, and was much moved by their arguments 
against infant baptism. He regarded faith as a 
personal act; he did not see how baptism could 
benefit without faith. Children cannot exercise 
faith ; a foreign faith cannot benefit them. Then, 
too, he remembered that Augustine and others of 
his time had disputed much over infant baptism, and 
that Augustine had rejected the doctrine of infant 
faith, and had fallen back on the doctrine of original 
sin, and on custom. 1 He also discovered that the 
prophets had the correct sense of the Scripture in 
many of the chief articles of faith. 3 This only in- 
creased his confusion. That they had a spirit, he 
was certain, but whether it was the Spirit of God, 
or the spirit of the Devil, who spoke through them, 
he could not discern. In his perplexity he wrote 
the Elector, December 2/th : 

" You know that certain dangerous dissensions have 
arisen in Zwickau concerning the Word of God. Some 
of the innovators have been cast into prison. Three of 
the authors of these commotions have come hither, two 
unlettered weavers, and one man of education. I have 
heard them. They relate marvellous things of them- 
selves, as, that they have been sent by a loud voice of 
God to teach; that they have familiar converse with 
God; that they foresee the future: in a word, that they 
are prophets and apostles. I can scarcely tell how I am 

'C. *~ 1:534. 
C.*.. 1:533. 

1522] The Revolutionary Movement 87 

moved by these things. For certain strong reasons I 
cannot bring myself to condemn them. That there are 
spirits in them is very apparent. But no one can easily 
judge concerning them except Martin. Since the Gospel 
and the glory and peace of the Church are endangered, 
there is the greatest need that Martin should meet these 
men, for they appeal to him. I would not write to your 
Electoral Highness about this matter, did not the mag- 
nitude of the case require that it should be considered in 
time. It is needful for us to be on our guard lest we be 
entrapped by Satan." 1 

The same day he wrote to Spalatin declaring that un- 
less Luther should interfere, things would go to ruin. 
He asks : ' ' Whither shall I turn in this great difficulty ? 
Assist in this thing in whatever way you can." 

Amsdorf also wrote the Elector on the same sub- 
ject ; whereupon the latter summoned both Amsdorf 
and Melanchthon to Prettin, and inquired of them 
through Haubold von Einsiedel and Spalatin why 
they had written him so excitedly about this matter. 
Each wrote his opinion and sent it to the Elector. 
Melanchthon's letter is the same in substance as his 
former one to the Elector. He insists that Luther's 
opinion is necessary, as only he can judge of the 
questions raised by these men. 3 

Amsdorf thought that the prophets should be 
neither wholly believed nor wholly rejected until 
after they had been heard. 4 

*C. *., 1:513. 

3 C. *., 1:514. 

3 c. J?., 1:535. 
a*., 1:534. 

88 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

The Elector, as a layman, refused to pass judg- 
ment, and so turned the matter over to the theo- 
logians with the counsel that there be no public 
disputation, since no good could come out of public 
discussion. He also refused to recall Luther, who 
was under the imperial ban, and whom he did not 
feel able to protect. 1 

Everything was now confusion and uncertainty. 
But Melanchthon soon became convinced that these 
men did not have the good Spirit. He took Stiib- 
ner into the house with him that he might have the 
better opportunity to test him. One day as they sat 
together while Melanchthon was writing, Stubner 
dropped his head on the table and slept. After a 
while he awoke and suddenly asked Melanchthon 
what he thought of John Chrysostom. Melanchthon 
replied that he thought well of him, though he did 
not approve his verbosity. Then Stubner said : " I 
have just seen him in Purgatory in a sad plight." 
At first Melanchthon laughed; but he soon dis- 
covered with sadness the man's inconsistency, since 
on other occasions he had stoutly rejected the notion 
of Purgatory. 2 

At Wittenberg things were going from bad to 
worse. Not only were ecclesiastical vestments abol- 
ished, and the pictures removed from the church, 
and the people admitted to the communion without 
confession, but the preaching was fanatical, pastoral 
oversight was omitted, the hospitals and prisons were 
neglected. Melanchthon was opposed to such 

*C. *., 1:535. 

'Camerarius, p. 51. 

1522] The Revolutionary Movement 89 

violent innovations, but felt himself powerless to 
check them. 

We have no letter from Melanchthon to Luther 
concerning the advent of the prophets; but in some 
way Luther learned of their doings and claims, and 
of his friend's timidity and hesitation. On the thir- 
teenth of January he wrote him a letter of reproof, 
telling him that he must not rely on what these men 
say of themselves, but he must try the spirits, as St. 
John commanded ; he himself has not learned of 
their having done anything that Satan might not 
do. They must be required to prove their vocation. 
God sends no one without credentials, and does not 
speak in the old man except he first be purified 
as by fire. As to the matter of faith in infants, he 
cuts the knot by asserting that they are benefited 
by the faith of others. Finally he could no longer 
stand it that " Satan was wasting his fold at Witten- 
berg." He was once heard to exclaim, " Oh that I 
were at Wittenberg!" Breaking away from his 
prison, March 1st, despite the Elector's earnest dis- 
suasion, he appeared on the scene of storm and 
confusion, March 6, 1522. 

His letter to the Elector, sent from Borna, south 
of Leipzig, is written in the loftiest strain of faith 
and courage. He tells his " most gracious lord " 
that he goes to Wittenberg under far higher protec- 
tion than that of the Elector, affirming even that he 
could protect his Electoral Highness far better than 
his Electoral Highness could protect him. He is 
the best protection who has most faith. Inasmuch 
as the Elector lacked faith, he could not be a pro- 

90 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

tector. If need were he would go to Leipzig even 
though it rained Duke Georges for nine days, and 
each Duke George was nine times as fierce as the 
present one. 1 Riding right across the territory of 
his implacable foe, he entered the city of his friends 
on Thursday evening. Two days were spent in 
learning the situation. The next Sunday he as- 
cended the pulpit of the parish church before a 
congregation of citizens and students, and began 
a series of eight sermons, preached in so many con- 
secutive days, by which he brought order out of 
confusion. These sermons are splendid specimens 
of pulpit eloquence, full of fervour and Christian 
faith, and full of moderation and love. Nowhere, 
and at no time, did Luther appear to better advant- 
age in the pulpit. The ruling ideas of his sermons 
are those of freedom and charity, which will resist 
as well the coercion of radicalism as the tyranny of 
the Pope. The things that the Bible has left free, 
such as marriage, cloister-life, private confession, 
images in the churches, may be tolerated. Only 
things which contradict the Word of God, as private 
masses and enforced confession, must be abolished. 
But all changes must be made in a decent and 
orderly way. Paul preached against idols in Athens, 
and they fell in consequence, though he never 
touched one of them. 2 

The victory was complete. It was the triumph 

1 De W., 2: 137-141. 

'Erlangen ed., 28: 202-260. A good r/sumS of those sermons 
in German is given in Kostlin's Martin Luther, 1 : 437-445 ; in 
English in Meurer's Life of Luther, translated, pp. 245-253. 

1522] The Revolutionary Movement 91 

of wisdom, truth, and love over ignorance, error, 
and passion. The professors, the town council, and 
all peace-loving citizens were delighted. Zwilling 
confessed his mistake; Carlstadt was silenced; and 
Jerome Schurf wrote to the Elector, after the sixth 
sermon, that Luther was leading the poor deluded 
people back to the way of truth. " It is plain and 
manifest," says he, " that the Spirit of God is in 
him. And I doubt not at all that he has come to 
Wittenberg at this time through the special provi- 
dence of God." l 

Luther admitted Stiibner and Cellarius to an 
interview. Stiibner affecting to know Luther's 
thoughts, the latter exclaimed, " The Lord rebuke 
thee, Satan ! " When they boasted of the power to 
work miracles, Luther charged their god not to per- 
form miracles against the will of his God. " So we 
parted," says Luther. The same day the fanatics 
left town, and from Kemberg they wrote Luther a 
letter full of reproaches and imprecations. 

Many of the changes which had been introduced 
during the commotion were in themselves of the 
nature of true reform, and were retained after order 
had been restored. 

On the twenty-fifth of January, 1522, Dr. Baier 
had reported the following to Von Einsiedel: 

" The University and council have agreed that in the 
parish church, to which we all belong, the Mass shall be 
held as follows: First, singing with the Introit and 
Gloria in Excelsis, the Epistle, Gospel, and Sanctus; 

1 Meurer's Life of Luther \ p. 253. 

92 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

then preaching. Then the Mass is begun as God our 
Lord Jesus instituted it. Then the priest speaks publicly 
the words of consecration in German^ admonishes the 
people who hunger and thirst after the grace of God, 
and communicates to them the body and blood of the 
Lord. The Communion ended, the Agnus Dei, a hymn, 
and the Benedicamus Domino are sung." 

He says further that the Canon has been abolished 
and begging forbidden among the monks; that the 
poor are to be served from a common treasury; that 
a pious man has been appointed for every street to 
look after the poor, to restrain open transgression, 
and to have transgressors punished by the university 
and the council. 1 

Thus the fanaticism of Carlstadt and the Zwickau 
prophets, under the powerful guiding hand of Lu- 
ther, was turned to good account, though some of 
the things that had been abolished were restored 
for a time. But the Canon, or that part of the serv- 
ice of the Mass in which the priest is thought to 
offer the body of Christ in sacrifice, was not re- 
stored ; and henceforth no more private masses were 
said in the parish church. When the time came for 
further changes and for the introduction of the 
Lutheran principles of worship, the way was, in part 
at least, prepared. 

Now that order was restored, Luther took up his 
abode in the cloister, and wore the habit of his 
fraternity. In this he had the approbation of Mel- 
anchthon, who, in matters of form and in externals, 
remained more conservative than Luther. 

l C.K~i-. 540. 

1522] The Revolutionary Movement 93 

The recent events had convinced both of them 
that changes should not be made before knowledge 
and faith had taught the lesson of true evangelical 
freedom. The Reformation could now go on in the 
development of its fundamental principle that the 
Word must do everything. And it was in harmony 
with this principle that Melanchthon had insisted 
that Luther should translate the Bible. In compli- 
ance with the urgent demand of his friend, Luther 
had begun the work of translating the New Testa- 
ment at the Wartburg, and had brought the finished 
draft with him to Wittenberg. He and Melanch- 
thon at once began the revision, and by September 
2ist an edition of three thousand copies was printed. 
The book sold so rapidly at a florin and a half a 
copy equal to about six dollars in our money 
that in December another edition was required. 

The translation of the Old Testament was imme- 
diately commenced. The finished work is called 
Luther's translation, and sometimes Luther's Bible, 
because he was the leading spirit in the little Bible 
Club that met once a week in his house. It is his 
greatest and most important work. It introduced 
the Reformation to the people. 



The "Loci Communes" or "Theological Common Places" The 
Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul Luther's Preface. 

WHILE Luther was contending with the Pope's 
bull at Wittenberg, confessing Christ at 
Worms, and writing his Postils at the Wartburg, 
Melanchthon was engaged in a work which was de- 
stined to exert a powerful influence on the Reforma- 
tion, and which marks an epoch in the history of 
theology; it was the composition and publication 
of his Loci Communes, or Theological Common Places, 
which commended the Reformation to the learned. 
The purpose conceived by the author was to set 
forth in condensed form the leading doctrines of the 
Christian religion in opposition to the Aristotelian 
subtleties. The book, written amid the stirring 
scenes and conflicts of the years 1520 and 1521, was 
finished some time in April of the latter year, and 
published soon thereafter. It owes its appearance at 
this time to a happy accident. On the seventeenth 
of April, 1520, Melanchthon wrote John Hess, of 
Breslau, saying that while preparing notes on the 


1522] The " Loci Communes" 95 

Epistle to the Romans, the work had so grown in 
his hands that he was going to write Loci Communes 
on the law, sin, grace, the sacraments, and other 
mysteries. 1 These Loci were merely the heads of 
argument, on which Melanchthon proposed to lect- 
ure. They were written down by one of his hearers, 
it is supposed, and printed without the knowledge 
of the author. Melanchthon was dissatisfied with 
the little book, and tried to suppress the edition. 
A few copies, however, survived, one of which is 
found in the ducal library at Gotha. Though 
merely the heads of discourse, intended to set forth 
systematically the Pauline argument, and called 
Lucubratiuncula, the work covers pages 11-48 in 
the Corpus Re for mat or urn, and is supplemented 
by a Theological Institute on the Epistle of Paul 
to the Romans, which covers ten pages. 3 These 
two works, revised, expanded, and rendered more 
systematic, became the Loci Communes Rerum Theo- 
logicarum, sive Hypotyposes Theologies, which ex- 
tends from page 82 to page 227 in the Corpus 
Reformatorum" vol. xxi. This, without doubt, 
is Melanchthon's most important theological work. 
It systematises what he and Luther had taught, 
and lays the foundation for the Evangelical Dog- 
matic. For the time being it was Jthe Wittenberg 
Confession_of Faith, and was the forerunner of the 
Confession of Augsburg. Unlike the Sentences of 
Peter Lombard, it is not based on the scholastic 
philosophy, and developed through thesis and anti- 

1 c. R., i: 138. 

*C. R., 21 : 11-58, 

96 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

thesis; but it is drawn directly from the Holy 
Scripture, more particularly from the Epistle of 
Paul to the Romans. And yet it makes a proper 
use of history, and connects its expositions with the 
teaching of the Church fathers. 

Passing lightly over the metaphysical and philo- 
sophical doctrines of theology, it treats chiefly what 
seemed to its author to be the fundamental doctrines. 
Its aim is to lead students to a profitable knowledge 
of theology, not to perplex and confuse them with 
doubtful disputations. ' Yet I desire nothing so 
much," says Melanchthon in the preface, "as to 
make all Christians thoroughly conversant with the 
Holy Scripture alone, and to transform them into 
the image of the same." 

The order of the book is in part inherited from 
John of Damascus. It begins with the Trinity; 
but, in harmony with its purely practical aim, it 
quickly passes to Man, and treats of Sin, the Law, 
the Gospel, the Fruits of Grace, Faith, the Sacra- 
ments, then of the Magistracy, Church Government, 
Condemnation, and Blessedness. 

A few notes will indicate its characteristic features : 
The mysteries of the Trinity are to be adored rather 
than investigated. Indeed, they cannot be treated 
without great peril. There is no need of devoting 
much time to God, the Unity, the Trinity, the mys- 
teries of creation and of the incarnation. The 
scholastic theologists have been engaged on these 
subjects for ages without having accomplished any- 
thing. In regard to human powers there is a wide 
difference between the teaching of the Sacred 

1522] The "Loci Communes" 97 

Scripture and that of philosophy. In man there are 
two powers: the power of intellect, by which we 
understand and reason, and the power of the affec- 
tions, by which we are rendered favourable or adverse 
to things known. The reason in itself is neither 
good nor evil; it serves the will. Freedom is the 
power to do or not to do, to do thus or so. But 
there is no freedom. " All things that occur, occur 
necessarily according to the divine predestination. 
Our will has no freedom." 

Here the author quotes several passages from the 
Scriptures in support of absolute predestination, as 
Romans xi., 36; Eph. i., ii; Matt, x., 29. 'This 
doctrine is contradicted by the reason, but is em- 
braced by the spiritual judgment. To believe that 
all things are done by God is profitable for repress- 
ing and condemning the wisdom and prudence of 
human reason. In things external there is freedom 
of will, as the power to put on or off a garment; 
but we have no power over the inward affections, 
and no power by which we can seriously oppose the 

Original sin is a native impulse or energy, which 
impels us to commit sin. God created the first man 
without sin, but he fell, and God's Spirit ceased to 
rule him. Self-love is the root of all sin, and leads 
to contempt of God. Original sin is not only the 
want of original righteousness; it is the flesh, im- 
piety, contempt of spiritual things. What is law ? , 
It is that by which the good is enjoined, or the evil 
forbidden. There are natural, divine, and human 
laws. Neither theologians nor lawyers have to do 

98 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

with the laws of nature. The divine laws are con- 
tained in the Decalogue. The first commandment 
requires faith ; the second, the praise^of God's name ; 
the third, the upholding of God's work in us. The 
other commandments are explained by Christ, as 
loving thy neighbour as thyself (Matt. v.). The 
Gospel is the promise of grace, or of the mercy of 
God, and hence the testimony of God's good-will 
towards us. God revealed the Gospel at once after 
the fall of Adam, and then more fully in Christ. 
The Law brings a knowledge of sin. It is the voice 
of death. The Gospel is the voice of peace and life. 
Whosoever is comforted by the voice of God, and 
believes God, is justified. 

" Grace signifies favour, that favour in God by which 
he comprehends the saints. In a word, Grace is nothing 
but the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit who 
regenerates and sanctifies the heart. We are justified, 
when, mortified by the Law, we are raised up by the 
word of Grace, which is promised in Christ, or in the 
Gospel, which forgives sin, and when we cling to Christ 
nothing doubting that the righteousness of Christ is our 
righteousness, that his satisfaction is our expiation, his 
resurrection, ours. In a word, nothing doubting that 
our sins are forgiven, and that God loves and cherishes 
us. Hence our works, however good they may seem or 
be, are not our righteousness. FAITH alone in the 
mercy and grace of God in Jesus Christ is RIGHT- 
EOUSNESS. This is what Paul means when he says, 
the just live by faith, and righteousness is by the faith of 
Jesus Christ." 

The sacraments are signs of promises and testi- 

1522] The " Loci Communes " 99 

monies of God's will towards us. They have no 
power to justify. Faith alone justifies. Circumcis- 
ion, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, are only witnesses 
and seals of the divine will in our behalf. Two 
signs, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, are given by 
Christ in the Gospel. We call them sacramental 
signs. Baptism is the washing of regeneration, the 
passing from death unto life. It is the sacrament 
of repentance. Penitence is not a sacrament. 
Rather is it the Chrisitan life itself, which must be 
constantly renewed. Private Confession is retained. 
Private Absolution is as necessary as Baptism. Only 
he dare comfort himself with the Absolution who 
desires it and believes. 

There is no satisfaction apart from the death of 
Christ. The Lord's Supper is a sign of grace. It 
consists in eating Christ's body and drinking his 
blood. This Sacrament is intended to strengthen 
us as often as our consciences are troubled, and 
doubt of God's will toward us. It is not a sacrifice. 
Confirmation and Unction are not sacraments. 
Matrimony is not a sacrament. Order is only the 
selection by the Church of those who are to teach, 
baptise, and administer the Supper. Such is the 
duty of bishops, presbyters, and deacons. ' The 
Mass-priests are the prophets of Jezebel, that is, of 

For the maintenance of discipline in the State and 
in the Church, the magistracy is necessary. The 
civil magistrate bears the sword and guards the 
public peace. To him Christians should be obedi- 
ent. Bishops are servants, not lords of the Church. 

ioo Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

They cannot make civil laws, nor dare they do any- 
thing against the Scriptures. 

These notes can give only a faint idea of the con- 
tents of the Loci. Yet they may serve to indicate 
its practical aim as well as its positive and aggressive 
thought. It may be said that the book is at once a 
faithful exhibition and defence of the doctrines 
taught in Wittenberg at that time, and a refutation 
and rejection of the leading errors of Rome. Its 
tendency is decidedly polemical, and this is its chief 
blemish. It does not have that calmness and that 
purely didactic quality which may be expected in a 
hand-book of theology. But it is a genuine product 
of its age, which was one of strife and violent con- 
tention. Its author, while preparing it, had in mind 
the coarse invectives of Thomas Rhadinus, and the 
scholastic sophistries of the Cologne, Louvain, and 
Paris theologists, who had issued judgments and 
decrees against the teaching of Luther. Even its 
polemic tendency may have been a feature of value 
in that first period of the Reformation, when it 
was as necessary to refute error as to establish the 

Taken as a whole, the Loci must be regarded as 
the most remarkable theological work ever produced 
by a young man of twenty-four years. It is em- 
phatically something new a system of theology 
based on Christ and the Word of God. As over 
against Scholasticism it is the theology of a living 
principle, and is well illustrated by the words with 
which the book closes: " The kingdom of God is 
not in word, but in power." 

1522] The " Loci Communes" 101 

A distinguished theologian of the Reformed 
Church has described it as follows: 

" The book marks an epoch in the history of theology. 
It grew out of exegetical lectures on the Epistle to the 
Romans, the Magna Charta of the evangelical system. 
It is an exposition of the leading doctrines of sin and 
grace, repentance and salvation. It is clean, fresh, thor- 
oughly biblical and practical. Its main object is to show 
that man can not be saved by works of the law, or by 
his own merits, but only by the free grace of God in 
Christ as revealed in the Gospel. It presents the living 
soul of divinity in striking contrast to the dry bones of 
degenerate scholasticism, with its endless thesis, anti- 
thesis, definitions, divisions, and subdivisions." ' 

The Loci met with extraordinary favour. Two 
editions appeared at Wittenberg 2 and one at Basel 
in the year 1521. The next year it was reprinted at 
Augsburg, Strassburg, and Hagenau. From 1521 
to 1525 not less than seventeen editions appeared, 
besides several reprints of the German translation 
made by Spalatin. A Wittenberg student took a 
copy to Strassburg and showed it to Nicholas Ger- 
bel, who wrote to John Schwebel : 

" This young man tells me marvellous things about 
Wittenberg. He has shown me the notes dictated by 
Melanchthon on Paul and Matthew, and also the Loci, 
a divine book, which in my opinion no one studying 
theology can miss without the greatest loss. It has so laid 

1 Schaffs Hist. Christ. Ch.,b: 369. 

2 Schmidt's Philipp Melanchthon, p. 74. 

102 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

hold of me that day and night I cannot think of any- 
thing except Wittenberg." ' 

In 1524, an edition was published at Augsburg by 
Sigismund Grim, with a picture of Hercules destroy- 
ing Cerberus, surrounded by the legend, " Hercules 
the Destroyer of Monsters." Luther, in his reply to 
Erasmus, calls the Loci " an invincible book, worthy 
not only of immortality, but of being placed in the 
Canon." John Cochlaeus called it a new Koran, 
more pernicious than Luther's Babylon, and both 
Eck and he wrote Loci against it. An Italian trans- 
lation bearing the title, / principii della Theologia 
di Ippofilo da Terra negra, published at Venice, was 
sold in large numbers in Rome, and was read " with 
the greatest applause " until a Franciscan monk 
discovered that it was " Lutheran," whereupon all 
the copies were seized and burned. 
- Under the improving hand of its author, the Loci 
subsequently underwent great changes. It became 
x more calm and dignified, and was extended over a 
wider field of discussion. In the later editions the 
polemical bearing towards Scholasticism was almost 
completely abandoned, and a still more respectful 
relation was assumed towards the Fathers ; but the 
book never abandoned its Scriptural basis nor its 
practical character. The changes of later editions 
represent Melanchthon's growth in the knowledge 
of Scripture and of history. He also learned to dis- 
criminate between a true and a false Scholasticism, 
between the idolising of Aristotle then current in 

1 Centuria Epist. Theol. ad Schivebelium Zweibriicken (1597), p. 24. 

1522] The "Loci Communes" 103 

the universities, and the proper application of phi- 
losophy to the investigation of sacred truth. 

The different editions of the Loci are classified in 
three periods. The first form extends from 1521 to 
1535; the second form, from 1535 to 1544, and con- 
tains fourteen editions; the third form, from 1544 to 
1559, and contains thirty-four editions. The char- 
acteristic changes made in the second and third 
forms will be considered at the proper time and 
place. Suffice it to say here that these changes re- ~ 
suited from continuous study of the Bible and of 
the Fathers, from the criticisms of his opponents, 
from the reading of Erasmus, from contact with 
Catholic and Reformed theologians at the various 
diets and conferences which he attended, and from 
the growing independence of his own judgment. 

The Loci continued to be published after the 
death of its author, and for fifty years more held 
the first place as a text-book of theology in the uni- 
versities. Victorin Strigel and Martin Chemnitz, 
pupils of Melanchthon, wrote each a commentary 
on it. Leonhard Hutter followed it in his own 
Loci ; but in 1610 Hutter published a Compend, 
drawn chiefly from the Symbolical Books, which 
threw Melanchthon's Loci in the shade during the 
seventeenth century. 

It has been noticed already that "from time to time 
Melanchthon expounded the Epistles of Paul. 
While he and Luther were engaged in revising the 
German translation of the New Testament, Luther 
insisted that Melanchthon should publish his lectures 
on the Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians. 

104 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

This he refused to do, his extreme modesty leading 
him to say that the Scripture should be allowed to 
do its work without the word of^ man. Luther 
thought that a man who expounded the Scripture 
as Master Philip did, rendered an invaluable service 
to the Church. 1 Accordingly he obtained a copy of 
the lectures secretly and published them without 
the knowledge of the author, writing the following 
Preface a in the form of a letter to Melanchthon : 

" Grace and Peace in Christ. 

' ' Be angry and sin not. Speak upon thy bed, and be 
silent. It is I who publish these annotations of yours, 
and send you to yourself. If you do not please yourself, 
very good; it is enough that you please me. The sin is 
on your side, if there be any sin here. Why did not you 
yourself publish ? Why did you suffer me to ask, com- 
mand, and urge you so often to publish ? This is my 
defence against you: I am willing to be, and to be called, 
a thief, fearing neither your complaints nor accusation. 
But to those who, you think, will turn up their noses, or 
will not be satisfied, I shall say: Publish something 
better. What the impious Thomists falsely claim for 
their Thomas, viz., that no one has written better on^ 
Saint Paul, that I truthfully assign to you. Satan per- 
suades them to boast thus of their Thomas, that his im- 
pious and poisonous doctrines may be the more widely 
propagated. I know with what spirit and judgment I 
declare this of you. What is it to you if those famous 
mighty men turn up their noses at this opinion of mine ? 
Mine is the peril. That I may the more provoke these 

'DeW., 2:303, 
>Dc W., 2:238. y 

1522] The " Loci Communes " 105 

fastidious gentlemen, I say further that the commentaries 
of Jerome and Origen are mere trifles and absurdities as 
compared with your annotations. Wherefore, you will 
say, provoke the ill will of men of the highest talents ? 
Be modest. Let me be proud of you. Who prohibits 
the men of highest talents from publishing something 
better and exposing the rashness of my judgment ? 
Would that there were those who could do better. 
Finally, I threaten you, that I will steal and publish 
what you have written on Genesis, Matthew, and John, 
unless you shall anticipate me. The Scripture, you say, 
must be read without commentaries. You say this cor- 
rectly about Jerome, Origen, Thomas, and the like. 
They wrote commentaries in which they give their own 
teaching, not that of Paul and of Christ. Nobody should 
call your annotations a commentary, but a guide to 
reading the Scripture and learning Christ something 
which no commentary has hitherto presented. When 
you plead that your notes are not in all respects satis- 
factory to you, I am forced to believe you; but behold, 
I believe you will not satisfy yourself. This is neither 
asked nor sought from you without regard for the honour 
of Paul; nor will anyone boast that Philip is superior or 
equal to Paul. It is enough that he is next to Paul. 
We envy no one if he should come nearer. We know 
you are nothing. Christ is all in all. If he speaks by 
the mouth of an ass we shall be satisfied. Why should 
we be dissatisfied if he speaks by the mouth of a man ? 
Art thou not a man ? Art thou not of Christ ? Is not 
his mind in you ? But if you wish to adorn the book 
with a more polished diction, and with ampler learning, 
and to increase its size, all right; and it will also be 
agreeable that we have the matter and the mind of Paul 
through your assistance. I do not beg your pardon, if I 

io6 Philip Melanchthon [1522 

offend you in doing this. Cease to be offended, that you 
may not rather offend us, and have need of our pardon. 
The Lord enlarge and keep thee forever. 
" Wittenberg, July 2 9 th, Anno M.D.XXII. 


Very soon the commentary was published at 
Nuremberg, disfigured by numerous errors. Then 
Melanchthon laughed, and said to Luther, " he 
hoped that, made wiser by experience, he would 
commit no more such thefts." 

The book, notwithstanding its many errors, was 

soon published at Strassburg and Basel, and at 

Augsburg translated into German. It at once made 

its author famous as an expounder of the Scripture. 

C Early in the next year Luther obtained Melanch- 

/ thon's lectures on the Gospel of St. John and sent 

them to Basel for publication. 

In these commentaries, as in his Loci, Melanchthon 

/ avoids all philosophical and speculative questions, 

and confines himself to a practical exposition of the 

text. Christ, Faith, and Justification occupy the 

chief places. 



Melanchthon Wishes to Relinquish Theology and to Teach Greek 
and Literature Only Luther Interferes A Compromise Mel- 
anchthon Opens a School in his own House Visits his Mother 
Honoured by the University of Heidelberg Cardinal Cam- 
peggius Controversy Between Luther and Erasmus on the Will 
Melanchthon Meets Philip, Landgrave of Hesse. 

AFTER Luther's return from the Wartburg to 
Wittenberg, Melanchthon began to think 
seriously of abandoning theology, and of devoting 
himself wholly to giving instruction in languages 
and literature. He was influenced in this direction 
partly by the disorders created by Carlstadt and the 
Zwickau prophets, and partly by the feeling that he 
could best serve the cause of the Reformation by 
preparing young men properly for the study of 
theology. During the temporary reign of iconoclas- 
tic confusion at Wittenberg he wrote to Spalatin : 

" Oh that with pious hearts we might recognise the 
divine goodness, and show our gratitude by better man- 
ners! If I mistake not, Christ is about to avenge the 
contempt of the Gospel by new darkness. He is blind- 


io8 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

ing the minds of those who, under cover of the name 
of Christ are now confounding things divine and human, 
sacred and profane. In a word, I fear that this light 
which a little while ago appeared in the world, will be 
taken from us." 

He thought that classical culture was the best 
means for preparing young men for the study of 
theology, and for overcoming the spirit of disorder. 
This thought he expressed in several letters of the 
year 1522. To Spalatin he wrote: 

" I hear that Dr. Martin wants me to commit the 
Greek teaching to another. This I do not wish to do. 
I would rather discontinue theology, which, according 
to custom, I began to teach on account of the bachelor's 
degree. Hitherto my work was only a substitute for that 
of Martin, when he was absent, or otherwise engaged. I 
see the need of many earnest teachers of the classics, 
which at present, not less than in the age of sophistry, are 
neglected." a 

A little later also to the same: " It is a very bad 
condition of affairs that in so large a number of pro- 
fessors here, scarcely one can be found who really 
cultivates the classics. If these be not faithfully 
studied what kind of theologians shall we have ? " 
In April of the next year he wrote to Eoban Hess 
that those who despise classical studies think scarcely 
better of theology. He exclaims: "Good God! 
how absurdly they pursue the study of theology 

1 C. *., i : 547. 

*., 1:575- 
*C.X., i: 576. 

1525] Private Life during 1522-1525 109 

who want to seem wise by despising all that is good ! 
What is this else than a new sophistry more foolish 
and impious than the old ? " 1 

About the same time he delivered an oration en- 
titled, " The Praise of Eloquence." He deplores 
the neglect of classical studies, and wishes for the 
power of Pericles to recall into the right way the 
foolish young men who think that classical studies 
are not profitable for other disciplines, or who neglect 
them out of laziness. He insists on the thorough 
study of the Greek and Latin classics as the proper 
preparation for the study of theology. 2 

It is thus evident from his letters and from public 
deliverances that at this time Melanchthon felt that 
his calling was to teach the classics, and to prepare 
young men for the study of theology. But Luther 
was of a different opinion. On the fourth of July, 
1522, he wrote to Spalatin: 

" How I wish you would see that Philip be relieved 
from Grammar, that he may devote himself to Theology! 
It is utterly shameful, as I wrote some time ago, that he 
should receive one hundred gulden for teaching Gram- 
mar, when his theological lectures are beyond price. 
There are plenty of masters who can teach Grammar as 
well as Philip, who, because of him, are forced to be 
idle. May God destroy that Bethaven, 8 so that the 
revenues taken away from the howling priests may be 
transferred to the support of good teachers. ' ' 4 

1 C. R., i: 613. 

2 C. R., ii ; 50. 

3 The Wittenberg chapter. 

4 De W.,2:2i7. 

no Phiilp Melanchthon [1497- 

When he saw that nothing could be accomplished 
through Spalatin, he wrote to the Elector on the 
twenty-third of March, 1524: 

" Your Princely Grace undoubtedly knows that 
through God's grace there are many excellent young 
men here from foreign countries eager for the blessed 
Word. Some are so poor that they live on bread and 
water. Now I have recourse to Master Philip, because, 
by the special grace of God, he is splendidly qualified to 
teach the Holy Scriptures, even better than I myself. 
If I should do it, I must neglect the translation of the 
Bible. Instead of teaching Greek, let him devote him- 
self to teaching the Holy Scriptures. The whole school 
and we all, earnestly desire this. He resists on the sole 
ground that he is appointed and paid by your Princely 
Grace to teach Greek, and so can not omit this. Hence 
I humbly entreat your Princely Grace, for the good of 
the young men and for the sake of the Gospel of God, 
to appoint him a salary for teaching the Holy Scriptures. 
There are other young men who are qualified to teach 
Greek, and it is not right that he should be forever en- 
gaged on this "juvenile teaching, while the better kind is 
neglected, in which he can furnish such results as can- 
not be acquired for wages." 

No immediate action was taken by the Elector; 
and Melanchthon still insisted, partly out of regard 
for his health, on devoting himself exclusively to 
teaching languages. 2 

Finally it was determined at the beginning of the 
year 1526, that his salary should be increased one 

De W., 2:490. 
8 C. R., i : 677. 


1525] Private Life during 1522-1525 m 

hundred gulden, on the condition that besides lectur- 
ing on Greek, he should deliver one lecture daily on 
theology. Now Melanchthon's conscience rebelled. 
He did not see how he could do all his other work 
and lecture once a day on theology. Hence he did 
not wish to accept the increase in salary. Luther 
again took the matter in hand, and wrote the 
Elector John, February 9, 1526, requesting that he 
should be satisfied to have Philip lecture once a 
week on theology, or as often as he could. He was 
deserving of the increase in salary, as he had lec- 
tured for two years on the Scriptures without pay. 1 

The matter was now settled to the satisfaction of 
all concerned. The Elector did not insist that he 
should lecture daily on theology. Henceforth to 
the end of his life Melanchthon remained ordinary 
Professor of Theology and Greek, and taught theo- 
logy, classical literature, and philosophy. Thus he 
was a member of two faculties. 

We now turn back two years. In the spring of 
1524, we find Melanchthon with greatly impaired 
health. Nor are we surprised at this, when we re- 
call the superabundance of his labours, trials, and 
conflicts. Besides the duties incident to his public 
position, already, in 1519, he had opened " a private 
school " in which young men and boys should be 
prepared for the university. In 1522, he wrote a 
Latin Grammar for his pupils, and sought in many 
ways to promote their advancement. The most 
diligent scholar was placed in charge of the others 
as a reward, and named house-king. He who had 

ii2 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

composed the best essay in prose or poetry, was 
crowned with the ivy, or heard his praises sung by 
Melanchthon in a festive poem. Fcom time to time 
he allowed his pupils to render dialogues and com- 
edies from Seneca, Plautus, and Terence, and thus 
incited them to higher diligence. In this private 
school he taught Greek, Latin, Rhetoric, Logic, 
Mathematics, and Physics. His personal influence 
over the young men was extraordinarily great. No 
one now dared to make sport of the young and un- 
gainly Magister. He had conquered the respect and 
won the confidence of colleagues and of pupils by 
his massive learning, his devotion to science, and his 
affection for the young. John Kessler, who after- 
ward became a reformer in Switzerland, wrote thus 
of him in 1523 : 

" In size he is a small, unattractive person. You would 
think he was only a boy not above eighteen years old, 
when he walks by the side of Luther. Because of their 
sincere love for each other they are almost always to- 
gether. Martin is much taller than he, but in under- 
standing, learning, and culture, Philip is a great stalwart 
giant and hero. One wonders that in so small a body 
there can lie concealed such a great and lofty mountain 
of wisdom and culture." * 

By this time his fame as a scholar and teacher had 
spread far beyond the boundaries of Saxony. Dis- 
tant lands were beginning to regard Wittenberg as 
the home of the most profound learning. Leipzig 

1 Quoted in Schwartz's Darstettungen aus dent Gebiet der Pdde- 
gogik, i : 98. 

1525] Private Life during 1522-1525 113 

had grown jealous, and had announced that Eras- 
mus would take a chair in that renowned university. 
Even some Roman Catholic scholars spoke " the 
praises of Melanchthon, and esteemed him a restorer 
of learning. At the University of Freiburg his writ- 
ings drove out the old scholastic text-books, and 
kindled a new zeal for the study of theology. 

Melanchthon now needed rest, and thought of a 
journey to his native land as the best means of 
restoring his broken health. He hesitated to ask 
permission from the Court to be absent., But Luther 
encouraged him by saying: 

" Go, dear Philip, go in God's name. Our Lord was 
not always engaged in preaching and teaching. Some- 
times he turned aside and visited his friends and relatives. 
Only one thing I ask of you: Come back soon. I will 
pray for you day and night. Now go." 1 

On the fourth of April he ventured to inform 
Spalatin that he needed rest, as he was suffering 
from insomnia, and that he " greatly desired to visit 
his dear mother and the rest of the family." He 
asks of the Elector through him for a vacation of 
five weeks, as the university will not miss him for 
such a length of time, he thinks. 2 In a few days he 
writes again, thanking " his patron " for his good 
offices in procuring him the desired leave of absence. 

On the sixteenth or seventeenth of April, with 
William Nesen, of Frankfort-on-the-Main, Francis 
Burkhard, of Weimar, John Silverborn, of Worms, 

1 Schmidt, p. 103. 
2 C. R., i : 652. 

n4 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and Joachim Camerarius, of Bamberg, he began the 
journey on horseback. The travellers arrived at 
Leipzig on the eighteenth, just in time for Melanch- 
thon and Camerarius to visit Peter Mosellanus, who 
on that day breathed his last. In his death Mel- 
anchthon mourned the loss of a friend, and Cam- 
erarius the loss of a former teacher. 1 In July, 
Melanchthon wrote an epitaph in Latin and Greek, 
of which the following is a translation : 3 

" Beneath this tomb that meets the stranger's eye 
The dear remains of Mosellanus He ; 
In vain might friends protracted life implore, 
The lovely rhetorician speaks no more ; 
But in the records of eternal fame, 
Ages to come shall find inscribed his name, 
While from this transient life of tears and sighs, 
God has removed him to yon fairer skies." 

From Leipzig the party proceeded to Fulda, 
where they were entertained by Crotus Rubianus 
and Adam Kraft, and where they learned of the 
death of Ulric von Hutten, who had been a valiant 
champion of the Reformation. Three days later 
they reached Frankfort, where Nesen remained. 
The others went on to Bretten to the house of Mel- 
anchthon's mother. 

When Melanchthon caught sight of his native city 
he dismounted from his horse, and, kneeling on the 
ground, exclaimed: " Oh my fatherland! How I 
thank thee, Lord, that I am again permitted to 
enter it." 

l c. ., i: 654. 
2 C. R., 10 : 491. 

1525] Private Life during 1522-1525 115 

In 1520, his mother had married Christopher 
Kolbe, a citizen of Bretten. In 1526, she was 
married to her third husband, Melchior Hochel. 1 
She lived and died a Catholic. There is no evidence 
that either at this time or during a subsequent 
visit Melanchthon sought to have her change her 

During this visit Philip enjoyed much pleasant 
converse with his mother and with his brother 
George. The days sped swiftly by, and soon it was 
time for him to turn his face again toward the north. 

While sojourning at Bretten, Melanchthon received 
two visits that were of peculiar significance. The 
philosophical faculty of the University of Heidel- 
berg, as if to make amends for the slight of ten years 
before, when it refused to enter him as a candidate 
for the master's degree, sent a deputation to present 
him with a handsome silver goblet. The aged Her- 
mann Busch, professor of Latin, Simon Grynaeus, 
professor of Greek, and the Dean, performed this 
pleasant duty in recognition of Melanchthon's 
scholarship, and of his services to science. In his 
letter of thanks Melanchthon declares himself un- 
worthy of such a gift, but promises to show that it 
has not been bestowed on an ungrateful recipient, 
since he would ever strive to deserve well in regard 
to learned studies. 2 

The other visit was also from Heidelberg, but was 
of a very different kind. Lorenzo Campeggius, the 
papal legate for Germany, had gone to Heidelberg 

1 Matthes, p. 61. 
S C. J?., i : 656. 

ii6 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

after the close of the Diet of Nuremberg. Hearing 
that Melanchthon was at Bretten, he sent thither his 
private secretary, the learned Frederick Nausea, to 
hold an interview with the Wittenberg professor on 
the religious dissensions. 

The secretary, as if acting on his own motion, 
characterised Luther as a disturber of the peace, who 
sought only to revolutionise the Church, and held 
out to Melanchthon the vision of a brilliant future 
if he would become reconciled to the Church. The 
latter answered : 

" When I have ascertained that a thing is true I em- 
brace and defend it without the fear or favour of any 
mortal and without regard for profit or honour; neither 
will I separate myself from those who first taught and 
now defend these things. As hitherto I have defended 
the pure doctrine without strife and abuse, so shall I 
continue to exhort all who in this matter of common in- 
terest wish for peace and safety, to heal the wounds 
which can no longer be concealed, and to restrain the 
rage of those who with hostile hands do not cease to tear 
open the wounds. If they will not do this, let them look 
out lest they themselves be the first to fall." 

When he found out that Nausea had come as the 
agent of the Cardinal, he sent to the latter a brief 
account of Luther's doctrine: 

" Luther does not abolish public ceremonies, but dis- 
tinguishes between human righteousness and the divine, 
and employs the Scriptures for fortifying the conscience 
against the gates of hell. Human rites and ceremonies 

1 Camerarius, p. 97. 

1525] Private Life during 1522-1525 117 

do not constitute the righteousness of God ; but out of 
love they may be observed where they do no harm. In 
the Mass and in celibacy there is great corruption. 

" Many who are by no means Lutherans attach them- 
selves to Luther, and thus mislead the people. It is 
madness to threaten all with destruction who name the 
name of Luther. It is impious to think that the essence 
of religion consists either in despising or in observing 

While Melanchthon tarried with his mother and 
brother at Bretten his companions in travel, Cam- 
erarius, Burkhard, and Silverborn, went on to Basel 
to visit Erasmus. Melanchthon would gladly have 
gone with them, but was restrained out of consider- 
ations of prudence. Even before the party had set 
out from Wittenberg, it had been known there that 

the sage of Rotterdam " was writing a refutation 
of Luther's doctrine of the Will. Melanchthon 
foresaw that the controversy would be bitter, inas- 
much as Luther had written of Erasmus in a way 
that wounded the vain man's pride. 8 

Also Melanchthon himself, by classing Erasmus 
with the heathen philosophers, and explaining, 

However, I would not hesitate to prefer Erasmus 
to all the ancients," 3 had bestowed doubtful praise. 
But Erasmus, so he wrote to Pirkheimer, would 
have been glad to see Melanchthon, since he still 
wished to retain this " young man of purest soul " 
among his admirers. 

*C. X., i : 657. 
? De W., 2: 199. 
3 C. R., 20: 700. 

n8 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Soon the controversy broke out which was destined 
to make a complete separation of Erasmus from 
Luther, to alienate the former from, the Reforma- 
tion, to modify Melanchthon's view of the Will, 
and to damp the warmth of friendship between the 
two greatest humanists of the sixteenth century. 
Seldom has a controversy between two men had a 
more powerful influence. In September, 1524, 
Erasmus published his book on the Freedom of the 
Will, entitled De Libcro Arbitrio Diatribe sive Colla- 
tio. The book is not to be despised. It contains 
many strong arguments against Luther's doctrine of 
the absolute bondage of the Will ; but it lacks deep 
insight into the principles of the Reformation. 
Melanchthon praises it for its moderation, " albeit 
it is sprinkled with black salt," and says that it was 
received at Wittenberg with impartiality. 1 

At the same time, September 6, 1524, Erasmus 
wrote an apologetic and explanatory letter to Mel- 
anchthon. He tells him why he had written the 
Diatribe. Had he published nothing against Luther, 

the theologians, monks, and Romish minions 
would have charged him with cowardice or with 
conversion to Luther, and thus would have com- 
passed his ruin." He also takes occasion in this 
letter to deliver his opinion of Melanchthon's Loci. 
He praises the candid and happy genius of the 
author and 

" the array of doctrines admirably constructed in oppos- 
ition to the Pharisaic tyranny. But there are some 

1 C. R., i : 675. 

1525] Private Life during 1522-1525 119 

things which, to speak frankly, I cannot accept. There 
are some things which, even though it were safe, I would 
not teach for conscience sake. There are some things 
that I might teach, but without profit." * 

Melanchthon was evidently influenced by Eras- 
mus's book. He sent it to Spalatin, and expresses 
the earnest desire that 

" tlys subject, which is the most important in the Christ- 
ian religion, should be carefully examined. For this 
reason I rejoice that Erasmus has entered the lists. For 
a long time I have desired that some prudent person 
should oppose Luther in this matter. Erasmus is the 
man, or I am deceived." 

Here we have the beginning of that change in Mel- 
anchthon's doctrine of the Will which subsequently 
exerted an important influence in Lutheran theol- 
ogy, for it is due to Melanchthon that no article on 
Predestination was placed in the fundamental Lu- 
theran Confession. 

Deeply concerned as Melanchthon was for a 
thorough discussion of the great question, he 
sought chiefly at that time, though in vain, to re- 
strain the contestants from violence. To Erasmus 
he wrote that Luther was not so irritable that 
he could not bear anything, and said that he 
promised to reply with a moderation equal to that 
shown by Erasmus. 3 But Erasmus himself soon be- 

1 c. R., i: 667. 

9 C. R., i : 673. 
8 C. 7?., i: 675. 

120 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

came irritated, and wrote sharp words against the 
Reformation, and complained of Luther's teaching 
as not pleasing him. He deplores. the many dis- 
orders which are following in the wake of the Re- 
formation, and predicts that Luther will not reply 
with moderation. 1 In this he was not mistaken. 
In December, 1525, Luther published his book On 
the Bondage of the Will De Servo Arbitrio. It 
is one of his most powerful polemic writings; but 
it is so, sharp and bitter that Erasmus complained 
that he was treated worse than a Turk. The next 
year Erasmus replied in the first part of the Hyper- 
aspistes, not less sharply and bitterly than Luther 
had written. Melanchthon became almost frantic, 
and was equally displeased with both disputants. 
He wrote to Camerarius: 

" Did you ever read anything more bitter than Eras- 
mus's Hyperaspistes ? It is almost venomous. How 
Luther takes it, I do not know. But I have again be- 
sought him by all that is sacred, if he replies, to do so 
briefly, simply, and without abuse. At once after 
Luther published his book, I said this controversy would 
end in the most cruel alienation. It has come, and yet 
I think Erasmus has reserved something more offensive 
for the second part of his work. He does me great 
wrong in imputing to me a part, and that, too, the most 
offensive part, of the work. I have decided to bear this 
injury in silence. Oh that LutHer would keep silent! 
I did hope that with age, experience, and so many 
troubles, he would grow more moderate; but I see he 
becomes the more violent as the contests and the oppon- 

1 C. R., i : 688. 

1525] Private Life during 1522-1525 121 

ents exhibit the same characteristics. This matter 
grievously vexes my soul." 1 

In 1527, Erasmus published the second part of the 
Hyperaspistes. Melanchthon begged Luther not to 
reply, since it had become a tedious and intricate 
discussion which the people could not understand. 
He also continued the good offices of pacificator 
with Erasmus; but it was now too late. The two 
disputants became irreconcilably hostile towards 
each other. Luther saw in Erasmus only an enemy 
of all religion, an atheist, a follower of Lucian and 
Epicurus; and Erasmus declared that wherever Lu- 
theranism prevailed, there learning declined. 

After this Melanchthon and Erasmus exchanged 
letters from time to time, but ceased to discuss 
theological questions. 

Having presented in its connection a brief report 
of the Erasmian episode in the history of the Re- 
formation, and in the life of Melanchthon, we go 
back to Bretten to complete the account of the visit 
to the south. On the return of his three friends 
from Basel, Melanchthon set out with them for 
Saxony. Not far from Frankfort he had an adven- 
ture which in the sequel brought important results 
to the Reformation. The Landgrave of Hesse was 
on his way to Heidelberg with his retainers to attend 
a gathering of the princes. He had heard that Mel- 
anchthon was in those parts. Meeting " a cavalcade 
of wretched cavaliers," he rode up to one of them 
and inquired whether he was Philip Melanchthon. 

1 C. A'., i : 793. 

122 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

The person addressed responded, " I am he/' and 
prepared to dismount as a mark of respect. The 
Prince bade him remain on his horse, to be of 
good courage, and not to fear, as he wished to speak 
with him about certain things. Melanchthon an- 
swered that he was not afraid, and that he was a 
very unimportant person. The Landgrave replied, 
smiling: " But if I should deliver you up to Cam- 
peggius, I think he would be very glad." The 
two then rode together for some distance, the Land- 
grave asking questions and Melanchthon briefly and 
pertinently replying. At length they separated with 
the understanding that Melanchthon, when he re- 
turned home, should send the Landgrave a written 
statement concerning the religious innovations. 

The Landgrave gave the party a safe conduct 
through his dominion and bade them adieu. 1 

The promise made to the Landgrave was not for- 
gotten. In the following autumn, 1524, Melanch- 
thon sent him " A Summary of the Renovated 
Christian Doctrine." 2 He says that many princes 
and bishops support the Pope out of regard to their 
secular interests, but the people follow Luther as 
the promoter of freedom. Two subjects agitate the 
Church: The one is Christian righteousness, and 
the other has reference to human ceremonies. 
Christian righteousness is the preaching of repent- 
ance, and the remission of sins. The Holy Spirit 
uncovers the sin of the heart, alarms the conscience, 
and incites to faith in the promises of Christ, who 

1 Camerarius, p. 98. 
C. ^., i : 703. 

1525] Private Life during 1522-1525 123 

satisfies for our sins and graciously pardons them. 
The Holy Spirit begets faith in the heart, the fear 
of God, humility, chastity, and other good fruits. 
We teach that repentance is required, which calls us 
from evil works. This righteousness Christ requires, 
not ceremonies. The kingdom of God is within. 

There are traditions which may be observed with- 
out sin, as those things which have been appointed 
in regard to food, vestments, and similar adiaphora. 
There are others which cannot be observed without 
sin, as celibacy, which has been cruelly and impiously 
imposed by the Pope. No human tradition can 
stand against the Word of God. Neither are doc- 
trines obligatory which cannot be followed without 
sin. It is a sin to suppose that monasticism can 
justify anyone. Paul calls those lying spirits who 
forbid marriage. The princes who support the law 
of the Pope are the satellites and the executors of 
such spirits. It is the duty of princes to have the 
Gospel preached, and to restrain the violence of the 
rabble, which, under pretence of the Gospel, creates 
confusion and threatens the safety of others. 

He closes the letter by commending the cause of 
religion to the Landgrave's conscience, and by pray- 
ing that Christ would supply him with the Spirit, 
and give him the disposition to provide well for the 
public safety, and not to delay the cause of the 
Gospel, nor persecute those whom necessity and 
conscience compel to renounce the authority of the 

The effect of the letter was most salutary. The 
Landgrave had been a violent enemy of the Reform- 

124 Philip Melanchthon [i 525 

ation, and had punished those preachers of his 
land who had embraced it, some with banishment 
and others with imprisonment. On the twenty-fifth 
of February, 1525, he declared for the Reformation. 
He was often humourously called Philip's disciple. 
Young, spirited, brave, aggressive, and well in- 
structed in theology, he was a valiant champion of 
" the renewed Christian doctrine "; but, rash, im- 
pulsive, and immoral, he often brought reproach 
upon the same. 



Death of Nesen Melanchthon's Discomforts Call to Nuremberg 
Oration on Education Services in the Cause of Education. 

/^AMERARIUS relates that while passing 
\^t through Hesse on their return from the visit 
to the South, in 1524, it chanced that he, Melanch- 
thon and Nesen stopped to water their horses while 
the others rode on. Nesen called attention to three 
crows on a neighbouring hill, cawing and making 
strange gestures with their wings, and asked Mel- 
anchthon what that portended. The latter an- 
swered: " What, but that death is very near one of 
us three ? " 

Nesen laughed and rode on. Camerarius was 
greatly agitated, and feared to ask Melanchthon 
what he meant. But he recalled the augury and 
the prophecy very vividly when, on the fifth of July, 
1524, William Nesen was drowned in the Elbe. He 
says he does not mention this incident because 
either he or Melanchthon attributed anything to the 
flight of birds, but to show that things sometimes 
occur in a marvellous way, which ought not to be 


i26 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

laughed at, and which, when they occur, start 
strange thoughts in our minds. 1 

But Melanchthon, still depressed through in- 
somnia and wretched health, saw in the sad death 
of his friend the forerunner of catastrophe, and 
at the same time suffered " the most poignant 
grief." Months afterward he wrote, " The lament- 
able fate of Nesen so troubles me at times that I 
tremble all over." 2 And this grief and trouble 
changed into melancholy when in August his friend 
Camerarius returned to his native city of Bamberg. 
In October he wrote him: " I am living here as in 
a wilderness. There is no society except that of 
the uncultured, in which I find no pleasure. I sit 
at home like a lame cobbler. In my state of health 
this is distressing to me." He doubtless alludes 
to those of the professors who opposed the Reforma- 
tion and classical studies. He says that Luther is 
not well, and that he is, he thinks, annoyed by the 
public scandals, meaning, probably, Carlstadt's agi- 
tations at Orlamiinde and in the South. 

Evidently Melanchthon was at this time in a very 
uncongenial environment. Things were not going 
smoothly at Wittenberg. He was probably begin- 
ning to feel some of the effects of that imperiousness 
in Luther's nature, and of that love of controversy, 
of which later in life he complains, and which came 
near rending their friendship. He writes Camerarius 
that there are some things which it is not safe to 

1 Camerarius, p. 100. 
8 C. X., i: 684. 
*C. R., i: 683. 

i 5 26] As Preceptor of Germany 127 

communicate by letter. 1 He has discovered that 
Luther is too violent in controversy, and yields too 
much to his feelings in discussing matters of public 
interest. He says he is miserably tormented and 
almost killed when he thinks of the theological 
controversies that are going on. 3 But the personal 
relations of the two were not at that time disturbed. 
When he complains to Camerarius that he has no 
friends and companions at Wittenberg with whom 
he can pleasantly converse, he especially excepts 
Luther, " who alone," he says, " is my friend; but 
he is so troubled and harassed that whenever we 
converse together, I have to grieve over his affairs. 
The others either have no use for me or are vulgar. ' ' 3 
It is evident that also Bugenhagen and Jonas must 
be excepted. For in August, 1524, Melanchthon 
wrote a Preface to Bugenhagen's commentary on 
the Psalms, and in the year 1525 he addressed Jonas 
in several beautiful Latin poems. 

Among the many causes of Melanchthon's mel- 
ancholy in the years 1524-25, were " the public 
evils," " the domestic cares," and " the implacable 
insomnia " of which he writes, together with the 
conviction that the Elector is slow to make proper 
provision for the improvement of the university. 
But there is a silver lining to the dark cloud that 
overhangs his life. He finds solace in his little 
daughter, his infant son, and his wife. 4 Often was 

1 c. J?., i: 683. 

*C. J?. t i: 648. 
3 C. R., i : 729. 
4 C. ^., i: 729. 

128 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

he seen rocking the cradle with one hand, and hold- 
ing a book in the other. 

It was during this period of gloom and despond- 
ency that Melanchthon's gifts began to be called into 
requisition in that work which more than any other 
procured for him the title of Preceptor of Germany. 
It was the work of reorganising and directing the 
higher education of his country. 

At the close of the Middle Ages nearly every 
town in Germany had one or more schools. The 
cathedral schools mostly cared for the training of 
the clergy. The parochial schools prepared the 
young for the duties of Church membership. In 
the manufacturing and commercial cities secular 
education was conducted in relative independence 
of the Church. The knightly and burgher classes, 
both male and female, were generally well instructed 
in Grammar, Rhetoric, Dialectic, History, Geo- 
graphy, and Arithmetic, and in many cases in the 
Latin language. 

The printing-press helped to diffuse knowledge, 
and increased the desire to read. That in the first 
half of the sixteenth century vast numbers of per- 
sons could read, is evidenced by the enormous sales 
of Luther's New Testament, of his sermons and 
books. It is said that five thousand copies of his 
Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Na- 
tion were sold in five days. 1 His most powerful 
books, his sermons, hymns, and pamphlets, com- 
posed in the vernacular, were placed on sale at the 
book-stalls and at the commercial fairs. Peddlers 

1 Putnam, Books and their Makers, ii., 221. 

i 52 6] As Preceptor of Germany 129 

and colporteurs l carried them by the thousands to 
the people, who read them, or listened while others 
read them aloud. 

It is not strange that under these circumstances 
Luther should promptly recognise the value of the 
printing-press as an instrument for promoting Re- 
form, and should see that if the war against Rome 
was to be carried on with success, the masses of the 
people as well as the classes must be educated ; for, 
notwithstanding the general intelligence of the 
higher, middle, and knightly classes, dark and dense 
ignorance prevailed among the people, so that they 
have been described as ' ' barbarous ' ' and ' ' bestial. 

Now it was that Luther, in 1524, seized his pen 
and wrote his appeal to the Aldermen of all the 
German cities in behalf of Christian schools. 3 He 
declares: " For the maintenance of civil order and 
the proper regulation of the home, society needs 
accomplished and well-trained men and women. 
Such men are to come from boys, and such women 
from girls." He lays great stress on the languages, 
calling them " the scabbard in which the Word of 
God is sheathed; the casket in which this jewel is 
enshrined; the cask in which this wine is kept; the 
chamber in which this food is stored." 

This little book marks Luther as the father and 
founder of popular education, and the development 
and application of the principles of this book have 
made the land of Luther the land of libraries and of 
schools. In this book Luther says that men must 

1 Putnam, Books and their Makers, ii., 219. 
2 Erl. Ed., 22 : 168 et seqq. 

130 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

be specially trained for the higher duties of life, for 
teaching, for expounding the Scriptures, and for 
ruling in the State, " since it is irrational and bar- 
barous to permit ignoramuses and blockheads to rule, 
when we can prevent it." 

A Latin translation of Luther's appeal, adorned 
with a Preface by Melanchthon, appeared at Hage- 
nau the same year. This shows that Melanchthon 
and Luther were at one on the subject of popular, 
as well as of higher, education. What Luther sug- 
gested and urged, that Melanchthon formulated and 
carried into effect. 

Among the first, if not the very first, of the Ger- 
man cities to heed Luther's appeal and to make 
provision for the higher education of her youth, was 
Nuremberg. This imperial city, celebrated for its 
strong walls, its ancient castle, its rich monasteries, 
its noble churches, its splendid schools of art, so far 
surpassed all other German cities in intelligence and 
refinement at the close of the fifteenth, and at the 
beginning of the sixteenth century as to be called 
1 ' the eye of Germany. ' ' It was the home of Albrecht 
Diirer, the most renowned of the German painters; 
of Adam Kraft, whose ciborium in the St. Lorenz 
is almost a miracle in stone ; of Peter Vischer, whose 
monument of St. Sebaldus in the St. Sebaldus 
Church is reckoned " the most exquisite gem of 
German art"; of Hans Sachs, the cobbler-poet, 
"the prince and patriarch of all master-singers." 
It had four Latin schools, and had long been a 
centre of industry, politics, and commerce. Among 
its scholars and patricians were Wilibald Pirkheimer, 



S fe 
1 S 

1 3 

1 1 

z < 


i 5 26] As Preceptor of Germany 131 

Casper Niitzel, Hieronimus Ebner, Lazarus Speng- 
ler, and Baumgartner. It was only 
natural that the city should seek to add Melanch- 
thon to this galaxy of illustrious men. When now, 
at the special instance of Spengler and Baumgartner, 
it was decided to establish a gymnasium, on the 
seventeenth of October, 1524, Melanchthon, " be- 
cause of his extraordinary fitness and culture," was 
invited to become Rector and Professor of Rhetoric. 1 
But, dissatisfied as he was with the condition of 
affairs at Wittenberg, and poorly as he was then 
paid for his services, he declined the invitation. He 
could not desert the Elector and incur the imputation 
of ingratitude. Besides, he distrusted his fitness 
for the position offered, since such a school needed 
not only a lecturer, but also an orator, who should 
serve as a model for the students. His style was 
poor, dry, and without ornament. 2 That he was 
perfectly sincere in this self-depreciation is evident 
from what he wrote on the same day to Camerarius, 
viz., that he wanted Nuremberg to have a professor 
more competent and more opulent in speech than 
he was. 3 

But the Nurembergers still pressed the matter 
upon him, and wrote that it was his fault that 
the opening of the school was delayed. 4 On the 
third of December, 1524, he declined in the most 
emphatic manner, and urged the selection of a 

1 Hartfelder's Melanch. Pcedagogica, p. 6. 
2 C. R., i . 678. 

3 C. R. , I : 682. 

4 C. R., i : 686. 

132 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

professor equal to the magnitude of the work. In 
the autumn of the next year he went to Nuremberg, 
accompanied by Camerarius, and gave directions for 
organising the school and for the selection of suit- 
able professors. 1 

In the spring of 1526, the gymnasium was form- 
ally opened. Melanchthon was invited to be pre- 
sent, and went personally before the Elector in 
Torgau to obtain the necessary leave of absence. 

On the sixth of May, in company with several 
friends, he arrived in Nuremberg, and gave the 
Senate the benefit of his counsel and experience. 
Camerarius was chosen Rector and Professor of 
Greek; Eoban Hess was appointed Professor of 
Rhetoric; Michael Roting, Professor of Latin, and 
John Schoner, Professor of Mathematics. The 
Senate, the ministers, and all the cultured people 
joined in the ceremonies of inauguration. On the 
twenty-third of May, Melanchthon delivered a brief 
Latin oration in praise of learning. He began by 
apologising for his youth and inexperience. He did 
not take this honour upon himself. Others had im- 
posed it upon him. It is an evidence of divine 
favour that the Nurembergers have determined in 
this time of great peril to preserve and promote 
learning. No art, no industry, no production of 
the earth, not even the light of the sun, is of more 

1 The Nuremberg " School- Order," Ratio Scholce, which undoubt- 
edly proceeded from the pen of Melanchthon, " since its character- 
istic thoughts and maxims agree with numerous expressions of 
Melanchthon," is given in Hartfelder's Melanch. Padagogica, p. 7 
et seq. 

i 52 6] As Preceptor of Germany 133 

value than learning, for by it good laws, courts, and 
religion are maintained. As evidence of this, look 
at the Scythians, who are ignorant of letters. They 
have no laws and no courts of justice. They live by 
violence and robbery. Without learning there can 
be no good men, no love of virtue, no refinement, 
no proper notions of religion and of the will of 
God. It is the duty of rulers to foster schools. 
But there are some who do not know the value of 
learning, and others are so wicked as to think that 
their tyranny would be promoted by the abolition 
of all laws, religion, and discipline. 

" What shall I say of the bishops who have been ap- 
pointed by the emperors to superintend learning ? The 
colleges of priests were scholars to whom leisure and 
endowments were given that they might serve as teachers. 
Nor did it appear unfortunate that letters should be cul- 
tivated by this class of persons. But now we behold none 
more hostile to the liberal arts than the sacerdotal 

He praises the Nurembergers for having furnished 
an asylum to learning, which had strayed into exile. 
He closed with an invocation: " I will pray Christ 
to bless this most important work and to crown 
your counsels and the diligence of those who study 
here with His favour." l 

This eloquent oration shows that Melanchthon 
had a genius for higher education. His countrymen 
were not slow to avail themselves of his wisdom, 
and posterity has named him the Creator of the 

1 C. R., II : 106 ei seqq. 

134 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

Protestant Educational System of Germany. Nearly 
all of the Protestant Latin schools and gymnasia of 
the sixteenth century, and the splendid Fiirsten- 
sckulen, that is, gymnasia established by the prince, 
were founded according to directions given by Mel- 
anchthon. We still have correspondence between 
him and fifty-six cities asking counsel and assistance 
in founding and conducting Latin schools and 
gymnasia. He wrote the constitutions, arranged 
the courses of study, and nominated most of the first 
instructors for such schools. 

His scheme for a Latin school is given with minute- 
ness in the Saxon Visitation Articles ' of 1 528. ' The 
Preachers are to exhort the people to send their 
children to school, that they may be qualified to 
teach in the Church and to govern." The three 
fundamental principles with which he starts are, that 

" the teachers shall be careful to teach the children only 
Latin, not German, nor Greek, nor Hebrew, as some 
have formerly done, who burden the poor children with 
a diversity which is not only unprofitable, but harmful. 
They shall not burden the children with many books; 
and they shall separate them in three classes." 

The first class shall study the Primer, which con- 
tains the Alphabet, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, 
and other prayers. They shall then read Donatus, 
and listen to a daily explanation of a verse or two 
from Cato, in order to acquire a good vocabulary. 

The second class shall learn Grammar, including 
Etymology, Syntax, and Prosody. They shall read 

1 c. R. t 26: 90. 

i 5 26] As Preceptor of Germany 135 

the Fables of ^Esop, the Dialogues of Mosellanus, 
and the Colloquies of Erasmus, also Terence and 
Plautus. They are required to recite the Lord's 
Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and to 
commit a number of psalms. They must study the 
Gospel of Matthew, the two Pauline Epistles to 
Timothy, the First Epistle of John, and the Pro- 
verbs of Solomon. 

The third class shall continue the study of Gram- 
mar, shall read Virgil, the Metamorphoses of Ovid, 
the Offices or Letters of Cicero, shall write Latin 
verse, and study Dialectic and Rhetoric. 

" During the first hour in the afternoon all the children, 
both small and large, shall be trained in music. 

" The boys are required to speak Latin, and the 
teachers, so far as possible, shall speak only Latin with 
the boys, in order that the latter may be incited to and 
encouraged in such exercise." 

Such is the substance of the so-called " Stiftungs- 
brief" (foundation document) of the German gym- 
nasia. The three classes do not represent so many 
years of study. Students were advanced from a 
lower to a higher class only when they had com- 
pleted the studies of the lower class. Several years 
were occupied in completing the threefold course. 

From the Latin schools boys were sent to the 
gymnasia proper, and to the Furstenschulen, which 
latter were founded in the fifth decade of the 
sixteenth century. The gymnasia formed the con- 
necting link between the Latin schools and the 
university. Their scheme of study included the 

136 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, Dialectic, 
Rhetoric, Mathematics, and Cosmology. Only a 
fair beginning was made in Hebrew;. but in Greek 
the writings of Isocrates, Xenophon, Plutarch, 
Hesiod, Theognis, and Phocylides were read and 

This scheme for gymnasial instruction remained 
essentially unchanged to the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century. But it was chiefly through his 
text-books that Melanchthon exerted the greatest 
influence on the schools of his day. He wrote text- 
books on Latin and Greek Grammar, Dialectic, Rhe- 
toric, Psychology, Physics, Ethics, History, and 
Religion. From 1518 to 1544 his Greek Grammar 
passed through seventeen editions, and from 1545 
to 1622, twenty-six editions were published. Fifty- 
one editions of his Latin Grammar were published 
from 1525 to 1737, and to the year 1737 it was used 
in all the Saxon schools. His Elements of Rhetoric 
and Dialectic passed through numerous editions and 
reprints. Several of his text-books were long used 
in Roman Catholic schools. 

Also the most distinguished rectors of the century, 
Camerarius, John Sturm, Trotzendorf, Neander, 
Wolf, and others, were his friends or scholars, and 
were imbued with his spirit. Those who had sat at 
his feet carried with them the lofty ideals of " the 
dear master," used his text-books, and adhered to 
his methods. When a prince wanted a professor 
for his university, or a town wanted a rector or a 
teacher for its school, the first thought was to confer 
with Melanchthon. Hence, when he died in 1560, 

i 5 26] As Preceptor of Germany 137 

there was scarcely a city in Germany that did not 
have a teacher or a pastor who had been a pupil of 

According to the Melanchthonian scheme, the 
Latin and Greek authors were studied .with the 
greatest avidity, and with the most salutary results. 
The seeds of classical culture which Petrarch and 
his followers had revived in Italy, not without injury 
to Christianity, Melanchthon and his pupils scattered 
on the fruitful soil prepared by the Reformation, in 
order that " posterity might have seminaries of the 
churches." That for three hundred and fifty years 
Germany has had the best " seminaries of the 
churches," is due primarily to Melanchthon; and 
that the Reformation was enabled to utilise the vast 
treasures of classical culture, and to commend itself 
to the learned, is due to the same person, whom a 
great Roman Catholic historian, Dr. Dollinger, calls 

" the most brilliant phenomenon which proceeded from 
the Erasmian school, equal to his master in many re- 
spects, superior to him in others. Riches of knowledge, 
the choicest classical culture, facility of expression, 
versatility of composition, rhetorical fulness, and im- 
provisation, united to untiring industry this rare com- 
bination of excellences fitted him above all others for the 
literary headship of the mighty movement." 

This " literary headship," in the highest sense of 
the phrase, and in its most lasting influence, was 
exercised by Melanchthon mainly through the uni- 
versities, which were organised, or reformed, accord- 

1 Die Reformation, i. , 349. 

138 Philip Melanchthon [ I497 - 

ing to his ideas. In a literary sense he was the soul 
of the University of Wittenberg, and gave inspira- 
tion to all of its literary movements.* He lectured 
on almost every subject, and prepared lectures and 
declamations for others to deliver. In 1533, ne 
wrote the statutes for the reorganisation of the 
theological faculty, 1 whereby a scriptural and exe- 
getical theology took the place of a philosophical and 
scholastic theology. In 1545, he wrote the laws 
and statutes for the government of. the faculty of 
theology and the faculty of the liberal arts. 3 The 
latter faculty is to have ten professors, who are to 
lecture on Latin, Greek, and Hebrew literature; on 
Ethics, Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy, Dialec- 
tic, and Rhetoric. 

In the prominence given to these literary and 
philosophical studies, we have an illustration of 
Melanchthon's fundamental principle, viz., that all 
thorough training in theology must rest on a philo- 
logical and philosophical foundation. He was ac- 
customed to say, ' Every good theologian and 
faithful interpreter of the heavenly doctrine, must 
be first a linguist, then a dialectician, and finally a 

In a large sense the University of Wittenberg be- 
came the model for the other Protestant universities. 
The " Order of Lectures " in the Marburg statutes 
of 1529 is essentially the same as that of Wittenberg 
in 1536. " There is no doubt," says Paulsen, " that 
it was composed under the direct or indirect influ- 

1 In Forstemann's Liber Decanorum. 
8 C. R., 10 : 992. 

i 5 26] As Preceptor of Germany 139 

ence of Melanchthon." 1 Konigsberg was founded 
in 1544 almost exclusively according to directions 
given by Melanchthon, as was Jena in 1548. His 
counsel was sought and his plans were adopted in 
the reorganisation of the universities of Tubingen, 
Leipzig, and Heidelberg, as will be seen hereafter. 
Frankfort-on-the-Oder and Rostock were reformed 
and reorganised mainly by Melanchthon's scholars. 
Greifswald, in 1545, took Wittenberg as its model, 
named Melanchthon " our highly esteemed and 
venerated teacher," and adopted his text-books as 
the basis of the lectures. 2 

The universities were all institutions of the State, 
and their professors were bound by the Confessions 
of the Church. All the sciences, theology, philo- 
logy, law, and medicine were studied in these univer- 
sities according to the Melanchthonian method, with 
the Melanchthonian thoroughness, and with the 
Melanchthonian view of honouring God and of 
carrying on an irrepressible conflict with an oppos- 
ing ecclesiastical principle of higher education. 
Without these universities thus anchored to the 
State and to the Church, Protestantism never could 
have passed safely through its many conflicts with 
sect and doubt and armed foe. Without these uni- 
versities in their fundamental idea essentially the 
creation of Melanchthon German science would 
not to-day be the boast of Germany, and the glory 
of the age. Without these universities, German 
theology would not have had a Gerhard, a Spener, 

1 Geschichte des Gelehrten Unterrichts, i., 226. 

2 Paulsen, i., 237. 

140 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

a Schleiermacher, a Dorner; nor German philo- 
sophy a Leibnitz, a Kant, a Hegel, a Lotze; nor 
German poetry a Gellert, a Klopstock> a Goethe, a 

The ideal of these great scholars has been the 
union of classical antiquity and of all sciences and 
philosophy with the religious and moral powers of 
Christianity and of the German people. Protestant 
Germany is still building on the educational founda- 
tions laid by Melanchthon more than three hundred 
and fifty years ago. 

During his sojourn of nearly a month at Nurem- 
berg, Melanchthon was entertained at the St. ^gidius 
Convent, and often enjoyed the hospitality of Pirk- 
heimer. The most distinguished citizens did him 
honour. He made the acquaintance of the learned 
Osiander, preacher at the St. Lorenz Church; and 
of Albrecht Diirer, who painted his picture, and then 
engraved it on copper. 

On the fourth of June, 1526, he set out for home, 
via Coburg, where he had " a discussion with a 
supercilious priest about the Holy Supper." By 
the middle of June he was again in Wittenberg, 
strengthened in body and cheered in spirit by his 
visit among congenial friends in Nuremberg. On 
the fourth of July he wrote to Camerarius that he 
would gladly have spent the entire summer at Nu- 
remberg, both on account of his health and for other 
reasons which he could not write about. He declares 
that no slave in a mill is more incessantly occupied 
than he is, and yet he seems to accomplish nothing. 

i 5 26] As Preceptor of Germany 

He laments the absence of his friend, and says: 
" You have Mica [Michael Roting]. I have no one 
like him. But, as Plato says, there are \v7to(pi\.idi, 
full of cares and anxiety. " What these \.VKoq>i\idi 
(wolf-friendships) were, we are not prepared to say, 
but it is certain that Melanchthon was still far from 
being happy. 

Indeed the hindrances which had stood in the way 
of the Reformation and of learning, and the public 
evils which had fallen on Germany, were quite 
enough to bring despondency upon a person of so 
frail a body and so meek a spirit as Melanchthon 

1 C. R., i : 804. 


Death of Frederick the Wise Melanchthon's Funeral Oration 
Insurrection of the Peasants Luther's Advice Melanchthon's 
Confutation Luther's Marriage Melanchthon's Letter. 

ON the fifth of May, 1525, Melanchthon's friend 
and patron, Frederick the Wise, died at 
Lochau. He was a devout and pious prince. He 
protected Luther and Melanchthon from the ene- 
mies of the evangelical doctrine. Shortly before 
his death he received the communion in both kinds, 
thus confessing himself a convert to Luther's doc- 
trine in at least one of its most important features. 
His body was taken to Wittenberg and buried in 
the Castle Church, on whose door Luther had nailed 
the Ninety-five Theses. Melanchthon improved the 
occasion by delivering a funeral oration in the name 
of the university. He magnifies, but not unduly, 
the virtues of the illustrious deceased : 

11 Let others laud the images of their ancestors and 
their venerable pedigrees a distinction in which the 
Saxon princes are preeminent. But greater things be- 




1525] The Peasants' War 143 

long to Frederick, as skill in government, and lofty 
magnanimity. It is a mistake to suppose that the State 
is maintained by arms only, and by power. Of greater 
value to this end are the arts of peace, justice, modera- 
tion, constancy, care of the public safety, diligence in 
proclaiming the law and in settling the disputes of citi- 
zens, patience in bearing the faults of the people, vigour 
in punishing transgressors, kindness in sparing those 
who can be reclaimed. In the popular estimation 
military virtues are more splendid, and a soldier is more 
admired because of physical prowess, than the modest 
and quiet civilian; and civil virtues like other good 
things are ignored by the vulgar. Hence they are 
faintly praised who are given to the pursuits and arts of 

" In my judgment, he who would promote the .welfare 
of man must prefer the pursuits of peace to the camp. 
Anthony was a great commander, but he was inferior to 
Augustus, who promoted peace and quiet. Solon con- 
tributed more to Greece than Alcibiades did. The one 
ruined his country by wars, the other saved it by laws 
and institutions. God endowed Frederick with these 
better and more useful virtues. Hence in these turbu- 
lent times he was careful to preserve the German people 
from wars." 1 

He closes his oration with the prayer 

" that God in his mercy may guard the soul of Frederick, 
may prosper the new rule of his brother, may protect the 
country in these wretched times, and may give the dis- 
position to cherish the public tranquillity and to rever- 
ence those in authority, as the divine precept requires, 
with all fidelity and good conscience." 
1 C. J?., II : 90 et seqq. 

144 Philip Melanchthon 

The " wretched times " of which Melanchthon 
speaks in his prayer had been brought about by the 
Peasants' War, a sort of communistic rebellion of 
the lowest order of society against the civil and 
spiritual rulers. For generations the peasants had 
been the victims of injustice, violence, and cruelty. 
More than once had they been driven to despera- 
tion, and had sought relief through rebellion, as in 
1476, 1492, 1493, 1502, 1513, and in Wurtemberg 
in 1514 against the lawless tyranny of Duke Ulrich. 

Hence this popular outbreak cannot be attributed 
to the Reformation, but there is no doubt that the 
preaching and the teaching of Luther at Wittenberg 
gave a new impulse to the desire for freedom, and 
to some extent influenced the course taken by the 
war at this time. 

The peasants, whose condition was little better 
than that of beasts of burden, and whose burdens 
had been made heavier in recent years by the grow- 
ing love of luxury among the rulers, were seeking to 
do exactly what many of their superiors were doing, 
viz., to throw off the oppressive yoke imposed by 
those above them. It is impossible for a humane 
person who has inquired into the condition of those 
serfs, and who has seen the condition of their de- 
scendants in Germany to-day, not to sympathise 
with their purpose, at the same time that, as a lover 
of order, he must reprehend the violence which they 
employed as a means of attaining the desired end. 

Carlstadt and Miinzer, whose revolutionary meth- 
ods have been already described, were the chief in- 
citers of the insurrection. The former, in 1524, 

1525] The Peasants' War 145 

settled at Orlemiinde and preached communism, and 
published a new doctrine of the Lord's Supper. 
From Jena, where he had a small printing-office, he 
circulated incendiary tracts. Driven from Saxony, 
he went first to Strassburg and then to Basel, where 
he excited the theologians against the Wittenberg 
Reformers, and contributed to the general discontent 
of the people. 

Thomas Miinzer, after his expulsion from Zwickau 
and his failure in Wittenberg, proclaimed a com- 
pound of communism and fanaticism at Alstadt, in 
Thuringia. Forced to leave the country, he travelled 
through Southern Germany and returned to Thu- 
ringia, preaching everywhere against the whole ex- 
isting social, political, and ecclesiastical order, and 
especially against infant baptism, the rejection of 
which became the watchword of the entire party of 
revolutionists. He signed himself " Miinzer with 
the hammer," and " with the sword of Gideon." 
He advocated the destruction of all the ungodly, 
and said : " Look not on the sorrows of the ungodly ; 
let not your sword grow cold from blood. Strike 
hard on the anvil of Nimrod [the princes] ; cast his 
tower to the ground, because the day is yours." 

The result was inevitable. Inspired by the 
thought that God had created all men equal, the 
peasants of Southern Germany rose up almost en 
masse, and demanded their rights under the banner 
of the Gospel. A manifesto of grievances and 
claims was published in twelve articles : 

I. The right to choose their own pastors, who 

Walch, xvi., 150. 


146 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

should preach the Gospel purely and plainly without 
any additions, doctrines, or ordinances of men. 

2. Exemption from the small tithe. The tithe 
of grain they were willing to pay for the support of 

3. Release from serfdom, since they as well as the 
princes had been redeemed by the blood of Christ. 

4. The right to fish and hunt, since when God 
created man he gave him dominion over all animals, 
over the fowl of the air, and the fish in the waters. 

5. A share in the forests for all domestic uses. 

6. A mitigation of feudal services. 

7. Payment for labour in addition to what the 
contract requires. 

8. Reduction of rents. 

9. Security against illegal punishment, and a 
desire to be dealt with according to the old written 

10. The restoration of the meadows and of the 
corn land which at one time belonged to a com- 

11. The abolition of the right of heriot, by which 
widows and orphans had been shamefully robbed. 

12. The resolution to submit all these articles to 
the test of Scripture, and to retract one, or all of 
them, if found not to agree with the Word of God. 1 

It must be conceded that these demands are just 
and scriptural. Melanchthon says that Luther ap- 
proved the articles of the peasants. This is certainly 

1 These articles are given in German by Walch, Strobel, and Giese- 
ler; in English, in Gieseler, translated by Smith, vol. iv., 114-116. 
For the authorship see note in Kanke, Eng. Trans., iii., vi. 

1525] The Peasants' War 147 

true in the main. In May, 1525, he addressed an 
exhortation to the Princes and Lords, in which he 
chides the rulers for their severity, and tells them 
that they themselves are to be thanked for the re- 
bellion, and exhorts them to yield a little to the 
popular storm. 

He declares that some of the articles of the peas- 
ants are so remarkable and just that before God and 
the world they verify Psalm 107: 40: " They pour 
contempt upon princes." 

To the Peasantry he wrote that the princes and 
lords by forbidding preaching the Gospel, and by 
oppressing the people intolerably, have right well 
deserved that God should cast them down from their 
thrones. He warns them against faction and rebel- 
lion, and urges them to give up certain articles which 
ask too much, and reach too high. 1 

All this was in harmony with Luther's love of 
order and with his determination that the sword 
should not be used in the cause of the Gospel. Had 
his admonition been heeded, Germany would have 
been spared the slaughter of one hundred and fifty 
thousand men, the destruction of millions of pro- 
perty, and the other horrors of civil war. But princes 
and peasants alike were blinded to their true in- 
terests; the one party by false notions of liberty, 
and the other party by equally false notions of 
authority augmented by the lusts of the flesh and 
the greed of avarice. The peasants departed from 
their programme, and aimed at a democratic recon- 

1 German in Erlangen ed., 24 : 269 et seqq. Summary in English 
in Gieseler, iv., 116, 117. 

148 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

struction of Church and State. The princes rejected 
reason, and yielded to passion and the desire for 
revenge. Now it was that Luther, when he wit- 
nessed the excesses and disorders of the peasants, 
forgetting their grievances and affirming the duty of 
absolute obedience to civil rulers, wrote those ter- 
rible words against " the rapacious and murderous 
peasants" *: " Cut, stab, smite, strangle, as among 
mad dogs, who can, and as he can. A more blessed 
death you will never have "which no admiration 
for his love of order, and no respect for his constant 
appeal to Rom. xiii. I, should lead us to approve. 
They may be explained, but under no circumstances 
can they be justified, however sincere Luther may 
have been in his conviction of duty to the civil 
magistrate, and however strong his determination 
that the Gospel should not be assisted by the sword. 

Only too ready were the princes to obey Luther's 
advice. At the decisive battle of Frankenhausen, 
May 25, 1525, in Alsace, along the Rhine, in 
Franken, in the Tyrol, they wreaked a vengeance 
by arms and by treachery, the record of which forms 
one of the bloodiest pages of modern history. 

But what is more remarkable in the premises is 
that the tender-hearted Melanchthon fully agreed 
with Luther in his attitude towards the peasants. 
He saw portents in the skies, and declared that 
Satan was seeking the overthrow of religion, of civil 
order, and all that is good. Asked by the Elector 
of the Palatinate, " as one born and brought up in 
the Palatinate," to come to Heidelberg the week 

1 Erlangen ed., 24 : 308. 



The Peasants' War 149 

after Whitsunday, and assist by his counsel in the 
dangerous affairs, or in case he could not come, to 
send a written opinion on the Twelve Articles, 1 he 
wrote his Confutation of the Articles of the Peasants? 
The leading thoughts are as follows : 

Since the peasants have appealed to the Scriptures 
they should be instructed out of the Scriptures, for 
many of them have sinned through ignorance. If 
they were properly instructed they might turn from 
their wantonness. The Christian faith is of the 
heart, and is the source of love and of all the vir- 
tues. Among these virtues is obedience to rulers, 
and that not from fear of punishment, but for con- 
science' sake. Even unjust rulers must be borne. If 
they do wrong, only God is their judge. Were all 
the articles of the peasants scriptural, which, how- 
ever, is far from being the case, they would neverthe- 
less sin against God, should they attempt to enforce 
their rights by violence and insurrection. It is the 
duty of rulers to have the Gospel preached. Should 
they neglect it, or persecute preachers of the pure 
doctrine, vengeance must not be taken on the preach- 
ers of error, but they must be shunned. Everyone 
must confess his faith for himself, or the community 
must support pastors at their own cost ; and should 
the magistrates forbid this, then the people must 
bear it with patience. The tithe must be given be- 
cause the rulers order it. The tithes should be given 
to pastors and monks so long as the rulers have not 
provided otherwise. Villeinage should not be thrown 

1 c. R., i : 742. 

8 C. R., 20: 641 et seqq. 

150 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

off by violence. The freedom brought by Christ is 
only internal. Spiritual freedom can be enjoyed 
even under oppression. The right to* hunt and fish 
can be settled by the courts. The peasants are 
bound to do Villeinage, but the lords should be 
lenient in the exercise of their rights. Heriot (Tod- 
fall) belongs to serfdom, but the lords may make 
concessions for the sake of widows and orphans. 

The peasants act against God if they seek by in- 
surrection to free themselves from the lawfully 
existing condition. Before going to war the princes 
should attempt compromise, and should concede 
what is right, for even they have done much wrong. 

The best means against insurrection is the purifica- 
tion of the Church. Marriage should be allowed to 
ministers, and the Church goods should be applied 
to the maintenance of the poor and of schools. The 
people should have faithful pastors who can instruct 
them in the Christian faith. If the princes would 
treat the people more kindly, commotion might 
cease. But should any persist in rebellion they 
should be punished with the utmost severity. 

Finally he urges the princes, as the more intelli- 
gent, as the wise and powerful, to show pity to the 
more ignorant people, and to help them, looking to 
God for their reward. But he declares that " the 
peasants have no ground of complaint against serf- 
dom. Necessarily, a people so wild and unruly as 
the Germans, should have still less freedom than 
they have." He also calls the peasants " murder- 
ers " and " liars," who are instigated by the devil. 

The Confutation is remarkable for its union of 

1525] The Peasants' War 151 

moderation and severity. But severity greatly pre- 
ponderates. Not being of the peasant class, and 
having never borne burdens like theirs, Melanchthon 
was incapable of giving an impartial, much less a 
humane judgment. He knew nothing of the rights 
of man as man, and recognised only the duty of ab- 
solute obedience on the part of subjects. His argu- 
ment is based chiefly on Rom. xiii. I, as though 
that contained all that the Bible teaches in regard to 
submission to authority. The freedom of which the 
Bible speaks is understood to be spiritual, not bodily 
freedom. Hence he justifies Villeinage, and incul- 
cates upon princes only the virtues of kindness and 
forbearance. But unlike Luther he does not preach 
a crusade, and when he has learned that the war 
is practically over, and that the peasants have 
been put down, he adds an Appendix to the Con- 
futation, in which he says : 

" As God has now given the victory, and as the 
murderous rabble which would not have peace has been 
punished according to the laws of God, the princes 
should further be very careful that no harm befall the 
innocent, and should show mercy to the poor people, 
some of whom sinned through folly." 

These words of Christian counsel were not so 
readily heeded by the princes as Luther's words of 
severity had been. Ranke says: " Wherever the 
matter had been decided by arms, the laws of war 
were enforced. The most barbarous executions 
took place ; the severest contributions were exacted, 

152 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and in some places, laws more oppressive than ever 
were imposed." 

August 16, 1525, Luther wrote to Brismann: 

" The war of the peasants is over. A hundred thou- 
sand have been killed, many orphans have been made, 
and everything left is in so ruined a condition, that the 
aspect of Germany has never been more deplorable than 
now. The victors so rage as to perfect their iniquity." ' 

In the midst of " these turbulent and perilous 
commotions," Luther surprised his friends and 
himself by marrying Katherine von Bora, an escaped 
nun, June 13, 1525. Camerarius says " this act 
gave Philip the greatest pain, not because he disap- 
proved it, but because he saw it would give Luther's 
numerous and powerful enemies an occasion for per- 
secution and slander." 3 

When Melanchthon discovered that the sudden 
change and the evil surmises had affected Luther with 
gloom and perturbation of mind, he did all he could 
to comfort him, and wrote an apologetic and explana- 
tory letter in Greek to Camerarius. He regards the 
marriage as unseasonable, but not in itself wrong. 
He thinks Luther is " susceptible " and was by 
nature strongly impelled to marry. He also says 
that he was much beset by the machinations of the 
nuns. But Luther's life, he says, is humble and de- 
vout, and gives the most indubitable evidence of 

1 ffist. Ref., iii., vi., 221. 

2 DeW., 3: 22. 

3 Camerarius, p. 103. 

1525] The Peasants' War 153 

piety. The sequel showed that Melanchthon did 
not understand the motives which impelled Luther 
" to take his Kathe." Melanchthon misjudged his 
friend. Luther's marriage proceeded from a correct 
impulse, and was attended by every circumstance of 
honourable conduct. It proved a great blessing to 
the Reformer himself, and laid the foundation for 
the beautiful home-life which has mostly character- 
ised the German pastorate. 1 

1 It was fortunate that Melanchthon's letter to Camerarius was not 
published during the lifetime of its author. Only in 1875 was the 
original discovered in the Chigi Library at Rome. Camerarius pub- 
lished the letter with sundry omissions and additions in 1569. This 
edition, with a Latin translation of the same, was reprinted in the 
Corpus Refonnatorum. The Melanchthon text is given in the Re- 
ports of the Munich Academv of Sciences for i8fb, Heft V., 601. 



Melanchthon's Labours in Teaching and Writing Opinion on the 
Reformation of the Churches Treatise on the Mass and Celibacy 
Melanchthon's Isolation The Visitation Articles. 

AFTER his return from Nuremberg in the middle 
of June, 1526, Melanchthon applied himself 
again to the work of teaching, writing, and reform- 
ing, notwithstanding his constant illness. In July 
he lectured on Demosthenes and Theocritus, and 
translated the Fifth Psalm into Latin. In August 
he was so ill that for more than twelve days his life 
was despaired of. But in September he was able to 
respond to a request from Philip of Hesse for an 
Opinion on the reformation of the churches in the 
Landgrave's dominions. His chief suggestions were 
that one Mass should be celebrated as the Eucharist 
in each parish church every festival day, according 
to the old rites, and that all the other masses should 
be abolished. Quarrels and disputes should be 
quelled. The old ceremonies should be retained, 
since they cannot be removed without offence. 
Christianity does not by any means consist in rites, 

'528] The Saxon Churches 155 

but in the fear of God, in faith, in love, and in 
obedience to magistrates. These things should be 
inculcated by the preachers without regard to the 
Pope. And since Christ abstained so long from 
vengeance, and of his own will gave himself up as a 
lamb to the slaughter, so should your Highness for- 
bear, and not fly to arms in the affairs of the Church. 1 

This mild and conservative Opinion had little or 
no influence on the reforming synod of Homberg, 
which, under the lead of the fiery Francis Lambert, 
of Avignon, suppressed the cloisters, removed the 
pictures, and ordered a form of worship which ob- 
literated all traces of Romanism. Yet Melanchthon 
remained so much in favour with the Landgrave that 
the next year he was invited to a professorship in 
the newly founded University of Marburg. But the 
Elector would not allow him to leave Wittenberg. 

On the thirtieth of September, 1526, Melanchthon 
went to Leipzig to attend the commercial fair. 
Thence he proceeded to Nordhausan, Mansfeld, and 
Eisleben, and returned to Wittenberg in November. 
In this year he also wrote his treatise on The Mass 
and Celibacy.' 1 He says there are three opinions 
touching the Mass. The first is that of Thomas, 
Scotus, and the like, who teach that the Mass is a 
work offered to God in order to obtain grace for the 
living and the dead. Hence the Mass is regarded 
as a meritorious sacrifice, and such an opinion leads 
to the multiplication of masses and to the establish- 
ment of funeral and other venal masses. This false 

1 C. J? , i: 819. 

2 C. JK. , i : 840. 

156 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

opinion is refuted by the doctrine of justification by 
faith. Righteousness is by faith and not by the 
work of the Mass. 

The second opinion is that of the advocates of 
Private Masses. They think that the Mass is a good 
work which we offer to God as a thanksgiving serv- 
ice. Hence masses must be celebrated every day, 
and certain persons have been appointed in the 
Church, not to preach the Word, but to celebrate 
Mass. The body of Christ is not offered in the 
Lord's Supper, but was offered once for all. That 
the body of Christ is not offered in the Supper is 
proved from the words, Take, eat. Faith alone and 
confession are the proper thanksgiving. 

The third opinion is ours, which alone we judge 
to be true and consistent with the Scripture, viz., 
that the Supper was not instituted to be an offering 
to God, but by it something is offered and given to 
us, viz., a sacrament by which grace is offered, and 
by which we are led to believe and have our troubled 
consciences comforted. This doctrine can be 
proved, first by the word Sacrament, because a sacra- 
ment is a sign of the grace promised us. Therefore 
the Supper is a thing which testifies that grace is 
offered and given us. It is not a sacrifice, or work, 
in which we offer something to God. He also states 
that remission of sins is offered in the Supper, and 
that the Supper exhorts us to believe, for, Do this 
in remembrance of me means, believe that Christ 
gives us his grace. 

The question of Celibacy is dismissed with a few 
observations: It is chiefly a matter of conscience. 

1528] The Saxon Churches 157 

Marriage is permitted the deacons by the ancient 
canons. The Pope has no right and no warrant from 
the Scripture to take wives from the priests by viol- 
ence, and synods have no right to forbid marriage. 
Nothing should be required which is contrary to the 
Word of God. 

This little tract presents more sharply than had 
hitherto been done the Lutheran doctrine of the 
Lord's Supper. It is a Sacrament, in which grace 
and remission of sins are offered to us. It is both a 
means of grace and a sign of the grace promised in 
the Gospel. Its end is justification, or the imparta- 
tion of the blessings of the Gospel. 

From these views Melanchthon never departed. 
They recur again and again in his treatment of the 
Lord's Supper, and are given special prominence in 
his Apology of the Augsburg Confession. 

At the beginning of the year 1527, we find Me- 
lanchthon hard at work and " living on a slender 
diet." He is by no means happy. His lamenta- 
tions are pitiful, and serve to give us a view of his 
own tender, peace-loving heart, and of the distrac- 
tions at Wittenberg. To his beloved Camerarius he 
writes on the twenty-sixth of February: 

" Behold me, an exile far from home, far .from friends 
and relatives, among a people with whom I could not 
converse were I ignorant of Latin. Besides, in this 
place the greatest envy burns in the bosoms of all. At 
this time in this city those who have the management of 
affairs are not very harmonious. ' ' 

1 C. R., i : 859. 

158 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

It is easy to conceive that the refined and sensitive 
nature of Melanchthon must have suffered from an 
environment where rudeness and strife prevailed. 
He sought peace and was engaged in the work of 
peace ; but others, even his colleagues for to these 
he is supposed to allude in this letter are engaged 
in strife. Yet neither his conscience nor his Elector 
i, would permit him to leave Wittenberg, and it would 
have been disastrous, if not fatal, to the new move- 
_ment, had he left at this time. He was needed to 
check and to moderate the stormy violence of 
Luther, to lead in organising an evangelical Luth- 
eran Church, and to write the Magna Charta of its 

Up to this time the work of the Reformation had 
consisted chiefly of attacks on the papacy and its 
institutions. The result was a general dissolution 
of the old ecclesiastical system, with the lapse of 
discipline and the neglect of public worship. If the 
Reformation is to be a blessing and not a curse, it 
must proceed to reorganise the churches on an evan- 
gelical basis. To this end Luther had already, in 
1526, exhorted the Elector to institute a formal 
visitation of the churches in his dominions. Accord- 
ingly the Electoral territory was divided into four 
parts, each, of which was to be visited by several 
theologians and civil counsellors, who were instructed 
to examine the ministers and to inquire into the con- 
dition of the churches. The aged and inefficient 
ministers were to be retired .on a pension ; the re- 
fractory were to be removed from office ; new schools 
and congregations were to be established where 

1528] The Saxon Churches 159 

needed ; contentions were to be quieted ; and better 
provision was to be made for the administration of 
the Church goods. 

This was the work of reorganisation and of recon- *) .* 
struction. In this, as in almost all of the practical T 
affairs of the Reformation, Melanchthon had to take / 
the lead. 

On the fifth of July, 1527, he left Wittenberg for ^ 
Thuringia, where, in company with Frederick My- 
conius, since 1524 pastor at Gotha, and Justus J 
Menius, pastor at Erfurt, John von Planitz, Eras- 
mus von Haugwitz, and Dr. Jerome Schurf, he 
visited the schools and churches in and about Kahla, 
Jena, Neustadt, Weida, and Auma. In this work 
he was engaged about one month. The condition 
f the churches was deplorable. Among the minis- 
ters, many of whom had been priests or monks, 
there was much ignorance. More than one was 
found who knew scarcely anything besides the Dec- 
alogue, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer. One 
former monk, who was asked, " Do you teach the 
Ten Commandments ? " replied, " I have n't the 
book." One pastor preached the evangelical doc- 
trine in the parish church, and read the Roman 
Catholic Mass in a filial church, because the people 
wanted it so. Very few of the pastors had clear 
ideas of the new doctrines. Some preached justifi- 
cation by faith, or the forgiveness of sins, without 
saying anything of repentance, or of the way of at- 
taining faith. Some in an Anabaptistic way raged 
against the civil government, and others chiefly de- 
nounced the Pope. Disorder and confusion reigned 

160 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

everywhere. The people also had sunk into the 
-C deepest immorality. Many lived in concubinage, 
' and were little better than blank heathen. Luther 

has graphically described the general condition in 

the Preface to his Small Catechism : 

"Eternal God! what distress did I behold! The 
people, especially those who live in the villages, and 
even curates, for the most part, possess so little know- 
ledge of the Christian doctrine, that I even blush to tell 
it. And yet all are called by the sacred name of Christ, 
and enjoy the sacraments in common with us, while they 
are not only totally ignorant of the Lord's Prayer, the 
Apostles' Creed, and the Decalogue, but cannot even 
repeat the words. Why need I hesitate to say that they 
differ in nothing at all from the brutes ? " 

It will be understood that this is the condition in 
which the Reformation found the German people, 
not that into which it had brought them in the ten 
years of its activity. The Visitation was the be- 
ginning of a moral and intellectual transformation 
of these same people. But it is easy to see how his 
discovery would affect Melanchthon. He wrote to 
Camerarius: " I am engaged in a most difficult 
business, and, so far as I see, without result. Every- 
thing is in confusion, partly through the ignorance, 
and partly through the immorality of the teachers." ' 

And again: 

" What can be offered in justification that these poor 
people have hitherto been left in such great ignorance 

1 C. R., i : 881. 



1528] The Saxon Churches 161 

and stupidity ? My heart bleeds when I regard this 
wretchedness. Often when we have completed the V 
visitation of a place, I go aside and pour forth my dis- ) 
tress in tears. And who would not mourn to see the 
faculties of man so utterly neglected, and that his soul 
which is able to learn and to grasp so much, does not 
know even anything of its Creator and Lord ? " 

As it was designed that this first Visitation should 
extend to only a few localities, on the ninth of 
August Melanchthon returned to Jena, whither the 
university had been transferred, because the plague 
had broken out in Wittenberg. Here he remained 
until the eighth or ninth of the following April, 
lecturing on Demosthenes, the Psalms, and the 
Proverbs of Solomon. But the most important 
work done by Melanchthon during that time was 
the preparation, under commission from the Elector, 
of the Visitation Articles, which were to serve as a 
guide in the visitation of the other districts, and 
were to be used by the ministers as a norm of doc- 
trine and a directory of worship. He first made a 
draft in Latin. This, elaborated and expanded in 
German, but not changed in substance, was sent to 
the Elector, who forwarded it to Luther for exam- 
ination, with instructions to change it as he might 
see fit. The latter reported to the Elector that he X 
and Bugenhagen had examined it, and had made J 
very few changes in it, " for it pleased us very well, 
because it is composed in the most simple manner 
for the people." * 

'DeW.,3: 211. 

1 62 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

At the beginning of 1528, the German Articles, 
Unterricht der Visitatoren, were published by order 
of the Elector, adorned with a Preface by Luther, 
in which it is said: 

" We do not publish this as a rigid command as though 
we would institute a new papal decree, but as a history, 
a witness, and confession of our faith. Hence we hope 
that all pious pastors who truly love the Gospel will ac- 
cept it and hold with us." 

This shows the liberal spirit in which the Lutheran 
Church was organised, and the real design of the 
first Lutheran Confession of Faith. It was not to 
be imposed as a decree or law, but to be accepted 
in the freedom of the Gospel, " until God the Holy 
Ghost furnish something better." 

According to these Articles were the other three 
districts of the Electoral territory visited by Luther, 
Bugenhagen, Jonas, Spalatin, and others. In the 
winter of 1528 Melanchthon made a second trip 
through Thuringia. Churches and schools were re- 
formed, superintendents were appointed, consistories 
were established, and competent pastors were put in 
charge. Scarcely two years passed before Luther 
could report to the Elector that " the Word of God 
is effective and fruitful in the entire land. Your 
Grace has more and better pastors than any other 
country in the world. They preach faithfully and 
purely and live in entire harmony." 

Thus, through the Visitation Articles, Melanch- 
thon was the organiser of the Saxon Church, which 

1 C. R., 26: 46. 

1528] The Saxon Churches 163 

in turn became the model for organisation in other 
Lutheran lands. The work was completed by the 
publication of Luther's two catechisms in the year 
1529, and of Melanchthon's Catechetical Instruction 
in the year 15 32.' 

As the Visitation Articles * are so closely connected 
with the organisation of the Lutheran Church, and 
with Melanchthon's personal relations to the same; 
as they contain at once a confession of faith, a 
directory of worship, and a school order, they deserve 
more than a passing notice. They consist of eight- 
een articles. The first thirteen exhibit the Doctrine 
which is to be preached, the fourteenth treats of 
the Turkish War, the fifteenth of Divine Worship, 
the sixteenth and seventeenth of Discipline and 
Church Orders, the eighteenth of Schools. 

They impress the reader at once with their mild- 
ness, simplicity, and practical tact. No attack is 
made on the Roman Catholic system, but every 
efforts is made by positive teaching to build up an 
evangelical system on the basis of pure doctrine. 
Justification by Faith is made the central governing 
principle of the series, but this is not to be preached 
in a one-sided manner, nor to the exclusion of other 
doctrines. The article on Doctrine says : 

" But how many now only speak of the forgiveness of ^ AX3* 
sins, and nothing or very little of repentance, and yet 
there is no forgiveness of sins without repentance; and 
forgiveness of sins cannot be understood without re- 

1 C, R., 23 : 104 et seqq. 
* C. R. y 26: 7 et seqq. 

164 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

pentance, and when we preach forgiveness of sins with- 
7 out repentance, it will come to pass that the people will 
/ believe that they have already obtained forgiveness of 

sins, and will become thereby secure and careless. 
\ Therefore we have instructed and exhorted the pastors 

that it will be their duty to preach the whole Gospel, and 

not one part without the other." 

The people are to be brought to a knowledge of 
their sins by the preaching of the Law, and are to be 
exhorted to repent and to fear God. Repentance 
and faith go together, so that " where there is no 
_ repentance there is a painted faith." As the two 
first parts of the Christian life are repentance and 
( faith, so is the third part good works. These con- 
f sist in living a chaste life, in loving one's neighbour, 
I in doing him good, in not lying, nor stealing, nor 

Subtle discussion about the merit of good works 
is to be avoided, but good works which God has 
commanded must be done. 

Baptism signifies the same thing that circumcision 
signified. As children were circumcised, so should 
they now be baptised. Baptism brings the blessing 
that God is thereby the Protector and Benefactor of 
the child, and receives it. In the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper the people are to be taught three 
things : First, that the true body of Christ is in the 
bread and the true blood of Christ in the wine ; sec- 
ondly, both forms should be used, but where the peo- 
ple are weak in faith, or have timid consciences, or have 
not been sufficiently instructed, they may be allowed 

1528] The Saxon Churches 165 

to receive the sacrament in one form ; that it is a 
great sin to use the sacrament unworthily. Open 
transgressors should be excluded, and no one should 
be admitted who has not previously been examined 
by the pastor. 

Repentance is regarded as a sacrament, because 
all sacraments signify repentance. 

It is not advisable to preach much on human 
ordinances in the Church, but the preachers should 
labour to awaken repentance, faith, and the fear of 
God. Nor should there be any dispute about festi- 
val days, should different persons hold different 
days. It is declared that man has free will to do or 
to omit to do external works by his own ability. 
This is the righteousness of the flesh. But man 
cannot purify his own heart, or effect the divine 
gifts, such as sorrow for sin, true fear of God, hearty 
love, chastity, and the like. Therefore we should 
earnestly pray that God would work these gifts in 
us. The preachers are not to indulge in invective 
against the Pope and the bishops, except where it is 
necessary to warn the people. 

Minute directions are given for organising and 
conducting schools. The children are to be divided 
into three classes, and are to be taught Latin ; not 
German, Greek, and Hebrew (as Melanchthon 
ordered in the larger cities, like Nuremberg, Miihl- 
hausen, and in the Saxon Fiirstenschulen founded in 
1543). Neither are the children to be burdened 
with many books, nor with too great a variety of 
studies. Those in the second class shall learn the 
Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Decalogue, and some 

166 Philip Melanchthon [1528 

Psalms by heart. Those of the third class, besides 
Cicero, Ovid, and Virgil, shall be taught Dialectic 
and Rhetoric. 
(~ It will thus be seen that the Visitation Articles are 

7 constructive in their nature, and practical and ethi- 
cal in their aim. Without learned discussion of 
doctrines little understood, Melanchthon here pre- 
sents the practical and ethical features of Christian- 
ity, as they had never before been attached to the 
^Augustinian system. Anew application has been 
r JM \ given to the Gospel of free grace. The Christian is 

/ not only to have pardon of sin, but he is to live an 
ethical religious life. While repentance and faith are 
the beginning of a Christian life, good works are its 
fruits. Even the sacraments, which are so immedi- 
ately connected with the forgiveness of sins, are 
made to exert their influence on the entire life of 
the Christian in begetting repentance, faith, and 
love. In a word, we have here the beginning of a 
(ftfb > science of ^Evangelical Christian Ethics, and it is 
exactly at this point that Melanchthon has most 
beneficially influenced Protestant theology. All his 
teaching was dominated by the idea of the ethical 
personality, and was directed toward making man 
ethically better. His motto was: " Ego mihi con- 
scius sum non aliam ob causam unquam TeSsokoyrj- 
Kivai nisi ut vitam emendarem." That is: "I am 
perfectly certain that I have pursued theology only 
that I might bring about a higher morality." 



Controversy with Agricola Tracts against the Anabaptists The 
Affair of Pack War Threatened. 

THE Latin draft of the Visitation Articles, pub- 
lished without the knowledge of the author, 
brought on a controversy between Melanchthon and 
John Agricola of Eisleben. In the chapters on the 
Decalogue and the Law, Melanchthon had taught 
that " the law must be preached to terrify con- 
sciences, since by the law is the knowledge of sin " ; 
that is, men are thus called to repentance, and by 
repentance to faith and righteousness in Christ. 
' The preaching of the law incites to repentance." 

Agricola, who was ambitious of a theological pro- 
fessorship at Wittenberg, and who had taken offence 
at Melanchthon's friendly counsel to bide his time ^JVu. 
and remain content for the present with his position MA> v 
as Rector of the school in his native city, 1 saw an 
opportunity to display his theological learning, and 
to get on even ground with Melanchthon. He took 

""' C. A, i : 784. 


1 68 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the position that the law had been abolished by the 
Gospel, and that repentance must come, not from 
the knowledge of the law, but from the Gospel. 
He appealed to Melanchthon 's Loci, and to some of 
Luther's writings, in which it was taught that by 
the Gospel we are freed from the law, and that 
Moses had been given for the Jews, and not for 
Christians. But this was a one-sided use of his 
authorities. They had also taught that the law 
brings the consciousness of sin. Melanchthon wrote 
Agricola as follows : 

" I do not recall that I have ever written or spoken a 
\ word which would seem to violate Christian liberty, nor 
would I knowingly write anything which I should think 
would corrupt the purity of the Gospel. In regard to 
Repentance I think you will agree with me that fear and 
alarm and confusion of conscience ought to exist in the 
mind before vivification and consolation. These feel- 
ings are to be called fear of the divine judgment, some- 
times also the sense of the divine wrath. But this 
expression: the fear of divine judgment, can be more 
easily understood by the people. Also, it cannot be 
denied, that in such a struggle there is the fear of eter- 
nal punishment. I do not speak of that fear which men 
awaken by their own struggle; but of that which God 
awakens, and I distinctly said ' that God works such 
terrors.' " l 

The noise of the controversy at length reached 
the ears of the Elector, who invited Agricola and 
Melanchthon together with Luther and Bugenhagen 

C. *., i : 905. 

1529] Disputes and Dangers 169 

to Torgau, to talk over the matter and to take 
further counsel about the Visitation. 1 They came 
on the twentieth of November, 1527. Luther and 
Bugenhagen were appointed mediators between the 
two disputants. Agricola affirmed that repentance 
must proceed from the love of righteousness. Me- 
lanchthon replied that the soul must be filled with 
alarm before justification, and in this state it is not 
easy to distinguish the love of righteousness from 
the fear of punishment. Agricola contended that 
Melanchthon erred in requiring an explanation of 
the Decalogue, since we are made free from the law, 
and so do not need it, as the moral precepts of the 
New Testament are sufficient. Melanchthon ex- 
plained that the Decalogue is the basis of the moral 
precepts of the New Testament, and must be 
preached for the reasons which had been given. 
Weary of strife, Melanchthon offered the hand of 
reconciliation, but Agricola " was as unresponsive 
as a statue." a 

Luther finally made some explanation with which 
Agricola seemed satisfied, and henceforth claimed 
the victory, but Melanchthon saw in the contentions 
of Agricola the beginning of a new sophistry. Lu- 
ther regarded the dispute as only a war of words, 
and wrote to Jonas, " Our famous discussion at 
Torgau amounted to scarcely anything." He had 
already expressed his approval of Melanchthon's 
position in his endorsement of the German Articles, 

1 C. R. , i : 914. 

3 C. R., i : 917. 

3 De W., 3: 215, 243. 

1 70 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

which contain the very same teaching, and when, 
ten years later, Agricola, then a professor in Witten- 
berg, renewed the strife, Luther powerfully refuted 
^ him in six masterly disputations, 1 and forced him to 

During his sojourn at Jena, Melanchthon com- 
posed two treatises against the Anabaptists, who 
had created much confusion and disorder in and 
around Kahla and Orlamunde. 

The first, written in 1527, perhaps during the 
Visitation, is very brief, and was intended to furnish 
the people with a few arguments in support of In- 
fant Baptism, and in refutation of the Anabaptistic 
errors. 2 He argues as follows: Children were cir- 
cumcised in the Old Testament. Therefore they 
should be baptised in the New. Circumcision and 
Baptism are signs of promised grace and of eternal 
life. Christ has commanded : Suffer the little ones 
to come unto me. Therefore infants should be bap- 
tised. The Anabaptists say there is no command 
for the baptism of infants. We reply that though 
there is no express command, there is example, 
which ought to prevail, since the Scripture does not 
contradict itself. The Scripture does not prohibit 
the baptism of infants, and furnishes the example of 

They say: Infants do not believe. Therefore 
they ought not to be baptised. The Sacrament 
ought to be administered to believers only. But 
children are to be baptised that they may acquire 

1 Erlangen ed., Var. arg., 4 : 424 et seqq. 
*C. ., i: 931. 

1529] Disputes and Dangers 171 

faith, for no one can acquire faith except from the 
Word of God. In Baptism there is the Word of 

They say : Children do not understand the Word, 
therefore Baptism should not be applied to them. 
This objection is refuted by the example of circum- 
cision. It is asked: How does Baptism benefit 
infants ? By Baptism they are taught that the re- 
mission of sins pertains to them. All to whom the 
Sacrament is applied acquire remission of sins. The 
Sacrament is applied to infants, therefore infants ac- 
quire the remission of sins. 

The second treatise against the Anabaptists, writ- 
ten in April, 1528, is much more elaborate than the 
first. In it he discusses the Meaning and the Use of 
Sacraments, Baptism, the Use and Benefit of the 
Sacrament of Baptism, the Baptism of John, Infant 
Baptism. He closes this treatise by confuting the 
views of the Anabaptists on civil government. 1 

On the eighth or ninth of April, 1528, Melanch- 
thon left Jena for Wittenberg, accompanied by his 
family, which had been increased by the birth of a 
son, November 25, 1527. But he was not allowed 
to sit down peacefully in his old haunts. While the 
Visitation had been going on, suspicion arose that 
a storm was gathering against the Reformation. 
The suspicion changed to alarm when in February, 
1528, Dr. Otto von Pack, ex-chancellor of Duke 
George, gave the Landgrave of Hesse, for ten thou- 
sand gulden, a copy of an alleged document which 
bound several Catholic princes and bishops to restore 

1 C. R., I : 955 et seqq. 

172 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the old faith, and to divide the Electoral and Hessian 
territories among themselves. 

Philip hastened to Weimar, where* he imparted 
the information to the Elector, and where, March 9, 
1528, the two formed a counter-alliance to enter the 
field with twenty-six thousand men, and to make 
the attack. But scruples arising in the mind of the 
Elector, he called Luther and Melanchthon to Tor- 
gau, May i$th, and laid the matter before them. 
They strongly advised against war, especially against 
making the attack. On the 1 8th, Melanchthon wrote 
a letter to the Elector, pleading that, for the sake 
of his soul's salvation, his children, the poor country, 
and the people, he should avoid war, otherwise not 
only men, but God would be his enemy. He also 
reminded him that they who take the sword, shall 
also perish by the sword, and said : 

" It is the greatest comfort in all trials to have a good 
conscience, and not to have God as our enemy. If we 
take the sword first and begin the war, we shall lose this 
comfort. I write this with great sorrow and anxiety. 
God knows that I do not prize my life ; but think of the 
shame that will come upon the Holy Gospel, if you be- 
gin the war and do not first seek other ways and means 
of peace." 1 

The Elector was so influenced by the advice of 
his theologians, that while he continued to prepare 
for war, he urged upon the Landgrave the necessity 
of heeding the admonitions of Luther and Melanch- 

1 C. A'., i : 980. 

1529] Disputes and Dangers 173 

Finally, ready to begin hostilities, Philip sent a 
copy of the document obtained from Pack to Duke 
George, and inquired whether he meant to keep the 
peace. The Duke at once pronounced the docu- 
ment a forgery, and declared Pack a knave. Other 
princes denied the existence of a conspiracy to crush 
the Evangelicals. 

Thus war was happily averted by the application 
of the evangelical principle that the Gospel is not to 
be promoted by violence. But the cause of the 
Reformation suffered from the suspicions and grow- 
ing dissensions among the princes. The Catholics 
became more and more hostile, and the Evangelicals 
grew more and more anxious as the political heavens 
darkened. Melanchthon wrote to Camerarius, " I 
am almost consumed with anxiety when I think 
what a scandal has come upon our good cause." 

It was doubtless anxiety for the good cause that 
brought Melanchthon into a condition of wretched 
health this summer; but he went on with his work, 
assisting Luther in revising his translation of Isaiah, 
lecturing on the Proverbs of Solomon, and preparing 
notes to Aristotle's Ethics, until October I5th, when 
he set out to complete the Visitation in Thuringia, 
which occupied him until January 5, 1529. 



Diet of Spires The Protest and Appeal Doctrine of the Lord's 
Supper Controversy with Zwingli The Marburg Colloquy 
Articles of Agreement Schwabach Articles. 

THE Diet of Spires of 1526 had given the rulers 
permission to execute the Decree of Worms 
of 1521, or not, as they were willing to give account 
to God and the Emperor. This action was very 
favourable to the Evangelicals, but it increased the 
hostility of their enemies. The relations of the two 
parties became more and more strained. The Em- 
peror had conceived the strongest dislike for the 
followers of Luther, and had -resolved to meet them 
with violence, if necessary. Ferdinand, since 1526 
King of Hungary and Bohemia, was as intent upon 
suppressing Lutheranism as upon the repression of 
the Turk. The Catholic princes, embittered by the 
precipitate conduct of the Landgrave, had been ex- 
cited to greater energy for the defence of the Church. 
Everything appeared unfavourable for the Evangeli- 
cals, and when on November 3, 1528, a diet was 
proclaimed for February 2, 1529, at Spires, and 



1529] Spires and Marburg 175 

then deferred to February 2ist, they had nothing 
good to expect for their cause. 

Indeed the horoscope seemed very unpropitious 
during the first half of the year 1529. In January 
a light had appeared in the North. This was fol- 
lowed by a peculiar conjunction of the stars, by great 
floods of water, and by other phenomena of nature. 
Luther and Melanchthon were filled with alarm. 
The latter wrote to Jonas, " I am not a little ex- 
cited by these things." l 

It was a time of intense anxiety all around. The 
Diet was numerously attended by princes and ec- 
clesiastics. The Elector took with him thither Me- 
lanchthon and Agricola. This was the first diet 
attended by Melanchthon, and was the beginning 
of his activity in negotiations and conferences in 
which he served the Reformation for more than a 
quarter of a century. 

As the opening of the Diet was again deferred, he 
embraced the opportunity thus afforded to visit his 
mother and his brother George at Bretten. Melchior 
Adams says, that the mother took occasion to ask 
her son, now one of the leaders of the Reformation, 
what, amid such disputes of the learned, she should 
believe. He requested her to say her prayers before 
him, and when he perceived that they were free 
from superstition, he bade her continue thus to pray 
and to believe, and not to be disturbed by the con- 
troversies. 2 His brother George, who was Mayor of 
Bretten, he found to be a zealous Lutheran. 

1 C. R., i : 1075. 

9 Vitce Theolog., 333. 

176 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

This was the last time that Melanchthon visited 
his mother, for shortly after his return to Witten- 
berg he received intelligence of her death. 1 

March I3th, Melanchthon arrived at Spires. Two 
days later the Diet was opened. The Recess of the 
Diet of 1526 was nullified, and all innovations in re- 
ligion were forbidden. This arbitrary action filled 
the Evangelicals with consternation. Jacob Sturm, 
of Strassburg, wrote that Christ had fallen again into 
the hands of Caiaphas and Pilate. Melanchthon 
wrote to Camerarius : 

" To-day the imperial mandate was read. It is simply 
dreadful. The former Recess of Spires has been abro- 
gated. Many dire punishments are threatened those 
who will not heed the edict. The rest concerns the 
Turkish War. You have the sum of what has been 
done. You can easily see what danger we are in.' The 
attendance of bishops is larger than at any previous 
diet. Some of them show by their looks how they hate 
us, and what they are contriving. May Christ look 
upon and save the poor people, for in the city we are 
outcasts. You know that I feel the lack of many things 
on our side; yet nothing is done to remove our faults, 
but everything to oppress the good cause. May Christ 
frustrate the counsels of the Gentiles, which mean war." 

The mind of the Catholics is well illustrated by 
the declaration of John Fabri, that the Turks are 
better than the Lutherans, for the former fast, and 
the latter do not; and again, " That if the alterna- 

1 c. J?., i : 1083. 
9 C. R., i : 1039. 

1529] Spires and Marburg 177 

tive were required, he would rather reject the Script- 
ures than the venerable errors of the Church." 
Melanchthon declared that it would require a long 
Iliad to recite all of Fabri's blasphemies. 1 

After a long debate about religion it was decreed 
that those who had observed the Diet of Worms 
should continue to do so, and oblige their children 
to do so, until the meeting of a council, which was 
promised ; that those who had changed their re- 
ligion, and could not now retract for fear of troubles 
and seditions, should make no more innovations 
before the sitting of a council ; that the doctrine of 
those who dissent from the Church about the Sup- 
per of the Lord, should not be received ; that the 
Mass should not be abolished, and that those who 
wished should not be hindered from going to Mass 
in those places where a new doctrine was taught ; 
that ministers should preach according to the sense 
of Scripture approved by the Church. 2 

Against this decree, which was enacted by a 
majority vote, and was read on Sunday, the Evan- 
gelical minority presented their celebrated Protest, 
April iQth, on which account they were in derision 
called Protestants by their enemies. 

Ferdinand, who represented the Emperor, refused 
the Protest, and adjourned the Diet, April 24th. 
The following day the Protestants added an Appeal 
to the Emperor, to a national council, or to impartial 
judges, and sent both documents to the Emperor. 

These two important documents were signed by 

1 C. R., i : 1041, 1046. 

2 Sleidan, p. 118, Eng. Trans. 

178 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

John, Elector of Saxony ; Philip, Landgrave of 
Hesse; George, Margrave of Brandenburg; Ernest, 
Duke of Brunswick-Liineburg; Wolfgang, Prince of 
Anhalt ; and by fourteen imperial cities. 

What part Melanchthon took in the composition 
of the Protest, and of the Appeal, is not now known ; 
but it is not likely that the chief theological coun- 
sellor of the leading Protestant prince was an idle 

In one other matter, which was now brought into 
prominence, he did what will forever stand to his 
honour. The paragraph in the Decree of the Diet 
about the Lord's Supper was directed against the 
Zwinglians. The aim of the Romanists was to 
divide the reforming forces by passing sentence on 
the Zwinglian doctrine without allowing its adher- 
ents a hearing. Here it was that Melanchthon in- 
sisted that the Zwinglians should not be condemned 
until they had been heard. This he did, not be- 
cause he approved the doctrine of the Zwinglians, 
but because he regarded it as wrong to condemn 
them unheard. 

It was during the sitting of this Diet that the 
Evangelicals felt the need of united action. April 
22d, the Saxons and Hessians formed a defensive 
alliance with Strassburg, Ulm, and Nuremberg. 
The Landgrave wished to include the Swiss. This 
at once brought up the question of the Swiss teach- 
ing on the Lord's Supper, and the bitter controversy 
which for years had raged between Luther and 
Zwingli on that subject. The former, after aban- 
doning the doctrine of transubstantiation, and hesi- 

1529] Spires and Marburg 179 

tating for some time about the meaning of the words 
of institution, had finally settled down in the doctrine 
that the body of Christ is really and substantially 
present in the bread, and that the blood of Christ is 
really and substantially present in the wine, and 
that body and blood, without any change in the 
material elements, are really given to all who com- 
mune in the Lord's Supper. In controversy he 
affirmed the doctrine of Ubiquity, as a condition or 
prerequisite of the presence of the body of Christ 
in the Supper, though it is proper to state that he 
never laid much stress on this doctrine, but based 
his views chiefly on the words of institution. 

Melanchthon was the disciple of Luther in the 
doctrine of the Lord's Supper, though not without 
many misgivings and some formal deviations. Al- 
ready in December, 1527, at Torgau, he expressed 
some doubt to Luther about his doctrine of the 
Supper; but when the latter assured him that he 
did not in the least doubt the correctness of his 
doctrine, Melanchthon declared himself satisfied, 
and rejoiced in his friend's steadfastness. 1 His 
mind at this time was deeply interested in the sub- 
ject. To the preachers of Reutlingen he wrote from 
Marburg, " Not without the greatest struggle have 
I come to hold that the Lord's body is truly present 
in the Supper." 2 And in 1537 he wrote that " not 
a day nor night had passed for ten years in which 
he had not thought on the subject." 3 He declares 

1 C. R., i : 913 ; 4 : 964. 
2 C. R., i : 1106. 
S C.^., 3 : 537. 

i8o Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

that the doctrine of Luther is very old, and that a 
good man will not rashly depart from the teaching 
of the ancients. 1 In this, as in many, things, he was 
much influenced by his dislike of innovation. April 
8, 1529, he wrote to CEcolampadius : " I am not 
willing to be the author or defender of a new dogma 
in the Church." * Neither could he endure specu- 
lation on this subject, but preferred to treat it as a 
mystery, and " without subtlety." The ability of 
Christ to be present in the Supper he makes depend- 
ent upon the divine appointment, and thus modifies 
Luther's doctrine of Ubiquity: 

" That Christ gives us his body and blood does not 
depend upon the prayers of the priest or of the people, 
for that would be magical. I prefer that it should be 
referred to the institution of Christ. For as. the sun 
rises daily by the divine appointment, so the body of 
Christ is in the Church wherever the Church is. No 
sufficient proof is offered that the body of Christ cannot 
be in many places. Christ is exalted above ail creatures 
and is everywhere." 

It was the fact of the real presence and reception 
of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper which 
Luther emphasised as over against the. doctrine of 
Zwingli, who denied such presence and reception 
except by the contemplation of faith, and inter- 
preted the words of institution, " This is my body," 
as, " This signifies my body." 

1 C. R., i .- 823, 830. 

2 C. R., i : 1048. 
*C. *., i: 948,949. 

1529] Spires and Marburg 181 

Melanchthon was as violent against such a doctrine 
of the Supper as his mild nature would permit him 
to be. In May, 1528, he wrote: 

" Instead of theologians they [the Zwinglians] seem 
to me gradually to have become sophists, for I see that 
they rationalise and philosophise about the doctrines of 
Christ. It is on this account that I have not mixed in 
the controversy on the Eucharist. But so soon as I 
shall have leisure, I will express my view. They repre- 
sent Christ as sitting in one place, as Homer does his 
Jove living with the ^Ethiopians. To deny the presence 
of Christ in the Eucharist seems to me most contrary to 
the Scripture." 

And in 1530 he wrote: " I would rather die than 
affirm with them [the Zwinglians] that Christ's body 
can be in only one place." * 

Besides the doctrine of the Lord's Supper the 
Wittenberg theologians held the Zwinglians as error- 
ists in other important doctrines. In 1528, Luther 
had indeed declared, " I confess that I do not re- 
gard Zwingli as a Christian, for he holds and teaches 
no part of the Christian faith correctly, and has be- 
come seven-fold worse than when he was a papist." 
Melanchthon wrote in March, 1530: 

" Justifying faith is not mentioned in any of the books 
of the Zwinglians. When they speak of faith they do 
not mean that which believes the remission of sins, 

1 C. R., i : 974. 
C #., 2: 25. 
3 Erlangen ed., 30 : 225. 

1 82 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

which believes that we are received into grace, heard 
and kept by God, but they mean a historical faith." 

It is easy to see that under these circumstances 
both Luther and Melanchthon would oppose an 
alliance with the Swiss for the protection of religion. 
Melanchthon wrote to Baumgartner of Nuremberg 
urging him to do all in his power to defeat the alli- 
ance with the Zwinglians, saying, "It is not right 
to defend an impious doctrine, or to confirm the 
power of those who maintain an impious doctrine, 
lest the poison spread." 2 The Nurembergers with- 
drew from the alliance, and at the urgent solicitation 
of Luther the Elector did the same. Thus the 
matter ended for the time being. But the Land- 
grave, who was ever ready to form political combina- 
tions for the defence of religion, was not easily 
diverted from his purpose. He now sought to bring 
the theologians of both sides together, that they 
might talk over their differences and come to an 
understanding. As early as February, 1529, on the 
way to Spires, he had spoken to the Elector of 
the desirability of a colloquy between Luther and 
Zwingli. At Spires Melanchthon received a letter 
from CEcolampadius in which the latter begged that 
the Swiss be not cast off by the Germans, saying, 
among other things, " You can certainly affirm that 
we take it ill when it is said that like Judas, or the 
cattle, we eat nothing but bread in the Lord's 
Supper." 8 

1 C. ^.,2: 25. 

8 6'. tf., I : 1070. 

8 Quoted by Schmidt, p. 171. 

1529] Spires and Marburg 183 

On his return from Spires, Melanchthon, to whom 
the Landgrave had made known his wish, mentioned 
the matter to Luther. But Luther did not think 
that any good could come from such a colloquy as 
was proposed. Nevertheless they agreed to lay the 
matter before the Elector, saying, " If your Elec- 
toral Grace thinks it would be proper to hold such a 
colloquy, there will be no hesitation on our part." 1 

At the same time Melanchthon wrote an Opinion 
for the Electoral Prince in which he expresses his 
willingness to confer with CEcolampadius on the 
Sacrament, but thinks a colloquy with Zwingli 
would be unprofitable. He also thinks that " some 
honourable and reasonable papists " ought to be 
present to hear both sides, otherwise it might be said 
that the Lutherans and Zwinglians had met to form 
a conspiracy. He declares that he will never agree 
with the Strassburgers, and says, " I know that 
Zwingli and his followers have written erroneously 
of the Sacrament." 3 

The letters of Melanchthon and Luther show con- 
clusively that they both disapproved of the colloquy, 
not because they were afraid to meet their oppon- 
ents, but because they sincerely believed that the 
chief disputants were so fully set in their respective 
beliefs that no understanding could be reached. 
Besides, they were both fundamentally opposed to 
defending the Gospel by the sword, and the pro- 
posed colloquy was intended to be a step toward 
that end. 

1 84 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Melanchthon became almost frantic as he forecast 
the probable results of a colloquy. He wrote to 
Ulrich Wiland, saying: 

" There are_^ learned men on the side of the Zwin- 
glians, able disputants, who have many plausible reasons 
and testimonies from the early Church, which they will 
so use as to make it appear that the early Church favours 
their view. ' But they bring nothing which satisfies the 
heart, and they find fault with us if we seek greater 
certainty. There is unspeakable danger in spreading, 
with a doubting conscience, a new dogma, which may 
bring a dreadful revolution not only upon the Church, 
but upon all the states of the Empire." 1 

Says Schmidt: 

" It was manifestly a painful time for Melanchthon. 
In his embarrassment he mingled political apprehensions 
and theological scruples; personal prejudices against 
men whom he knew not, and objections to a doctrine 
which he regarded as a new and unscriptural invention. 
Though with justice he regarded Zwingli's opinion as 
unsatisfactory, yet he felt the weight of some of the 
arguments which had been developed against the view of 
Luther. He struggled with himself, but he returned to 
his former convictions, for there seemed to be no other 
way open to him by which to lift himself above the two 

At length the Elector gave his consent to the 

1 Epist. Judic., etc., p. 40. 
9 Schmidt, Philipp Mel., 175. 

1529] Spires and Marburg 185 

holding of the colloquy, but wished, for political 
reasons, that it might take place at Nuremberg. 1 

Luther and Melanchthon both wrote the Land- 
grave that they were willing to meet the Zwinglians 
in colloquy, but that they did not expect very 
favourable results. 2 They say nothing about Nurem- 

The Landgrave, who had determined that the 
colloquy should be held in his own dominions, issued 
invitations to Zwingli of Zurich, Haller of Bern, 
CEcolampadius of Basel, Hedio and Bucer of Strass- 
burg, Brentz of Swabian Hall, Urban Regius of 
Augsburg, and Schwebel of Zweibriicken. But no 
Catholic theologians were invited, as Luther and 
Melanchthon had suggested. On July 8th, Luther 
and Melanchthon addressed the Landgrave jointly 
as follows : 

" As your Grace has received our letters and has 
decided that we should come to Marburg, with the hope 
that unity will result, we shall cheerfully do our part, and 
at the time appointed, if alive and well, we will appear 
in Marburg. The Father of mercy and unity grant his 
Spirit that we may not meet in vain, but for good, and 
not for injury. Amen." 3 

September 29, 1529, Zwingli, CEcolampadius, 
Bucer, Hedio, and Jacob Sturm came to Marburg. 
The next day Luther, Melanchthon, Jonas, Cruci- 
ger, Menius, Brentz, Osiander, and Stephen Agri- 

l c. R., i : 1071. 

9 DeW., 3: 473; C, 7?., i: 1078. 
*C. R., i : 1080. 

1 86 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

cola arrived. They were all entertained with almost 
princely hospitality in the castle. The Landgrave 
arranged for a preliminary interview between Luther 
and CEcolampadius, and between Zwingli and Me- 
lanchthon. Each pair was closeted separately for 
six hours. On the doctrines of Original Sin, Faith, 
and the Trinity a satisfactory conclusion was soon 
reached between Zwingli and Melanchthon. On 
the doctrine of the Lord's Supper there was no agree- 
ment. Each stood essentially by his former posi- 
tion. Melanchthon declared that he would stand 
by the simple plain sense of the words of institution. 
Zwingli denied that Melanchthon had the true con- 
ception of these words. The conference between 
Luther and CEcolampadius likewise was without 
effect on the main question. 

The two following days the colloquy was con- 
ducted more publicly, but chiefly between Luther 
on the one side and Zwingli and CEcolampadius on 
the other. Neither side advanced any new argu- 
ments, and neither made any impression on the other. 
The Zwinglians insisted that a body must be con- 
fined to one definite place. This Luther denied. 
The Zwinglians appealed to John vi. 33 : " It is the 
Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." 
Luther refused to admit that this passage has any- 
thing to do with the Supper. Finally the Zwin- 
glians declared that there were no persons on earth 
with whom they were so anxious to agree as with 
Luther and Melanchthon. Luther replied, " Your 
spirit is different from ours." This practically 
ended the colloquy, though both parties agreed that 

1529] Spires and Marburg 187 

they would not in the future write so bitterly against 
each other as they had previously done. 

In order to show that the colloquy had not been 
a complete failure, the Landgrave commissioned 
Luther, with the assistance of the other theologians, 
to compose some articles of doctrine. He replied, 
' I will do the best I can, but they will not receive 
them. ' ' He then immediately wrote fifteen articles, 
covering the chief doctrines -of the Reformation. 
On fourteen of these, after a few changes in form, 
there was no dissent. The fifteenth reads as follows : 

" We all believe and hold concerning the Supper of 
our dear Lord Jesus Christ that both forms should be 
used according to the institution, also that the Mass is 
not a work, whereby one obtains grace for another, dead 
and living; also that the sacrament of the altar is a 
sacrament of the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, 
and that the spiritual partaking of this body and blood 
is specially necessary to every true Christian. In like 
manner, as to the use of the sacrament, that like the 
Word of God Almighty, it has been given and ordained, 
in order that weak consciences might be excited by the 
Holy Ghost to faith and love. 

" And although we are not at this time agreed, as to 
whether the true body and blood of Christ are bodily 
present in the bread and wine, nevertheless the one party 
should show to the other Christian love, so far as con- 
science can permit, and both should fervently pray God 
Almighty, that by his Spirit he would confirm us in the 
true understanding." 

The fifteen articles were subscribed by Luther, 
Melanchthon, Jonas, Osiander, Brentz, and Agri- 

1 88 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

cola on the one side, and by CEcolampadius, Zwingli, 
Bucer, and Hedio on the other. The articles are 
characterised by simplicity, and by greater mildness 
in statement than might naturally have been ex- 
pected of Luther at that time. They have no con- 
fessional value either in the Lutheran or in the 
Reformed Church, but are of great historical signifi- 
cance as preliminary to the Lutheran confessional 

While the Landgrave was trying at Marburg to 
bring about an understanding between the Saxon 
and Swiss theologians, the Elector of Saxony and 
the Margrave of Brandenburg were deliberating at 
Schleiz on the propriety of forming an alliance with 
the Landgrave and the cities of Upper Germany for 
mutual support in case of an attack by the Emperor, 
which at this time was greatly feared. It was agreed 
that doctrine should be the first condition of the 
alliance, since the protection of religion was the 
chief end in view. Luther was instructed to bring 
together a summary of the evangelical doctrines, 
and to have it in readiness. On the basis of the 
Marburg Articles he and his companions composed 
seventeen articles, which on the fifth or sixth of 
October, 1529, were carried to Schleiz. At a 
convention held at Schwabach, near Nuremberg, 
October i6th, these articles were presented by 
representatives of the Elector and the Margrave; 
but the representatives of Upper Germany refused 
to sign them, inasmuch as they had not been in- 
structed to that effect. Hence the convention was 
without consequence. 


1529] Spires and Marburg 189 

Luther tells us that he " helped to compose such 
articles," and that they were not intended for pub- 
lication. 1 His companions in this work were Me- 
lanchthon, Jonas, Osiander, Brentz, and Agricola. 
Yet the articles bear throughout the imprint of 
Luther's peculiar spirit, and contain a more positive 
and distinct statement of the Lutheran doctrines 
than is found in the Marburg Articles. " But the 
style, language, and expression show unquestionably 
an influence from the pen of Melanchthon." 3 

At Schwabach these Articles bore the title: 
" Articles of the Elector of Saxony concerning 
Faith." But they are known in history properly 
as the Schwabach Articles. They were used by 
Melanchthon as the foundation of " the first or dog- 
matic half of the Augustana, whose seventeen funda- 
mental or chief articles agree with the seventeen 
Schwabach Articles in numbering, and in large part 
also in arrangement." 3 

1 Erlangen ed., 24 : 337. 
2 Zockler, Augs. Con., p. 9. 
3 Zockler, Ibia. 



The Evil Aspect of Affairs The Emperor Orders a Diet at Augs- 
burg Protestant Princes and Theologians Gather at Augsburg 
Melanchthon Writes the Augsburg Confession. 

THE year 1530 opened very inauspiciously for the 
Protestants. Their efforts of the preceding 
year to effect a defensive union had failed. The 
ambassadors, John Eckinger, Alexius Faventraut, 
and Michael Kaden, who had carried the Protest 
and Appeal to the Emperor, had been detained as 
prisoners at Piacenza and Parma, and had been 
charged under threat of death not to communicate 
with their principals in Germany. The Emperor 
and the Pope had composed their differences, and 
were living in the same palace at Bologna. The 
former had pledged himself to the latter to bring 
back the dissidents to the faith, and " to avenge the 
insult offered to Christ." Campeggius was urging 
the Emperor to try promises, threats, and alliances, 
and, should these fail, to apply fire and sword. 
From Italy came only appalling rumours, while in 


The Augsburg Confession 191 

Germany Ferdinand was playing the hypocrite with 
the Elector in order to gain time. 1 

January 6, 1530, representatives of the Protest- 
ants met at Nuremberg to take counsel for the emerg- 
ency; but they quarrelled among themselves, and 
separated without having reached a conclusion. Both 
Luther and Melanchthon had powerfully insisted 
that the Emperor should be obeyed, even though 
he should come with fire and sword, for the Gospel 
must not be defended by violence. Melanchthon 
wrote the Elector: "It is not lawful to take arms 
against the Emperor even though he come with 
violence. Everyone must profess the Gospel at his 
own peril." 2 Luther exclaimed, " God is faithful 
and will not forsake us," and quoted the words of 
the prophet, " Be still and ye shall be holpen." 
' Unquestionably this is not prudent, but it is 
great," says Ranke. 

Suddenly this mighty tension in Germany was 
broken. January 21, 1530, the Emperor issued a 
mandate from Bologna announcing an Imperial 
Diet at Augsburg, to begin April 8th. The refer- 
ence to religion was couched in mild and conciliatory 
language : 

" To consult and decide about the disturbances and 
dissensions in the Holy Faith and Christian Religion. 
And in order that all dissensions, differences, and errors 
may be abolished in a salutary manner, all sentiments 
and opinions are to be heard, understood, and considered 

1 Ranke, v., ix. 

2 C. R. , 2 : 20-22. 

1 92 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

between us in love and kindness, and are to be composed 
in sincerity, so as to put away what is not right in both 
parties, that true religion may be accepted and held by 
us all, that as we live and serve under one Christ, so we 
may live in one fellowship, Church, and unity." 

The Imperial Rescript reached the Elector at 
Torgau, March nth. The pacific tone of the docu- 
ment inspired the hope that the long-desired General 
Council was about to be held. The Elector, follow- 
ing the advice of his counsellors, decided to attend, 
and began at once to make the necessary prepara- 
tions for the journey. Luther, Jonas, Melanchthon, 
Musa of Jena, Agricola, and Spalatin were to attend 
" as learned counsellors." The first-named was to 
remain at Nuremberg and await further decision. 

Chancellor Briick then suggested that their party 
should prepare a written statement of matters in 
dispute, fortified by ample proof from the Script- 
ures, and have it in readiness for the Diet. Ac- 
cordingly the Elector commanded his theologians 
to compose articles of faith and external ceremonies, 
that at the opening of the Diet it might be decided 
what could be done with a good conscience and 
without offence, and to present themselves at Tor- 
gau, Sunday, March 2Oth. Not appearing at the 
appointed time, the next day the Elector wrote 
them to hasten, and to bring their books, as other 
matters awaited consideration. On the 2/th, Me- 
lanchthon was at Torgau, but Luther probably did 
not go. a 

1 Original in Forstemann's Urkundenbuch, i. 
'Kostlin, ii., 651. 


The Augsburg Confession 193 

There is no record in evidence that Melanchthon 
took any documents with him to Torgau. It is not 
improbable, however, that for " doctrine " he ap- 
pealed to the Articles which a few months before 
had been presented at Schwabach, and which their 
authors had not yet published. Of specific " Torgau 
Articles " we have no report from the times. It is 
the judgment of many scholars that the Schwabach 
Articles must be included in the common designa- 
tion, ' Torgau Articles." For " external cere- 
monies " it is highly probable that Melanchthon 
handed in an essay composed by himself, March 
I4th-27th. 1 This essay, after a brief introduction, 
treats: (i) Of the Doctrine and Ordinances of Men, 
(2) Of the Marriage of Priests, (3) Of Both Forms, 
(4) Of the Mass, (5) Of Confession, (6) Of Jurisdic- 
tion, (7) Of Ordination, (8) Of Vows, (9) Of the 
Worship of Saints, (10) Of German Singing. 

This essay would doubtless be accepted by the 
Elector, and taken by him to Augsburg, as an im- 
portant document coming from the pen of one who 
was held in the highest esteem for learning and 

April 3d, Luther, Melanchthon, and Jonas left 
Wittenberg to join the Elector at Torgau, who, the 
next day, after ordering prayer to be offered in all 
the churches of the land for God's blessing upon the 

'Catalogued "A" in Forstemann's Urkundenbuch, pp. 68-84; 
English in Jacobs' Book of Concord, ii., 75-86. See Plitt's Einlei- 
tung, i., 520; Breiger, Kirchenges. Studien, 267 et seqq. ; Knaake, 
Luther s Antheil an d. Augs. Conf. ; Real-Encyc. (3d), ii., 243 ; C. 
R.,4: 981, 985. 

194 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Diet, set out for Augsburg, having in his train, be- 
sides " the learned counsellors," his son John Fred- 
erick; Francis, Duke of Luneburg; Wolfgang, Prince 
of Anhalt ; Albert, Count of Mansfeld ; with seventy 
other noblemen and their escorts, numbering in all 
one hundred and sixty persons. They took with 
them three chests of Documents, among which were 
the Marburg and the Schwabach Articles, and " The 
Opinion (Bedenken) of the learned at Wittenberg, 
which is to be delivered to his Imperial Majesty 
about Ceremonies and What is connected there- 
with," which last, the same that is described above 
as composed by Melanchthon, is now regarded as 
the basis of the second or apologetic part of the 
Augsburg Confession. 

The Electoral train passed through Grimma, Al- 
tenburg, and Isenberg, and arrived at Weimar on 
Saturday the Qth. Here Luther preached the next 
day, and the Elector partook of the communion. 
Coburg was reached on the I5th, where a halt was 
made in order to gain intelligence about the Em- 
peror. Here it was decided that Luther should 
remain at Coburg, inasmuch as the Nurembergers 
declined to furnish him either a safe-conduct or 
hospitality during the Diet. 1 For his better secur- 
ity he was placed in the castle. At Coburg he 
would be safe, and could be reached by messenger 
from Augsburg in about four days. As he was still 
under the imperial ban he would have been out- 
lawed at Augsburg. His life also would have been 

1 Kolde in Kirchengesch. Studien^ p. 255 et seqq. 

The Augsburg Confession 195 

in danger, and his wonted violence in discussion 
would have been fatal to the Protestant cause. 1 

At Coburg, or on the way thither, Melanchthon 
was commissioned to write a defensive statement, 
which at first was called an Apology, and which after 
passing through many changes finally became the 
Augsburg Confession. 

How much of the Apology was written at Coburg 
and subsequently on the way thence to Augsburg, 
or what was its first form, is not now known. May 
4th, two days after the Electoral party arrived at 
Augsburg, Melanchthon wrote to Luther: " I have 
made the exordium of our Apology somewhat more 
rhetorical than I had written it at Coburg. In a 
short time I will bring it, or if the Prince will not 
permit that, I will send it." 2 It is not supposed 
that the " exordium " mentioned in the letter forms 
any part of the Augsburg Confession. It was no 
doubt omitted when it was found that the Emperor 
would require brevity, and when unexpected condi- 
tions forced a change in the method of representation. 

Dr. John Eck, at the instance of the dukes of 
Bavaria, had composed a book of 404 articles, made 
up chiefly of passages garbled from the writings of 
Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Carlstadt, John 
Denck, and Balthaser Hubmeier. This book he 
sent to the Emperor as an exhibition of the doc- 
trines of those who were disturbing the Church. 
His object was to identify the Reformers with the 
ancient heretics and the modern fanatics. These 

1 Matthesius, Ninth Sermon. 
*C. R., 2: 40. 

196 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

articles had been printed and circulated among 
the people. The Apology could not meet the de- 
mands of the new situation. It way necessary now 
expressly to disclaim all fellowship with heretics, 
whether ancient or modern, and to establish the 
soundness of the Wittenberg teaching by connecting 
it with the teaching of the primitive Church. In 
compassing these ends Melanchthon had to keep in 
view the purpose of the Diet, which was to heal the 
schism ; besides, he had to state the common funda- 
mentals of Christian belief in the mildest possible 
form consistent with truth, lest new contentions 
arise. These are the points of view from which 
Melanchthon now worked, and it is from these 
points of view alone that we can understand the 
frequent references to history, and the condemna- 
tory clauses in the Confession. Indeed, this changed 
purpose is the real beginning of the Augsburg Con- 
fession as such. To assist in realising this new pur- 
pose, Melanchthon would naturally appropriate the 
materials at hand. Hence he took the Schwabach 
Articles, which had already been approved by the 
Elector, as the basis of the doctrinal part of the 
Confession. His own Bedenken, mentioned above, 
the so-called Torgau Articles, would be retained as 
the basis of the apologetic part. 

He wrought so rapidly that by May nth he 
brought the document into a form suitable for pre- 
sentation to the Diet. On that day it was sent to 
Luther by the Elector with an explanatory letter 
from himself, and with the following note from 

The Augsburg Confession 197 

" Our Apology is sent to you, though it is more 
properly a Confession. For the Emperor will not have 
time to hear prolix discussions. I have said those things 
which I thought especially profitable or becoming. I 
brought together almost all the Articles of faith, because 
Eck has published the most diabolical slanders against 
us. Against these I wish to oppose a remedy. Do you 
determine about the whole writing in accordance with 
your spirit." 1 

May 1 5th, Luther replied to the Elector's letter 
in these words: " I have read over Master Philip's 
Apology. I know not how to improve or change 
it, nor would it become me, since I cannot move so 
softly and gently. Christ our Lord help that it may 
bring forth much fruit, as we hope and pray." 2 

The Confession had now assumed a form known 
as " the first draft." It was yet very far from what 
it finally became. It did not contain Article XX., 
Of Faith and Good Works ; nor was Article XXVII. , 
Of Vows, nor Article XXVIII. , Of Ecclesiastical 
Power, laid before Luther in their final form. It is 
probable that the latter had not yet been written. 
May 22d, Melanchthon asks the attention of Luther 
to the doctrinal articles of the Confession in so far 
as they were then finished, saying: 

" In the Apology we change many things daily. The 
Article on vows, which was too meager, I have sup- 
planted by another discussion of the subject. I am now 
treating of the power of the keys. I wish you would run 

1 C.J?., 2: 45,47. 
2 De W., 4: 17. 

198 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

over the articles of faith. If you think there is nothing 
defective in them, we will treat the rest as best we can, 
for they must be changed continually and adapted to the 

So far as is known, this is the last time that Lu- 
ther's attention was directed to the Confession until 
after it had been presented before the Diet. Nor is 
the matter again mentioned in the correspondence 
between Augsburg and Coburg while the Confession 
was in further preparation. But Melanchthon went 
on changing and adapting it to circumstances until 
the last hour before the presentation. 

He not only polished the style, but he made 
changes in the matter. He aimed to unite perfec- 
tion of finish with fidelity to truth and history. To 
this end he sought assistance from the theologians 
present, and from the civil counsellors. In his 
efforts to conciliate and to preserve the unity of the 
faith, he was not a little influenced by the irenic 
Bishop Stadion of Augsburg, and by Alphonsus 
Valdesius, the Emperor's secretary. The latter 
invited him to an interview, and insisted on mild- 
ness and brevity. He said to Melanchthon: " The 
Spaniards have the idea that the Lutherans hold 
horrible things about the Trinity, Christ, and the 
Mother of God. Hence they think it is a more 
meritorious service to kill a Lutheran than a Turk." 
" I know it," replied Melanchthon, " and I have 
spoken to several Spaniards on the subject, but I 
have not effected much with them." Valdesius in- 

1 C. >?., 2 : 60. 

The Augsburg Confession 199 

quired, " What do the Lutherans want ? How can 
matters be remedied ?" " Our contention," said 
Melanchthon, " is not so long and ill-advised as has 
probably been reported to the Emperor. The dif- 
ference consists in the following articles : The Sacra- 
ment under both forms ; the marriage of priests and 
monks; and the Mass. The Lutherans do not 
regard private masses as right." He thought that 
if an understanding could be reached on these 
articles, there would be no difficulty in regard to 
other things. The Secretary promised to report to 
the Emperor. Later, he again called Melanchthon, 
and said that the Emperor, who was favourably dis- 
posed in the case, had commanded him to speak 
with Cardinal Campeggius on the subject. The 
Cardinal, he declared, was willing to concede both 
elements in the Sacrament, and the marriage of the 
clergy, but would not yield in the matter of private 

The Secretary also requested a copy of the 
Lutheran Articles, in the briefest compass, for the 
Emperor, that he might examine them, as " his 
Majesty thought it would be best to take up the 
subject quietly and not to have a long public dis- 
cussion." 1 Melanchthon referred the request to 
his principals, but these were not willing to have 
their cause disposed of quietly and without a hear- 
ing. They had come to Augsburg to present their 
Confession. They demanded to be heard. 2 The 

1 c. R., 2 : 122, 123. 

8 It is not true, as reported by Coelestin and others, that Melanch- 
thon sent articles to the Emperor. See C. R., 2 : 123. 

200 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Emperor now appointed June 24th for the present- 
ation of the Protestant Confession. 

Prior to June 8th, the Confession'on which Me- 
lanchthon had been labouring was intended to be 
the reply of the Saxon Elector alone. But from 
that time on, at the suggestion of the Margrave of 
Brandenburg, seconded by the delegates of Nurem- 
berg, it was so shaped as to be the Confession of all 
the princes and cities that had accepted the Lutheran 
Reformation. Consequently, June 23d, the princes, 
their counsellors and theologians, and the delegates 
from Nuremberg and Reutlingen assembled for con- 
sultation. " The Confession was read, examined, 
and considered." Melanchthon desired that it 
should be subscribed by the theologians. But the 
princes chose to confess their own faith and that of 
their churches. The Confession was then solemnly 
subscribed by seven princes, and by the represent- 
atives of two cities. 

Friday, June 24th, was consumed in hearing the 
delegates from Austria touching the Turkish War. 
Saturday, June 25th, the most memorable day in 
Lutheran history, the Diet assembled at three 
o'clock in the private chapel of the episcopal palace. 
The first hour was consumed with preliminaries. 
The Emperor requested the Protestants simply to 
hand in their Confession. This they refused to do, 
and expressed the desire to be heard. Then he 
asked that the Latin copy be read. The Elector 
interposed, and said that as they were on German 
soil, he hoped his Majesty would permit the reading 
of the German copy. Chancellor Baier then read 



i53o] The Augsburg Confession 201 

the German copy with a voice so loud and clear that 
every word was understood, not only by every per- 
son in the chapel, but by the throng assembled in 
the court beneath. 

Both copies both are to be regarded as originals 
were delivered to the Emperor, who gave the 
German copy to the Imperial Chancellor, the Elec- 
tor of Mayence, but kept the Latin copy in his own 
hands. Every effort in later times to recover the 
originals has failed. It has been thought that 
the Latin was taken to Spain, and the German to 
the Council of Trent, and that both have perished. 

Thus after more than two months of unremitting 
toil Melanchthon's most arduous work was brought 
to a happy conclusion. The Augsburg Confession 
stands as his loftiest monument, and marks the cli- 
max of his usefulness. The most eventful day of the 
century had dawned. The destiny of the Church and 
of Civilisation in the West hung trembling in the 
balance. A single word misplaced, a single sentence 
wrong, might change the course of history, and 
shape the career of millions unborn. But the man 
for the day was there the only man of the century 
who could have met the demands of the day. Of 
all the great men of that century, Philip Melanch- 
thon alone possessed the learning, patience, mild- 
ness, literary skill, and diplomatic tact required in 
the composition of the fundamental Creed of Ger- 
man Protestantism ; and it is not too much to say 
that no similar work ever gave its author so much 
anxious solicitude, so many sleepless nights, so 
many agonising days. Every word was weighed; 

202 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

every thought was pondered. The Confession itself, 
to-day the Magna Charta of the faith of fifty mill- 
ions of Evangelical Christians, is the 'all-sufficient 
proof of the care bestowed on its composition, and 
of the eminent qualifications of the author for the 
work assigned him. He was not a philosophical 
genius, nor a speculative thinker, but he was a great 
theologian, and a master of the art of expression. 
He could draw truth from the wells of salvation, 
and could mould it in the most perfect forms of ex- 
pression ; and it is the boast of the Confession itself, 
and of its adherents, that it is drawn from the Word 
of God, and not from the speculations of men. 

The influence of the Confession was extraordin- 
arily great. In the consciousness that they had 
confessed their faith before the Emperor and the 
Empire, the Protestants felt united and strength- 
ened. Spalatin exclaimed, " To-day occurred one 
of the greatest events that ever occurred on earth." 
Luther rejoiced that he had " lived to see the hour 
when Christ was confessed by such great confessors 
in such a glorious Confession." 1 

Even the Emperor is said to have exclaimed, 
' Would that such doctrine were preached through- 
out the whole world." a Duke William of Bavaria 
said to the Elector, " Heretofore we have not been 
so informed of this matter and doctrine "; and to 
Eck, " You have assured us that the Lutherans 
could easily be refuted. How is it now ?" Eck 
answered, " With the Fathers it can be done, but not 

'De W.,4: 82. 

1 Luther's Tischreden, fol, 346a. 

The Augsburg Confession 203 

with the Scriptures." " Then," said the Duke, " I 
understand that the Lutherans stand on the Script- 
ures, and we Catholics outside of them." l 

Melanchthon's own account of the composition 
of the Confession, written a few months before his 
death, the fullest and most explicit that ever came 
from his pen, will be read with interest : 

" It is very useful and necessary that everybody, and 
posterity, should know that this Confession, which was 
delivered to the Emperor Charles V. at Augsburg, in the 
Diet in the year 1530, did not proceed from individual 
purpose; nor was it delivered to the Emperor privately 
and unsolicited. On the contrary this important matter 
occurred as follows: At that time the Emperor Charles 
V. earnestly desired to have an orderly General Council 
held. Hence after his coronation at Bologna he came to 
Augsburg in the year 1530, and allowed this to take pre- 
cedence of all other imperial matters, since it was evident 
that difference in doctrine had arisen in several countries 
and cities. And since in this difference diverse opinions 
were current, his Majesty wished to know what the doc- 
trine in the churches was; and since a change had been 
made, what the Elector and princes rested on. This 
effort of his Majesty was followed by a variety of opinions 
and discussions. Also some papal writers had scattered 
slanders in the Diet, by which abominable falsehoods 
were heaped upon our churches, as that they had many 
damnable errors, and, like the Anabaptists, were heretical 
and seditious. 

'' Now an answer had to be made before his Imperial 
Majesty; and those slanders had to be refuted. Hence 

1 Walch, xvi., 1046. 

204 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

all the articles of the Christian doctrine were drawn up 
in order that everyone might know that our churches 
were unjustly slandered by these papal falsehoods. But 
while there were at the same time several diffuse treatises, 
no one wanted to put anything into shape. Besides, the 
forms were different, since for a long time this important 
matter had been carefully pondered and arranged by 
several distinguished men. Finally this Confession, so 
God ordained and granted, was composed by myself, 
which the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther declared pleased 
him. But prior to its being publicly read before the 
Emperor, it was laid before the Elector, the princes, and 
legates, who subscribed it. These with their counsellors 
and preachers who were present diligently pondered all 
the Articles. As now the Emperor required an answer, 
this Confession was read publicly in the presence of the 
Emperor and of all the Electors, princes, and counsellors 
who were at the Diet. Then the copy was given to the 
Emperor, who had it read again in his own council. 

' Then the Confutation was prepared by the Papists, 
but not published in print. This was followed by the 
Apology, which I composed, in which several articles 
are further explained. That this was done thus, noble 
princes and counts know; and other honourable men, 
who by the grace of God still live, can report that this 
Confession was not presented to the Emperor unsolicited. 
It is necessary for posterity to know this." ' 

The mental agony which Melanchthon endured, 
and the opposition he experienced in the composition 
of the Confession, are best learned from his own 
statements. To .his brother he wrote from Augs- 

1 C. R., g: 929. 

The Augsburg Confession 205 

" I could almost believe I was born under an unlucky 
star. For what distresses me most has come upon me. 
Poverty, hunger, contempt, and other misfortunes I 
could easily bear. But what utterly prostrates me is 
strife and controversy. I had to compose the Confession 
which was to be given to the Emperor and the Estates. 
In spirit I foresaw insults, wars, devastation, battles. 
And now does it depend upon me to divert such great 
calamity ? Oh God in whom I trust, help thou me. 
Thou judgest us as we purpose in heart. Dear brother, 
I dare not drop the matter so long as I live. But not 
by my fault shall peace be destroyed. Other theologians 
wanted to compose the Confession. Would God they 
had had their way. Perhaps they could have done it 
better. Now they are dissatisfied with mine, and want 
it changed. One cries out here, another there. But 
I must maintain my principle of omitting everything that 
increases the bitterness. God is my witness that my in- 
tentions have been good. My reward is that I shall be 
hated." 1 

In 1556, he wrote to Flacius: " You find fault 
because I wrote the Repetition of the Confession 
[the Saxon]. I also wrote the former [the Augs- 
burg]. Then I had many to assail me, no one to 
assist me." 2 Melanchthon may have made mis- 
takes in some instances; he may have been inclined 
to yield too much to Rome for the sake of peace ; 
but it is the verdict of history that no man ever 
acted with purer motives than he. His mild and 
conciliatory spirit made the Augsburg Confession a 

1 Melanch. Padagogica, p. 38. 

2 C. X., 8 : 843. 

206 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

fact in history. While other men clamoured for 
war, he pleaded for peace. 

It will assist in understanding the Airgsburg Con- 
fession to learn from his own pen the principle that 
guided the author in its composition, and indeed in 
all his theological teaching: 

" When at Augsburg, in '30 I composed the first Con- 
fession; when no one would write a letter, and yet the 
Emperor demanded a confession; in true sincerity I 
brought together the summary of the doctrine, and 
omitted some unnecessary perplexing discussions, that 
everyone might know what the chief doctrine is in these 
churches. This form I continue to teach, and I avoid 
some discussions." * 

In the tenth Article he stated the Lutheran doc- 
trine of the Lord's Supper in a generic form, not in 
the specific formulas of Luther, and the doctrine of 
Predestination he purposely omitted, 2 because of the 
inextricable mazes into which it leads. Though he 
composed the Confession and was ever recognised 
by his contemporaries as its author, yet he was for 
the time the common consciousness, the surrogate 
of his party. His object was not to state in particu- 
lar what Luther held and taught, but what was held 
and taught in the churches of the subscribing princes 
and cities. This is the true idea in regard to a con- 
fession of faith. 

But the Augsburg Confession comprehends by no 
means the whole of Melanchthon 's labours from 

1 c. R., 9: 990. 
'C.K.,2: 547. 

The Augsburg Confession 207 

April 15 to June 25, 1530. His letters and learned 
opinions of that period would make a fair-sized 
volume. They are written with that carefulness 
which characterises all the productions of his pen, 
and are of priceless value for the history of those 
eventful days when the Evangelical Lutheran Church 
was formally brought into existence. 



Correspondence with Cardinal Campeggius The Papal Confutation 
The Apology of the Confession Publication of the Confession 
and its Apology. 

MELANCHTHON'S mental agony, caused by 
the distractions of the Church, and his striving 
for the restoration of harmony, did not cease with 
the composition and delivery of the Augsburg Con- 
fession. He was apprehensive that greater evils 
would come because of the severity of the Confes- 
sion '; and thus that the very object for which the 
princes had delivered the Confession, viz., the re- 
storation of peace and concord, 2 would be defeated. 
In this state of mind he wrote to Luther, June 2/th, 
and inquired " how much was to be conceded to the 
adversaries." 3 But the latter, who, perhaps, alone 
of his party believed that concord was impossible, 
replied that " too much had been conceded in the 

1 C. R., 2: 140. 

2 C. R., 2 : 125. 
*C. R., 2: 146. 

Negotiations for Peace 209 

Confession," ' and exhorted his less heroic friend to 
greater firmness. 

Notwithstanding the violence exhibited from time 
to time by representative Romanists, Melanchthon 
still clung to the delusion which he had expressed 
in the so-called Torgau Articles, and which he had 
carried with him to Augsburg, viz., that the dissen- 
sion had arisen, not on account of doctrine, but alone 
on account of certain abuses which had been abol- 
ished by the Evangelicals. In the Epilogue to the 
doctrinal part of the Confession he had declared that 
there was nothing in the evangelical teaching " which 
differs from the Scriptures, or from the Catholic 
Church, or from the Roman Church, so far as it is 
known from writers." He also tells us that he 
would have made greater changes in the Confession, 
that is, would have made it milder, had he not been 
restrained by " the counsellors." 2 As before the 
reading of the Confession, so afterward, he thought 
that peace could be restored if the Romanists would 
only consent to the removal of certain vicious cere- 
monies and " human doctrines and statutes," such 
as the Mass, communion with only one element, the 
celibacy of priests, and monastic vows. He was en- 
couraged in this thought by the deceptions practised 
on him by Cardinal Campeggius, the papal legate, 
who had invited him to an interview, had discussed 
with him the subjects at issue, and had conceded 
the use of both elements in the Eucharist and the 
marriage of the priests. 3 

J De W., 4: 52. 
2 C. R. , 2 : 140. 
Z C. R., 2: 174. 

2io Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

At the instance of the evangelical princes, Me- 
lanchthon addressed a letter to the Cardinal, 1 in 
which, after the usual complimentary allusions to the 
wisdom, moderation, and dignity of his " Right 
Reverend Lordship," he promises that the princes 
" will accept such conditions for the retention, con- 
firmation, and establishment of peace, concord, and 
the authority of the ecclesiastical order, as his Right 
Reverend Lordship shall judge to be proper." He 
further says that the princes have no intention of 
abolishing the ecclesiastical order and the legitimate 
authority of the bishops. 

Whether Melanchthon transcended his instruc- 
tions in this letter, or not, cannot be determined; 
but it is certain that he was not the only one of his 
party who was alarmed by the threats and hostile 
attitude of the Papists, and was willing to make 

In subsequent correspondence with the Cardinal 
through his secretary, Melanchthon reaffirms the 
agreement of the Confession with the Scriptures, 
with the Catholic Church, and with the Roman 
Church. His object in thus identifying the teach- 
ing of the Confession with the teaching of the 
Catholic and of the Roman Church seems to have 
been to force the Romanists to acknowledge the 
orthodoxy of the Lutheran teaching, since they, the 
Romanists, would not dare to repudiate the teaching 
of the Catholic Church. He nowhere identifies the 

1 C. R., 2 : 171. There is strong reason to believe that the letter 
in C. R.> 2 : 169, is not genuine, therefore it is not quoted here. It 
is not essentially different from the one given below in full. 

Negotiations for Peace 211 

Lutheran teaching with the teaching of the papacy. 

But Melanchthon little understood the character 
of Campeggius. The wily Italian had long been 
urging the Emperor to make war on the Lutherans 
and " to extirpate the poisonous plant by fire and 
sword. " And as little did he understand the mind 
of the Catholic theologians, who, on July 13, 1530, 
presented a Confutation of the Confession, so elabor- 
ate in form and so violent in manner, that the Em- 
peror refused it, and returned it to the Committee 
with instructions to abridge it, and to eliminate all 

While the Catholic theologians were further en- 
gaged in preparing their Confutation, Melanchthon 
wrote numerous letters to his friends, and several 
Opinions on theological subjects, among which is one 
De Missa, in which he refutes both the Zwinglian 
and the Romish hypothesis, and exhibits the Lu- 
theran view that the " Lord's Supper is not a sacri- 
fice, but a sacrament, by which grace is offered, by 
which we are moved to believe, and by which we 
comfort our alarmed consciences." 

Finally, August 3, 1530, the Papal Confutation? 
chiefly the work of Eck, Fabri, Cochlaeus, and 
Wimpina, was read publicly in the Diet. It is schol- 
astic in form and weak in arguments. It actually 
strengthened the conviction of the Protestants that 
their cause was just. Melanchthon wrote to Veit 

1 Ranke, Die Romischen Pdpste im 16. u. ij. Jahrh., i., in. 
8 C. R., 2: 212. 

3 Reprinted in Francke's Libri Symbolic* and in Hase's Libri 

212 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Dietrich, Luther's friend and companion at Coburg, 
saying: " All good men in our party seem calmer 
and firmer in mind since hearing such absurdities. 
They know that among our adversaries there is no 
acquaintance with religion." And to Luther he 
wrote : 

" All the good and wise men are more courageous, 
since they have heard that puerile Confutation. Our 
rulers could easily obtain peace if they would court the 
Emperor and the more moderate princes. But there is 
marvellous indifference, and, as I think, a quiet indigna- 
tion that withholds them from such business." 8 

The Emperor declared that he would abide by the 
Confutation, and commanded the Protestants to do 
the same. This widened the breach between the 
two parties. Melanchthon now saw his cherished 
hope of peace about to be completely blasted. 
Again he had recourse to Campeggius, and wrote a 
letter to his secretary, which was designed evidently 
to reach the Cardinal himself. As this letter exhibits 
the greatest length to which Melanchthon went in 
his striving for peace, it is here given in full, as fol- 

" The advent of no one to this city has given me more 
pleasure than yours. For I know that you are endowed 
with a certain remarkable sweetness of temper and with 
an amiability worthy of a learned and wise man. Hence 
I have freely spoken with you both about my own private 
affairs, and of the public business; and on account of 

1 C. R., 2: 253. 
8 C. ^., 2 : 254. 

Negotiations for Peace 213 

your virtues I have been led to hope that you would be 
the promoter of peace in your deliberations. 

" For this reason I have often shown that if a few 
things were kept in the background, these divisions could 
be healed. In my opinion it would contribute very much 
to the quiet of the Church and to the dignity of the 
Roman See, to make peace on the conditions which I 
have mentioned. For also our priests should in turn 
render obedience to the bishops. Thus the Church 
would unite again in one body, and the Roman See 
would have its own honour, so that, if anything wrong 
remains in the churches, it can gradually be corrected 
by the care of the bishops. It is also our earnest desire 
to be freed from these contentions, that we may give our 
whole attention to the diligent improvement of doctrine. 
And unless this be done, wise men can easily foresee 
what, amid so many sects, will come upon posterity. 
And in this matter it is easy to see how indifferent those 
are whom you now oppose to us. Yesterday the Confut- 
ation of our Confession was read. If it shall be pub- 
lished, condemning us, believe me it will not have great 
admiration among judicious men, and will irritate the 
minds of ours. Thus there is danger that by the re- 
newal of this whole tragedy, greater commotion than 
ever will ensue. Hence I desire that these evils of the 
Church be not increased in virulence. Therefore I beg 
you to indicate to me in a few words, whether you have 
spoken with your Reverend Master about those con- 
ditions, and what hope he will hold out. If I can ob- 
tain anything favourable I will take care that the Roman 
See may not repent its kindness. The feelings and de- 
sires of many good men are united in this matter, who 
will do all they can to enlarge the authority of the 
bishops and to establish the peace of the Church. 

214 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 


" You see we cannot dissolve the existing marriages, 
nor have other priests. Nor could the change in regard 
to both elements cease without contempt of the Sacra- 
ment. It does not belong to the papal clemency to 
make war for such reasons, since there is nothing which 
is injurious to good men or to piety. And if more new 
doctrines appear, it belongs to your prudence to take 
care that a much greater commotion do not occur in the 
Church. I have written these things to you, a good and 
wise man, and I ask you to exhort yours to justice, and 
to indicate to me by this my friend, what hope your 
Reverend Master holds out. As I am suffering with the 
gout I cannot come to you." 

The correspondence of Melanchthon with Cam- 
peggius has sometimes been pronounced obsequious, 
and so it seems to be when judged by our standards. 
But it is not more so than Luther's letter to Pope 
Leo, and the one to Henry VIII. , and scarcely 
more so than is the Preface to the Augsburg Con- 
fession prepared by Chancellor Brtick. None of 
these writers, nor their writings, are to be judged 
by present conditions. 

The seeming obsequiousness is in the times, and 
in the long superlatives of " the unblushing Latin," 
rather than in the men. Campeggius was the repre- 
sentative of the greatest sovereign on earth. It 
was but natural that Melanchthon should address 
him in the language which immemorial usage had 
allotted to one so eminent in station. That the 
letters express too great confidence in the wisdom 
and moderation of the Cardinal, is to the discredit 

1 C. J? M 2: 248. 

Negotiations for Peace 215 

of Melanchthon only in so far as they show that 
German frankness is no proper match for Italian 
perfidy; and Melanchthon's willingness to restore 
the rule of the Pope and bishops is subject to the 
presupposition that they rule well, and promote 
sound doctrine. Besides, as the appointed leader 
of the Protestant party, which professedly was striv- 
ing for peace, Melanchthon felt his responsibility for 
securing peace in the face of imminent war, at any 
cost save that of the surrender of vital truth. It 
was not a truckling spirit nor personal fear that in- 
spired the letter, but a sincere desire to avert im- 
pending ruin, and to preserve the freedom of the 
Gospel in fundamentals. This is shown by what 
occurred the day after the reading of the Confession, 
when in the midst of the assembled clergy this same 
Cardinal Campeggius, " hurling thunderbolts like an 
angry Jove," demanded of Melanchthon that he 
should yield. With a courage that has been com- 
pared to that shown by Luther at Worms, he an- 
swered: " We cannot yield, nor desert the truth. 
We pray that for God's sake and Christ's our oppon- 
nents will grant us that which we cannot surrender 
with a good conscience." And when the Cardinal 
cried out, " I cannot, I cannot, the keys do not 
err," Melanchthon answered: ' We will commit 
our cause and ourselves to God. If God be for us, 
who can be against us ? We have forty thousand 
wives and children of pastors whose souls we cannot 
desert. We will toil and fight, and die, if God so 
will, rather than betray so many souls." 1 

1 C. R., 10 : 198. 

216 Philip Melanchthon 

Melanchthon was ever ready to hold out the hand 
of conciliation, but at no time was he willing to sur- 
render the Gospel for the hierarchy. 

Melanchthon did not hear the Papal Confutation 
read, nor would the Emperor furnish the Protestants 
with a copy. He simply demanded their submis- 
sion. This they were not prepared to render. 
Neither the command of the Emperor, nor the rage 
of the bishops, nor the imminence of war could deter 
them from making a defence of their Confession. 
Melanchthon and some others were directed to pre- 
pare an Apology of the Confession, in which it 
should be explained why the Protestants could not 
accept the Confutation, and in which the arguments 
of their opponents should in turn be confuted. For 
this purpose they used notes taken by Camerarius 
at the reading of the Confutation, and perhaps 
availed themselves of some writings of the Romish 
theologians against the Confession. On September 
22d, the Apology, thus prepared, was offered to the 
Emperor by Chancellor Briick, but was rejected. 
Later the Catholic majority published an edict in 
which they boasted that they had confuted the 
Confession out of the Scriptures. 

On September 23d, Melanchthon set out with the 
Elector for home. At Coburg he tarried a few days 
with Luther, who praised God that his beloved 
Prince had been delivered from hell. Thence to 
Wittenberg the two friends, the heroic reformer and 
the faithful confessor of Christ, travelled together. 
But Melanchthon, having obtained a copy of the 
Confutation, laboured on his Apology as they jour- 

Negotiations for Peace 217 

neyed. In the house of Spalatin at Altenburg he 
was writing on it while eating, until Luther snatched 
the pen out of his hand, saying, " Dear Philip, we 
can serve God not only by work, but also by rest." * 

On October 4th, he was again in Wittenberg, after 
an absence of six months. What he had suffered in 
mind and body no pen could record, no voice could 
utter. His was the heroism of endurance, as Lu- 
ther's was the heroism of daring. If Melanchthon 
sometimes bowed too low in the storm, it was that 
he might rise again with greater strength when the 
storm was over. And seldom has a man shown 
greater strength of conviction, or more transcendent 
skill as a theologian, than Melanchthon did in the 
elaboration of the Apology, which occupied his chief 
attention for several months. The work is as simple 
and edifying in form as it is profound and learned 
in contents. Some of the chapters were written 
over and over again for the sake of accuracy and 
thoroughness of treatment. He who would read 
the theology of Melanchthon at its best must read 
the Apology of the Augsburg Confession. 

After his return to Wittenberg, in connection with 
his other labours, Melanchthon prepared the first 
edition of the Augsburg Confession. The Emperor 
had forbidden its publication without his permission. 
But very soon no less than seven unauthorised edi- 
tions appeared six in German and one in Latin. 
As these had been printed from relatively imperfect 
copies, they differed from each other and from the 
text presented in the Diet. Some seem to have 

1 Matthesius, fol. 143. 

218 Philip Melanchthon [1531 

been purposely corrupted. From an authentic 
Latin copy, and from his own German manuscript, 
Melanchthon caused an edition to be printed, copies 
of which reached Augsburg before the Diet ad- 

Near the close of April, 1531, this edition was 
published in quarto form with the Apology, under 
the following Latin title 1 : 


exhibita inuictifs. Imp. Carolo V. 

Caelari Aug. in Comicijs 


M. D. XXX. 

Addita eft Apologia Confefsionis. 


Plalm. 119. 

Et loquebar de teftimonijs tuis in con- 
fpectu Eegum, & non confundebar. 


A copy with this title is found in the royal library 
at Dresden. Beneath the title Melanchthon wrote 
with his own hand, D. Doctori Martino. Et Rogo ut 
legat et emendet? 

1 C. R., 26 : 235. 


Schmalkald League Peace of Nuremberg Melanchthon's Opinion 
Melanchthon Called to England, to Tubingen, and to France 
Negotiations with Henry VIII. 

THE final decree of the Diet of Augsburg, pub- 
lished November 19, 1530, bore heavily against 
the Protestants. They were given time for consid- 
eration until the fifteenth of the following April, 
with the intimation that unless they yielded, forci- 
ble measures would be applied. They now felt the 
need of mutual defence. On the nineteenth of De- 
cember the princes who had signed the Augsburg 
Confession, and several cities which had accepted 
the same testimony of faith, met at Schmalkald and 
laid the foundation of the Schmalkald League, which 
was ratified on the twenty-ninth of March, 1531, for 
six years, and strengthened later by foreign alliances. 
The object of this politico-ecclesiastical alliance was 
the protection of Germany and the defence of the 
Protestant cause against the sword of the Empire. 
So powerful was this new combination that it 


220 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

alarmed the Emperor, and led to the Peace of Nu- 
remberg, July 23, 1532, which provided that the 
affairs of religion should remain in the state in which 
they then were until they could be settled by a 
general council or a new diet. 

The terms of this Peace were most favourable to 
the Protestants. They enhanced the dignity and 
moral influence of the leaguers, and secured them 
new accessions of power. The Peace itself allowed 
a time of quiet development for the principles of 
the Reformation. Luther and Melanchthon saw 
the cause for which they had long laboured and 
prayed and endured hardship, at length triumph 
through a large part of Germany ; but while they 
were rejoicing over the happy condition of affairs, 
they were called to the death-bed of the Saxon 
Elector, who departed this life, August 16, 1532. 
He was buried in the Castle Church at Wittenberg, 
Luther preaching a German sermon on the occasion, 
and Melanchthon delivering an academic oration in 
Latin. Because of the steadfastness of his faith, 
and the firmness of his character, the Elector is 
known in history as John the Constant. He was 
succeeded by his son, John Frederick, whose zeal in 
the Protestant cause was destined to pass through a 
fiery experience. The new Elector was irritable in 
temper and dogmatic in manner, but was wise 
enough to consult his theologians on all important 
ecclesiastical questions. When in June, 1533, the 
papal nuncio came to Weimar, and proposed a 
council on the condition that the Estates would 
pledge themselves to submit to its decisions, he re- 

f^W C s - 

1535] Melanchthon's Growing Fame 221 

ferred the matter to Luther and Melanchthon. As 
these theologians opposed a council on such a con- 
dition, one was not called, though at a convention 
held at Schmalkald, the Protestants had declared 
themselves favourable to a council : " but it must be 
a council in which Christ shall be Pontifex, who 
prays the Father for the Church, saying, ' Sanctify 
them by thy truth: thy word is truth.' ' 

As misunderstandings and estrangements still 
existed and threatened the peace of the Church 
and of the country, the Elector of Mayence and 
Duke George of Saxony offered themselves as med- 
iators. A conference was held in Leipzig, Melanch- 
thon and Briick appearing in the name of the Saxon 
Elector. The Catholic party would make no con- 
cessions on the main questions. They insisted 
on Good Works as necessary to Justification, and 
wanted Private Masses restored in the Protestant 
churches. Soon the negotiations were broken off. 

Melanchthon's letters during the summer of 1534 
show much anxiety in regard to the peace and safety 
of the Church. He expresses the conviction that 
the commotions cannot be settled by human coun- 
sels. Only God can prevail. About the middle of 
the summer he wrote a long Opinion on the Settle- 
ment of t/te Controversies in Religion? He con- 
cedes that for the sake of harmony some abuses 
may be overlooked and condoned, but not those 
which destroy the necessary articles of faith, or are 
idolatrous, or drive men to open sin. He is willing 
that the government of the Pope, and of the bishops, 

1 C. R., 2: 740 et seqq. 

222 Philip Melanchthon [1497 

shall remain for the sake of unity throughout the 
world, provided they do not abuse their authority 
by suppressing sound doctrine. He -also favours 
common rites in the Church, but on the condition 
that such rites are to be regarded as indifferent 
things, which do not make for righteousness, and 
are not to be used to foster superstition. Confes- 
sion may be retained, but an enumeration of sins 
must not be required. Justification is not be- 
stowed on account of our contrition, or works, 
" but alone through the mercy of God apprehended 
by faith, that is, trust in Christ." The old formulas 
for saying the Mass may be retained, but private 
masses are to be abolished. The doctrine of the 
Mass as a meritorious sacrifice is rejected. Com- 
munion in both kinds is in harmony with the institu- 
tion of Christ and with the custom of the ancient 
Church. The Pope ought to remove the restrictions 
in regard to the Sacrament until the Church can be 
united, and the full use restored. The invocation 
of saints has neither example nor command in the 
Scripture, neither was it practised by the ancient 
Church. It is not necessary. The histories and 
examples of the saints may be retained, but there 
is to be no worship of the saints. Not all vows are 
of perpetual obligation. 

" Monks who are not fitted for the monastic life may 
renounce it. In the richer monasteries of Germany 
neither literature nor learning exists. Idle men who are 
of no possible use to the Church are simply fed. Hence 
such monasteries ought to be suppressed, and their 
revenues ought to be transferred to other uses of the 

1535] Melanchthon's Growing Fame 223 

Church, and to the support of students in institutions of 

The Pope ought to abolish enforced clerical celibacy. 
It is purely a human institution. 

The Opinion is learned, moderate, and concilia- 
tory. It breathes throughout an earnest desire for 
harmony in the Church, but it does not surrender a 
single point of evangelical doctrine. The author 
expresses the hope that good and pious men will be 
able to agree in all points at issue. 

The Reformation was now making steady progress 
throughout Germany, albeit it was sometimes assisted 
by the sword. In the year 1 534, the Landgrave with 
an army, and aided by French gold, rescued Wur- 
temberg from the Austrians, and restored it to Duke 
Ulrich, who had been banished in 1528. When 
Melanchthon learned of the Landgrave's success, 
he exclaimed: " I cannot help loving him. All 
good men must wish that he might be preserved for 
great things yet to come." King Ferdinand recog- 
nised Ulrich as an under-feudatory, and John Fred- 
erick recognised Ferdinand as King of the Romans. 
Melanchthon wrote, " I will do all in my power to 
allay the agitations about Religion." 

It was during this year (1534) that Melanchthon 
was invited to France, where " the Lutheran heresy" 
had begun to take root. Francis, the King, seemed 
inclined to the Reformation, but he did not desire 
to separate himself from Rome. His motives were 
political rather than religious. He was willing to 

1 See, for these facts, C. R.,2: 739. 

224 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

ally himself with the German Protestants against 
a common enemy, the Emperor. His scheme was 
warmly espoused by William Bellay amJ his brother 
John, the Bishop of Paris. Bellay was sent to 
Strassburg to interview Bucer on the best means of 
restoring harmony to the Church. Dr. Ulrich 
Chilius was despatched to Wittenberg to lay the 
King's request before Melanchthon. Inspired by 
the hope of introducing the evangelical faith into 
France, Melanchthon expressed a willingness to 
follow the invitation. Both he and the Strassburg 
theologians sent Opinions to Francis. At first these 
Opinions were favourably received. But the in- 
trigues of the Catholics and the violent conduct of 
the reforming party soon excited the King's anger 
against the Protestants, and brought on a bloody 
persecution. Melanchthon expressed himself with 
energy against the fanaticism of those who overthrew 
the Gospel by their absurd methods. 

A letter 1 of Melanchthon, written September 13, 
1534, informs us that he had been called a second 
time to England, and that he is impatiently awaiting 
a third letter. He was also invited in September of 
this year to return to his " fatherland," and to assist 
in the reorganisation of the University of Tubingen. 
He left the decision of the matter to his Elector, 
who did not find it to his own interest to spare so 
distinguished a teacher from Saxony. When Philip 
now declined the call to Tubingen, the Elector was 
so pleased that he enlarged his -house, provided a 
garden for him, and wrote him a friendly letter. 

1 C. /?., 2 : 785. 

1535] Melanchthon's Growing Fame ^225 

But the Swabians were not entirely satisfied. In 
October, they begged Melanchthon to attend a dis- 
putation between Ambrose Blaurer and the Catholic 
professors of the university. The Catholics espe- 
cially desired his presence, because " he is not bitter 
and envious, but moderate, kind, and peaceable." 1 

The request of the Duke was seconded by " the 
University, by all the abbots, by prelates spirit- 
ual and temporal, yea, by the entire country." 
Melanchthon could not go, but he sent his friend Ca- 
merarius, who had become uncomfortable at Nurem- 
berg, who acted an important part in reorganising 
the university. In September, 1536, Melanchthon 
went to Tubingen to visit Camerarius, and also 
visited the Duke at Niirtingen. He made many 
suggestions for the improvement of the university, 
and brought it about that John Brentz, who was 
pastor at Swabian Hall, should spend one year at 
Tubingen lecturing on theology. He returned 
home a little later with a present of a hundred 
gulden from the Duke, and with the consciousness 
that he had been of service to the university. 

When new complications arose between Francis 
I., King of France, and the Emperor Charles V., 
the former sought an alliance with the Protestants 
of Germany ; but as it was reported that he had 
formed a league with the Turks, his advances were 
treated with hesitation. He then solicited the 
services of Bucer and Melanchthon. To this end 
Barnabas Voreus, Lord de Lafosse, a confessed 
follower of Melanchthon, was sent to Germany with 

1 C. R., 2: 795. 

226 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

letters of invitation and a safe-conduct. He also 
carried with him a letter from Jacob Sturm, who 
was then residing in Paris. This letter describes 
the religious condition of France and the mind of 
the King toward Melanchthon. It closes by saying : 
1 You are called not by me, but by many, nor is 
your presence desired by those only who have suf- 
fered direct distress, nor by those only who fear 
destruction ; but you are called by the voice of God 
and of Christ." 1 

This urgent call lay heavily on the heart of Me- 
lanchthon, but grave difficulties stood in the way of 
its acceptance,. At home loud complaints were 
heard to the effect that his going to France would 
look like a desertion of the Reformation. In Paris 
was the Sorbonne, with which in former years he 
had had sharp controversy, and, besides, he did not 
fully trust the King. In May, 1535, he answered 
Sturm's letter, and recites some of the obstacles 
which beset him : 

' You know how insolent the rulers are, and how they 
hold the fascinated minds of the nobility. Yet I am 
not much influenced by such things. What deters me is 
the fear that nothing will be done which will promote 
the glory of Christ and the peace of France and of the 
Church. I have come to this conclusion: If the King 
wishes to advance the glory of Christ and the peace of 
the Church, let him be earnestly exhorted to call a Synod, 
in which the restoration of the Church may be freely dis- 
cussed. Other plans, it seems to me, are futile, yea, 
pernicious." * 

1 C. ^., 2 : 855. * C. R., 2 : 874. 

1535] Melanchthon's Growing Fame 227 

As Melanchthon's decision was delayed, the King 
himself wrote, June 23, 1535, beseeching him to 
come, either as a private individual, or in the name 
of his confederates, arid assured him of his gracious 
pleasure. Cardinal Bellay and his brother William 
also wrote, expressing the deepest interest in Me- 
lanchthon's coming, and assured him of the favour 
of the King and of all good men. 1 

Melanchthon, who meanwhile had gone to Jena, 
on account of the plague that raged at Wittenberg, 
now greatly desired to go to France. To this end 
he sought permission from the Elector to visit France 
as a private person for three months. He was 
warmly supported in his request by a letter from 
Luther. The Elector, who thoroughly understood 
the King's political motives, refused the request 
with an emphasis that bordered on severity. Me- 
lanchthon was deeply wounded, not so much because 
the Elector refused to grant his request, as be- 
cause he had expressed himself with so much harsh- 
ness. He wrote the King, August 28, 1535, saying 
that though he was compelled to postpone his 
coming to France, his mind was still bent on the 
abatement of controversy. 2 Thus the matter ended. 
Neither Melanchthon nor Bucer went to France. 

Early in 1531, Melanchthon had been requested 
to prepare an Opinion on the divorce of Henry 
VIII. , King of England, from Catharine of Aragon. 
August 28th, in a lengthy argument, he declared 

1 C. R., 2: 879-886. 

2 C, .#., 2 : 913, 914. 

228 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the King's marriage valid, and without scriptural 
grounds for divorce. Nevertheless, if public policy 
requires an heir for the throne, " it would be safest 
for the King to contract a second marriage without 
abrogating the first, because polygamy is not for- 
bidden by the law, and is not without precedent." ' 

Some other German theologians counselled the 
divorce ; but those of Wittenberg disapproved of it 
under any and all circumstances. Finally, when the 
divorce had been effected, and Henry had, in 1534, 
separated from Rome, and had sent his chaplain, 
Dr. Anthony Barnes, a second time, in March, 
!535> to consult with the Wittenberg divines, Me- 
lanchthon was induced to write the King a letter. 
He counsels Henry to use his authority in moderat- 
ing others and in assisting to abolish abuses, and " to 
introduce a simple, specific form of doctrine." In 
giving this advice he followed the principle which 
had guided the Reformers in all their operations: 
the abolition of abuses and the maintenance of 
sound doctrine. Even when Henry's envoys pressed 
the suit of their royal master for the headship of the 
Schmalkald League, they were met by the demand 
that he should sign the Augsburg Confession. When 
Melanchthon at Barnes's suggestion dedicated to 
Henry the new edition of the Loci, with a Preface 
more diplomatic and flattering than our taste can 
approve, his object was not to secure a patron, " but 
to seek a censor whose good judgment in regard to 
doctrine he should consider unbiassed and fair." 
And when Melanchthon's colleagues, Luther, Jonas, 

1 C. ^., 2: 520. 

1535] Melanchthon's Growing Fame 229 

Cruciger, and Bugenhagen, importuned the Elector 
to allow Melanchthon to go to England, the end 
aimed at was not so much alliance with Henry as it 
was the propagation of sound doctrine, since Doctor 
Antonius, tile niger Anglicus, as Luther calls him, 
had given the most positive assurance that doctrines 
were to be included in the negotiations. 1 

Also, this supreme regard for doctrine was still 
more conspicuously exhibited in " The Thirteen 
Articles of 1535," written by Melanchthon, Decem- 
ber 25th, and signed by the Elector, the Landgrave 
of Hesse, and the English envoys. The first of 
these articles provides 

' That the Most Serene King shall promote the Gospel 
of Christ and the pure doctrine of faith in the manner 
in which the Princes and confederated Estates confessed 
it in the Diet of Augsburg, and have guarded it in the 
published Apology; unless perhaps with the common 
consent of the Most Serene King and the Princes them- 
selves, some things should seem to need correction or 
change in accordance with the Word of God." 2 

As the Elector knew that Henry's motives were 
political rather than religious, he refused to spare 
Melanchthon from his university; and as further 
negotiations failed to induce the Wittenberg theo- 
logians to sanction Henry's divorce, Melanchthon 
soon relinquished all desire to go to England. June 
9, 1536, he wrote to Camerarius: " I am now freed 
from anxiety about going to England. Since the 

1 Luther's Brief e, iv., 630, 632. 

2 C. R., 2: 1032. 

230 Philip Melanchthon [1535 

occurrence of such tragedies in England, there has 
been a great change of views. The late Queen, ac- 
cused rather than convicted of adultery, has been 
executed." 1 

Later the Elector wished to send an embassy of 
statesmen and theologians, including Melanchthon, 
to England, to secure Henry's subscription to the 
Augsburg Confession, as a condition of his admission 
to the Schmalkald League ; but as this was opposed 
by the other Estates, in September a letter, written 
by Melanchthon, was sent in the name of the con- 
federated Estates, inquiring for the King's view of 
the articles agreed upon between his envoys and the 
Wittenberg theologians, and announcing their inten- 
tion to suspend their judgment in regard to a General 
Council until " they should learn whether his Royal 
Highness is disposed to defend the pure doctrine 
of the Christian religion which we profess." As 
this letter was delayed in reaching the King, and as 
meanwhile the attention of the Protestants was 
attracted to other matters, the negotiations with 
England were suspended. 

*.*., 3: 89. 
3 C ^.,3: 144. 







New Edition of the Loci Exposition of Melanchthon's Theology : 
The Will, Good Works, the Number of Sacraments, Infant 
Baptism, the Lord's Supper Luther's Approbation of the Loci. 

DURING the four or five years that followed the 
Diet of Augsburg, Melanchthon was especially 
active with his pen. Among the most important of 
his writings of this period, besides the Apology, are 
two books on Rhetoric, Carios Chronicle, a Preface 
to a work on astronomy, some editions and transla- 
tions of Greek and Latin classics, a second edition 
of his Commentary on Romans, dedicated to the 
Archbishop of Mayence, and in 1535 a revised and 
enlarged edition of the Loci, with dedication, as 
already noticed, to the King of England, who sent 
him two hundred florins, with a letter subscribed, 
" Your friend, King Henry VIII." 

Since this new edition of the Loci ranks as one of 
Melanchthon's most important writings, it deserves 
more than a passing notice. The author tells us in 
several letters, that he is revising the Confession and 


232 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the Loci for the purpose of making the definitions 
more simple and luminous. To Camerarius he 
wrote, December 24, 1535: "In my Loci I seem 
to have second thoughts. You see I have tried to 
throw some light on obscure and intricate subjects. ' ' * 
(^During the ten years that intervened from 1525 to 
t 1535, Melanchthon had opportunity to acquaint 
himself better with the Catholic system, to look 
more deeply into the teaching of the Fathers, to 
study the Scriptures more thoroughly, to profit by 
the criticisms of his opponents, and to learn better 
the practical needs of the Church. Hence this edi- 
tion exhibits not only progress in theological science, 
but more calmness, greater accuracy in definitions, 
a larger reverence for the oldest teachers of the 
Church, and the quiet assurance that the Protestants 
v are in possession of the true doctrine. Each in- 
dividual Locus, or subject, is first stated systematic- 
ally, often syllogistically, and is then followed by 
proofs from the Scriptures and from the Fathers, to 
show that the Protestants are in harmony with the 
true Catholic Church of Jesus Christ. The work 
(^also exhibits some important changes in theological 
j views, and in methods of statement. We have 
/ space in which to mention only the following sub- 
jects : 

i. Free Will and Predestination. The absolute 
determinism taught in the first edition by the de- 
claration " that all things that occur, occur by ne- 
cessity," is excluded. In the Locus, " Of the Cause 
of Sin and of Contingence," it is said : 
1 C. J?., 2: 861, 881. 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 233 

" God is not the cause of sin. Contingence must evi- 
dently be conceded, because sin, properly speaking, 
arises from the will of the devil and of man, and is com- 
mitted without the approbation of God and without his 
forcing our wills. Hence it is not by any means com- 
mitted necessarily by absolute necessity." 

The doctrine of necessity he calls " a dream of the 
Stoics," to which the pious must give neither their 
minds nor ears. ' The hardening of Pharaoh's 
heart is a Hebrew figure of speech which signifies 
permission, not an efficient will; as, Lead us not into 
temptation, means, permit us not to be led into 
temptation." ' There are three causes which con- 
cur in conversion : The Word, the Holy Spirit, 
and the Will, not indeed neutral, but resisting its 
own weakness." He supports this proposition by 
quotations from Basil and Chrysostom, and says: 
" God precedes, calls, moves, assists us, but we 
should take care not to oppose. For it is evident 
that sin arises from us, not from the will of God." 
Melanchthon had been led by the controversy on 
the Will between Erasmus and Luther, to see that 
the former had defended an important element of 
truth, namely, the essential freedom of the Will as 
over against the absolute predestinarianism of Lu- 
ther. From the time that he formally entered the 
theological faculty, in 1526, he had begun to move 
more independently in his sphere ; and this is cert- 
ainly to his credit ; for though he had at the begin- 
ning learned his theology from Luther, he was under 
no obligation to dwell forever under Luther's shadow, 

234 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

nor to abide by all the definitions and conclusions of 
his master. His highly ethical and practical nature, 
and his biblical studies, had led him to*esteem piety 
and morality as the end of theological pursuits; 
and he soon discovered that a doctrine which made 
God the cause of sins, like the adultery of David 
and the treachery of Judas, could not be. favourable 
to virtue. In his Commentary on Colossians (1527), 
he says: " Because Christ himself says, John viii., 
when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh it of himself , I will 
not make God the author of sin, but the preserver 
of nature, the restorer of life and motion, which life 
and motion the devil and the wicked do not rightly 
use." This clearly implies that the devil and the 
wicked have Free Will and are the cause of sin. But 
he plainly limits the freedom to choose in things 
pertaining to nature, for he says that " the will can- 
not perform Christian or spiritual righteousness," 
but " has the power of performing natural and civil 
righteousness, as, abstaining from theft, or from 
murder, or from another man's wife." 1 With this 
agree the Visitation Articles of the same year. 

In the Augsburg Confession, Article V., he had 
presented the doctrine of divine sovereignty in the 
clause, " Where and when it seems good to God." 
In Article XVIII. he had asserted the essential 
freedom of the Will in the declaration that " the 
human will has a certain freedom for doing civil 
righteousness and for choosing such things as belong 
to reason." In the Commentary on Romans (1532), 
to the " scruple of particularity," he " opposes the 

1 Galle's Charakteristik Melanchthons, p. 274. 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 235 

universal promises of the Gospel, which teach that 
God for Christ's sake, and out of grace, offers salva- 
tion to all." He further says that " we must judge 
of the will of God and of election, not from reason, 
nor from the law, but from the Gospel." He ex- 
pressly places the cause of reprobation in unwill- 
ingness to believe the Gospel. 1 Thus Melanchthon 
was the first among the Reformers to depart from 
the Augustinian particularity, and to bring out the 
doctrine of the universality of the offer of salvation, 
and to direct the attention of men primarily to the 
redemption through Christ as a fact, and not prim- 
arily to the secret decree of God : " The Church does 
not depend on human counsel, nor on human vir- 
tues ; but God in Christ has loved and chosen those 
who are to be saved," that is, those who believe 
the Gospel. Already, in 1531, he had reached essen- 
tially the same position, when he wrote to Brentz : 

" You imagine that men are justified by faith, because 
by faith we accept the Holy Spirit and afterwards are 
justified by the fulfilling of the law, which is effected by 
the Holy Spirit. This supposition places righteousness 
in our work, in our purity or perfection, albeit such per- 
fection ought to follow faith. But turn your eyes wholly 
from renovation and the law to the promise and to 
Christ, and know that we are justified on account bf 
Christ, that is, that we are accepted before God and 
find peace of conscience not on account of that renova- 
tion. Such renovation is not sufficient. We are justi- 
fied by faith alone, not because it is the root, as you 

1 C. R., 15 : 680-686 

236 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

write, but because it lays hold of Christ, on account of 
whom we are accepted." 

In this particular, viz., that justification precedes 
regeneration and prepares the way for it, the Lu- 
theran Church has followed Melanchthon, as shown 
especially in the Form of Concord of 1580. 

In the Locus De Pradestinatione he exhibits the 
doctrine of the universality of the offer of redemp- 
tion with greater fulness. He says again: " Mercy 
is the cause of election "; and he declares that no 
one can seek the cause of election outside the Gos- 
pel without erring: " Hence let us not permit our- 
selves to be turned from the Gospel, but let us 
utterly reject other fancies." In writing of Free 
Will and Predestination, he insists that men must 
hear the Gospel, must apply the promise by faith, 
and each one must include himself in the universal 
promise by which the Holy Ghost operates. " God 
draws man, but he draws only him who is willing." 
In the Commentary on Romans he had said (p. 
680): "It is not of him that willeth or runneth, but 
of God that showeth mercy ; that is, mercy is the 
cause of election. It is not of us to will, or to run, 
and yet these things take place in the will, and in 
him that runneth and resisteth not." 

This teaching of Melanchthon's has been called 
Synergism, and has been the subject of much dis- 
pute in the Lutheran Church. Some of the state- 
ments, taken in isolation from the full treatment of 
which they form a part, may be open to objection ; 

1 C. .. 2 : 501. 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 237 

but, considered in their proper relations, the teach- 
ing is believed to be in accord with the plain import 
of the Scriptures, and with the common Christian 
experience. According to Melanchthon, God calls; 
the Spirit works through the Word; the Will be- 
comes active under the influence of grace and of 
divine truth. Then it accepts or rejects the offer 
of salvation. It has no self-moved activity in spirit- 
ual things. Of itself it can work no spiritual right- 
eousness; it can contribute nothing to justification; 
it cannot bring forth faith. Faith occurs when man 
hears the Word of God, and when God moves and 
inclines him to believe. Without the Word there 
is no contact of the Spirit. Thus Free Will is simply 
the power to resist the Will's own infirmity and to 
accept the offer of grace when assisted by the higher 
powers. Its subordination to the Spirit and to the 
Word is always presupposed. Of the three concur- 
ring causes, the Will is placed third, and becomes a 
cause only when preceded and quickened into activ- 
ity by the other two. 

Thus Melanchthon is as far from Pelagianism oh 
the one hand as he is from Determinism on the 
other. He preserves the golden mean. Over against 
Luther's one-sided emphasis of the love of God, and 
Calvin's doctrine of irresistible grace, Melanchthon 
maintains and conserves the responsibility of man. 
He thus imparts an ethical quality to the Lutheran 
theology, such as otherwise it had not had. The 
moral personality is insisted on, and is made respons- 
ible for the use of the means of grace, for the ap- 
propriation of salvation, and for righteous living. 

238 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

It is the conclusion of the most competent judges 
that at this point even the Form of Concord adheres 
to Melanchthon's fundamental tendenty ; and " the 
later expounders of the Form of Concord, notwith- 
standing their aspersions of Melanchthon, have 
simply adopted his conception of the way of salva- 
tion in order to save their own ordo s.alutis at its 
most critical point from the inconsistence and ab- 
surdity of pure accident." 1 Moreover, some of the 
ablest modern Lutherans, Thomasius, Stahl, Har- 
less, Hofmann, Kahnis, and Luthardt, have more or 
less followed the course taken by Melanchthon, and 
have developed the Lutheran doctrine of the Will 
and of Predestination away from the position taken 
by Luther in De Servo Arbitrio, and never renounced 
by him. Indeed the proposition that God loves 
and elects man in Christ, and not by an absolute 
beneplacitum, has become classic in the Lutheran 

2. Good Works. In these Loci Melanchthon sets 
out the doctrine of Justification with great clearness. 
He gives Justification its forensic sense, as meaning 
" to absolve, or to pronounce just." Faith is 
described as " confidence in mercy promised for 
Christ's sake." ;< It includes the knowledge of the 
history of Christ as the Son of God and a habit or 
action of the will which accepts the promise of 
Christ and reposes in Christ." 

Thus every thought of the merit or of the right- 
eousness of works is excluded. Justification is named 

J See Dorner, Hist. Prof. TheoL, i., 218; Herrlinger's Melanch- 
ihoris Theologie, 95. 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 239 

agratuita acceptatio for Christ's sake. But in Mel- 
anchthon's conception, faith in its essential quality 
is far from being an intellectual apprehension ; much 
rather is it a moral quality which regenerates the 
heart and controls the will. In the Apology he 
had said that " faith is a new light in the heart, an 
energetic operation of the Holy Spirit by which we 
are regenerated." The justified person must there- 
fore be looked upon as a regenerated person. Before 
Justification, faith accepts gifts of grace ; after Justi- 
fication, it works righteousness. In the Loci he says : 
" Our obedience, that is, the righteousness of a good 
conscience, or of works which God enjoins upon us, 
ought of necessity to follow reconciliation." He 
further says, " We are justified that we may live a 
new spiritual life." The relation of good works to 
Justification is that of effect to cause. Where they 
do not exist, faith is not a living apprehension of 
Christ. He continues: " Whom He justifies, the 
same also He glorifies. Hence eternal life is not 
given on account of the merit of good works, but 
freely on account of Christ. And yet good works 
are thus necessary to eternal life, because they ought 
necessarily to follow reconciliation." 

The good works that are required are " spiritual 
affections, the fear of God, trust, worship, love, and 
the like." These are acceptable to God, " not be- 
cause they satisfy the law, but because already the 
persons are acceptable." It is evident that there is 
neither Pelagianism, nor Antinomianism in such a 
doctrine of Good Works. In no sense does it sub- 
stitute human righteousness for the righteousness of 

240 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Christ; neither does it abolish the law of the Ten 
Commandments, nor encourage an idle or dissolute 
life under false notions of Christian liberty. 

In his Commentary on the Gospel of John, writ- 
ten for the use of Cruciger in his lectures, Melanch- 
thon had said that in Justification good works are a 
causa sine qua non. This clause was injudiciously 
employed by Cruciger, and, at the instance of one 
Conrad Cordatus, it brought on controversy. But 
Melanchthon declared that it meant only that " new 
spirituality is necessary to eternal life," and he 
affirmed his full agreement with Luther. To Jonas 
he wrote that Christ is the cause of Justification, 
but that we must have contrition, and must comfort 
our consciences by the Word, in order that we may 
receive faith. It is evident that he wished to clear 
the doctrine of Justification from the false notion 
that a mere dead historical faith justifies. He 
meant to say that where there is no repentance and 
no Christian living, there is no Justification. The 
sine qua non is intended to signify the close and 
living connection between faith and sanctification. 
Good works are necessary to eternal life, or to salva- 
tion, as the fruit of faith. In after years, however, 
On order to avoid giving offence to an age which was 
1 justly suspicious of the very words Good Works, 
I Melanchthon exchanged the formula, " Good works 
are necessary to eternal life," for " Good works are 
necessary " ; and to this formula he adhered. 

3. The Number of Sacraments. Melanchthon de- 
fines Sacraments as ceremonies or rites appointed 
in the Gospel, and having reference to the remission 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 241 

of sins. Thus defined, he names Baptism, the 
Lord's Supper, and Absolution, Sacraments. " For 
these rites are appointed in the Gospel, and are em- 
ployed to signify the promise that is peculiar to the 
Gospel. We are baptised that we may believe that 
our sins are forgiven. The Lord's Supper and Ab- 
solution admonish us to believe that our sins are 
surely forgiven." In the Apology, Melanchthon 
had declared that Absolution is a true Sacrament, 
and there can scarcely be a doubt that he meant to 
assign it the same dignity in the Augsburg Confes- 
sion. Here he calls confession an ecclesiastical rite; 
says it is not necessary, and that an enumeration of 
sins rests upon no divine command. In the Lutheran 
Church, Absolution is not reckoned among the Sac- 
raments, nor put in a category with Baptism and the 
Lord's Supper. This Church never has required an 
enumeration . of sins, and Private Confession has 
fallen into desuetude. 

4. Infant Baptism. Melanchthon puts the argu- 
ment for Infant Baptism in the, following syllogistic 

" It is certain that the Kingdom of God and the pro- 
mise of salvation appertain to children. But there is no 
salvation outside the Church where there is no Word and 
no Sacrament. Therefore children must be united to 
the Church, and the sign must be applied which testifies 
that to them appertains the promise." 

The major premise is established by numerous 
passages from the New Testament and by the law of 


242 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

circumcision. The minor is supported chiefly by the 
fact that the Church is the Kingdom of Christ, in 
which Christ operates through the. Word and the 
Sacraments. There can be no Church without 
the Sacraments and the Word. He also quotes the 
Mosaic law, that the soul of every uncircumcised 
male shall be cut off from the people. The conclu- 
sion is that infants are to be baptised, and that by 
receiving the sign they become members of the 
Church, and God bestows upon them the promise. 
In opposition to the Anabaptist doctrine that in- 
fants cannot believe, he instances the fact that unbe- 
lief did not exclude them from the Mosaic covenant. 
He does not even intimate that infants can have 
faith. Nor has infant faith at any time been con- 
fessional in the Lutheran Church. The conclusion 
involved in Melanchthon's minor premise was fully 
accepted at Wittenberg, namely, that there is no 
salvation for the children of Jews and heathen, 1 a 
harsh judgment which the Lutheran Church does 
not approve. 

5. The Lord's Supper. On no other subject did 
Melanchthon bestow so much thought and investiga- 
tion as on that of the Lord's Supper. As proof of this 
we reproduce a few quotations that have already ap- 
peared in this book. In 1537, he wrote, " For ten 
years neither day nor night has passed in which I 
have not reflected on this subject " a ; and in 1529, he 
wrote to the Reutlingen pastors, " Not without the 
greatest struggles have I reached the conclusion that 

1 C. ., 10 : 688. 
*C*.,3: 537. 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 243 

Christ is truly present." He also said, " I would 
rather die than affirm with the Zwinglians that the 
body of Christ can be in only one place. " * At Augs- 
burg he believed that he had expressed Luther's doc- 
trine of the Lord's Supper in the tenth article of the 
Confession 3 ; and he had already said that ' ' Luther's 
doctrine is very old in the Church, and a good man 
will not rashly depart from the teaching of the 
ancients." But when QEcolampadius, in his Dia- 
logue on the Teaching of the Ancients (1530), showed 
that some of the passages from the Fathers relied on 
by Melanchthon were spurious, the faith of the latter 
in the correctness of some of his own representations 
was shaken. To Brentz he wrote, January 12, 1535 : 

" I am not willing to be the author or defender of a 
new dogma in the Church. I see that there are many 
passages of the ancients which certainly explain the mys- 
tery [sacrament] figuratively. There are also opposing 
passages, perhaps later, or spurious. We must be care- 
ful not to oppose the doctrine of the ancients." 5 

In this same letter he affirms " the true presence 
of Christ in the Supper," but he constantly refrains 
from defining the mode of the presence, and refers 
it to the will and to the institution of Christ. At 
Marburg, in 1529, he modified Luther's doctrine of 
oral manducation. In 1531 he forsook the theory 
of Ubiquity. He did not place either of them in 
the Confession, or in the Apology. A little later the 

1 C. R., i : 1106. 4 C. R., i : 823, 830. 

2 C. R., 2: 25. 5 C. R., 2: 824. 

*C. R., 2: 142. 

244 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

inpane (in the bread] was also given up. Since 1 538, 
he seems to have surrendered the literal signification 
of eare (is) in the words of institution, but without 
surrendering the doctrine of the real presence. The 
connection, whether physical or metaphysical, of 
the body and blood of Christ with the material ele- 
ments, and the presence of the body of Christ in the 
bread, both so much emphasised by Luther in con- 
troversy, drop into the background with Melanch- 
thon in view of the religious and ethical significance 
of the Supper. He regards the Eucharist more as a 
pledge, a mystery, a communion with the entire 
Christ, a salutary impartation of the God-man to 
the believing human soul, a thanksgiving by which 
we give thanks for the remission of sins. ' Whence 
it occurs that Christ is in us not only by love, but 
also by natural participation, that is, not only by 
efficacy, but also by substance." l Thus with Mel- 
anchthon, the religious significance of the Supper is 
more important than the metaphysics of Dogma. 
By joining the words of Paul (i Cor. x. 16) with the 
words of institution, Melanchthon sees in the Sacra- 
ment a fellowship with the body and blood of Christ ; 
and by associating the Sacrament directly with the 
forgiveness of sins, he preserves the true Lutheran 
type of doctrine, for with Luther, as with Melanch- 
thon, the chief moment in the Sacrament is the as- 
surance of the forgiveness of sins. The Sacrament 
is the application and appropriation of redemption. 

All hangs on the words, " Given and shed for you 
for the remission of sins." Even the presence of 

1 c. R., 21 : 863. 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 245 

the body and blood of Christ is entirely subordinate 
to these words. The heavenly gifts are but the 
sign and seals of the promise contained in these 
words. This position Melanchthon maintained with 
unyielding firmness, though in definitions, and in 
matters of form, he deviated from Luther. But the 
latter regarded the deviations of such small import- 
ance that he never called Melanchthon to account, 
nor uttered one word of disapprobation that has 
come down to us. Even when an Opinion of Mel- 
anchthon's " that under tyrants a person may use 
the sacrament with only one kind," had been treach- 
erously divulged by Jacob Schenk, to whom it was 
given in confidence, and had excited some suspicion 
at the Electoral Court, and had led to inquiry, 
Luther simply said, " I will share my heart with 
Philip; I will pray for him." 1 Would to God that 
the same spirit of charity had always and everywhere 
prevailed in the Lutheran Church ! 

Moreover, Melanchthon always believed himself 
to be in harmony with Luther in the matter of 
the Supper; and well he might, since the latter, in 
1525, had sanctioned the highly ideal and virtual 
presence of the body and blood, as it had been 
stated by Brentz and others in the Swabian Syn- 
gramma. 2 

Nowhere, perhaps, has the religious significance 
of the Supper been set forth more correctly in har- 
mony with that which is central in the Lutheran 
doctrine than in the Loci of 1535 : 

l c. R., 3: 428. 

2 Kostlin's Luther's Theologie, ii., 147; English Trans., ii., 105. 

246 Philip Melanchthon 

" This cup is the New Testament, that is, the witness 
of the new promise. The sum of the Gospel or promise 
in these words is, This is my body which is given for 
you. Also: Which is shed for you for the remission of 
sins. Therefore the principal purpose of this ceremony 
is to testify that the things promised in the Gospel, remis- 
sion of sins and Justification on account of Christ, are 
presented. As the chief thing we should consider that 
the sacrament is a sign of grace, that this Supper is a 
sign of the New Testament. But what is the New 
Testament ? Certainly it is the promise of the remission 
of sins and of reconciliation on account of Christ. Also 
this ceremony profits when we add faith, that is, believe 
that these promises belong to us, and that this sign is 
presented to our eyes and mind, to incite us to faith and 
to quicken the faith in us. For Christ testifies that his 
benefits belong to us when he gives us his body, and 
makes us his members, than which no closer union can 
be conceived. Likewise he testifies that he is active in 
us, because he is life. He gives blood to testify that he 
washes us. When we see these things dona in that most 
Holy Supper, we ought to have faith." 

In these views Melanchthon persisted to the end. 
As in 1527 he wrote, " The bread which we brake is 
a communication of the body of Christ, not a com- 
munication of the spirit of Christ," * so in the last 
edition of his Loci in 1559 he wrote: 

" This do in remembrance of me. It is not an empty 
spectacle, but Christ is truly present through the ministry 
giving his body and blood to him that eats. So also say 
the ancient writers. Cyril on John says: We must not 

1 C. K., 26 : 19. 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 247 

think that Christ is present in us by love only, but also 
by natural participation ; that is, he is present not only 
in efficacy but also in substance." 

A few persons of narrow and partisan spirit tried 
to excite Luther against Melanchthon in view of the 
changes made in the Loci. But in this they utterly 
failed. Luther spoke kindly and sympathetically to 
Melanchthon about the criticisms. He knew too 
well how to distinguish between the form and the 
substance, not to perceive that Melanchthon had 
preserved and expressed the full truth of the Gospel. 
When the Elector read the German translation of 
the new Loci, he complained to Luther that the 
article on Justification was too meagre. There is 
no record of Luther's answer, but about this J:irne 
he said to the students : 

" Read Philip's Loci next to the Bible. In this most 
beautiful book the pure theology is stated in a quiet and 
orderly way. Augustine, Bernard, Bonaventura, Lyra, 
Gabriel Biel, Staupitz, and others have much that is 
good; but our Master Philip can explain the Scriptures 
and present their meaning in brief compass. By reason 
of affliction he has learned to pray, and he has disputed 
with the greatest and most learned opponents." 

This is high praise from a high authority, and 
ought to silence forever the clamours that have been 
raised against Melanchthon because he did not choose 
always to express his conceptions of divine truth in 

1 C. P., 21 : 863. 

8 Matthesius, Twelfth Sermon. 

248 Philip Melanchthon [ug7- 

the formulas of Luther. If the great Luther could 
magnify Melanchthon's work, there ought to be only 
one opinion in regard to the small men who try to 
belittle it; and as for the complaint of the Elector, 
that was only a passing scruple. He remained faith- 
ful to the estimate of Melanchthon which he had 
formed when on the fifth of May, 1536, he added a 
hundred florins to his and to Luther's salary, saying: 

" In these times the merciful God has published his 
holy Word through the work of the Reverend Doctor Mar- 
tin Luther for the comfort and salvation of men ; and in 
connection with the other arts, particularly by the lan- 
guages, through the special distinguished skill and dili- 
gence of the highly learned Philip Melanchthon, the true 
Christian knowledge of the Holy Scriptures has been 

And, what is more important, Luther placed what 
may be called his testamentary seal on Melanch- 
thon's Loci, and thus bequeathed it to posterity with 
his blessing and benediction : In the Preface to the 
first edition of his own works, he extols " Philip's 
Loci Communes ' ' above all other books of system- 
atic divinity, and wishes that his own books might 
be buried in oblivion in order to make place for 
those that are better ; and says finally : 

" Philip Melanchthon was called hither by Prince 
Frederick to teach Greek, but beyond doubt that I might 
have a companion in the work of theology. What God 
has wrought through this organon, not only in letters, 

'Seckendorf, iii., 142. 

1536] Melanchthon's Theology 249 

but in theology, his own works sufficiently testify, though 
Satan and his rabble rage." 

This was written in full view of the fact that in 
the edition of 1543 Melanchthon had still further 
changed the Loci, and had declared therein that 
" Free will in man is the power by which he applies 
himself to grace." It would seem that the more 
Melanchthon revised the Loci, incorporating into it 
the acquisitions of study, and adapting it to new 
conditions, the better Luther liked it and the more 
loudly he praised it. 1 

1 Volume 21 of C. R. contains the Loci in its different forms. 



Melanchthon and Bucer at Cassel Oberlanders Come to Wittenberg 
Articles of Union Internal Feuds. 

SOON after the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, the 
theologians of Upper Germany began to ap- 
proach the Lutheran position on the doctrine of the 
Lord's Supper. The most active mediator of union 
was Martin Bucer of Strassburg. He prepared a 
formula in which he confessed that Christ is truly 
and essentially present in the Sacrament. Luther 
declared himself satisfied, " provided Bucer means 
it as the words sound." Melanchthon regarded it 
as a great thing that Bucer had confessed the true 
and substantial presence, and " seized the oppor- 
tunity to unite the Church, and to harmonise dis- 
tracting views." * As the Landgrave of Hesse had 
been and still was an ardent advocate of union, 
Melanchthon wrote him begging him to take the 
work of concord in hand, and promised to do all in 

1 C. ., 2: 787. 


1537] The Wittenberg Concord 251 

his power to bring about Christian unity, " since in 
other articles there is no dissent." * 

On the twenty-seventh of December, 1534, Bucer 
and Melanchthon, upon invitation of the Landgrave, 
met at Cassel to prepare a basis of agreement. The 
latter, that he might not appear wholly in his own 
name, requested an Instruction from Luther. This 
was given in language which brought out Luther's 
doctrine with a crassness that had not been before 
exhibited. He says: " Our doctrine is, that in the 
bread or with the bread, the body of Christ is really 
eaten, so that all the motions and actions that are at- 
tributed to the bread, are attributed also to the body of 
Christ, so that the body is truly broken, eaten, and torn 
with the teeth." 2 He goes on to say that there is 
no middle ground, that it were better that each 
party should abide by its own opinion than that oc- 
casion should be given for new disputes. Writing 
of the Instruction to Jonas, December 16, 1534, he 
says, " I cannot recede from my position though 
the heavens should fall and bury me beneath their 
ruins." 3 Of course Melanchthon could not approve 
such a formula, and hence he afterwards declared 
that he went to Cassel " as the bearer of another's, 
not of his own view." 4 

There could be no approximation on the basis of 
Luther's Instruction ; but the two conferees agreed 
on and signed the following statement : 

1 C. R., 2 : 787. 

2 Seckendorf, iii., 8, xxviii. 
3 De W.,4: 569. 

4 C. A*., 2 : 822. 

252 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

" That the body of Christ is really and truly received, 
when we receive the Sacrament; and bread and wine are 
signs, signa exhibitiva^ which being given and received the 
body of Christ is at the same time given and received; 
and we hold that the bread and body are together, not 
by a mixing of their substances, but as a sacrament, and 
are given with the sacrament. As both parties hold that 
bread and wine remain, they hold that there is a sacra- 
mental conjunction." 

When Luther read the agreement he was delighted 
with it, and announced that union was virtually ac- 
complished. 2 That the other theologians might not 
have occasion for ' ' protest or offence, ' ' Melanchthon 
acquainted them with the proposed formula, and 
solicited their opinions. For the most part the 
opinions returned were favourable. Everything now 
seemed propitious for union. Melanchthon declared, 
" Could I purchase union by my death, gladly would 
I give my life," 3 and Luther wrote that he would 
do all in his power to strengthen and maintain con- 
cord. 4 At Bucer's suggestion, it was soon arranged 
to hold a meeting of the Oberlanders and Witten- 
bergers at Eisenach, May 14, 1536. But because of 
Luther's indisposition, the place of meeting was 
changed to Grimma, the time to May 2ist. The 
Oberlanders coming to Grimma and learning that 
Luther was still indisposed, decided to press on to 
Wittenberg. Melanchthon and Cruciger went to 

*C.R. % 2: 808. 
*De W.,4: 588. 
*C. R., 2: 837. 
4 De W., 4: 612. 

1537] The Wittenberg Concord 253 

meet them, and gave them a formal invitation. 
Sunday, May 2ist, at three o'clock P.M., they en- 
tered the university town on the Elbe. The next 
day the colloquy began. Luther insisted that 
Bucer and his associates should renounce their 
earlier teaching, and should confess the real pre- 
sence of Christ in the Eucharist, independently of 
the faith of the recipient, and own that the body 
and blood are received by worthy and by unworthy 
communicants. When this was assented to by 
the Oberlanders, except that they made a distinc- 
tion between reception by the unworthy and by 
the wicked, denying the latter, Luther expressed 
himself satisfied, and declared : 

" We have now heard your answer and confession, 
viz., that you believe and teach, that in the Lord's 
Supper the true body and true blood of Christ are given 
and received, and not alone bread and wine: also, that 
this giving and receiving take place truly and not in 
imagination. Although you take offence in regard to the 
wicked, yet you confess with St. Paul that the unworthy 
receive the Lord's body, where the institution and word 
of the Lord are not perverted; about this we will not 
contend. Hence, as you are thus minded, we are one, 
and we acknowledge and receive you as our dear brethren 
in the Lord." l 

It was a great moment. Bucer and Capito shed 
tears, and the hand of brotherly recognition was 
given and received. Melanchthon, who of late had 
not been sanguine of good results, and during the 

1 Kostlin's Martin Luther, ii., 349. 

254 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

colloquy had been active chiefly in averting passion- 
ate disputes, was now commissioned to draw up a 
form of concord. While he was employed at this 
the two parties discussed Baptism, Private Confes- 
sion, and Absolution, and reached satisfactory con- 
clusions. Bugenhagen, Menius, Myconius, Alber, 
Bucer, and Luther preached, and all went to the 
communion. The Oberlanders were especially 
pleased to see that the Wittenberg ministers offici- 
ated with perfect indifference either in civil or in 
priestly attire. They were offended by the presence 
of pictures and candles, and by the elevation of the 
elements ; but were quieted when informed by Bu- 
genhagen that some things were retained out of 
regard for the weak, and that he often officiated 
without candles, or clerical attire, or the elevation. 
He also told them that the elevation ought to be 
abolished. A few years later it was abolished, 
through the influence of Melanchthon. 

On Friday morning Melanchthon laid the pro- 
posed Articles of Concord ' before the Oberlanders. 
In the afternoon the parties met and discussed the 
matter of extending the concord to wider circles. 
Monday, the 2Qth, the articles on the Lord's Sup- 
per were subscribed by twenty-one persons. These 
articles deny transubstantiation, the local inclusion 
of the body of Christ in the bread, or the lasting 
union without the use, as when it is laid by in the 
pyx or displayed in processions. They affirm " that 
with the bread and wine the body and blood of 
Christ are truly and substantially present, presented, 

1 C. A'., 3 : 75. Translated in Jacobs' Book of Concord, ii., 254. 

1537] The Wittenberg Concord 255 

and received." They close by saying that " all 
profess that in all articles they want to hold and 
teach according to the Confession and Apology of 
the princes professing the Gospel." 

The articles on the Lord's Supper are followed by 
an article on Infant Baptism, and one on Absolution. 
It is held that infants ought to be baptised, since to 
them pertains the promise of salvation, and " since it 
does not pertain to those who are outside the Church. 
God works new and holy movements in infants, 
without which they cannot be saved ; though we 
must not imagine that infants understand." A de- 
sire is expressed that private absolution be retained 
for disciplinary ends, " so that the inexperienced 
may be instructed." 

The Wittenberg Concord, as it is known in history, 
failed to effect a lasting union ; but it remains as one 
of Melanchthon's most useful writings, and as a 
lasting monument of an honest effort on both sides 
to close the chasm between the forces of the Re- 
formation, which, alas! yawns to this day. Luther 
begged that both sides might bury the past and roll 
a stone on it. But Melanchthon wrote that the 
difference was so great that what had just been done 
would only stir up reprehension. 1 In this he was 
not wholly mistaken. The Swiss were displeased 
with Bucer's concessions; the Nurembergers were 
dissatisfied that Bucer would not confess the pre- 
sence of Christ even apart from the use of the 
Eucharist, and Amsdorf thought that a formal 
recantation should have been required of Bucer. 

1 c. 

256 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

With all his efforts to make peace, Melanchthon 
was not allowed to enjoy it. 

In July of this year (1536) he sought and obtained 
permission from the Elector to visit his brother at 
Bretten, and Camerarius at Tubingen. Evil tongues 
circulated the report that Philip had quarrelled with 
Luther and his other colleagues, and would not re- 
turn to Wittenberg. Others said that even should 
he return, all harmony was at an end, because of 
Melanchthon's erroneous teaching. 1 From Nurem- 
berg Melanchthon wrote a letter to his colleagues in 
which he courts investigation, and declares that he 
had only sought to explain what they had taught. 
The letter is couched in lofty terms of righteous in- 
dignation, and closes by saying: 

" Never have I meant to sever my teaching from yours, 
but if I am to be loaded with the suspicions and calum- 
nies of certain men, and must be in dread of alienations, 
I would rather go to the ends of the earth. I complain 
of these things to you rather than to others. I am un- 
willing to be the cause of any dissidence between us. 
Heartily do I love and cherish each one. Also I am de- 
voted to the public welfare. If my labours and a fair 
amount of diligence in every duty do not witness for 
this, then in vain do I cry out in this matter. But I 
hope you thoroughly understand me. I have never re- 
fused admonition and friendly conference. Each one 
has his own gift. I have taken nothing upon myself, nor 
have I ever wished to offer anything new. I have read 
your writings and to the extent of my ability, I have 
wished to expound them in the most simple manner." 

1 Camerarius, 163. 

C K. t 3: 180. 

1537] The Wittenberg Concord 257 

This manly speech had the desired effect. When 
Melanchthon returned to Wittenberg, November 
5th, he found his colleagues wholly on his side, and 
indignant at the fomenters of discord. No further 
notice was taken of the matter at Wittenberg. 

But scarcely had Melanchthon time to forget the 
strife with Cordatus about Good Works before he was 
brought under suspicion again. Jacob Schenk, a 
Freiberg preacher, inquired whether it were permis- 
sible under stringent circumstances to administer 
the communion with one element. Melanchthon 
answered that, to avoid offence, in the case of those 
not sufficiently instructed, it might be done. The 
answer did not please Schenk, and so he sent Mel- 
anchthon's letter to the Elector, who requested 
Luther and Bugenhagen to inquire into the matter. 
It was on this occasion that Luther said, " I will 
share my heart with Philip. I will pray for him." 
Melanchthon called Schenk the Freiberg sycophant. 
Amsdorf, the passionate Magdeburg preacher, had 
long striven to excite Luther against Melanchthon; 
and now when, in 1537, Cardinal Sadolet, a mild 
and learned Catholic, wrote Melanchthon a letter 
praising his moderation, and when a little later a 
letter of Sadolet's complaining of Luther's violence 
was printed and circulated at Wittenberg, Luther 
grew suspicious, and others called Melanchthon a 
deserter. But when Luther learned that Melanch- 
thon had not answered the Cardinal's letter, he be- 
came convinced that the Catholics were only courting 
Philip to win him over, and he exclaimed sarc*asti- 
cally : " If Philip would consent, they would readily 

258 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

make him a Cardinal and let him keep his wife and 
children." He knew well that Melanchthon would 
never consent. It was about this- time also that 
Melanchthon came into unfriendly relations with the 
learned but contentious Osiander of Nuremberg on 
the subjects of Private Absolution and Original Sin. 
Osiander wished to retain Private Absolution to the 
exclusion of the General Absolution, and had also 
declared that Original Sin is a part of the soul. Mel- 
anchthon wished to retain both kinds of Absolution, 
and named Original Sin a corruption of all the 
powers of the soul. He communicated some pro- 
positions to Osiander on the subject of sin, but the 
latter only replied in an unfriendly and insulting 
manner. There was no open controversy, but 
Osiander became one of Melanchthon's most bitter 

In the year 1537, Luther had a controversy with 
Agricola, who declared that Moses should be hanged, 
and that the Law should be relegated to the Court- 
House. Luther called him an Antinomian y and 
powerfully refuted him in several Disputations. 
^Melanchthon at length restored peace between 
them ; but Agricola remained hostile to the Witten- 
bergers, and especially to Melanchthon. 

These controversies were so purely of a personal 
nature that they awoke no serious opposition to 
Luther or Melanchthon and utterly failed to alienate 
these two great men. 1 

s~ l Amsdorf seems to have been the most active in creating in the 

$ J> mind of Luther suspicions of Melanchthon. Also yvvaiHorvpavviS, 

( as Cruciger writes, sometimes stood in the way of the most frank and 

confidential intercourse between the two Reformers. C. .#., 3 : 39^- 




1537] The Wittenberg Concord 259 

Indeed on the subject of Good Works, Luther so 
decidedly approximated to the position of Melanch- 
thon, that the latter in sending a copy of Luther's 
discourse on the subject to Veit Dietrich, says: 
" Luther discourses eloquently on the subject which 
I defended, and on account of which I have been 
abused by ignorant men." 1 

*C. R., 3: 427. 


Schmalkald Convention Melanchthon's Subscription and Appendix 
to the Schmalkald Articles Frankfort Convention Calvin 
Melanchthon Plans the Reorganisation of the Leipzig University 
Melanchthon's Will. 

TUNE 2, 1536, Pope Paul III. announced a coun- 
\J cil to be opened at Mantua, May 23d of the 
following year. The Protestant Estates now called 
a convention to be held at Schmalkald, February 
7th, and the Elector instructed Luther and the rest 
of the theologians to revise the articles of faith and 
to report to him before January 25th. Instead of 
revising the Confession, Luther prepared new articles 
of faith, which, after having been approved and 
subscribed by his colleagues and some neighbouring 
theologians, were sent to the Elector, January 3d. 1 
The series is divided into three parts. Part I. states 
briefly the doctrines of the Trinity and of the Per- 
son of Christ. Part II. discusses the Office and 
Work of Christ. Part III. contains the articles on 
which the Protestants were willing to treat with 

'DeW.,5: 46. 


i539l Melanchthon's Will 261 

learned and prudent men. These Articles, because 
they were laid before the convention at Schmalkald 
in February, 1537, are known as the Schmalkald 
Articles. They are the most positive and antipapal 
of all the Lutheran Confessions, and are in effect a 
declaration of war against Rome. Melanchthon, 
influenced by his love of peace, and by his prefer- 
ence for a Church government independent of the 
State, subscribed with the following qualifications: 

" I, Philip Melanchthon, regard the foregoing articles 
as right and Christian. But of the Pope I hold that if 
he will permit the Gospel, the government of the bishops 
which he now has from others, may be jure humano 
also conceded to him by us, for the sake of peace and 
the common tranquillity of those Christians who are, or 
may hereafter be under him." 

At Schmalkald these articles were subscribed by 
many other theologians, but not by the princes, in- 
asmuch as they had decided to decline the Pope's 
offer of a council, because the proposed council was 
not to be held in Germany, " would not be a free 
council," and " appealed the entire matter to the 
arbitrament of the Pope." 1 

While the princes were deliberating on the politi- 
cal aspects of the situation, Melanchthon composed 
an Appendix to the Articles, the object of which 
was to set forth the position of the evangelical party 
in regard to the Papacy. 

This Appendix is a most learned refutation of the 
claims of the Papacy touching the divine right of its 

1 C. R., 2 : 1018-1022. 

262 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

existence and of its supremacy over the bishops. 
In this document Melanchthon considers the Papacy 
as it was at that time, and not ideally and according 
to its original intention, as he had conceived of it 
in his qualified subscription to the Articles. Hence 
there is no contradiction between his actions. Even 
the Articles had conceded to the bishops the right 
jure humano of governing the Church and of or- 
daining preachers, on condition that " they would 
faithfully discharge their office." The Appendix 
is in every way in harmony with the Articles, and 
with the sentiment that prevailed generally among 
the Protestants on the subject of which it treats. 
In learning, moderation, firmness, dialectic skill, 
and fidelity to evangelical principles, it is not sur- 
passed by anything that ever came from its author. 
Indeed he alone of all the theologians assembled at 
Schmalkald had the necessary qualifications to com- 
pose such a tractate, and thus to render such a 
signal service to the State and to the Church, by 
exposing the unfounded assumptions of the hier- 
archy, and by vindicating the right of the churches 
" to ordain for themselves pastors and other church 
officers." The Appendix was signed by no less 
than thirty-four ministers and theologians in the 
Recess of the Convention. For a time it had higher 
authority than the Articles themselves, inasmuch as 
it had in view the new relations in which the princes 
and Estates had placed themselves by declining the 
offer of a general council. 

After that Melanchthon, at the instance of the 
Estates, had composed several other treatises, and 

1539] Melanchthon's Will 263 

with the other theologians had commended to the 
princes a better administration of the Church pro- 
perty, he left Schmalkald, March 6th, and on the 
I4th was at home in Wittenberg. 

The resolution of the princes at Schmalkald to 
decline the papal offer of a council aggravated the 
already greatly strained relations between them- 
selves and the Catholic princes. The latter, desiring 
to strengthen the Papacy, met at Nuremberg, and 
on June 10, 1538, formed the Holy League. Two 
leagues now stood in hostile attitude toward each 
other; and though they both claimed to exist purely 
for defence, yet so great was their mutual distrust, 
that war appeared imminent. Philip of Hesse act- 
ually counselled war; but the Electors, Joachim of 
Brandenburg, and Louis of the Palatinate, offered 
themselves as mediators, and proposed a council at 
Frankfort, to which an imperial ambassador might 
come. The proposition was accepted, and February 
i, 1539, Melanchthon set out with his Elector to 
Frankfort. The convention resulted in a truce, 
April 19, 1539, tne terms of which bound both sides 
to keep the peace for fifteen months. 

At Frankfort, Melanchthon wrote several import- 
ant Opinions on subjects of current interest, and 
addressed letters to influential princes and scholars. 
The letter to Henry VIII. of England, dated March 
26, 1539, was well calculated to produce a good 
effect on the mind of that monarch. After alluding 
to Henry's " heroic virtues," he says: 

" I commend to Your Majesty the public cause of the 
Christian religion, for Your Majesty knows that the chief 

264 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

duty of great princes is to promote and defend the 
heavenly doctrine. For this reason God associates them 
with himself in ruling. I am desirous^ as I have often 
previously written, that agreement in the pure doctrine 
should be established in all those Churches which con- 
demn the tyranny and wickedness of the Roman Bishop. 
Such agreement would show forth the glory of God, and 
would serve to attract other nations, and to prolong the 
peace of the churches." 

This letter adds another proof of the determination 
of the Reformers to make agreement in doctrine the 
first condition of their religious alliances. 

At Frankfort Melanchthon made the personal ac- 
quaintance of Jacob Sturm and John Calvin. He 
here contracted a friendship with the latter which 
was broken only by death. Calvin has given a lively 
account of the Frankfort Convention, and of certain 
conversations held with Melanchthon. These con- 
versations related principally to church union and to 
matters of discipline. Melanchthon is reported as 
assenting to certain articles prepared by Calvin, as 
having deplored the obstinacy and despotism of cert- 
ain of his own party, and as having expressed the 
wish that the Wittenberg' Concord might last until 
the Lord should lead both sides into the unity of 
His own truth. 8 

The Truce of Frankfort, which required the con- 
tinued observance of the Peace of Nuremberg, was 
altogether favourable to the Protestants ; and when 
in the same year, April 17, 1539, Duke George died, 

1 c. y?., 3 : 671. 

8 Bonnet's Calvin's Letters, i., 116 et seqq. 

1539] Melanchthon's Will 265 

and was succeeded by his brother Henry, all ducal 
Saxony was opened to the Gospel. 

Soon Melanchthon and other Wittenbergers were 
called to Leipzig to begin the work of reform. Mel- 
anchthon was commissioned especially to regulate 
the affairs of the university and to bring- them into 
harmony with the proposed new order. He recom- 
mended, among other things, that, " because the 
monks and sophists still utter their calumnies and 
will not cease," they be forbidden to preach, to 
dispute, and to lecture. He proposed Nicholas 
Amsdorf, John Hess, of Breslau, or, in case he could 
not come, Alexander Alesius, a Scotchman, and 
Bernhard Zeigler, as professors of theology. Cert- 
ain revenues from the cloisters were to be applied 
to the university; stipends for theological students 
were to be established ; and the new professors were 
to have a place and a vote in the counsels of the 
university. His plans were adopted, and in a short 
time, after some discussions between the new theo- 
logical professors and the Dominicans, the univer- 
sity came under Protestant control. During the 
summer, Melanchthon visited the churches in parts 
of the Dukedom and assisted in the formal introduc- 
tion of evangelical doctrine and worship. He found 
many of the clergy ignorant and leading scandalous 
lives. A little later in the same year he went to 
Berlin to assist Joachim II. in introducing the Re- 
formation into his dominions. Cochlseus attributes 
the blame, as he calls it, of Joachim's conversion, to 
Melanchthon. Be this as it may, we have a pleas- 
ing letter written by Melanchthon in the name of 

266 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the Elector to his father-in-law, Sigismund, King of 
Poland, in which the last-named is informed that a 
moderate reformation, free from fanaticism, is to be 
introduced into Brandenburg. 1 

Melanchthon's letters of this year are of especial 
interest. Not only do they contain an immense 
amount of information touching current ecclesiasti- 
cal affairs, but they show his deep interest in the 
work of the Reformation, his ardent yearning for 
harmony among the Evangelicals, and his fixed de- 
termination " to hold on to the true consensus of 
the Catholic Church of Christ, as it is exhibited 
in the apostolic Scriptures, in the old canons, and 
by the writers of recognised authority." a 

Such is the language he puts in the mouth of 
Joachim, and, no doubt, it is at the same time a 
faithful reflection of his own mind. His attitude 
toward the venerable institutions of the Church was 
conservative, but it was always subordinated to 
sound doctrine. 

Melanchthon had now reached the climacteric year 
of forty-two. His health had greatly declined. He 
writes that he " is worn out with labours, sorrows, 
and insomnia." Believing that death was near at 
hand he made his last Will and Testament, 3 which 
he designed chiefly to be a confession of faith. As 
this document exactly defines its author's theologi- 
cal position, and illustrates his method of study, and 
shows the design with which from time to time he 

1 C. R., 3: ^et.seqq. 
9 C. R., 3: l^etseqq. 
S C. R. t 3 : 825 etseq. 

1539] Melanchthon's Will 267 

changed the form of his writings, we present it in 
full, as follows : 

" In the name of God the Father, of the Son, and of 
the Holy Spirit. 

" It appears that the chief purpose for which at first 
wills were made, was that fathers might leave to their 
children a sure testimony of their views in regard to the 
religious faith which they wished to have transmitted to 
posterity, sealed, as it were, with the highest authority; 
also that they might obligate their children to retain and 
conserve the same views, as we see by the will of Jacob 
and of David. Therefore also Christ in this manner 
made his will. And because wills have contained ex- 
plicit, sure, and unchangeable views of inspired doctrine, 
the magnitude of the matter has increased the authority 
of wills. Wherefore also as a memorial to my children, 
and to some friends, I have desired to begin my will by 
reciting my confession, and by enjoining upon my child- 
ren, as becomes a father, the duty of abiding steadfastly 
in the same views. 

" In the first place, I return thanks to God the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified for us, the 
Creator of all things, because he has called me to repent- 
ance and to the knowledge of the Gospel; and I pray 
him for the sake of his Son, whom he wills to be a sacri- 
fice for us, to pardon all my sins, to receive, justify, hear 
me, and to deliver me from eternal death. This I be- 
lieve truly he will do. For thus he has commanded us 
to believe. And it is impiety to magnify our sins above 
the death of the Son of God. This latter I magnify 
above my sins. Moreover, I pray God for the sake of 
his Son our Redeemer, by the Holy Spirit to increase in 
me these beginnings of faith. I am indeed distressed by 

268 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

my sins, and by the scandals of others; but I magnify 
the death of the Son of God, that grace may abound over 

" In the second place, I declare that I truly embrace 
the Apostles' and the Nicene Creed; and in regard to 
the entire Christian doctrine, I hold as I have written 
in the Loci Communes, and in the last edition of the 
Commentary on Romans, in which, article by article, I 
have striven to say without ambiguity what I hold. 

" In regard to the Lord's Supper I embrace the Form 
of Concord [the Wittenberg Concord~\ which was made 
here. Therefore I united myself with our churches, and 
I declare that they profess the doctrine of the Catholic 
Church of Christ, and that they truly are churches of 
Christ. I also enjoin upon my children to abide in 
our churches, and to flee the churches and society of 
the Papists. For the Papists in many articles profess the 
most corrupt doctrine: they are absolutely ignorant of the 
doctrine of Justification by Faith, and of the Remission 
of Sins; they teach nothing about the difference between 
the law and the Gospel. In regard to the worship of 
God they hold heathenish and Pharisaical notions. To 
these errors they also add many others, besides manifest 
idolatry in their Masses and in the worship of dead men. 
Therefore I beseech my children on account of the com- 
mand of God to obey me in this matter and not to join 
the Papists. 

" And since I see that posterity is threatened with new 
commotions of doctrines and of the Church, and that 
there will probably be fanatical and trifling spirits who 
will overthrow the articles of the Son of God and of the 
Holy Spirit, I wish to warn mine to adhere to the views 
which I have professed with the Catholic Church of 
Christ in the Loci, where I condemn Samosatenus and 

1539] Melanchthon's Will 269 

Servetus, and others who dissent from the received 

" It is also probable that new sophistries of a seductive 
nature will come after a while, when the old errors, some- 
what changed in colour, will be re-established, and these 
conciliatory measures will corrupt the pure doctrine, as 
it is now taught. I also admonish mine not to approve 
these sophistical attempts to conciliate. 

" The learned also are to be exhorted to watch, lest 
under the semblance of peace and public tranquillity 
they accept such doctrinal confession as was promul- 
gated at the Syrmian Synod. This I can truly affirm, 
viz., that I have striven truly and properly to explain 
the doctrine of our Church, that the young may rightly 
understand our views and transmit them to posterity. 
If this form is profitable, as I think it is, I request Caspar 
Cruciger and others who have been my pupils, to con- 
serve it in the schools. 

" I know that certain persons have at times suspected 
that I have done some things to favour the adversaries. 
But I call God to witness that I have never wished to 
favour the adversaries; but I have sought accuracy in 
explanation in order that these things when freed from 
ambiguity might be better understood by the young. 
How difficult it was for ine to attain to such order and 
method in explanation, many know, who know that in 
explaining, I often changed the form. It is evident that 
the Augustinian form is not sufficiently explicit. Hence 
I declare that with a pure motive I studied the method 
which is employed in the Commentary on Romans, and I 
desire to leave behind me distinct views, without am- 
biguity, because ambiguity afterwards produces dissen- 
sions. Nor has it been my purpose to present any new 
opinion, but clearly and properly to expound the Catholic 

270 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

doctrine, which is taught in our churches, which by the 
special blessing of God I declare to have been revealed 
in these recent times through Doctor Martin Luther in 
order that the Church which had almost perished might 
be cleansed and restored. Therefore so long as we can, 
let us preserve this light. And I pray God the Father of 
our Saviour Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things, to 
promote the studies of the pious, and to preserve the 
Church, and especially to bless our churches which on 
account of the Gospel are daily attacked. 

" But I return thanks to Doctor Martin Luther, first 
because from him I learned the Gospel. Then because 
of the many kindnesses shown me by him, I wish him to 
be cherished by mine not otherwise than as a father. 
Because I have seen and discovered that he is endowed 
with an excellent and heroic quality of mind, with many 
great virtues, with piety, with eminent learning, I have 
always honoured and loved him, and have felt that he 
should be esteemed. 

" I also return thanks to the Prince, John Frederick, 
Elector of Saxony, whose special kindness and liberality 
were extended to me. I pray God to keep him safe, to 
defend and direct him to his own and to the common 
safety of the Church and of many nations. 

" Very grateful also was the kindness of Chancellor 
Pontanus, whom on account of the excellent character of 
his mind and his virtue, I have loved, and to whom I 
return thanks for all his kindnesses. 

" I also return thanks to other good men, who have 
shown abiding constancy in our friendship, to my brother 
George, Joachim Camerarius, Chancellor Francis [Burk- 
hard], Doctor Jonas, Doctor Pommer, Cruciger, Doctor 
Augustin [Schurf], Doctor Milich, Paul Eber^ Vtit [Die- 
trich] ; and I pray God to preserve them., 

1539] Melanchthon's Will 271 

" Nor do I suppose that these friendships are ex- 
tinguished by my death; but I hold that after a little 
while we shall meet in eternal life, where we shall more 
perfectly enjoy our friendship and where our intercourse 
will be sweeter. 

" I also entreat all persons graciously to pardon my 
errors, if in anything I have offended anyone. Cert- 
ainly I have not wished to injure. 

" I also return thanks to all my colleagues and fellow- 
teachers in the University, because in many ways both 
publicly and privately they have kindly assisted me." 

This Will was written on or just before November 
12, 1539, and was reaffirmed the following summer. 
It therefore stands in the closest chronological and 
doctrinal relation to the edition of the Augsburg 
Confession published in 1540, an account of which 
will be hereafter given. The Loci and the Comment- 
ary on Romans, to which it appeals, are the editions 
respectively of 1535 and 1532, the same which 
Luther so heartily endorsed and commended a few 
years later. It thus becomes a demonstration of the 
doctrinal harmony that existed between Luther and 
Melanchthon ; and even if there were no other evi- 
dence, it fully justifies the affirmation of Nicholas 
Selneccer that Luther and Melanchthon did not dif- 
fer in doctrine, which affirmation, however, must 
not be pressed to the extreme of indicating absolute 
coincidence, but a coincidence which found its ex- 
pression in common symbols, and in learned treatises, 
of which Melanchthon was the author. 



Colloquy of Hagenau Melanchthon's Sickness The Landgrave's 
Bigamy Confessio Variata The Tenth Article of the Con- 

THE winter of 1539-40 wore away heavily for 
Melanchthon. His presentiment and ' ' dream 
of impending death came near being realised. When 
in May, 1540, attended by magisters and students 
he crossed the Elbe on his way to the Hagenau Col- 
loquy, he exclaimed, ' ' Viximus in Synodis et jam 
moriemur in illis," that is, " I have lived in conven- 
tions, in conventions I shall now die." 

At Weimar he fell seriously ill, so that his life 
was despaired of. The Elector sent him the court 
physician and summoned Luther and Cruciger from 
Wittenberg. Solomon Glass has left us a graphic 
C account of the scene in Melanchthon's chamber 
when Luther entered. He says : 

"When Luther arrived he found Melanchthon ap- 
parently dying. His eyes were sunk, his senses gone, 
his speech stopped, his hearing closed, his face fallen in 






i S 

O co 

*~ cr 

z " 

2 uT 

1- Q 

tr z 


1 ^ 

Philip of Hesse 273 

and hollow, and, as Luther said, 'fades erat Hippo- 
cratica" He knew nobody, ate and drank nothing. 
When Luther saw him thus disfigured, he was frightened 
above measure, and said to his companions, God for- 
fend! how has the devil defaced this Organon ! He then 
turned forthwith to the window, and prayed fervently to 
God. Then, said Luther, our Lord God could not but 
hear me ; for I threw my sack before His door, and wearied 
His ears with all His promises of hearing prayers, which 
I could repeat out of Holy Writ ; so that He could not but 
hear me, if I were ever to trust in His promises. Here- 
upon he grasped Philip by the hand: Be of good courage, 
Philip ; thou shall not die. Although God has reason to 
slay, yet He willeth not the death of a sinner, but that he 
should be converted and live. He has pleasure in life, not 
in death. If God called and received the very greatest 
sinners that ever were on earth, Adam and Eve, again into 
favour, much less will he reject thee, my Philip, or let thee 
perish in sin and despair. Therefore give no place to the 
spirit of sorrow, and be not thine own murderer ; but trust 
in the Lord, who can slay and make alive again, can wound 
and bind up, can smite and heal again. For Luther well 
knew the burden of his heart and conscience. Being 
thus taken hold of and addressed, Philip began to draw 
breath again, but could say nothing for a good while. 
Then he turned his face straight upon Luther, and be- 
gan to beg him for God's sake not to detain him any 
longer, that he was now on a good journey, that he 
should let him go, that nothing better could befall him. 
By no means, Philip, said Luther; thou must serve our 
Lord God yet longer. Thus Philip by degrees became 
more cheerful, and let Luther order him something to 
eat; and Luther brought it himself to him; but Philip 
refused it. Then Luther forced him with these threats, 

274 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

saying: Hark, Philip, thou must eat, or I excommunicate 
thee. With these words he was overcome, so that he ate 
a very little: and thus by degrees he .gained strength 
again." ! 

The immediate cause of Melanchthon's sickness 
was remorse over the part which he and Luther had 
taken in the bigamy of Philip of Hesse. 3 Influenced 
mainly by a desire to save the Landgrave from his 
besetting sin, they, without sanctioning bigamy as 
a principle, had given a quasi consent to his marriage 
with Margaretha von der Salle, but had enjoined 
strict secrecy. Their action cannot be approved. 
There was a better way, and that way should have 
been followed. As the matter has been much mis- 
represented, we reproduce the letter sent to the 
Landgrave by Luther and Melanchthon as their 
Opinion. It was written by Melanchthon: 

" Since your princely Grace has through Master Bucer 
laid before us a certain longstanding trouble of your 
conscience, although it is difficult for us to answer in 
such haste, we would not let Bucer ride off without a 
letter. And first, we are heartily rejoiced and thank 
God that He has helped your Grace our of your danger- 
ous sickness; and we pray that He will strengthen and 
preserve your Grace in soul and body to His praise. 
For, as your Grace sees, the poor miserable Church of 
Christ is small and forsaken, and verily needs pious lords 
and princes; as we doubt not God will preserve some, 
although every kind of temptation befall. With regard 

> f Seckendorf, in., 314. 
*C. A>., 3 : 1073. 

Philip of Hesse 275 

to the question, of which Master Bucer spoke with us, 
first, this is our opinion. Your Grace knows and under- 
stands this yourself, that it is a very different thing to 
make a general law, and in a particular case to u$e a 

dispensation, out of weighty reasons, and yet according 
__to_divine permission; for against God no dispensation 
has force. Now we cannot advise that it be openly in- 
troduced, and thus made a law, that each be allowed to 
have more than one wife. But should anything of this 
get into print, your Grace may conceive that this would 
be understood and adopted as a general law, whence 
much scandal and trouble would ensue. Therefore this 
is by no means to be adopted; and we pray your Grace 
to consider how grievous it would be, if it were charged 
upon anyone that he had introduced this law in the Ger- 
man nation, whence endless trouble in all marriages 
might be feared. As to what may be said against this that 
what is right before God should be allowed altogether, 
this is true in a measure. If God has commanded it, or 
if it is a necessary thing, this is true: but if it is not com- 
manded, nor necessary, other circumstances should be 
taken into account. Thus with regard to this question: 
God instituted marriage that it should be the union of 
two persons alone, and not of more, unless nature has 
been corrupted. This is the meaning of the saying, They 
two shall be one flesh. And this at first was so retained. 
But Lamech introduced the example of having more than 
one wife at once, which is recorded of him in Scripture 
as an innovation contrary to the first rule. Thence- 
forward it became customary among the unbelievers, till 
at length Abraham and his descendants took more than 
one wife. And it is true that afterward this was allowed 
jn the Law of Moses, as the text says, Deut. xxi. 15, If a 
man has two wives, etc. For God gave way somewhat to 

276 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the weakness of nature. But since it was according to 
the first beginning and the creation that a man should 
not have more than one wife, this lawis praiseworthy, 
and has thus been adopted in the Church: nor should 
another law be made and set up against it. For Christ 
repeats this saying, Matt. xix. 5, And they twain shall be 
one flesh, and reminds us how marriage was to be first, 
antecedently to man's infirmity. That in certain cases 
however -a dispensation may be used, as if a person 
taken captive in a foreign land should marry there, and 
on gaining his freedom should bring his wife with him, 
or if long continued sickness should supply a cause, as 
has been held at times with regard to lepers, if in such 
cases a man takes another wife with the counsel of his 
Pastor, not to introduce a law, but as a matter of neces- 
sity, such a man we could not condemn. Since then it 
Tis one thing to introduce a law, and another to use a dis- 
< pensation, we humbly entreat your Grace to consider, 
/ first, that care should in every way be taken that this 
( matter be not brought publicly before the world, as a law 
which everybody may follow. Next, since it is to be no 
law, but merely a dispensation, let your Grace also con- 
sider the scandal, namely, that the enemies of the Gospel 
would cry out, that we are like the Anabaptists, who take 
several wives at once, and that the Evangelicals seek the 
liberty of having as many wives as they please, according 
to the practice in Turkey. Again, what princes do, gets 
abroad much further than what is done by private per- 
sons. Again, if private persons hear of such an example 
in their lords, they desire that the like should be allowed 
to them; as we see how easily a practice spreads. 
Again, your Grace has an unruly nobility, many of 
whom, as in all countries, on account of the great 
revenues which they derive from the Chapters, are vio- 

Philip of Hesse 277 

lently opposed to the Gospel. Thus we know ourselves 
that very unfriendly speeches have been heard from 
divers young squires. Now how such squires and the 
country folks will behave toward your Grace in this 
matter, if a public proceeding be adopted, may easily be 
conceived. Again, your Grace, through God's grace, 
has a very illustrious name, even among foreign kings 
and potentates, and is feared on account thereof, which 
credit would be impaired hereby. Seeing then that so 
many scandals are combined, we humbly entreat your 
Grace to consider this matter well and diligently. This, 
however, is also true, that we by all means entreat and 
exhort your Grace to avoid fornication and adultery; 
and in truth we have long had great sorrow from hearing 
that your Grace is laden with such distress, which may 
be visited with punishments from God and other dangers; 
and we entreat your Grace not to esteem such matters 
out of wedlock a light sin, as the world tosses such 
things to the wind and despises them. But God has 
often fearfully punished unchastity: for it is recorded as 
a cause of the Deluge, that the rulers practiced adultery. 
Again, the punishment of David is a solemn example: 
and Paul often says, God is not mocked : adulterers shall 
not enter into the Kingdom of God. For faith must be 
followed by obedience, so that one must no^act against 
_one's conscience, nor against God's commandment. If 
our conscience condemn us not, then have we confidence to- 
ward God : and if through the Spirit we mortify the deeds 
of the body, we shall live ; but if we live after the flesh, 
that is, against our conscience, we shall die. This we 
say, because it is to be considered that God will not trifle 
with such sins, as many people now grow bold to enter- 
tain such heathenish thoughts. And we have heard with 
pleasure that your Grace has seriously mourned on ac- 

278 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

count thereof, and feels sorrow and repentance for them. 
These great and weighty questions press for your Grace's 
attention, pertaining to the whole wqrld. Moreover, 
your Grace is of a slender and far from a strong consti- 
tution, and sleeps little; wherefore your Grace should 
reasonably spare your body, as many others are forced 
to do. And we read of the illustrious Prince Scander- 
beg, who wrought many noble deeds against the two 
Turkish emperors, Amurath and Mahomet, and pro- 
tected and preserved Greece as long as he lived. He, 
they say, specially exhorted his soldiers to chastity, and 
said that nothing takes away a brave man's spirit like 
unchastity. Again, even if your Grace had another wife, 
Cand did not seriously resist the evil practice and inclina- 
/ tion, it would not avail your Grace. It behooves man 
in his outward walk to bridle his members, as Paul says: 
Yield your members as instruments of righteousness. There- 
fore let your Grace, in consideration of all these causes, 
the offence, the other cares and labours, and the weak- 
ness of bo'dy, weigh this matter well. Be also pleased 
to consider that God has given your Grace fair young 
princes and princesses with this consort; and be content 
with her, as many others must have patience under their 
marriage, to avoid offence. For that we should excite 
_(or urge your Grace to an offensive innovation, is far from 
/ our mind. For your country and others might reproach 
us on account thereof, which would be intolerable to us; 
because we are commanded in God's word to regulate 
marriage and all human matters according to their first 
_divine institution, and, so far as possible, to keep them 
therein, and to avert whatever may offend anyone. Such, 
too, is now the way of the world, that people like to 
throw all the blame upon the preachers, if anything un- 
pleasant fall out; and men's hearts, among high and 

Philip of Hesse 279 

low, are unsteady: and all sorts of things are to be 
feared. But if your Grac do not quit your unchaste 
life, or that you write that this is not possible, we 
would rather that your Grace stood in better case before 
God, and lived with a good conscience, for your Grace's 
happiness, and the good of your country and people. 
If, however, your Grace should at length resolve to take 
another wife, we think this should be kept secret, as was 
said above of the dispensation ; namely, that your Grace, 
and the Lady, with some confidential persons, should 
know your Grace's mind and conscience through con- 
fession. From this no particular rumour or scandal 
would arise; for it is not unusual for princes to have 
concubines; and although all the people would not know 
what the circumstances were, the intelligent would be 
able to guess them, and would be better pleased with 
such a quiet way of life, than with adultery and other 
wild and licentious courses. Nor are we to heed every- 
thing that people say, provided our consciences stand 
right. Thus far, and this we deem right. For that 
which is permitted concerning marriage in the law of 
Moses, is not forbidden in the Gospel, which does not 
change the rule of outward life, but brings in eternal 
righteousness and eternal life, and kindles a true obedi- 
ence to God, and would set our corrupt natures straight 
again. Thus your Grace has not only our testimony in 
case of necessity, but also our advice, which we beseech 
your Grace to weigh, as an illustrious, wise Christian 
Prince; and we pray that God may lead and direct 
your Grace to His praise and to your Grace's happi- 
ness." 1 

1 C. R., 3: 856. This Opinion was signed by Luther, Melanch- 
them, Bucer, Corvin, Fulda, Leming, Winter, Melander, and Raid. 
Translation from Hare's Vindication of Luther. 

280 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Luther, by the power of his faith, rose above his 
mistake, and denounced the Landgrave; but the 
more conscientious Melanchthon broke down under 
it. He realised his error, and foresaw that the 
Landgrave's bigamy would bring reproach to the 
cause of Christ. Perhaps the most inexplicable 
feature of the whole transaction is, that one so fear- 
less as Luther, and one so frank as Melanchthon, 
should have enjoined secrecy in a matter which in 
itself they did not regard as wrong. 

After his recovery from his sickness, Melanchthon 
wrote to Camerarius : 

" I cannot describe the pain I suffered during my 
sickness, some returns of which I often feel. I wit- 
nessed at that time the deep sympathy of Luther, but he 
restrained his anxieties that he might not increase mine, 
endeavouring to raise me from my desponding state of 
mind, not only by administering kind conversation, but 
salutary reproof. If he had not come to me I should 
certainly have died." 

Melanchthon was excused from going to Hagenau. 
At the convention no important conclusions were 
reached. On the twenty-eighth of July, 1540, a 
new diet was appointed to meet at Worms in Octo- 
ber. Meanwhile, or perhaps earlier, Melanchthon 
published a new Latin edition of the Augsburg 
Confession. Already in the year 1535 he had writ- 
jf ten to several of his friends that he was engaged in 
/ revising the Apology (Confession) and the Loci. 
His object was to make some of the discussions more 
luminous. To Myconius in particular he wrote: 


1540] Philip of Hesse 281 

" I am revising the Apology [Confession], and am 
making it almost wholly new, ut habeat minus 
Sophistices" that is, " that it may have less sophis- 
try." It is thus plain from his letters that Me- 
lanchthon was revising the Confession and the Loci 
at the same time; and that he did not conceal his 
work from his Wittenberg colleagues is evident 
from a letter written by him to them all, November 
I, 1536, in which he speaks of having revised the 
Apology (Confession) in order " to express some 
things more explicitly." He continues: " I do not 
shun your opinion nor that of Amsdorf. I have 
nothing in view except to explain most accurately 
what you teach, because I know that some persons 
have mistaken notions about such great subjects." 
Bindseil examined all of Melanchthon's letters from 
May i, 1535, to the end of the year 1540, and as 
he nowhere found in them any allusion to the prepar- 
ation and publication of an edition of the Confession 
during these years, he concluded that the revised 
edition was completed and printed in 1535, and 
wonders that no copy bearing that date is known to 
exist. Peucer, Melanchthon's son-in-law, contends 
that this new edition was prepared in 1538. Selnec- 
cer gives the same date of preparation. But as no 
copies of the Variata of that, or of an earlier, date 
have been found, we cannot now go back of the 
edition which bears the title : 

1 C. R., 2: 861, 871. 
*C\ R. y 3: 180. 

282 Philip Melanchthon [1497 




V. Caesari Aug. in Comicijs 


Addita est Apologia Confessi- 
onis diligenter recognita. 


Et loquebar de testimony's tuis in 

conspectu Regum, et non con- 

VlTEBERGAE. 1540. 


This is the Confessio Variata, or the Altered Con- 
I fession, of history, which for a time was more widely 
used both publicly and privately than any and all 
other Latin editions of the Confession. 

l This revised edition can no more be regarded as a 

private writing by Melanchthon than the first edi- 
tion of 1530-31 can be so regarded, since that edition 
was not authorised by the Elector, nor by the theo- 
logians, and " was changed, especially in the German 
text, in many places," J whereas the evidence is in- 
disputable that the edition of 1540 was prepared by 
the command, and with the advice and assistance 
of Luther, for the purpose of having it presented at 
the diets. Not only do we have the testimony of 

ft Peucer, Melanchthon's son-in-law, to this fact, but 

/ that also of the theologians and superintendents at 

the Altenburg Colloquy in 1569; and David Chy- 

1 Oehler, Symbolik, p. 133. 

Philip of Hesse 283 

traeus, Nicholas Selneccer, and Martin Chemnitz, 
all of whom assisted in the preparation of -the 
Formula of Concord of 1577-80, testify that the 
Variata was presented at the Diets of Worms and 
Regensburg, and at the subsequent diets, and was 
constantly appealed to by the Lutherans as their 
Confession which was delivered to the Emperor in 
1530. These are facts which have never been called 
in question. Moreover, it was approved by West- 
phal, an arch anti-Calvinist, by the rigidly Lutheran 
Weimar Confutation Book, and was expressly named 
and subscribed by nearly all the princes assembled 
at Naumburg in 1561, as a fuller and ampler ex- 
planation of the original Augsburg Confession. It 
was highly praised also by John Brentz, a strict 
Lutheran. It is thus absolutely conclusive that 
Melanchthon's contemporaries applauded and sanc- 
tioned his efforts to improve the Augsburg Confes- 
sion ; and no one found fault with it during the 
author's lifetime. 1 

The first to call invidious attention to the Variata 
was John Eck, the bitter foe of the Reformation. 
At the Diet of Worms, in January, 1541, he took 
exceptions to the alterations in the text. Melanch- 
thon at once replied: " The meaning is the same, 
though in the later edition here and there some 
things have been softened or rendered plainer." 
This put an end to the complaint, and the edition 
continued to be employed in the Diet by the Evan- 

1 See Weber's Kritische Geschichte der Aug.s, Can/., ii., 300-310. 
Also Kollner's Symbolik, i. , 253, 254. 
*C.X., 4 : 34,37- 

284 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

gelicals, notwithstanding the fact that the Saxon 
Elector had charged his delegates to abide by the 
Augsburg Confession. 

At the Weimar Disputation between Strigel and 
Flacius, August 5, 1560, the former refuted the 
latter out of the Variata. In the afternoon Flacius 
returned to the debate with the supplementary an- 
swer that Balthaser Winter, the deceased Superin- 
tendent of Jena, had said that he had heard the 
deceased George Rorer say that Luther did not like 
it that Melanchthon had changed the Confession. 
Strigel, referring to Eck's procedure at Worms, 
replied that that was a papistical subterfuge, and 
the debate passed on to the discussion of the next 
proposition. 1 That is, against the written test- 
imony of the most eminent and upright men of 
the age, we have only this reputed hearsay of a 
hearsay of a dead man, an after-thought conjured 
up to cover the mortification of defeat an anti- 
Philippistic fabrication, which is now regarded by 
historians as worse than apocryphal. Hence he 
*i who charges Melanchthon with intentional corrup- 
tion of the Confession not only involves him in 
falsehood, but makes Luther, Brentz, Chytraeus, 
Selneccer, Chemnitz, and others either partakers of 
his sin, or the dupes of his deception. 

Melanchthon's letters show that during the period 
of revision he was most solicitous about improving 
the Fourth Article, Justification by Faith. He 
says: " We ought to thank the adversaries because 
they compel us to revise this article, which amid 

1 Salig, Hist. Augs. Con/., iii., 604. 

Philip of Hesse 285 

other less important disputes has almost ceased to 
be heard." In the Variata the Fourth Article is 
greatly expanded, and is guarded against the possi- 
bility of being misunderstood. It is against the 
Tenth Article chiefly that objection has been raised. 
In the Unchanged Confession the Tenth Article 
reads as follows: " De Ccena Domini docent, quod 
corpus et sanguis Christi vere adsint et distribuantur 
vescentibus in Ccena Domini, et improbant secus do- 
centes" That is : " Of the Lord's Supper they 
teach that the body and blood of Christ are truly 
present and are communicated to those that eat in 
the Supper; and they disapprove those that teach 

In the Variata the Tenth Article reads thus: 
" De Ccena Domini docent quod cum pane et vino vere 
exhibeantur corpus et sanguis Christi vescentibus in 
Ccena Domini." That is: " Of the Lord's Supper 
they teach that with the bread and wine the body 
and blood of Christ are truly presented to those that 
eat in the Supper." 

There can be no doubt that Melanchthon intended 
to place the Lutheran doctrine, generically stated, 
in the Tenth Article of the Invariata. He wrote to 
Veit Dietrich, June 26, 1530: " The Landgrave has 
subscribed the Confession with us, though the article 
of the Lord's Supper is in accordance with Luther's 
doctrine. ' ' But more than once it has been conceded 
that the Tenth Article of the Invariata does not ex- 
hibit the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's Supper in 
a form sufficiently explicit. Erhard Schnepf says 

1 c. ^., 2 : 484, 504. 

286 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

that when the Confession was adopted at Augsburg, 
many persons regarded the adverb vere (truly) as 
ambigious. 1 That the article is capable of a Roman 
Catholic interpretation is shown by the fact that 
both officially and privately it has been so inter- 
preted by Romanists. The instances are too 
numerous and too well known to need specification. 3 
These things being so, it can be readily understood 
what the theologians of Electoral Saxony meant 
when they said : " Because of the adversaries of the 
pure doctrine of the Gospel, and their cavils, a 
clearer and plainer statement had to be made in 
order that opportunity for cavilling might be re- 
moved," which corresponds in substance with 
Melanchthon's reply to Eck, viz., that certain 
things had been softened or rendered more explicit. 
Schmidt says that Melanchthon's aim was 

" to find the most distinct forms in order to prevent any 
misunderstanding. In the Apology he had treated 
Christian doctrine in the usual manner in order to make 
approach and agreement with the Catholics the easier. 
But now approach seemed scarcely possible. By the 
Schmalkald articles against the papacy the Protestants 
had openly broken with the Roman Catholic Church. 
Besides, the enemy had abused the Confession of 1530 
by explaining its mild language in their own sense, and 
in order to demand new concessions from the Protestants. 

1 Confes. de Eucharistia. 

9 See the first Catholic Confutation, also that of August 3d ; 
Coelestin's Hist. Augs. Con., ii., p. 235; Ibid., iii., p. 43; Alois 
Knopfer's Ch. Hist. 

a Altenburg Colloquy ', p. 314. 

Philip of Hesse 287 

Hence a more definite wording of the Confession had be- 
come necessary." 

All the known facts go to justify this conception. 
Besides, there was no longer any need of the damn- 
atory clause, since the Oberlanders had accepted the 
Confession and Apology. 

The interests of peace, the union of the evangeli- 
cal forces against a common foe, and the keeping of 
faith with the Oberlanders, required at that time, 
according to Melanchthon's own words, " that the 
discords should be healed rather than exasperated. " 3 
It was only when Melanchthon could no longer an- 
swer for himself, when the bitter animosity of the 
Jena school had broken out in fierce accusations 
against Wittenberg, that Melanchthon was charged 
with having changed the Tenth Article in favour of 
the Calvinistic doctrine of the Supper. It was a pure 
calumny, manufactured in the interest of partisan 
zeal. The evidence is conclusive that Melanchthon 
never departed from the Lutheran view of the Lord's 
Supper, nor ever hesitated to reaffirm his adherence 
to the Augsburg Confession of 1530, as in the Re- 
petition of the Augsburg Confession in 1551, in the 
Preface to the Mecklenburg Kirchenordnung, in the 
Examen Ordinandorum, and at Worms in 1557, when 
he expressly rejected the Zwinglian doctrine. 

The formula by which in the Variata he expresses 
the Lutheran doctrine " that with the bread and 
wine the body and blood of Christ are truly pre- 

1 Philipp Melanchthon, p. 375. 
9 Letters, iii., p. 230. 

288 Philip Melanchthon [1540 

sented to those that eat in the Lord's Supper," 
makes a difference in words, not in the original in- 
tention, and brings the Tenth Article into harmony 
with the Wittenberg Concord, which had been offi- 
cially endorsed by the princes in 1537. The words 
are those chosen by Melanchthon under the counsel 
and with the approval of Luther, and endorsed both 
privately and officially by the men of their genera- 
tion as the words best suited to express the Lutheran 
doctrine without ambiguity, and to free it from the 
fact as well as from the possibility of a Roman 
Catholic interpretation. Nor would it be possible 
to interpret these words in a Calvinistic sense with- 
out substituting credentibus, " those that believe," 
for vescentibus, " those that eat." And this is the 
conclusion to which candid and orthodox Lutherans 
have at length come. 



The Diet of Worms The Regensburg Diet The Regensburg Book 
The Partial Agreement Melanchthon's Aphorisms His 
Steadfastness and Independence His Report on the Regens- 
^ burg Book Publication of his Works. 

THE Diet of Worms was opened January 14, 
1541. The Protestants presented the Augs- 
burg Confession, that is, the Variata, as the basis 
of the Colloquy. Eck and Melanchthon were chosen 
as the speakers. Eck, who had examined the Ger- 
man original at Mayence, complained that the copy 
of the Confession laid before the Diet did not agree 
with that which had been presented to the Emperor 
at Augsburg. Melanchthon answered that " the 
meaning was the same, though in the later copies 
milder and plainer words were used." Eck made 
no further complaint, and at once took up the 
articles. The Colloquy was now begun. As never 
before did Melanchthon's skill in debate manifest 
itself. He commanded the admiration of all. He 
showed marvellous acquaintance with the Scriptures 

290 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and with the fathers, and spoke in the most beauti- 
ful Latin. Francis Burkhard wrote to Chancellor 
Brtick: " Doctor Eck has found his man; it looks 
to me like the meeting of David and Goliath. I do 
not doubt that the truth will come off victorious." l 
Others said: " Master Philip's speech is as the 
song of the nightingale; Eck's like the croaking of 
the raven." 3 Melanchthon's eloquence was sur- 
passed only by his modesty. When Eck sought to 
entrap him by some sophism, he paused to consider 
the matter, and then said, " I will give you an an- 
swer to-morrow." " Oh," replied Eck, " there is 
no honour in that, if you cannot answer me imme- 
diately." Then fell the memorable words: " My 
good Doctor, I am not seeking my own glory in this 
cause, but truth. I say then, God willing, you 
shall have an answer to-morrow." 3 

The discussion centred chiefly round the doctrine 
of Original Sin, but no agreement was reached. 
January i8th, the Colloquy was brought to a close, 
or rather transferred to Regensburg, where the Im- 
perial Diet was to be held the next Spring. Mel- 
anchthon wrote to Camerarius: " My anxiety has 
been greatly increased by this debate. It is not 
arms and violence that I fear, but deceitful speeches 
and sophistries. In these colloquies we cannot 
sufficiently guard ourselves against treachery. " * In 

1 C. J?. f4: 23. 
8 C7. *., 25. 

z Adami Vita, p. 329. See Melanchthon's report of the Diet in 
C. R. , 4 : 34 et seqq. 
*C. ., 4: 88. 

1542] Melanchthon at Regensburg 291 

several letters he gives accounts of the Colloquy, and 
speaks hopefully of Granvella, the Imperial Chancel- 
lor, who had presided ; but he has no good words 
for Eck. Melanchthon returned home at once after 
the proroguing of the Diet, and took up his work in 
the university. He was thoroughly disgusted with 
colloquies, and begged to be excused from going to 
Regensburg. But his wish was not gratified, as the 
Elector needed his ablest theologians at the Diet. 
March 14, 1541, he left Wittenberg, and on the i6th 
he joined the other delegates at Altenburg. On 
the Bavarian frontier the carriage in which he rode 
was overturned, and he was violently thrown to the 
ground. His wrist was so badly sprained that for a 
time he could not write. The injury followed him 
through life. 

The Diet was opened April 5th. Frederick, 
Count Palatine, and Granvella presided. The Em- 
peror selected Julius von Pflug, John Gropper, and 
John Eck from the Catholics, and Philip Melanch- 
thon, Martin Bucer, and John Pistorius from the 
Protestants, to discuss the articles of religion. 
When the debate was about to begin, April 2/th, 
the Emperor presented the colloquists, through Gran- 
vella, with a book, with the request to examine it, 
and to correct whatever they found in it contrary to 
the Scriptures, but to suffer all that was Christian 
to remain. This book, of uncertain authorship, 
known as the Regensburg Book, was half Catholic 
and half Protestant, and contained doctrines to 
which neither party could consent without giving 
up its principles. Eck said it Melanchthonised too 

292 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

much, but Melanchthon totally disclaimed it. 
Various articles were discussed, and agreement was 
attained on Justification, the Freedom of Man, 
Original Sin, Baptism, Good Works, and Episco- 
pacy, but not on any other articles. 1 During the 
discussion of the Eucharist, Melanchthon uttered 
two aphorisms, that have come to be regarded as 
axiomatic in the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's 
Supper: " Nothing has the nature of a sacrament 
apart from the divinely appointed use." " Christ is 
not present for the sake of the bread, but for the 
sake of man." Eck was so confounded by Mel- 
anchthon's speech that in default of argument he 
first raved, then got drunk, and falling sick never 
returned to the Diet. 8 Granvella was so impressed 
by the speech that he said, " This is a grave matter, 
and is worthy of the attention of a council." 3 
When Melanchthon's aphorisms were reported to 
Luther, he exclaimed: "Brave Philip, you have 
snatched from the papacy what I should not have 
dared to attempt," and he wrote to the Elector that 
Melanchthon and the other delegates had stood 
bravely by " the dear confession." 4 

Melanchthon's steadfastness was also greatly 
praised by his colleagues, who reported that he de- 
clared that he would father die than yield anything 
in the Conference against his conscience, for it would 
be death to him to go contrary to his conscience. 5 
The independence also which Melanchthon exhibited 

1 Seckendorf, iii., 35. 4 De W., 5 : 357. 

*C. ^.,9: 626. j?., 4: 225. 

1542] Melanchthon at Regensburg 293 

at Regensburg is worthy of all praise. It had been 
insinuated that he was simply the mouthpiece of 
Luther. In a noble and manly letter to the Em- 
peror he declares that he has no instructions from 
Luther, and only general directions from the Elec- 
tor to adhere to sound doctrine. 

" I know," he says, " that the doctrines of our 
churches are the doctrines of the Church Catholic. 
This, I think, is confessed by many wise men, though 
they think that in removing abuses we are harsher than 
is necessary. They wish to retain a kind of saint- 
worship, private masses, and the like. Hence they want 
us to take a backward step, and to approve the begin- 
nings of abuses. Since I cannot do this, I ask again to 
be dismissed." * 

When Melanchthon's steadfastness was reported 
to the Elector, he wrote to his commissioners : " We 
have heard with great satisfaction that Master Philip 
has conducted himself with firmness and decision. 
May the Almighty God graciously sustain him in his 
course." 2 

On June 24th, Melanchthon presented a report on 
the Regensburg Book. It contains a masterly dis- 
cussion of all the articles in dispute, and closes with 
as brave words as ever came from any man's pen: 

" For the reasons given I conclude upon the Word of 
God and with a good conscience that I cannot and will 
not receive this book, and I pray God the Father of our 

1 C. R., 4 : 3i8. 
3 C. R., 4: 346. 

294 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Lord Jesus Christ that he will grant us all good counsel 
and help, and will protect and govern his Church, which 
he has redeemed by his Son and still wonderfully pre- 
serves. And that everyone may know what I believe, I 
will here declare that I hold the doctrine of our churches 
as it is comprehended in our Confession and Apology, 
and by God's grace I intend to abide in it. And I 
thank God that he has enlightened his Church ; nor do I 
wish to give occasion for obscuring the pure doctrine 
again. No one can truthfully charge that I have pleasure 
in useless strife. For it is manifest from my writings 
that with the greatest diligence I have sought and main- 
tained mildness and moderation. I also pray God for 
peace and Christian unity; and I am ready for a further 
declaration." * 

At length, on July 2Qth, the Recess of the Diet 
was announced. The unreduced differences were to 
be referred to a council, or to a diet of the Empire; 
the Protestants were to refrain from writing against 
the articles agreed upon ; the Bishops should intro- 
duce a Christian reformation ; the Nuremberg Peace 
should be maintained. 

The Regensburg Diet marks a climax in the re- 
formatory movement. Neither before nor afterward 
was the Emperor, or the Curia through its legates, 
so conciliatory ; but the Papalists would not recede 
from what the Protestants regarded as fundamental 
errors. Hence there could be no agreement. At 
Rome, Germany was regarded as lost, and the grav- 
est apprehensions were entertained concerning the 
Netherlands and France. The fact is, the Reform- 

1 C. JP.,4: 4I3-43L 

1542] Melanchthon at Regensburg 295 

ation had gained such a distinct dogmatic conscious- 
ness that it could not recede from its position, and 
it had acquired so much political strength that it 
could not be suppressed by the sword. If the 
Schmalkald League had helped to give the move- 
ment political strength, Melanchthon more than any 
other man had helped to give it dogmatic conscious- 
ness and confessional dignity. 

On the thirtieth of July, 1541, Melanchthon left 
Regensburg for home by the way of Leipzig, where 
he had sought a place for his friend Camerarius, 
whom he commended to Duke Henry as " peace- 
able, quiet, and conscientious, and so learned in 
philosophy and eloquence as to be surpassed by few 
at home or abroad. ' ' 1 Henry called Camerarius, Au- 
gust I4th, and, dying soon thereafter, was succeeded 
by his son Maurice. August 7th, we find Melanch- 
thon in Wittenberg, and October 26th he addressed 
a letter to Camerarius, now at Leipzig. During the 
autumn and winter he was as usual very active with 
his pen. In December, an edition of his works 
was published at Basel. January 20, 1542, he was 
present when Luther consecrated Nicholas von 
Amsdorf as Bishop of Naumburg. In March Lu- 
ther wrote: " Master Philip is well and hearty. He 
is doing more than all the rest. He is the Atlas 
who sustains heaven and earth." 2 Some idea of 
his labours may be gained when it is learned that 
his letters alone during the year 1542 extend from 
page 749 to page 942 in the Corpus Reformatorum. 

l c. #., 4: 638. 
2 De w., 5 : 452, 



Melanchthon Invited to Bonn Hermann's Consultation Contro- 
versy Strained Relations between Melanchthon and Luther. 

THE incoming year (1543) imposed new duties. 
The Reformation had extended its influence 
to the region of the Lower Rhine. In December, 

1542, Archbishop Hermann of Cologne had invited 
Bucer to Bonn to preach the Gospel. In January, 

1543, he invited Melanchthon to come to him to 
assist in instituting reform in religion, and requested 
the Elector of Saxony to allow him to come. As 
the request was in support of " a godly and Christian 
work," and was favoured by Luther and Camerarius, 
the Elector gave his consent to Melanchthon 's 
going, and sent him a hundred gulden and an escort. 
May 4th, attended by Justus Jonas, Jr., and Jerome 
Schreiber he entered Bonn. He found the religious 
ignorance greater than he had supposed it was. To 
Luther he wrote: 

" I think there is scarcely a place in Germany where 
there is so much barbarism, even heathenish superstition 


1546] The Cologne Reformation 297 

as in these parts. Heretofore the people ran to the 
images. Now I observe that the preaching of Bucer and 
Pistorius is largely attended, and I note that they both 
preach purely and correctly. There are also others in 
the neighbouring towns who teach correctly, and rightly 
administer the sacraments." 

Two plans of reformation had been submitted : 
One by John Cropper, the archiepiscopal chancellor, 
who wrote " only painted articles," as Melanchthon 
called them ; and one by Bucer, who had taken the 
Brandenburg-Nuremberg Church Order as his guide. 
Melanchthon spent three days in revising some of 
Bucer's articles on doctrine, and wrote several new 
articles, but left those on the sacraments as Bucer 
had written them, because they were in harmony 
with the teaching in all Lutheran churches. 2 The 
result of his and Bucer's labours are embodied in 
the book known as Hermann's Consultation, which 
Lutherans have unhesitatingly claimed as a genuine 
Lutheran Church Order, which, translated into 
English and published in 1547, exerted an important 
influence on The Book of Common Prayer. 

The Consultation was rejected by the Chapter and 
clergy of Cologne. Cropper wrote a book against 
it, called Antididagma. It was also lampooned 
by a Carmelite monk, named Billich, whom Mel- 
anchthon describes as " a fatted priest of Bacchus 
and Venus." The Chapter and clergy, having 
gained the upper hand at Cologne, preferred charges 

1 C. R., 5 : 112. 

3 DeW.,5: 670. 

298 Philip Melanchthon 0497- 

against the Archbishop before the Emperor and the 
Pope. April 1 6, 1546, the aged Hermann was de- 

While at Bonn Melanchthon was very uncomfort- 
able in his surroundings, but very busy with his pen. 
Besides his contributions to the Consultation, he 
wrote a Response to Billich's satire. He first refutes 
the slanders that the Protestants have forsaken the 
doctrine of the Church Catholic ; that they oppose 
the civil government ; and that they are influenced 
in their movements by considerations of worldly 
gain. He then paints in striking colours the super- 
stitions of the Roman Church, the corruptions of 
monasticism, and the evils of celibacy. Of doctrine 
he says: " We mutilate no church dogma, but only 
attack recent errors which have crept in contrary to 
the Gospel and the judgments of the purer church." 
The Response was published with a characteristic 
Preface by Luther. It covers twenty-two folio 
pages, and has been pronounced one of the noblest 
defences of Protestantism ever penned. 1 

Some idea of the double discomfort of Melanch- 
thon's situation at Bonn may be learned from the 
following letters. To Peter Martyr he wrote, July 
I4th: " I have attended many conventions, yea, 
battles; but I have never happened among more 
rabid and impudent sycophants." 3 And to Paul 

" I am living here the life of a sailor. My lodgings 

'Witt. Ed., i., 95 et seqq. 
3 C.*., 5: 143- 

1546] The Cologne Reformation 299 

are by the Rhine just where the boats land, whence 
comes the foul stench of the bilge-water. In the house 
everything, the table, the bed, the fireplace, are crowded 
together just as in a boat. The wine is wretched; 
the cooking is Westphalian. The cleanliness is far 
from that of France, or of the Upper Rhine. It is also 
expected that the imperial army will pass through these 
parts." * 

July 28th, Melanchthon " tore " himself from 
this scene of controversy and discomfort and turned 
his face homeward. At Frankfort, he adjusted a 
controversy over some ceremonies connected with 
the sacraments, and proceeded thence to Weimar, 
whither he had been summoned by the Court. 
August 1 5th, amid an ovation of students and pro- 
fessors, who had gone forth to meet him, he entered 

Hermann's Consultation was soon published, and 
became the innocent cause of much sorrow to Mel- 
anchthon. The article on the Lord's Supper is 
Lutheran, but it is not stated in rigid -Lutheran 
formulas. The subject is treated practically, rather 
than doctrinally. The Archbishop sent a copy of 
the Consultation to the Elector of Saxony, who sent 
it to Amsdorf for examination. Amsdorf , who was 
more Lutheran than Luther, and had long been hos- 
tile to Melanchthon, severely criticised the articles 
on the Will and Sacrament, and sent his criticisms 
to Luther, who had not yet read the Consultation. 
The latter was pleased with the criticisms, and con- 

*., 5: 142. 

300 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

demned the Consultation because " it says not a 
word against the fanatics," and does not mention 
" the oral reception of the true body and blood." 1 
Luther was at the time violently excited against the 
Swiss on account of their views of the Sacrament. 
He calls Bucer Klappermaul (babbler), and in private 
conversations, in public lectures and sermons, he 
spoke against the Sacramentarians with all the 
vehemence of former years. Gossips, busy-bodies, 
and strife-makers were doing their despicable work. 
The report went out that Luther was going to make 
an attack on his old friend. 

Melanchthon was now plunged into the deepest 
grief, and began to talk of going into exile. August 
28th (1544), he addressed Bucer as follows: 

" I wrote you by Milich that our Pericles is about to 
thunder most vehemently on the Lord's Supper, and that 
he has written a book, not yet published, in which you 
and I are beaten black and blue. Amsdorf, whom he 
recently visited and consulted on the matter, is applaud- 
ing the assault. To-morrow, as I learn, he will summon 
Cruciger and me. I pray God to grant the Church and 
us a salutary result. Perhaps it is God's will that the 
subject be agitated again, that it may be further ex- 
plained. I am calm and will not hesitate to withdraw 
from this penitentiary should he attack me." a 

Finally, in October, 1544, Luther published his 
book under the title, A Short Confession on the 
Holy Sacrament against the Fanatics. Zwingli and 

1 De W., 5 : 708. 
5 C. R., 5 : 474- 

1546] The Cologne Reformation 301 

CEcolampadius, both long since dead, are branded 
as heretics and murderers of souls. The Reformed 
generally are named " eingeteufelte, durchteufelte, 
ueberteufelte lasterliche Herzen und Liigenmauler." 
That is: " Blasphemers and liars, possessed and 
permeated through and through by the devil. ' ' But 
neither Melanchthon, nor Bucer, nor Calvin, is 
named or alluded to. Malicious persons had striven 
to excite Luther against Melanchthon ; but in this 
they signally failed ; for even after he had decided 
to write this new Confession, he had declared, " I 
have absolutely no suspicion in regard to Philip " *; 
and a month after the publication of this Confession, 
he wrote to the Venetians: " If you should hear 
that Philip or Luther has yielded to the insane 
error of the Sacramentarians, for God's sake do not 
believe it " 2 ; as in the previous year he had spoken 
of Bucer as orthodox, and by letter had commended 
Melanchthon'sZtf^z and his commentaries on Romans 
and Daniel to the Venetians; though in his ardent 
hostility to the Swiss, he not only affirmed in this 
letter the oral reception of the body and blood, but 
actually so far forgot himself as to write : De trans- 
sub stantiatione rejicimus inutilem et sophisticam dis- 
putationem, nihil morati, si quis earn alibi credat, vel 
non. That is: " We reject the useless and sophisti- 
cal dispute about transubstantiation, but we do not 
care whether anyone elsewhere believes it, or not," 
which gave Melanchthon great distress, as he fore- 

'DeW., 5: 645. 
2 DeW., 5: 697. 
3 DeW., 5: 568. 

302 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

saw the controversies that would arise from Luther's 
" concession of transubstantiation, which is the 
source of idolatry." 1 

During this same crucial period the Elector also 
expressed his entire confidence in Melanchthon, and 
actually forbade Luther to attack him, since he was 
faithful and true, and could not be spared from the 
university. 3 Yet this precaution was unnecessary, 
for there is not a word to be found in Luther's 
private correspondence, nor elsewhere from his pen, 
nor a recorded syllable from his lips, to show that 
he at any time meant to attack Melanchthon, or 
that during this period he had become seriously 
alienated from him, or that he was displeased with 
his doctrinal position ; though his attitude towards 
his colleagues during the summer of 1544 was one 
of suspicion and unfriendliness. He had quarrelled 
violently with the law faculty over the validity of 
secret betrothals, and at home he " was inflamed 
by the domestic firebrand," Frau Luther, " who 
could not endure those theologians who had married 
wives from the common people," and who, besides 
lording it over her husband at home, was just then 
meddling with public affairs. 3 Under these circum- 
stances Luther had " become quite morose and very 
irritable." His imperious temper had gotten the 
better of his reason, and had made him misanthropic, 
and so despondent that in disgust he left Witten- 
berg with the intention of never returning. No one 

1 C. R., 5 : 208. 
C. R., 5: 746. 
3 C R,, 5 : 314 and note 4. 

1546] The Cologne Reformation 303 

could tell where his thunderbolts would strike ; yet 
it was perhaps a weakness in Melanchthon that he 
did not go to Luther during this period of tension, 
as he did afterward, and explain his position. But 
when Luther had actually gone from Wittenberg, it 
was Melanchthon who declared that he would not 
live there without him, and actually went to Merse- 
burg and brought him back. 1 

When Melanchthon saw he had not been attacked 
by Luther, and when Luther himself had become 
calmer, the old friendly relation was restored. Mel- 
anchthon sat again at Luther's table, and the two 
took journeys together, and joined their labours in 
promoting the cause which was dear alike to each. 
As a basis for new negotiations with the Catholics, 
Melanchthon prepared a formal statement of doc- 
trines and ceremonies to be laid before the approach- 
ing conference at Worms. The work is known as 
The Wittenberg Reformation? It is essentially a 
confession of faith in expressed harmony with the 
Augsburg Confession, and was signed by the entire 
Wittenberg theological faculty, thus showing that 
the faculty was united in doctrine and in ceremonies. 
The Elector thought it too mild, but his Chancellor, 
Briick, praised it for its mildness, and because it 
" bore no traces of Luther's turbulent spirit." He 
particularly notes its harmony with the Augsburg 
Confession, and thinks it will effectually silence the 
cry of the Catholics that the Protestants are seeking 
their own glory. He is pleased also with the fact 

1 Matthes, Philipp Melanchthon, p. 246. 
*C. R. 5: HT etseqq. 

304 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

that the other theologians have united with Mel- 
anchthon in this document. 1 

A part of The Wittenberg Reformation was laid 
before the Diet at Worms, and a part was with- 
held ; but no part of it became the basis of ne- 
gotiations. The Emperor simply requested the 
Protestants to submit to the Council. This they 
refused to do, and demanded the continuance of 
peace. To gain time to prepare for more violent 
measures, the Emperor adjourned the Diet, August 
4, 1545, and announced another to meet at Regens- 
burg, January 6, 1546, which was to be preceded by 
a colloquy on religion. 

As the Protestants suspected that war was now 
resolved upon, they assembled at Frankfort, in De- 
cember, to renew and strengthen the Schmalkald 
League. They reached no important conclusions, 
except to resolve to attend the Colloquy, and to 
oppose the Council which was opened at Trent, De- 
cember 13, 1545. Melanchthon was commissioned 
to set forth " the reasons why the estates of the 
Augsburg Confession will not attend the Council of 
Trent. ' ' After presenting a list of grievances against 
the papacy, and severely taxing its errors, he says: 

" We have allowed no new opinions to be propounded 
in our churches. On the contrary, we profess the old, 
true, only pure doctrine of the Church of God; and that 
it may be known what that is, we point to our Confession 
delivered at Augsburg, which contains a summary in 
harmony with the Apostolic, the Nicene, and the 
Athanasian Creeds." 

1 C. J?., 5 : 660. 

1546] The Cologne Reformation 305 

This Recusation, as it is called, ranks as one of 
Melanchthon's most incisive writings. In its very 
positive and aggressive tone it reminds one of the 
Schmalkald Articles written by Luther. It shows 
that in dealing directly with the Roman Catholic 
errors, its author had no concessions to make. 
Luther himself, who died before the document was 
completed, could not have desired anything more 
decisive. It closes by saying: 

" We have no pleasure in strife, neither do we mistake 
our perils and distresses; but we cannot allow the light 
of the Gospel and the necessary doctrine of God's 
Church to be extinguished, nor can we pollute our souls, 
and all future generations, by fellowship with cruelty." ' 

Melanchthon had been ordered to hold himself 
in readiness to attend the Regensburg Colloquy as 
chief disputant on the side of the Protestants. 
Early in January he returned with Luther from a 
visit to Mansfeld, broken down in health. Luther 
now importuned Briick orally, and the Elector by 
letter, January 9, 1546, not to send Melanchthon to 

" because he is really sick, and ought to be in bed rather 
than at the Colloquy. Philip ought not to be sacrificed 
in such a vain and unnecessary work, for the opposite 
party are wicked faithless people. Philip is a true man. 
He fears and shuns no one, but he is weak and sick. It 
cost not a little effort to fetch him from Mansfeld, for he 
did n't want to eat or drink. Should he be taken from 

1 Bindseil's Supplementa to Melanchthon's Works, p. 239 et seqq. 


306 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the University half the students will leave in consquence 
of his absence. Doctors Zoch and Major should be sent. 
For though the latter is timid in such matters, on account 
of inexperience, yet he is more learned than the Em- 
peror's Ass." 

The letters of Bruck and Luther to the Elector 
furnish the most indubitable proof of the confidence 
which both reposed in Melanchthon, and show the 
interest they took in his comfort. There is no in- 
timation that the great lover of peace would betray 
the evangelical cause, or surrender a point of doc- 
trine. When Melanchthon was informed that 
Luther had counselled against his going to Regens- 
burg, and had learned the reasons, he expressed 
himself entirely satisfied; though he said he would 
rather go to Regensburg than to engage again in 
the wretched transactions which had previously 
called him and Luther to Mansfeld. However, as 
the Elector ordered him to Torgau to speak for 
himself, he went thither and was formally excused. 
While at Torgau he wrote an Opinion on the Collo- 
quy. He advised that the Article of Justification 
should be considered first. If the opposite party 
would not allow this Article, the Colloquy should be 
brought to an end with the protest: " Since the 
opposite party will not listen to this plain article it 
is useless to proceed." a 

The Protestants followed Melanchthon's advice. 
When -it became apparent that no conclusion could 

1 C. R., 6 : 10 ; and De W., 5 : 774. 
8 C.;?.,6: 15- 

1546] The Cologne Reformation 307 

be reached, the Emperor demanded that the col- 
loquists should not divulge the transactions. He 
also cast obstacles in the way of peace, and tried 
to throw the blame on the Protestants. Now it 
was that Melanchthon cried out that the Emperor 
might enjoin silence on his Spaniards, but not on 
German freemen. He wrote an Opinion, and advised 
the delegates to protest. This they did, March 20, 
1546, and returned home, " promising to come again 
whenever the Emperor should command it." 



Luther and Melanchthon's Last Correspondence Luther's Death 
Melanchthon's Funeral Oration over Luther His Letter about 
Luther Alliance against the Protestants. 

TH E year 1 546 was one of the darkest and saddest 
of Melanchthon's life. In October and De- 
cember of the previous year he and Luther had 
together gone to Mansfeld to settle the shameful 
disputes between the counts. Their success had 
been only partial, and the counts desired that they 
should continue the good offices of mediation. 
Melanchthon was excused from going because of ill 
health. Luther made ready to go, and, January 
2oth, invited Melanchthon to sup with him. This 
was the last time that Melanchthon sat at Luther's 
table. Three days later Luther started for Mans- 
feld, not to return alive. The letters which passed 
between the two during the next three or four weeks 
furnish an abiding proof of the admiration and love 
which each had for the other. Melanchthon's letter 
of February i8th, the day on which Luther died, 
is addressed, " To the Reverend Doctor Martin 


1546] The Increase of Sorrows 309 

Luther, distinguished for his learning, virtue, and 
wisdom, Doctor of theology, Restorer of the pure 
doctrine of the Gospel, my most dear Father. " This 
was written in answer to Luther's letter of February 
I4th, addressed, " To Philip Melanchthon, most 
worthy Brother in Christ." Earlier, Luther had 
addressed him as " the faithful servant of God, and 
most dear Brother." February iQth, letters reached 
Wittenberg announcing Luther's death. Melanch- 
thon at once wrote to Jonas, who had gone with 

" This morning we received your very sad letters, one 
to the illustrious Prince Elector, and the other to the 
Reverend Pastor of our Church, in which with great 
sorrow you write of the death of the Reverend Doctor 
Martin Luther, our most dear Father and Preceptor. 
He was the chariot and the charioteer of Israel, raised up 
by God to restore and purify the ministry of the Gospel. 
For we must confess that by him doctrine was revealed 
which is beyond the range of the human mind. Bereft 
of such a teacher and leader we are deeply pained, not 
only on account of the University, but also on account 
of the Church throughout the world, which he directed 
by his counsels, teaching, authority, and by the aid of 
the Holy Spirit." ' 

In announcing Luther's death to the students, he 

exclaimed : " Ah ! the Charioteer and the Chariot of 

Israel is gone; he who guided the Church in these 

last days of the world." 2 To others he wrote that 

' Luther was endowed with many heroic virtues, 

1 C. *., 6: 57. 
2 C. tf.,6: 59- 

310 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and was divinely called to restore the Gospel." The 
funeral oration ' which he pronounced in the Castle 
Church, February 22d, is one of the-loftiest tributes 
ever paid by a great man to a greater. Luther is 
placed in the line of " unbroken succession " with 
Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, 
Daniel, Zacharias; with Polycarp, Irenaeus, Basil, 
Augustin, Bernard, Tauler, and others. 

His services to the Church in the restoration of 
sound doctrine and in the purification of worship are 
briefly recounted, his splendid virtues are fitly 
praised, and his fervent piety is duly extolled. 

The Oration is chaste, eloquent, and discriminat- 
ing. It shows Melanchthon's profound admiration 
for Luther's character and achievements, and his 
sincere sorrow for his death. 

If it be lacking in pathetic tenderness, this is not 
because Melanchthon's love for Luther had been 
chilled by former misunderstandings, but because 
the events of the last twenty years, and his acquired 
style of composition, had imparted dignity rather 
than pathos to his eloquence. But the Oration will 
ever remain as a monument of its author's magna- 
nimity, and a testimony to the services of Luther, 
from one who understood both him and his achieve- 
ments better than any other man, and who viewed 
both the man and his achievements with an eye free 
from envy and prejudice. Nor are the lofty terms 
of praise contained in this Oration inconsistent with 
a judgment of Melanchthon's expressed in a letter 
to Christopher von Carlowitz, April 28, 1548: 

1 Given in full in an English translation in the Appendix. 

1546] The Increase of Sorrows 311 

" Formerly I bore an almost unseemly servitude, 
since Luther often gave way to his temperament, in 
which there was not a little contentiousness, and 
did not sufficiently consider either his own dignity 
or the public welfare." ' In Melanchthon's own 
words we have an explanation which truthfully de- 
scribes Luther's nature. To Dietrich von Maltz 
he wrote': 

*' I will make no elaborate apology to a man who is wise 
and candid. I only ask that over against the one word 
(pikoveinia [love of contention] of that letter, be placed 
my many other laudatory speeches concerning Luther, 
written in many passages after his death, as in the funeral 
oration and in the preface to the second volume of his 
works. Then why is that one word extracted from that 
letter, when many other severe things were there said 
against the adversaries, and that, too, in a letter written 
to a man of whose thoughts and purpose you are not 
ignorant ? In a word, I affirm that I value the truth 
above my life. What more do our Aristarchuses, who 
judge so harshly of that letter, require of me ? Perhaps 
they do not consider what cpikov zinia means ? It is 
not a crime, but na6o$, a ' temperament,' belonging to 
heroic natures, such as writers attribute to Pericles, 
Lysander, and Agesilaus. There were heroic impulses 
in Luther. It is no wonder that we whose natures are 
more sluggish are sometimes amazed at that vehemence, 
especially since there are some things belonging to many 
of the controversies, about which I prefer to speak to 
you privately, rather than to excite complaint and dis- 

1 C. R., 6: 880. 

2 IJnschuld. Nachr. (1707), p. 85. 

312 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

In the funeral oration Melanchthon had said: 

" Some by no means evil-minded persons, however, 
express a suspicion that Luther manifested too much 
asperity. I will not affirm the reverse, but only quote 
the language of Erasmus: God has sent in this latter age 
a violent physician on account of the magnitude of the 
existing disorders; fulfilling by such a dispensation the 
divine message to Jeremiah: ' Behold I have put my 
words in thy mouth. See I have this day set thee over 
the nations, and over the Kingdom to root out and to pull 
down, to build and to plant. ' ' 

Only blind admirers of Luther can fail to see that 
in all these passages Melanchthon has given a true 
description of Luther's nature. That Luther was 
polemical, passionate, vehement, and impatient of 
contradiction, is too well known to require proof. 
One has only to read his controversies with Henry 
VIII., Erasmus, Duke George, Duke Henry of 
Brunswick, and Cardinal Albert, to find exhibitions 
of violence and of coarse abuse which no friend of 
Luther's would undertake to defend or to justify. 
To acknowledge these things frankly does not de- 
tract from Luther's greatness, nor cast reproach on 
his moral character, nor discredit the justness of his 
contentions. It were far better for Luther's friends 
to exhibit these shadows of his " heroic virtues " in 
love, than to leave them to be exposed by his ene- 
mies in malice. True friendship is not blind to the 
faults of a friend. There is probably no word in 
any language which better describes Luther's nature 
than gjiXoveiHia ; and that Luther's (pikoveiuia gave 

1546] The Increase of Sorrows 313 

Melanchthon many hours of sadness, Melanchthon's 
letters abundantly show. 

But Melanchthon's severest trials began with the 
death of Luther. Hitherto he had looked to the 
greater Reformer for guidance and solace. Now 
by force of circumstances he had himself become 
the theological head of the Reformation. He was 
born to teach, to write, to dispute, to negotiate, 
not to control the passions of men and to direct 
them in a time of excitement. By his powerful 
personality Luther had kept the refractory elements 
at bay, and had held his followers well in line ; but 
no sooner was he gone than disputes and parties 
arose in the Lutheran Church, which live to disturb 
its peace to the present day. That Melanchthon 
did not settle these, and could not control them, 
was his misfortune, not his fault. It is morally cert- 
ain that Luther himself could not have controlled 
the discordant elements of German Protestantism 
ten years longer, had he lived ; for Protestantism 
had introduced and sanctioned independence of 
thought, and the Germans are by nature impatient 
of constraint. Moreover, Luther had already lost 
control over many theologians of the younger gen- 

But before the breaking out of the theological 
war in which Melanchthon spent the last dozen years 
of his life, he was called on to experience the hor- 
rors of civil war. Inasmuch as the Emperor had 
concluded peace with the French, and had obtained 
a truce with the Turks, he resolved to restore Ger- 
many to the Holy Roman See. This could be done 

314 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

only by force of arms. To this end he began to 
make preparations for war. When asked the reason 
for these warlike preparations he replied that, as he 
" was unable to restore peace to Germany by mild 
measures, he was obliged to proceed against the dis- 
obedient by the power of the Empire." To make 
the work of subjugation easier and success sure, he 
entered into an alliance with the Pope. The pretext 
for the Pope's action is found in the fact that the 
Protestants had refused to submit to the Council of 
Trent. The text of this alliance, as given by Sleidan, 
is as follows : 

11 Whereas for many years Germany hath persisted in 
great errors such as threatened extraordinary danger ; for 
the averting of which a council hath been called, that com- 
menced at Trent in December last, and whereas Protest- 
ants reject and disown the same, therefore the Pope and 
Emperor for the glory of God and the public good, but 
especially the Welfare of Germany, have entered into league 
together upon certain Articles and Conditions : And in the 
first place, that the Emperor shall provide an Army, and 
all things necessary for War, and be in readiness by the 
Month of June next ensuing, and by Force and Arms com- 
pel those who refuse the Council, and maintain these Errors, 
to embrace the ancient Religion and submit to the Holy See : 
But that in the meantime, he shall use his endeavours, and 
try all means, to accomplish that, if he can, without a War : 
That he shall make no Peace nor Capitulation with them 
upon Terms prejudicial to the Church and Religion. That 
the Pope, besides the hundred thousand Ducats which he has 
already advanced, shall deposit as much more in the Bank 
of Venice^ to be employed by his Lieutenants, in the War 

1546] The Increase of Sorrows 315 

only and for no other use : but if no War happen, he shall 
receive his money again : that, moreover, he shall in this 
War, maintain at his own charges, for the space of six 
months, twelve thousand Italian Foot, and five hundred 
Horse, who shall be commanded by a General and other 
inferior Officers commissioned by him : But if the War be 
ended before six months expire, he is no longer obliged to 
keep his Force in pay. That the Emperor, by virtue of a 
grant from the Pope, may for this Year raise one half of 
the Church Revenues all over Spain : That he may also sell 
as much of the Abbey-Lands of Spain as do amount to five 
hundred thousand Ducats ; but all of this only for the use 
of the present War, and upon condition also that he mort- 
gage to them as much of his own Lands ; and because this 
is a new thing, and without a precedent, he shall at the dis- 
cretion of the Pope, give all the security he can : That if 
anyone endeavour to hinder this their design, they shall join 
their Forces, and assist one another against him ; and to 
this both shall be obliged, so long as the War continues, and 
six Months after it is ended. That all may enter into this 
League, and share both in the Profits and Charges of the 
War : That the College of Cardinals shall also ratify this 
League ; and that what is said of June, is to be understood 
of the Month of June this present year. And both Parties 
signed this League." 1 

1 Bohun's Sleidan, p. 381. 



Melanchthon's Opinion concerning the Threatened War Defeat of 
the Protestant Forces Capture of the Elector The University 
Closed Melanchthon an Exile Return to Wittenberg. 

THE Protestants of Upper Germany, Wiirtem- 
berg, Hesse, and Saxony, alarmed at the war- 
like preparations on the Danube, began to assemble 
their forces. Already, in April (1546), Melanchthon 
had written an Opinion, at the command of the Saxon 
Elector, " Concerning War against the Emperor." 
The Opinion, which was signed by all the Witten- 
berg theologians, is remarkable for its firmness and 
wise circumspection. After declaring that the doc- 
trine which God had made known to the churches 
could not be rooted out, he proceeds: 

" As regards myself it were easier for me to suffer and 
die than to encourage a vague suspicion; but if it be 
true that the Emperor intends to fall upon these states 
on account of religion, then undoubtedly it is the duty of 
these states by the help of God to protect themselves and 
their subjects, as St. Paul says: ' The magistrate beareth 


1547] The Schmalkald War 317 

not the sword in vain, for he is the minister of God to 
punish those who do evil, as murderers. ' Such resistance 
is as when a man repels a band of murderers, be he 
commanded by the Emperor or by others. This is a 
public tyranny, a notorious violence. As to how the 
Spaniards, Italians, and Burgundians will act in these 
lands, we know by what they have done in Julichs. 
Hence every father should offer his body and life to re- 
pel this huge tyranny." 

To Amsdorf he wrote, June 25th: 

" It is certain that the Emperor Charles is preparing a 
great war against the Elector of Saxony and the Land- 
grave. Large armies are now assembling in the neigh- 
bourhood of Guelders, and Italian forces, supported by 
the Pope, are expected. Charles does not deny that he 
is going to make war on the Elector of Saxony. At 
Regensburg he summoned the representatives of the 
Estates and bade them not to assist the Elector. But 
the Estates replied nobly and resolutely, that they would 
not desert a neighbouring prince in danger. Such is the 
beginning of the war. But as God protected the house 
of the widow of Sarepta, so I pray that he will defend 
our princes, who are just in government, and in many 
ways serve the churches and promote the study of 

A little later he published an edition of Luther's 
Warning to his Beloved Germans, with a Preface 
which sounded the tocsin of war, and which shows 
that this man who had spent so many years in nego- 

1 C. R., 6: 123. 
2 C R., 6: 181. 

318 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

tiations for peace, and had borne reproaches on ac- 
count of his efforts to spare his native land the 
shedding of blood, could exhibit the highest courage, 
and could counsel war as a final means of repelling 
religious tyranny. The Protestants marshalled their 
forces, twenty-seven thousand strong, on the Dan- 
ube, before Charles had time to gather his army. 
Had they made an attack at once they could easily 
have ended the war in September, and could have 
forced Charles to terms. But they hesitated and 
delayed and then retreated, leaving the Emperor 
master of the Danube. They now proposed terms 
of peace, but the Emperor ordered them to surren- 
der at discretion. Learning that Maurice, Duke of 
Saxony, had united with the Emperor, and had 
already invaded the Electoral dominions, the Elec- 
tor and the Landgrave hastened home. Charles 
soon conquered the confederated cities of Upper 
Germany, humbled Wiirtemberg, and deprived the 
Archbishop of Cologne of his Electoral dignity. 
The next spring he advanced against the Elector of 
Saxony, fought and won the battle of Miihlberg, 
April 24th, and took the Elector prisoner. He 
afterward deprived him of his Electoral dignity, and 
bestowed the same upon Maurice, thus transferring 
the Electorate from the Ernestine to the Albertine 
line, with which it remains to this day. 

Melanchthon had not been hopeful of the results 
of the war. But what distressed him most was the 
dissolution of the university, and the dispersion of 
the professors and students. He took up his abode 
at Zerbst, though he was offered asylum with the 

1547] The Schmalkald War 319 

Elector of Brandenburg, and at Brunswick, and at 
Nuremberg. In view of the possible re-establish- 
ment of the university he preferred to remain in the 
vicinity of Wittenberg. When he learned of the de- 
feat and capture of the Elector he wrote to Cruciger 
in a way that reveals the magnitude of his distress : 

" DEAREST CASPAR: Not if I were able to weep as 
many tears as the Elbe rolls deep waters before our walls, 
could I weep out my sorrow on account of the defeat 
and imprisonment of our Prince, who truly loved the 
Church and Justice. Many important considerations 
increase my distress. I deeply commiserate the prisoner. 
I foresee a change of doctrine and a new confusion of 
the churches. A great ornament is destroyed in the dis- 
persion of our University, and we are torn asunder. 
Then, too, if it were possible to consider the matter, I 
would rather die in your society and at your altars than 
wander in exile, in which I am daily growing weaker. 
The Eternal God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ 
keep our pastor, you, and our other colleagues." ' 

When he heard that Spanish and Italian soldiers 
had invested Wittenberg, and were committing 
murders and many nameless crimes, he removed 
with his family from Zerbst to Magdeburg, thence 
to Brunswick, and thence to Nordhausen. His 
letters during this period of exile exhibit the deep- 
est concern for his friends, the Church, and the 
university. He says: " There is fixed in my heart 
and in my very soul the greatest love for our little 
nest on the Elbe and for our friends who are there 

1 C. ^.,6: 532. 

320 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and in the neighbourhood, so that I cannot separate 
from them without the greatest pain." l In a few 
days he learned it was quite safe for him to return 
to Wittenberg. Then he wrote: <r I have decided to 
return for a short time to Wittenberg, or at least 
to Dessau, to consult with the friends in regard to 
the common exile." He was now contemplating a 
visit to his native land, and was considering a call 
to the University of Tubingen. He had no expect- 
ation at this time of being called back to Wittenberg 
to take up the work which had been interrupted 
by the war. He also continued to express the 
deepest sympathy for his fallen Prince. In a letter 
of condolence and comfort he declared his willing- 
ness to serve under him in the humblest school-work 
in poverty rather than elsewhere in riches. He also 
promised that he would not depart from the Elect- 
or's dominions without his Grace's knowledge. 
But he did not know at that time, June Qth, that 
the sons of John Frederick, to whom a portion of 
their father's dominions, including Weimar, Jena, 
Eisenach, and Gotha, had been left, intended to 
open a university at Jena. His heart was still at 
Wittenberg. June i6th he wrote to a friend: 

" Though I do not approve all the confusion there, 
yet if I can gather together the scattered remnants of the 
University, I would not go elsewhere. For I love that 
University as my native land, as in it I lived in the 
most intimate relations with learned and honourable col- 
leagues, and with a fair amount of zeal taught the things 

*.., 6: 560. 

CHARLES V. IN 1547. 


1547] The Schmalkald War 321 

most necessary. The son of our captive Prince has only 
requested that I should not leave these parts without 
first informing him of my intention. If a place should 
be given me even in a humble school in his dominions, 
I would not hesitate to serve him; for I am not thinking 
of a brilliant position, but of my grave." * 

When asked by the young dukes to name the 
place where he wished to reside, he wrote that he 
would come to Weimar to learn further their inten- 
tions, and to give his " simple and humble opinion." 
On the seventh of July he went to Weimar, but with 
the determination not willingly to separate himself 
from his colleagues, and not to choose a position in 
which he could not again unite with them in labour; 
for in all his letters of these months he declares that 
he will act only in conjunction with his colleagues. 
July loth, in a written Opinion, which only recently 
has been recovered, he sets forth the difficulties of 
founding a new university : It will cost a great deal 
of money; " the princes are poor and in debt " ; it 
will probably increase the hostility toward John 
Frederick and his family. In this Opinion he openly 
insists on Wittenberg as the place for the univer- 
sity, since studies have already flourished there, and 
Wittenberg is favourably situated in the Saxon 
lands for the university. 3 But, as the Court per- 
sisted, he sketched a plan and named the professors. 
As not all of these were acceptable, and as Melanch- 
thon was required to give a categorical answer as to 

1 C. tf.,6: 578. 

2 Bindseil's Supplementa, p. 541. 

322 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

whether he would come to Jena or not, he at once 
broke off all negotiations, and on the I4th returned 
to Nordhausen, without knowing^how it would go 
with him at Wittenberg, since he had not yet been 
invited thither by the new Elector. 

The facts in the case show conclusively that the 
plan of founding a new university at Jena did not 
arise from opposition to the theology and tendency 
of Melanchthon. Exactly the opposite was the 
case. At the beginning, the Weimar Court wished 
especially to foster and to cultivate that theology, 
and above everything it sought to have Melanch- 
thon as its chief teacher. Even the school that was 
opened at Jena, March 19, 1548, was opened under 
Melanchthon's auspices. The two teachers, Stigel 
and Strigel, were pupils and friends of Melanchthon. 
The Inaugural of Strigel treated a favourite thought 
of Melanchthon's, and wholly in his spirit, viz., that 
even in times of trouble, learned studies must be 
fostered. Only subsequent events, together with 
the rivalries of princes and the jealousies of theolo- 
gians like Amsdorf and Flacius, brought on the sharp 
antagonism to Wittenberg, which, in 1558, erected 
the Jena gymnasium into a university, and made 
it the stronghold of opposition to Melanchthon and 
to Wittenberg. 1 

The one thing which influenced Melanchthon 
most was the deep conviction that for the sake of 
the Church the university ought to remain at Wit- 
tenberg. He saw that the downfall of the univer- 
sity would be a greater victory for the Catholics 

1 Hartfelder, p. 537. 

1547] The Schmalkald War 323 

than even the capture of. John Frederick had been. 
He wrote to Nicholas Medler: " The churches are 
not to be deserted because the government changes. 
The schools are bound up with the churches. For 
whence are we to have ministers of the Gospel, if 
the schools should be destroyed?" 1 He could 
have gone to Tubingen, or to Frankfort-on-the- 
Oder, and who would have blamed him ? But the 
love of the Church, and devotion to his colleagues, 
constrained him. To Prince George of Anhalt he 
wrote : 

" Were this purely a private matter, I could very easily 
decide. I would return to my native land which re- 
ceived me at my birth. Now my native land is with the 
company of most learned and virtuous men with whom 
I have lived so many years, and by whose labours learn- 
ing has been widely spread over these countries. May 
God for the sake of his holy sanctuary confirm what he 
hath wrought." 2 

A day or two later he wrote to Augustin Schurf : 

" Though from the very beginning of my exile I was 
invited to my native land, yet I was unwilling hastily to 
leave these parts. Nor do I doubt that I have acted 
wisely. Either the longing for my colleagues, or other 
good reasons, detained me; for I have come to the con- 
clusion that if at Wittenberg, or elsewhere, I can live 
among my old colleagues, most learned and honourable 
men, I will choose no other home, no other friends. 

1 C. R., 6: 812. 
2 C^.,6: 598. 

324 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

I shall judge my native land to be where they are. But 
I doubt whether the victorious Duke wants to have two 
universities." 1 

In order to readi a conclusion in regard to his 
future, and his " migration," he left Nordhausen, 
July i6th, for Zerbst, to consult with Dr. Schurf, 
Paul Eber, and others. At Merseburg, on the i8th, 
he learned that the Wittenberg theologians had 
been summoned to Leipzig by the new Elector, 
and that a messenger had been sent to Weimar for 
him. He now proceeded to Leipzig, where Maurice 
promised the theologians " that he would not allow 
any papal abuses to be introduced ; nor would he 
tolerate anything contrary to the Word of God, 
but as a Christian Elector he would protect the 
Word of God and its ministers to the best of his 
ability." 8 

The theologians were treated with the greatest 
kindness by Maurice, who lodged them at his own 
expense, and bestowed upon them suitable presents. 
Melanchthon was offered a professorship at Leipzig, 
but this was declined in favour of the " little nest 
on the Elbe," whither on the 25th he travelled with 
the other theologians. He also declined calls to 
Denmark and to Konigsberg, though at Wittenberg 
he lived for a time at his own expense. His delight 
was " to gather up the planks of the shipwrecked 
University." In almost the same words in two 
letters written August loth, he tells us why he re- 

*C. *.,6. 599. 
8 C J?.,6: 605. 


1547] The Schmalkald War 325 

turned to Wittenberg: " Had I declined to come I 
certainly would have impeded the restoration of the 
University." l 

There can be no question as to the motives which 
influenced Melanchthon's choice. They were de- 
votion to his colleagues, and a desire to re-establish 
the university in the interests of the Church. He 
had made no unconditional promise to the sons of 
John Frederick. He was not a courtier, and hence 
he was under no obligation to follow the fortunes of 
a fallen court. As a citizen it was his duty to obey 
the powers that be, and to try to repair the ruins of 
war. Wittenberg was the original seat of the Re- 
formation. It were far wiser to restore it than to 
found a rival university which was sure to be con- 
ducted with partisan zeal. Fault was never found 
with his colleagues for returning to their old places; 
but that he, the most celebrated teacher in Germany, 
should take service under the apostate Maurice, was 
construed by the Weimar Court as an act of unfaith- 
fulness and of ingratitude toward his former lord ; to 
which was subsequently added the charge of intend- 
ing to change the Lutheran doctrine. But as Mel- 
anchthon's promise did not involve the founding of 
a new university, and as the conditions imposed in- 
volved a desertion of his old colleagues, he compro- 
mised neither his veracity, nor his honour, nor his 
fidelity, by returning to Wittenberg. As to the 
charge of wishing to betray the Lutheran faith, that 
is absolutely refuted by the Confessio Saxonica, 
composed in 1551, and by his repeated affirmations 

1 C. R., 6: 628, 629. 

326 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

of adherence to the Augsburg Confession and its 

When he was informed of the slanders circulated 
by the Weimar Court and its adherents, he wrote 
to Caspar Aquila, August 2Qth : 

' ' When there was hope of restoring our University, 
and my colleagues urgently entreated me to return, the 
name of the University, association with my colleagues, 
the sad and desolate condition of this Church to which 
hitherto so many nations looked, influenced me to come 
hither. It seemed a singular blessing of God that our 
little town was not utterly destroyed, and I thought it 
would be another blessing of God if our University could 
be restored. To the many who wickedly blame me for 
my return I make no reply, except to pray that surcease 
may be granted to my sorrow. A melancholy mind always 
errSj says Ennius. Perhaps in my great distress I was 
too eager for the companionship of my old friends, with 
whom I had so long been associated in the most honour- 
able toil. It may be that the condition of the times did 
not justify me in hoping for so much in regard to the 
reparation of the University, the success of which is not 
yet assured. Certainly I sought neither pleasure nor 
gain. I am living here like a stranger at my own ex- 
pense, sorrowing and praying, and passing no day with- 
out shedding tears. If the restoration succeeds, I hope 
the churches in these parts will be blessed. If it do not 
succeed, then I must go into exile again. It is not 
strange that we have sought for an end to this distraction. 
Those who magnify my error into a rejection of doctrine, 
do me injustice. Oh that they would also consider their 
own errors ! " * 

' .,6:649. 

1547] The Schmalkald War 327 

Melanchthon now gave himself up to the univer- 
sity, " which had been so serviceable in promoting 
liberal studies and Christian doctrine." In a short 
time he secured ample means for it, and wrote, " If 
there were peace in the country, I think there would 
be plenty of students." To the accusations that he 
meant to change the doctrine, and had forgotten the 
Elector, he replied : 

" When those of whom you wrote, say that the 
preachers of this place have deserted the truth, they do 
great injury to the Church, which is already sufficiently 
distressed. By God's grace the voice of the Gospel now 
resounds as unanimously in the city of Wittenberg as it 
did before the war. And almost every week ministers 
of the Gospel are publicly ordained, and sent into the 
neighbouring districts. It was but this week that six 
pious and learned men were sent forth, all of whom de- 
clare even as formerly that they will preach the pure 
Gospel to their hearers. And they are likewise examined 
as in former times. The facts of the case prove that we 
have not changed our minds in regard to doctrine. We 
also offer up public and private prayers for the im- 
prisoned Prince. We do not hear anyone speak evil of 
our Prince; and the authorities of the city would not 
permit anything of the kind. Therefore I beseech you, 
do not believe those who slander us, or the Church 
here; I hope that God himself will confute them and 
deliver us from their envenomed tongues. I myself 
honour the imprisoned Prince with devout reverence, 
and daily commend him to God with tears and supplica- 
tions, and I pray God to deliver and guide him. As this 
is true I am amazed at the levity of the slanderer who 

328 Philip Melanchthon [1547 

accuses me of the cruelty of preventing prayer for the 
Prince. But I will beseech God to protect his Church 
everywhere and also to deliver us from such slanders in 
this our great distress." ' 

In numerous other letters during the closing 
months of this year (1547), he most earnestly protests 
that he has made no change in doctrine, and that 
he is opposing the Lutheran Confession to the de- 
crees of the Council of Trent. But from this time 
on, the Weimar princes and their theological adher- 
ents began to entertain the most irreconcilable 
grudge against Melanchthon. They also bitterly 
hated Maurice, and looked with envy on Witten- 
berg, which, by the reputation of Melanchthon and 
under the protection of Maurice, was again becom- 
ing the head and centre of German Protestantism. 
Melanchthon was training the ministers of the 
Church, and these were extending the fame of their 
teacher and of the university. He was everywhere 
recognised as the most eminent theologian of the 
Church, and his advice was sought on all kinds of 
vexed ecclesiastical questions. This was more than 
the Weimar princes could bear. They soon an- 
nounced themselves as the exclusive defenders of 
the doctrines of the Lutheran Church, which from 
that time on embraced two hostile camps. The 
contests between the theologians of ducal Saxony 
and those of the Electorate are memorable. 

1 C. x., 6: 651. 



The Augsburg Interim Letter to Carlowitz Several Formulas 
The Leipzig Interim. 

AS the Schmalkald War had completely shattered 
the Schmalkald League, so Protestantism 
seemed on the verge of ruin. At the Diet of Augs- 
burg, September, 1547, a form of doctrine was pro- 
posed which was to be binding in the churches until 
a satisfactory decision of the Council should be 
reached. The book is known as the Augsburg In- 
terim. Not more than two or three of its twenty-six 
articles contain the pure evangelical doctrine. Its 
acceptance would have been the preliminary to the 
acceptance of the decrees of Trent. Maurice hesi- 
tated and sought the advice of his theologians. 
These strongly counselled against the Interim. 
Melanchthon especially rejected some of the articles 
of Trent because they were contrary to divine truth. 
He would not burden his conscience with them. 
He also declared that he would not burden his con- 
science with the Interim. To Camerarius he wrote : 


330 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

" So long as I live I will act as I have hitherto done, 
and I shall speak the same things wherever I shall 
be. I shall continue the same worship of God and 
shall speak with my accustomed moderation and 
without violence." 

The period was a critical one. Protestantism had 
not before been in such peril. It was uncertain how 
Maurice would act, or what the political exigencies 
would require of him. For twenty years Melanch- 
thon had laboured and prayed for the peace of the 
Church. In his negotiations both with the Reformed 
and with the Catholics, he had laid stress on the 
essentials of the Gospel, and not on things indifferent. 
To the same principle he still adhered with heroic 
firmness, even in the face of the Emperor's hate and 
of the Elector's less than half-hearted support. 
Fault was found with him by some of the Protest- 
ants because he did not make greater concessions to 
the Catholics. Christopher von Carlowitz, one of 
Maurice's counsellors, a hearty hater of Luther, 
acting in the pay of Charles, more intent on his 
master's political interests than on the cause of re- 
ligion, exhorted Melanchthon " to advance the plans 
which had been proposed for the promotion of the 
union of the churches," and demanded that he 
should approve the Interim. On the twenty-eighth 
of April, 1548, Melanchthon replied as follows: 

" In regard to the exhortation, I assure you I desire 
that the illustrious Prince shall decide in accordance 
with his own judgment, and with that of his council, as 

1 C. R., 6 : 878. 

1548] The Interims 331 

shall seem most salutary for himself and the state. 
When he shall have decided, if there be anything which 
I cannot approve, I will not act seditiously, but I will 
either keep silent, or I will leave, or I will bear whatever 
befalls. Formerly I bore an almost unseemly servitude, 
since Luther often gave way to his temperament, in which 
there was not a little contentiousness, and did not suf- 
ficiently consider his own dignity and the public welfare. 
And I know that always we must modestly overlook some 
defects in government, just as we must bear the evils of 
storms. But you say I am not only required to be silent, 
but also to give my approval [of the Interim}. Now I 
doubt not that you as a wise man understand the natures 
and dispositions of men. By nature I am not contro- 
versial, and I as greatly love peace among men as any- 
one. Neither have I started the controversies which 
distract the state. But I have fallen into them when 
they had been started, and I have taken part in them 
with a sincere desire to ascertain the truth." 

He then proceeds to say that he does not object 
to some ceremonies contained in the Interim. 
Again : 

" Gladly will I promote the harmony of these churches; 
but I am by no means willing either that they shall be 
disturbed by a change of doctrine, or that worthy men 
shall be driven away. When I think of a new distraction 
of the churches, I am deeply grieved." 

He closed by alluding to the dilatoriness of the 
chiefs of the Schmalkald League during the cam- 
paign on the Danube in I546. 1 

Carlowitz, instead of holding this letter in con- 

1 C. R., 6 : 879. 

332 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

fidence, as Melanchthon plainly intended that he 
should do, showed it to friend and foe. The Catho- 
lics made copies of it, one of which was sent to the 
Pope, and another was read to the Emperor, who 
exclaimed, " Now you have him, hold on to him." 
Some of Melanchthon's Protestant enemies pub- 
lished it with the most slanderous perversions and 
spiteful comments. 1 In a word, it became a cam- 
paign document in the hands of two contending 
parties. The Catholics rejoiced over it as an evid- 
ence of division in the ranks of the Protestants, 
and some of the Protestants blamed it for its con- 
cessions, its characterisation of Luther, and its al- 
lusion to the heads of the Schmalkald League. But 
to Protestants and Catholics alike it can be said 
that the letter adheres to essentials in doctrine, and 
concedes only things indifferent. Its characterisa- 
tion of Luther is only too true, and all historians 
agree that the irresolution of John Frederick and 
others is responsible for the outcome of the Schmal- 
kald War. 

To have written such a letter at that time may be 
regarded as unwise and impolitic, and we may with 
Ranke wish that it never had been written. In 
itself it shows the transparent honesty of Melanch- 
thon. It contains no taint of treachery, nor of 
hypocrisy, nor of ingratitude, and no intimation of a 
surrender of fundamental truth. The evil lay in the 
evil that was made out of it, and in the deceitful 
purpose of the man who obtained it, and then di- 
vulged it. Carlowitz, as the letter shows, wrote of 

1 See Concilia IVitebergensia, p. 325. 


The Interims 


the necessity of preventing war, of conciliating the 
Emperor, of saving the Protestant cause from utter 
ruin. All this could be done by a little concession 
on the part of Melanchthon ! He should therefore 
sign the Interim and secure these great ends! His 
answer in substance is: I do not have Luther's 
heroic nature. I will make concessions in adiaphora y 
but not in doctrine. If I cannot bear the Elector's 
decrees, I will go into exile. He did not expect his 
moderation to please those in power, but he was 
resolved, by the help of God, to bear whatever 
might befall him, because he preferred truth to life. 
We have only to know all the circumstances of 
those terrible times, and to put ourselves in Mel- 
anchthon's place, in order to judge righteously as 
well as charitably of the matter. The letter is a 
polite but firm way of saying, / will not accept the 
Interim; and to this Melanchthon adhered ; for not 
only did he write criticism after criticism on the 
Interim, but when called to Leipzig, June Qth, to 
consult about it, he said, " If approbation be de- 
manded, it is not doubtful what answer should be 
given"; and added, "This sophistical book will 
be the cause of new wars and of greater alienation 
in the churches." 1 All this he did and said notwith- 
standing the fact that the Emperor had twice de- 
manded that he be delivered up, or driven into exile. 
To the Prince of Anhalt he wrote that he would 
suffer banishment and death rather than approve a 
change in doctrine. Indeed Melanchthon's course 
in relation to the Interim, in the face of a deceitful 

J (7. R., 6: 922. 

334 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

Court, of an apostate Elector, and of an all-victorious 
Emperor, is marked by prudent but^firm opposition. 
Nothing could induce him to betray the doctrine 
which he and others had long taught at Wittenberg. 
His conduct was that of a martyr. His faith in 
God, to whom he committed " these perils," is sub- 
lime. It is impossible to read his letters at this 
period without feeling the deepest sympathy for him 
and the many other good men who " were being 
crucified with anxieties for the Church and for 
peace." When, a little later, the civil counsellors 
presented a strongly Catholicising statement known 
as the Celle Interim, Melanchthon called it "a 
botch," and declared that " the consciences of the 
politicians are more concerned for other things than 
for the maintenance of pure and uncorrupt doc- 
trine." 1 This Celle Interim was subscribed at 
Jiiterbok, December i/th, by Maurice of Saxony 
and Joachim of Brandenburg as the norm of teach- 
ing for their churches. The theologians were not 

When the Saxon theologians were told that they 
were to abide by the Celle Interim, Bugenhagen ex- 
claimed, " Then we thank God, for we know that 
at Celle we adopted nothing unchristian, but rejected 
what was unchristian." a And Melanchthon, while 
at Juterbok, presented a long refutation of " the 
idolatrous blasphemies of the private masses and 
the canon [of the mass]." ' 

'C y?., 7 : 232. 

J Voigt, Brief-wechsel, p. 96. 
'/?., 7: 235. 

1548] The Interims 335 

It was thus evident that Melanchthon was disput- 
ing every inch of ground demanded by the two 
electors and their courtiers. These latter declared 
that unless concessions were made, the same per- 
secutions would come upon Saxony that had come 
upon South Germany, where four hundred pastors 
with their families had been driven into exile, and 
where all the churches had been given to the Catho- 
lics. At the same time, Agricola, his old enemy, 
now court-theologian of the Elector of Branden- 
burg, was complaining to Maurice that by his much 
writing to the theologians and preachers, Melanch- 
thon would create an alliance against the Interim. 
The Emperor was still demanding that he be driven 
into exile. Never did a man occupy a more difficult 
and responsible position. The drawn sword hung 
over the Church and the people ; and it looked as 
though everything would be lost unless concessions 
should be made in adiaphora, that is, in the external 
usages of the Church. 

It was under these circumstances that Melanch- 
thon went from Jiiterbok to Leipzig to attend a diet 
which had been called by Maurice for December 21, 
1548. The other theologians present were Gresser 
of Dresden, Pfeffinger and Camerarius of Leipzig, 
and George of Anhalt. In his Declaration to the 
Diet, Maurice distinctly says that the chief article, 
Justification, shall still be purely taught in his 
dominion. 1 This was the fundamental thing. It 
was thought that if this could be saved the churches 
might yet be saved. To the Celle Interim, the work 

1 C. R., 7 : 254. See Vogt's Bugenhagen, p. 431. 

Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

of tjie civil counsellors, was prefixed an article on 
Justification, and one on Good Works, composed 
by Melanchthon at Pegau, in July. The article on 
Justification maintains without equivocation the 
central Lutheran principle, that " God does not 
justify man by the, merit of his own works which 
man does, but out of mercy, freely, without our 
merit, that the glory may not be ours, but Christ's, 
through whose merit alone we are redeemed from 
sin and justified." * The document thus composed 
was laid before the Diet. It was due to Melanch- 
thon that the fundamental principle was saved. To 
the other portion of the document he submitted, 
but not until further resistance seemed to be futile. 
He did not give the document his unqualified ap- 
proval. He simply regarded " the transactions at 
Leipzig as tolerable," in view of " the various perils 
that threatened the churches and the State." He 
" wanted some things considered differently and 
done differently." a 

The document retained as adiaphora various 
Catholic ceremonies, as Extreme Unction, Fasts, 
Corpus Christi, and most of the usages of the Mass. 
Perhaps the most dangerous feature was that it 
yielded ordination exclusively to the bishops; but 
this was done with the expressed understanding 
that the bishops exercise their office well, and " use 
the same for edification and not for destruction " 
a restriction which balanced the concession, and for 
which there was abundant precedent, as at Schmal- 

I C.R.,T. 51. 

'C.X..T. 275, 292. 


1548] The Interims 337 

kald in 1540, when it was conceded by Luther and 
others, that Ordination, Visitation, and Jurisdiction 
might remain in the hands of the bishops ' ; and also 
in The Wittenberg Reformation, where Ordination is 
conceded to the bishops on condition that they hold 
the true doctrine and ordain proper persons. 8 

Yet it will not be denied that this document, 
which soon began to be known as the Leipzig In- 
terim, conceded too many Catholic uses, and thus 
opened the door to Catholic abuses. The consider- 
ation which finally prevailed with the theologians in 
making such large concessions, is found in a letter 
of George of Anhalt to Francis Burkhard, written 
by Melanchthon: 

" They hope to avoid perils, if we retain some rites in 
themselves not vicious. We are also accused of unjust 
obstinacy if in such things we are unwilling to promote 
the public tranquillity. In this matter they err who think 
that perils can be avoided ; yet we do not violently con- 
tend about such things, because there are other greater 
controversies, about which there are most bitter disputes. 
That we may retain things essential, we are not rigid in 
regard to things non-essential, especially since those rites 
have to a great extent remained in the churches of these 
parts. We know that much is said against these conces- 
sions; but the desolation of the churches, such as is 
occurring in Swabia, would be a greater scandal. If by 
such moderation it can be brought about that neither 
doctrine nor worship be changed, fault cannot be justly 
found with us." * 

1 C. 7?., 3: 943. 
* />., 5: 585. 
3 C. J?., 7: 252. 



The Reaction Flacius Illyricus The Adiaphoristic Controversy 
Melanchthon Defamed His Letter of Defence. 

THE Leipzig Interim was published (1548) " out 
of obedience to the imperial command, and 
from the love of peace "; but it soon brought on 
the Adiaphoristic controversy in the Lutheran 
Church. Complaints and inquiries reached Mel- 
anchthon from Berlin, Frankfort, Hamburg, and 
other places. He replied in substance that the 
churches should bear the yoke of adiaphora, but 
should stand fast in the pure doctrine, since Christ- 
ian liberty does not consist in rejecting external 
uses, but in the free confession of the truth ; and 
not adiaphora, but faith, prayer, and a pious life 
constitute the worship of God. 1 From what he 
wrote again and again it is evident that it was Mel- 
anchthon's " supreme determination to preserve 
purity of doctrine and the true worship of God in 
the churches committed to our faith." 8 This he 

1 C. R., 7 : 322. 
8 C. /?., 7: 370. 


1549] The Adiaphoristic Controversy 339 

thought could at that time be done best by submit- 
ting to certain things of long standing in the Church, 
which were neither enjoined nor forbidden in the 
Divine Word. But this was a mistake in judgment, 
induced partly by his reverence for antiquity, partly 
by his love of good order, partly by his yielding 
temper, or the lack of the heroic element in his 
nature. The times were sadly out of joint; and it 
is not at all improbable that had no concessions been 
made, the same distress would have come upon 
Saxony that had already befallen Swabia. The 
Interim and the reaction which it brought gave the 
politic and ambitious Maurice time to test the sense 
of his people, and to get ready for that second act 
of perfidy which saved Germany to Protestantism. 

The ablest and most violent opponent of the In- 
terim was Matthias Flacius, born in Illyria, March 3, 
1520. He had studied at Venice, Basel, Tubingen, 
and Wittenberg, and was now living at Magdeburg. 
He was a very learned, but bitter, violent, and ca- 
lumnious man. From Magdeburg, which was called 
" the chancery of God," Flacius, Amsdorf, Wigand, 
and Gallus, the self-styled " exiles of Christ," 
poured forth a flood of vituperation against the 
Interim, and against Melanchthon, as though he 
was its author. To apprise the reader of the con- 
tents of one of his pamphlets, Flacius placed the 
following advertisement on the title-page : 

" From this pamphlet you will learn the innocence of 
the author and the origin and progress of the Adiaphora, 
and all the causes of those delusions, and that, too, from 

340 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

the mouths of the authors themselves. You will learn 
that the occasion was in part the desire of the wicked to 
betray and to crucify Christ, and to set the Roman 
Barabbas free; in part it was the false faith, the fear and 
carnal wisdom of weak Christians. The matter is the 
union of Christ and Belial, of light and darkness, of the 
sheep and the wolves, the service of two masters who 
are mortal foes, Christ and Belial. The form is the false 
paint and deceitful colouring of order, discipline, and 
uniformity. The end is the restoration of the papacy, 
the setting up of Antichrist in the temple of Christ, 
the confirmation of the wicked, that they may triumph 
over the Church and Christ, the distress of the pious, 
weakness, the leading into doubt, unnumbered offen- 
ces." ' 

It is freely conceded here that Flacius rendered at 
this time an important service to Protestantism. 
He had the correct idea of adiaphora, viz., that, as 
things neither enjoined nor forbidden by the Divine 
Word, they may be received in the exercise of 
Christian liberty, but are not to be imposed by 
authority. He also had the correct idea of the re- 
lation of the State to the Church, viz., that the 
former should not dictate the faith and the form of 
worship of the latter. Early in the Reformation 
the Wittenberg theologians had urged the rulers, as 
" necessity bishops," to reform the Church. This 
principle worked well enough for them when it was 
applied on their side; but now that two influential 
electors of Protestant lands were in league with the 
papacy, it returned to vex them and their followers, 

'Preger, i., 85. 

1549] The Adiaphoristic Controversy 341 

and it vexes German Protestantism to this day. 
Here the courtiers, as the representatives of the 
Saxon Elector, simply took the matter in their own 
hands, and overwhelmed the theologians by vocifer- 
ous intimidations, inserted into the Interim their 
own propositions, and then interpreted the silence 
of the theologians as approval. The consolation 
left to the latter was that they had saved the evan- 
gelical principle in its essence ; that they had pre- 
served the Church from destruction ; and that every 
adiaphoron allowed might be reconciled with evan- 
gelical truth. Melanchthon's letters give the full 
proof that he did not approve the Interim ; that 
he regarded it as "a servitude imposed upon the 
churches by the rulers," which had to be borne, lest 
greater evils come. Moreover, he had no confid- 
ence in the Interim, and predicted " that in two 
years it would die out, and would bring greater 
trouble and confusion." 1 

At Wittenberg men were ordained almost every 
week " by the customary rite," and sent into the 
churches to preach the pure Gospel; and Bugen- 
hagen protested publicly from the pulpit that the 
Wittenberg theologians were not responsible for the 
Interim, and he called upon professors and citizens 
to make this known by letter. 3 

Melanchthon called the Interim " the work of the 
courtiers," and constantly insisted, also, that as a 
matter of fact no change had taken place in doctrine 

1 See Ranke, v., 64, 65, vi., 509 ; C. /?., 7 : 342, 350, 351, 356. 
8 Voigt, Brief wee hsel, p. 96. 

34 2 Philip Melanchthon 0497- 

and in ceremonies. He wrote that he could easily 
bear the reproaches heaped on himself personally, if 
only the seeds of further dissensions should not be 

Flacius continued his calumnies. He even ob- 
tained, either by theft or through breach of confid- 
ence, Melanchthon's private letters, and published 
them with the most scurrilous and defamatory 
comments. Finally Melanchthon could stand it no 
longer, and in October, 1549, he wrote a letter 
which ought forever to silence all criticisms in regard 
to his motives, and all suspicions in regard to his 
fidelity to the Lutheran faith, both during and after 
the unfortunate interimistic contest and contro- 
versy. The letter, which is calm, dignified, and 
pious, is as follows: 

" To the Candid Reader : 

" As it ought to be the principal care of all men rightly 
to know and to worship God, so, since God reveals him- 
self in the Church and wishes his Word to be heard there, 
and all persons to become members of that society and 
to gather under the banner of our Lord Jesus Christ, as 
is said in Isaiah, He shall be an ensign to the people so it 
is necessary to consider carefully, and, in view of the 
diversity of the human race, to inquire wisely what and 
where the true Church is, that wherever we are; we may 
unite with it in faith, worship, and confession. The 
Church is scattered throughout the world; but from the 
profane and impious part of the human race it is distin- 
guished by infallible signs, so that we may know truly 
that the Church is the society, wherever it is, which 
preaches the pure Gospel, and retains the proper use of 

1549] The Adiaphoristic Controversy 343 

the sacraments, and does not persistently defend idolatry. 
Since those who have learned the prophetic and apostolic 
doctrine, and know that it is not a fable, can judge of 
these things with mind, eyes, and ears, surely the Church 
can be recognised. 

" Amid the wreck of empires and the dispersion of 
men, pious souls have this comfort, that wherever they 
hear the pure word of sound doctrine, and witness the 
proper use of the sacraments, and see that idolatry, and 
errors which oppose the Word of God, are rejected, they 
know of a truth and do not doubt that there is the house 
of God, that there God is in the ministry of the Gospel, 
that there the worshipper is heard, that there God is 
rightly worshipped, and that there the Son of God 
gathers an eternal inheritance, as he has said: ' Where 
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am 
I in the midst of them.' 

" In periods of public dissensions there is need of this 
consolation, and I present it here because our churches 
which have this sure and steadfast consolation, are now 
greatly disturbed by the clamours of certain persons. 
Let each one see and hear for himself. The same 
doctrine in all respects is taught that appears in our 
books. There is the same use of the sacraments, that 
there was before the war. Errors and idolatry are dis- 
carded, as our books show. 

" But Flacius Illyricus exclaims that the doctrine is 
changed, and that certain ceremonies formerly abolished 
have been restored. I will first reply concerning doctrine. 
The voice of all the teachers in our churches and schools 
openly refutes this calumny. And to avoid a prolix 
statement, I refer to the whole body of doctrine written 
in the Loci Communes, which is in many hands. In that 
book I did not aim to set up any new doctrine, but 

344 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

faithfully to embrace the common doctrine of those 
churches which adopted the Confession presented to the 
Emperor Anno M.D.XXX., which I consider the invari- 
able doctrine of the Church Catholic, and which I wish 
to have understood as having been written honestly and 
without sophistry and calumnious intentions. 

" I am conscious of having compiled that epitome not 
from a desire of differing from others, nor from a love 
of novelty, nor from contentiousness, nor from any 
wicked desire whatever. The circumstances made it 
necessary. When, in the first inspection of our churches, 
we encountered the discordant clamours of the ignorant 
in regard to many things, I brought together a summary 
of the doctrine which had been taught by Luther in 
different volumes of interpretations and discourses, and 
I studied a mode of expression suited to accuracy, per- 
spicuity, and harmony in those who were being taught; 
and I have always submitted my writings to the judgment 
of our Church and of Luther himself. In regard to many 
questions I was careful to consult Luther, whose books 
are widely circulated, and I sought to know his opinions. 
I am satisfied that this doctrine is the invariable con- 
sensus of the Church Catholic of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and I pray God to keep me in the profession of this doc- 
trine for the good of the eternal Church. I mention 
these things that no one may accuse me of hindering the 
faith of others by my own doubts. 

" In the next place it is requisite to offer a few words 
of reply to the charge respecting Ceremonies. I certainly 
could have wished, especially in the present afflictive 
circumstances, that the churches should not have been 
disturbed by any change; but if such be the case it does 
not originate with me. But I confess that I have per- 
suaded the people of Franconia and others not to aban- 

1549] The Adiaphoristic Controversy 345 

don their churches on account of any service with which 
they could comply without impiety. For though Flacius 
cries out vehemently that the churches had better be de- 
serted, and the princes alarmed by the fear of sedition, 
I should not choose to be the author of such wretched 
advice. It is plain that we must endure much greater 
burdens in the cause of literature and religion than mere 
dress as the hatred of the great, the insolent contempt 
of the populace, the malevolence of hypocritical friends, 
the dissensions of the priesthood, poverty, persecution, 
and other evils which accompany even a quiet govern- 
ment: but these turbulent times produce many greater 

" But as we must not desert our posts on this account, 
we must sustain lighter servitude if it can be done with 
a good conscience. The distressing situation of the 
present times, in which there are such divisions in senti- 
ment and opinion, seems to me to require that these 
oppressed churches should be comforted and strength- 
ened by all the aids that piety can afford, and that we 
should take care that the most important doctrines 
should be faithfully explained and transmitted to pos- 
terity, and that the universities be supported as the de- 
positories of general literature. 

" The representation of Flacius respecting somebody's 
(who I know not) having reported that I have declared 
we ought not to withdraw from the churches, although 
the ancient abuses should be reinstated, is absolutely 
without foundation. 

" Now mark this crafty man: In order to excite 
suspicion and inflame hatred, he produces many sen- 
tences dropped in familiar discourse, which he calumni- 
ously misinterprets, and also attributes to others sayings 
of his own invention, that he might appear not only to 

34 6 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

have witnesses, but agents at his command. Nor have 
I ever thought or said what he falsely imputes to me, 
that we ought to remain in those churcjies in which old 
errors are restored, such as Mass services, invocation of 
saints, and other impious services which we have con- 
demned in our publications. I do openly declare that 
such idolatrous rites should neither be practised nor 
tolerated. And that students may be the better in- 
structed in every particular, I have explained the occa- 
sions and origin of the controversy with great care and 

" Here, if I were inclined to indulge my grief, I 
might justly complain of Flacius, who circulates such 
falsehoods to my detriment, and might detail the origin 
of those distresses which overwhelm the whole Church, 
explaining those circumstances which tend to strengthen 
the boldness and confirm the power of our adversaries 
against the truth. But I am unwilling to open these 
wounds, and I beseech these advocates of liberty to allow 
me and others at least to endure our afflictions in peace, 
and not excite more cruel dissensions. 

" He boasts that he will continue to be the advocate 
of the pristine state of things. If by this expression he 
refers to particular empires and governments, and con- 
fines the Church only to its own walls, his idea is very 
incorrect; for the Church is scattered abroad in various 
kingdoms, publishing the uncorrupted word of the 
Gospel, and serving God by tears and groans of genuine 
worship. But as he states that he was once so familiarly 
acquainted with me, he could testify my pains and sor- 
rows and zealous care. We lament the disturbed state of 
public affairs and of kingdoms, and yet we do not ask for 
garrisons and ramparts of defence; but in our churches 
we publish the Gospel truth, serving God in the know- 

1549] The Adiaphoristic Controversy 347 

ledge and faith of his Son, and aiming, to the best of our 
feeble efforts, to promote the literary pursuits of our 
youth and the preservation of discipline. 

" If this advocate of the primitive state of things can 
restore this golden age to our churches, let him triumph 
as much as he will. 

" Why he should particularly attack me who have 
never offended him, as Marius did Antonius, I know not, 
for he is aware that I have been always opposed to the 
corruptions of religion, and have censured the prevailing 
errors. Now he says I have encouraged them, because 
it has been my advice not to quit the churches on 
account of a surplice or anything of that kind. If dis- 
sensions arise on these subjects, the commandments re- 
specting charity should not be forgotten, especially as 
he knows our great afflictions, and that we neither seek 
dominion or wealth. We should not imitate the ex- 
ample of worldly disputants whose impetuosity is often 
such as to exemplify the proverb: ' Unless a serpent eat 
a serpent, a dragon will never be born.' 

" He now not only threatens to write against me, but 
to do something worse. I could wish that we rather co- 
operate to illustrate essential truth, for there are sources 
enough of contention ; so that we should proclaim a truce, 
and form an alliance, a mode of proceeding more con- 
ducive to our personal advantage and that of the whole 
Church: lest it should happen as Paul says, ' Take heed 
that you do not devour one another.' I shall frame my 
* answers with a view to utility, and hope, that both by my 
writing and by the opinion of the pious, I am sufficiently 
defended against calumny. Many good and learned 
men in different places are greatly grieved that the 
churches are so unjustly censured. But I recommend 
Flacius and others to consider what will be the conse- 

348 Philip Melanchthon 

quence, if mutual animosities revive the quarrels of thirty 
years. How deplorable would this be! 

" Wherever he reports his idle stores and things pro- 
fessedly spoken in familiar conversations, he shows what 
kind of regard he has for the confidence of friendship 
and the rights of social intercourse. 

" We naturally unbosom ourselves with more freedom 
among our friends, and often I have myself, in main- 
taining a discussion, strongly opposed an opinion which 
I really embraced, not in jest, but for the purpose of ob- 
taining information from the views of others. 

" Many are acquainted with my natural turn of mind, 
and know that I am prone rather to indulge in jocose- 
ness, even in the rnidst of afflictions, than to anything 
like sternness. To catch and circulate my words on 
these occasions as he has done is mean and unkind, to 
say no more. But if, as in some parts of his letter he 
threatens me with the sword, any evil should occur, and 
destruction should befall this miserable head, I will com- 
mend myself to Jesus Christ the Son of God, our Lord, 
who was crucified for us and raised again, who is the 
searcher of hearts and knows that I have inquired after 
truth with a careful simplicity of mind, not wishing 
either to gain factions and influence, or to indulge an 
unbridled curiosity. Nor has it been without great and 
diligent attention to the whole of Christian antiquity, 
that I have endeavoured to unravel a variety of intricate 
questions and to direct the studies of youth to important 

" But I wrll not speak of myself. In all civil dissen- 
sions I am aware that calamities are to be expected. 
The minds of men become inflamed, and I perceive 
Flacius prepared with his firebrands; but to God I com- 
mit my life and his own true Church here and in other 

The Adiaphoristic Controversy 349 

places, respecting which I feel far more solicitous than 
of my own life. This, however, is my consolation, that 
God has promised his perpetual presence in the Church, 
and his Son declares, ' Lo ! I am with you alway, even to 
the end of the world.' He will preserve the people that 
maintain the doctrines of the Gospel and that truly call 
upon his name; and I pray with the utmost fervour and 
importunity of soul that he will preserve his Church in 
these regions. 

' This brief reply to the clamours of Flacius I have 
written, not so much on my own account as for the sake 
of our churches in general, among whom many pious 
minds are deeply wounded by his writings. Let them be 
consoled by this assurance, that fundamental principles 
are faithfully retained in our churches, namely, the un- 
corrupted ministry of the Gospel, all the articles of 
faith, and the use of Christian sacraments without alter- 
ation. The Son of God, it is most certain, is present 
with such a ministry, and, as I have already said, hears 
the supplications of such an assembly. Adieu, candid 

" October, 1549." 1 

There are no traces of a weak and vacillating 
spirit in this letter. There is in it decision enough 
to have put its author under the ban of the Empire, 
and to have brought upon him the displeasure of 
the Elector, for it is an unequivocal avowal of every 
principle of the Reformation, as it is an unanswer- 
able refutation of the slanders heaped upon him by 
his calumniator. Yet this letter did not silence the 
calumniator. He went on with his slanders and 

IC.R.^T. 478. 

350 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

mendacity. In September of the next year (1550), 
Melanchthon in two letters charges downright lying 
upon Flacius. To his friend John- Matthesius he 
wrote : 


" I know that as a wise man you carefully look into 
the hearts and dispositions of men. Hence I hope you 
have considered also my motive, and that you are not 
influenced by the sycophantic writings of Illyricus, who 
invents manifesto, mendacia. Never have I said, never 
have I written, never have I thought, what he says I 
have said, viz., that the proposition, ' We are justified by 
faith alone,' is an absurd trifling about words. On the 
contrary, I have spoken and written much more in regard 
to the meaning of the exclusive particles, than many 
others. Not without effort have I corrected the opinion 
of others who did not properly explain the particle sola. 
But I will reply to those virulent calumnies. I pray God 
to foster and extend the churches in these parts. We 
are labouring faithfully in the promulgation of the doc- 
trine of the Gospel, and of the useful arts. To-day I am 
writing propositions to be discussed by Prutenus, who is 
to become a doctor of theology." 

He wrote to George of Anhalt that he " could 
more easily bear exile and death than this venom of 
vipers." 8 That Flacius was actuated chiefly by 
personal malice towards Melanchthon is evidenced 
by the fact that he had but little to say against 
Agricola and the Elector of Brandenburg, who from 
the beginning abetted and promoted the Interim, as 

1 C. R., 7 : 658. 
8 C. J?., 7 : 658. 



1549] The Adiaphoristic Controversy 351 

its chief patrons. But the Saxon theologians, and 
especially Melanchthon, must be crucified, because, 
forsooth, they acted too leniently towards that which 
Agricola originally helped to call into being. A still 
sadder part is that later detractors of Melanchthon 
have drawn their representations mostly from the 
calumnies and manifesta mendacia of Flacius, 
rather than from the facts in the case and from the 
disavowals of the conscientious and truth-loving 
Melanchthon, whose Opinions, letters, and conduct 
during the entire interimistic period demonstrate 
the absurdity of charging him with tergiversation, 
or with the desertion of a single Lutheran doctrine. 
This interimistic and adiaphoristic controversy 
forms a sad chapter in Lutheran history, but it can- 
not be further discussed in these pages. 



Various Writings The Saxon Confession Council of Trent The 
Treaty of Passau Examen Ordinandorum More Controversies. 

THE letters of Melanchthon for the year 1550 
cover nearly two hundred pages in the Corpus 
Reformatorum. They are addressed to kings, 
princes, theologians, town councils, and personal 
friends, and show the intense interest which the 
writer had in all the affairs of the Church. Many 
of the letters discuss questions of doctrine. But 
the most significant productions of his pen belonging 
to this year are Prefaces to the third and fourth 
volumes of Luther's German works. He urges the 
reading of Luther's books, and the transmission of 
them to posterity, thus again giving a sufficient reply 
to the charge of wishing to corrupt the Lutheran 
doctrine. He also published this year his Exposi- 
tion of. the Nicene Creed, for the purpose of showing 
the agreement of the Lutheran theology with the 
teaching of the ancient Church. In an Opinion ad- 
dressed to the Elector he opposes the continuation 


1552] The Council of Trent 


of the Council of Trent : Because the Estates of the 
Augsburg Confession had not been formally invited ; 
some things had been decreed against them in their 
absence; the Council had been called by the Pope, 
who could not be allowed to act as a judge. The 
Emperor should call a free council in Germany, in 
which the Protestants might not only be heard, but 
could take part in the proceedings. 1 

When finally the Emperor promised the Protest- 
ants a safe-conduct to Trent and a hearing in the 
Council, the Elector summoned Melanchthon, Bu- 
genhagen, and Camerarius to Dresden in January, 
1551, to hear their views in regard to the matter. 
Melanchthon then presented an Opinion, in which he 
says that everything which had been done by the 
Council should be gone over again; that the Pro- 
testants should agree on articles of faith which they 
wished to defend, and " that they should defend no 
articles except those which are now publicly taught 
in the churches of Misnia ; and what those articles 
are, can be learned from the Catechism of these 
churches, or from the Augsburg Confession, and 
from the first Brandenburg Liturgy." 2 

It was decided that Melanchthon should not go 
to Trent; but he was commissioned to prepare a 
new confession of faith. That he might work in 
greater quiet he retired to Dessau, where from the 
sixth to the tenth of May, 1 55 1, he wrote The Repeti- 
tion of the Augsburg Confession, or The Confession of 
the Doctrine of the Saxon Churches, commonly known 

* C. R., 7 : 637. 

*C.R.,T. 736. 

354 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

and referred to as Confessio Saxonica. 1 It is a 
luminous and somewhat elaborate restatement of 
all the chief doctrines of Christictnity according to 
the Lutheran conception. It not only reaffirms the 
Articles of the Augsburg Confession, but it defends 
them out of the Scriptures and the teaching of the 
early Church, and refutes the opposite doctrines and 
some articles already promulgated by the Council of 
Trent. The document is thus both positive-didactic 
and polemical. 

The intention was to lay this Confession before 
the Council of Trent in the name of the Lutheran 
theologians. That it might bear a representative 
character, the professors at Leipzig and the superin- 
tendents of the Saxon churches met at Wittenberg, 
and, July loth, subscribed it " as the common doc- 
trine taught in the churches and universities." The 
Margrave John of Brandenburg, George Frederick of 
Ansbach, the Counts of Mansfeld, and Duke Philip 
of Pomerania, sent their theologians to Wittenberg, 
who also signed it as the Confession composed " by 
their dear preceptor, Master Philip." 

This must have been a proud moment for Mel- 
anchthon. In the face of the Interim and of 
the Flacian calumnies, the best representatives of 
Protestantism thus testified that he had given a 
clear and unequivocal expression of their common 

It was decided not to publish the Confession until 
after it had been presented at Trent. But it was 
not taken thither, and in March, 1552, it appeared 

1 C. ^., 27: 327 etseqq. 

1552] The Council of Trent 355 

in print at Basel without the knowledge of the 

The Council of Trent, which had been indefinitely 
prorogued September 17, 1549, reassembled May 
I, 1551, and adjourned to September. Public ses- 
sions were held October nth and November 25th. 
December I3th Melanchthon received orders to 
make ready to go to Trent. On the fifteenth of 
December he went to Dresden to receive instruc- 
tions ; but he received only the general direction to 
repair to Nuremberg and there to wait further 
orders. He reached Nuremberg, January 22, 1552, 
and was lodged in the St. ^Egidius Cloister, where 
he delivered more than thirty public lectures. He 
received much attention from the most distinguished 
citizens, and employed a portion of his time in 
writing. Among other things he here wrote the 
Preface to Volume III. of Luther's Commentary on 
Genesis, in which he severely criticises " the Triden- 
tine Areopagites " and " their heathenish and Phar- 
isaical conceits." 1 Having received no instructions 
up to March roth, he left Nuremberg and returned 
home. The Electoral delegates who had gone to 
Trent, failing to get a public hearing, left there on 
the fourteenth of March, and on the twenty-eighth 
of April the Council adjourned sine die. 

The affairs of the Protestants now took an unex- 
pected turn. The opposition encountered by the 
Interim showed Maurice how deeply Protestantism 
was rooted in Saxon soil. Suddenly raising the 
siege of Magdeburg, which he had been commanded 

1 C,J?., 7: 918. 

356 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

to subdue, and concluding an alliance with France, 
he turned his arms against the Emperor, cut off his 
retreat to the Netherlands, and forted the treaty of 
Passau, August 2, 1552, which liberated John Fred- 
erick and the Landgrave, and gave the Protestants 
full amnesty, a general peace, and equal rights until 
the meeting of a national and general council to be 
arranged for at the next diet. 

Oppression now ceased ; the exiled ministers re- 
turned home; the hated Interim came to an end. 
Maurice, who by one act of treachery had brought 
Protestantism into peril, now by another act of 
treachery saved it from ruin. The next year he 
died from a wound received in the battle of Sievers- 
hausen, fought against his former friend and com- 
rade in the Schmalkald War, Albert, Margrave of 

When the liberated John Frederick returned to 
his Thuringian home, Melanchthon, in the name of 
the Wittenberg theologians, sent him a letter of con- 
gratulation, and dedicated to him the fourth volume 
of Luther's Latin works, in which dedication he 
compares the Elector to Daniel in the den of lions 
and to the three Hebrew youths in the fiery furnace. 
The ex-Elector returned his thanks to the theologians 
for their sympathy, but impliedly accused them of 
having departed from Luther's doctrine. And yet 
it was exactly during the period of the ex-Elector's 
captivity that Melanchthon by the composition of a 
new creed had shown himself to be the continuator 
of Luther's doctrine; while during the summer of 
this year (1552) he had been engaged in revising the 

1552] The Council of Trent 357 

Mecklenburg Liturgy, and in composing a list of 
articles known as the Examen Ordinandorum 1 two 
books which have ever since been ranked among the 
classics of the Lutheran Church. Both were used 
far beyond the bounds of Mecklenburg, the one in 
the conduct of worship, and the other in the exam- 
ination of candidates for the ministry. 

Scarcely was Melanchthon, the man of peace, free 
from one controversy until he was precipitated into 
another. Andrew Osiander, the talented and 
learned, but contentious, conceited, and ambitious 
Reformer of Nuremberg, was driven into exile by 
the Interim. He made his way to Duke Albert of 
Prussia and was soon appointed Professor Primarius 
of theology in the new University of Konigsberg. 
In his Inaugural he declared that we are justified 
not by the imputation of Christ's righteousness, but 
by union with Christ, in that Christ dwells in us. 
He also declared that Christ is our mediator only ac- 
cording to his divine nature ; not at all according to 
his human nature. This new exposition of the cent- 
ral doctrine of Lutheranism brought him into col- 
lision with his colleagues. Osiander appealed to 
Melanchthon, who at first regarded the controversy 
as merely a war of words, and so counselled the 
Konigsbergers to stop their disputing. Very soon 
Osiander turned against Melanchthon, and declared 
that both he and all his followers were nothing but 
ministers of Satan, and that Melanchthon knew 
nothing about Christian doctrine. He also con- 
demned Melanchthon's books, and asserted that a 

1 C. R., 23 : 21 et seqq. 

358 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

more dangerous man than he had riot appeared in 
the Church since the days of the Apostles. 

In 1551, Duke Albert sent a copy of Osiander's 
writings to each of the States of the Augsburg Con- 
fession. By order of the Saxon Elector, Melanchthon 
wrote the Opinion of the Wittenberg faculty. He 
asserts that " we must look upon Jesus Christ, God 
and man, as our Mediator, must cast ourselves on 
his wounds, and must find sure consolation in the 
fact that we have forgiveness of sins, and are heard, 
on account of this Mediator; " and further: " That 
faith rests on the Lord Jesus, God and man, and on 
his merits and intercessions." 

Osiander now attacked Melanchthon in the 
coarsest manner, accusing him of corrupting the 
Lutheran doctrine and of having introduced the cus- 
tom of binding candidates for the doctor's degree to 
the Augsburg Confession. He also wrote, " I will 
open a vein in him, and will spill his blood all over 
Germany." He then published two scandalous 
books, entitled respectively, The Bleeding of Philip, 
and The Refutation of the Weak and Worthless An- 
swer of Philip Melanchthon. 

As Melanchthon did not wish the people to be 
further offended by this unseemly dispute, early in 
January, 1553, he made reply in the form of an 
academic oration in Latin. The principal point of 
interest in this oration is the statement that the 
binding of candidates to the Confession had been 
introduced about twenty years before by Luther, 
Jonas, and Bugenhagen, as a safeguard against the 

1 C. K., 7 : 898. 

1552] The Council of Trent 359 

fanaticism of the Anabaptists, Servetus, Campanius, 
Schwenckfeld, and others. 1 October 17, 1553, Osi- 
ander died, but the controversy continued to rage 
for several years, when finally the Konigsbergers 
renounced the teaching of Osiander, and pledged 
themselves to the Augsburg Confession and to Mel- 
anchthon's Loci, whereupon they were denounced 
by the Flacian party as Philippists. 

One extreme usually begets another. In opposi- 
tion to Osiander, Francis Stancar, an ex-Italian 
priest, who had joined the Reformation, announced 
the proposition that reconciliation is effected alone 
through the suffering which Christ bore in his human 
nature; that is, Christ is a Saviour only by his 
human nature. This view of the work of Christ 
was first opposed by Andrew Musculus. Then 
Melanchthon was called in as peacemaker; but very 
soon he was attacked by Stancar and accused of 
three hundred errors. In June, 1553, Melanchthon 
wrote a Reply to the Contentions of Stancar. He 
states the teaching of the Church to be " that God 
was born of a virgin, suffered, died, rose again. The 
divine nature did not suffer, die, rise again, because 
the person is considered in the concrete." a It may 
be said that the Reply to Stancar, and the Oration 
against Osiander, give the best scientific treatment 
of the Lutheran doctrine of the Person of Christ and 
of Justification by Faith to be found among the 
writings of the Reformers. They still have standard 

1 C. R., 12: 5. 

2 (7. ^., 23: 87 et seqq. 

360 Philip Melanchthon [552 

In these years a controversy was carried on be- 
tween George Major, superintendent of Mansfeld, 
and the Flacian party, on Good Works. Major 
maintained that good works are necessary to sal- 
vation, not by the necessity of merit but by the 
necessity of conjunction, that is, they must exist in 
conjunction with faith, otherwise faith is dead. 
Amsdorf defended the proposition that good works 
are injurious to salvation. At first Melanchthon 
held himself aloof from the dispute, and advised 
Major to give up his formula, as it was capable of 
being misunderstood. But he went on defending 
it, and so the controversy continued to rage. At 
length Melanchthon wrote a short Opinion on the 
subject, in which he asserts that " Good Works are 
necessary, not as extorted by force, but because ap- 
pointed by an immutable divine order, by which the 
creature is subject to the Creator." 1 

1 C.R., 8: 194. 





Naumburg Convention Augsburg Religious Peace Controversies 
on the Lord's Supper Attempts at Reconciliation. 

MAURICE, who died July 11, 1553, was suc- 
ceeded by his brother Augustus. The new 
Elector at once confirmed the grants made to the 
university by Maurice, and sought in every way to 
promote peace in the churches. To this end it was 
thought wise to hold a convention at Naumburg. 
The twofold purpose of the convention was to form- 
ulate articles of faith to be presented at the next 
imperial diet, and to oppose a common declaration 
to the errors of Osiander and Schwenckfeld. Mel- 
anchthon, accompanied by John Forster and Came- 
rarius, reached Naumburg, May 20, 1554. The next 
day witnessed the arrival of delegates from Hesse 
and Strassburg; and on the 23d Pacaeus and Salmut 
came from Leipzig. On the 24th a Declaration 
written by Melanchthon was presented and signed 
by ten representatives. The Declaration reaffirms 
the Augsburg Confession ; rejects the errors of 
Schwenckfeld and Osiander ; lays down the principle 


362 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

that " unity in the true doctrine is absolutely neces- 
sary " ; holds that in church government four things 
are highly necessary, viz., Proper Studies, Ordina- 
tion, Consistories with rigid discipline, and Visita- 
tion ; and refuses to commit Ordination to the 
bishops, because they persecute sound doctrine. 1 
But the Flacians were not satisfied, and still kept 
up their opposition to Wittenberg and to everybody 
outside of their own circle. 

February 5, 1555, the long-deferred diet was 
opened at Augsburg. After much strife and con- 
tention the Augsburg Religious Peace was con- 
cluded, September 25th. According to its general 
principles the nobles had free choice between the 
Catholic religion and the Augsburg Confession, and 
the religion of the subjects was to depend upon that 
of their rulers. Practically this made Protestantism 
the religion of Germany, but it did not by any 
means extinguish its internal strifes. Discord ran 
riot. The spirit of controversy filled the air. The 
Christian charity that suffereth long and is kind was 
unknown, at least it was not exemplified. On the 
one side there was the Melanchthonian school, re- 
presented by Wittenberg and Leipzig, which sought 
to apply the doctrine and the principles of the Re- 
formation in an irenical and conciliatory manner. 
On the other side were the Weimarians, both Court 
and theologians, and their theological adherents of 
several Lower Saxon cities, who sought to make the 
gulf between themselves and their religious oppon- 
ents, both Catholics and Reformed, as wide as possi- 

1 C. j?., 8: 282-291. 

1557] Controversies 363 

ble. This latter party took " holy father Luther," 
as they called the great Reformer, as their shibboleth, 
and began to imitate his decision, and to apply his 
methods in a wholly one-sided manner. 

Controversy would naturally follow the lines of 
former years. Hence it soon gathered round the 
Lord's Supper. The Melanchthonian formulas, 
which not only had not been condemned, but on 
the contrary had been approved by Luther, that 
nothing has the nature of a Sacrament apart from 
the divinely appointed use, and that Christ is present 
not on account of the bread, but on account of the 
recipients ; that with the bread and wine, the body 
and blood of Christ are given this view, which is 
found in the Examen Ordinandorum and in the ex- 
position of the Nicene Creed, and which is perfectly 
consistent with the teaching of the Augsburg Con- 
fession, the Apology, and the Schmalkald Articles, 
had been universally accepted as the Lutheran doc- 
trine of the Supper. In 1552, Joachim Westphal, 
a Hamburg pastor, attacked Calvin and Peter Martyr, 
and made allusion to Melanchthon and his scholars. 
Calvin and Bullinger answered Westphal. The con- 
troversy was continued for some time with an equal 
amount of bitterness and violence on each side. 
Westphal and his followers carried their doctrine to 
the most absurd extremes. They were not content 
with the adverbs vere and substantialiter, by which 
the presence of Christ in the Supper had been de- 
scribed in the Confessions; they added corporealiter, 
dentaliter, gutturaliter, and stomachaliter ; they said 
that Christ's body descends like other food into the 

364 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

stomach, and that after the consecration Christ 
abides in the elements ; that his body is everywhere 
present, even in wood and stone. They seriously 
asked what would become of a mouse, should it eat 
of the consecrated host. They carefully swept up 
the crumbs that fell from the consecrated host and 
burned the ground on which a few drops of wine 
happened to have been spilled, on the supposition 
that these were particles of the veritable body and 
blood of Christ. Some demanded the adoration of 
the host, and Dr. Morlin said: " Thou must not 
say mum ! mum ! but thou must say what this is 
which the priest has in his hand." ' 

Melanchthon refused to endorse " such remnants 
of the papacy," and named such a monstrous per- 
version of the Lutheran doctrine aproXarpha, that 
is, bread-worship. Nicholas Gallus (1554) and West- 
phal (1557) wrote each a book to show that Mel- 
anchthon was on their side, and that at least during 
the lifetime of Luther he had not endorsed the 
sacramentarians. Calvin urged Melanchthon to 
make war on the bread-worshippers, and was im- 
patient when Melanchthon delayed answering his 
letters, and remained silent. He even attributed 
Melanchthon's silence to weakness. 3 The situation 
was a painful one. The great Wittenberg Master 
simply did not permit himself to be drawn into a 
controversy which he had not started. It would 
not have been possible for him to defend the Romish 
absurdities and superstitions of the Flacian party in 

1 C. ^., 9: 962 ; Salig., iii., 455, 456, 528. 
'Bonnet's Calvin's Letters, iii., 61, 157. 

1557] Controversies 365 

his own Church, and nothing short of a full endorse- 
ment of their position as Lutheran would have satis- 
fied them. Personally he was friendly with Calvin, 
and doubtless had the conviction that the Calvinistic 
doctrine of the spiritual enjoyment of the body and 
blood of Christ sacrificed no essential element of re- 
ligious truth. But there is not a single line in all of 
Melanchthon's writings to show that he ever en- 
dorsed the particular Calvinistic formulas of a glori- 
fied body, and of a communion in Heaven to which 
the believer's soul is lifted by faith. On the contrary 
his formulas show that he maintained that the com- 
munion takes place on earth in connection with 
eating and drinking. Moreover, he ever associates 
the Supper with the forgiveness of sins, as its essen- 
tial factor; while with Calvin the Supper is regarded 
more as a food for the soul of the believer. 

Under such circumstances Melanchthon might 
well write that it was not difficult, but dangerous, to 
say what ought to be said. To Calvin he wrote, 
" Certain persons are renewing the contest about 
bread-worship, moved principally by hatred towards 
me, that they may have a plausible excuse for crush- 
ing me." It is to the praise of his wisdom that he 
maintained a dignified silence, though at one time 
he had resolved, under a certain contingency, to 
reply, since he " feared neither exile nor death." 
In his correspondence he again and again declared 
that he continued to teach in accordance with his 
numerous writings, with the Wittenberg Concord, 

C. R., 8: 362. 
*C R., 8: 482. 

366 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

with Luther's Catechism, and the Examen Ordin- 
andorum. Anything new from his pen would only 
have added fuel to the fire. Yet his silence did not 
satisfy the Flacians. They evermore accused him 
of Calvinising, on the ground that not to endorse 
their semi-Romanism, and not to confute Calvin, was 
to C alvinise. 

In the year 1556, an effort was made to effect a 
reconciliation between Melanchthon and Flacius. 
The terms proposed were those of Flacius's own com- 
position, and involved the humiliation of Melanch- 
thon. When the terms were rejected, Flacius broke 
out in a most violent publication, in which he de- 
manded a public recantation by Melanchthon and 
his friends as a condition of peace. When finally 
others interceded for peace and proposed terms that 
were artfully meant to make Melanchthon " cut his 
own throat," the latter replied that he had always 
sought the peace of the Church ; that he had intro- 
duced no new doctrines, and had taught the doctrines 
received in the Church. " If this form of doctrine 
does not please Flacius, let him publish another body 
of doctrine. If the churches shall prefer it, I will 
make no opposition." 1 

Melanchthon also wrote a letter to Flacius in 
which he denies that the Leipzig Interim was " a 
conspiracy of the theologians," as had been charged. 
He also says: 

' Then we were censured with all kinds of reproaches 

by the courtiers. Now we are censured by you. At 

length the Prince said with his own voice, that he did 

not seek to have the doctrine, nor anything necessary, 

1 C. A'., 9: 103-105. 

1557] Controversies 367 

changed, but to retain external rites in the ordering of the 
festivals, lections, and in attire. Subsequently the 
counsellors named these Adiaphora ; for in the beginning 
the word was imposed upon us. I knew that even the 
slightest changes would be offensive to the people. Yet 
when the doctrine was to be retained intact, I preferred 
that ours should submit to this bondage, rather than for- 
sake the ministry of the Gospel, and I gave the same 
advice to the Franconians. This I did. The doctrine 
of the Confession I never changed. In regard to these 
moderate rites I contended less because they have been 
retained in very many churches of these parts. Then 
you began your opposition. I ceased; I did not con- 
tend. Ajax in Homer in his fight with Hector was satis- 
fied when Hector fell and acknowledged him as victor. 
You make no end of criminations. What foe strikes 
those who have surrendered and grounded their arms ? 
Conquer! I yield. I will not contend about these rites. 
I greatly desire that the Church should have peace. I 
confess that in this matter I made a mistake, and I ask 
pardon from God because I did not flee those insidious 
counsels. But I shall refute the false charges made by 
you and Gallus." 1 

In April, 1557, Flacius was called to Jena as pro- 
fessor of theology. The new university became 
the centre of rigid Lutheranism, and exerted a 
strong influence over the Duchy of Saxony, in 
Magdeburg, and in parts of Northern Germany. 
But the larger part of the evangelical churches of the 
country, viz., those of the Electorate, Pomerania, 
Hesse, and Southern Germany, acknowledged the 
services of Melanchthon and blamed the violence of 
the Flacians. 

1 C. R., 8 : 839. 



Frankfort Recess The Flacian Party Melanchthon Attends the 
Colloquy of Worms The Weimar Confutation Book The 
Bavarian Articles The Heidelberg Scandal Last Sickness 
Death and Burial. 

THE Lutherans were now divided into two hostile 
camps. The princes, assembled at Frankfort, 
in March, 1558, sought to put an end to the contro- 
versies by the publication of a fair and candid de- 
claration, known as the Frankfort Recess, 1 which is 
based partly on an Opinion by Melanchthon and 
partly on an essay by John Brentz. The Recess 
states that man is justified by faith alone in Christ; 
that new obedience is necessary in the justified, that 
is, necessary according to divine appointment ; that 
Christ is truly and essentially present in the Supper 
with the bread and wine, and is given to Christians 
to eat and drink. 

The Recess was decidedly rejected by the Weimar 
dukes, who caused the Weimar Confutation Book to 
be published in 1 5 59 as a refutation of all the heresies 

1 C.X., 9 : 489. 


is6o] Closing Years and Death 369 

of the times, and as the assertion of the most rigid 
Lutheranism. The object of the book was to es- 
tablish pure Lutheranism in the land. Hence the 
ministers of Thuringia were required to sign this 
book; but it did not preserve harmony even in the 
ducal dominions. The spirit of antagonism had so 
possessed the authors of the book, Flacius and 
others, that they soon quarrelled with John Fred- 
erick the Second, and were driven from Jena. 

That the Flacian party did good service in hasten- 
ing the rejection of the Interim, has been already 
conceded in these pages; but " the profane scurril- 
ity " and " the most diabolical calumnies of the 
Flacians," as Melanchthon characterises their con- 
duct, 'is worthy of unqualified reprehension. In 
their mad presumption, and in their insane zeal for 
pure Lutheranism, they transcended all just limits, 
and became the most dangerous errorists. Indeed 
the Lutheran Church has uniformly rejected the 
errors of Osiander, Flacius, Amsdorf, and Stancar; 
but she has never placed herself on record against a 
single doctrinal proposition of Philip Melanchthon, 
when such proposition was presented in the full 
Melanchthonian form and sense. In the Confession 
and its Apology, both of which he wrote, in his Loci, 
and in the many admirable definitions and exposi- 
tions scattered through his voluminous writings, and 
in his spirit, which still lives, Philip Melanchthon is 
an abiding power for good in the Lutheran Church. 
Even the authors of the Form of Concord, Andreae, 
Chemnitz, and Selneccer, retained the full Melanch- 
thonian doctrine of the Will in the earlier drafts of 

370 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

that famous book, and sacrificed it at last only at 
the behest of a few intractable zealots ; but still re- 
tained its fundamental tendency, a already shown, 
in opposition to the absolute predestinarianism of 
Luther and the Flacians, and in its affirmation of 
the universality of divine grace. 1 

In the spring of 1557, Melanchthon was invited to 
assist in reorganising the University of Heidelberg, 
but his Prince refused to spare him from Wittenberg. 
It was the purpose also of his Elector to take him 
to Denmark to attend a synod in which the Lord's 
Supper was to be discussed. In administering the 
communion a pastor had been so unfortunate as to 
spill some wine. This accident furnished the occa- 
sion for the calling of a synod. But Melanchthon 
shrank from the proposed journey to the North, 
giving as his reason that at his birth an astrologer 
had told his father he should suffer shipwreck in the 
Baltic. It is altogether probable that Melanchthon 
dreaded a conference with the excited theologians 
far more than he feared the stormy rage of the sea. 
For some reason the Elector changed his mind, 
and ordered Melanchthon to attend a colloquy at 
Worms; but even with the prospect presented by 
this journey Melanchthon was not pleased. To 
Camerarius he wrote : 

" I am now engaged in preparing for a trip to the 
Rhine. I dread the dire sophistry and rage of the hypo- 
crites more than Ulysses dreaded Scylla and Charybdis. 
I would rather stay at home and say prayers with my 

'Gieseler's Ch. Hist., iv., 486, Translation. 



Closing Years and Death 371 

little granddaughters than elsewhere to listen to the 
riddles of the Sphinx." * 

On the fifteenth of August, 1557, Melanchthon 
set out for Worms, accompanied by Peucer. Paul 
Eber and Cracovius had gone on ahead. At Frank- 
fort he heard that the Flacians were demanding the 
condemnation of all errors and errorists among the 
Protestants as a condition preliminary to the holding 
of a colloquy with the Catholics. He wrote to 
friends that the virulence of his enemies was giving 
him great trouble. August 28th he reached Worms, 
and was received with the highest reverence by 
nearly all of the theologians. 

The Flacians spared no pains to excite the whole 
body of theologians against him, and when they 
failed in this they cried out, " There is no candour 
and no love of truth ; everything is full of sarcasm 
and vile hypocrisy." Finally when they failed to 
carry their sentence of condemnation, aimed chiefly 
at Melanchthon, they presented their protest, which, 
however, was not entered on the minutes, but merely 
allowed as the expression of personal conviction. 

In reply to the accusation of the Flacians, Mel- 
anchthon reaffirmed his adherence to the Confession, 
the Apology, the Schmalkald Articles, and the Con- 
fessio Saxonica. He said: " I wrote the Confession 
and the Apology which they are quoting. Now 
they are debating how to get rid of their author." a 

When in the colloquy the Catholics asked 
whether the Protestants were agreed, he replied, 

1 C. ., 9 : 185. 
3 C, R. y 9 : 260. 

372 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

" We are all agreed on the Confession." Then the 
Flacians again presented their articles; but failing 
to have them recognised, they left the conference 
at the beginning of October, declaring that they had 
been excluded. The conference was now adjourned 
to hear the pleasure of the King. In the earlier 
sessions the Catholics had insisted on " the perpetual 
consent of the Church," as " the rule for deciding 
all controversies." The Protestants would admit 
no rule except the Holy Scriptures and the three 
ancient Creeds. 

As the conference was adjourned, Melanchthon 
now had leisure to visit Heidelberg on invitation of 
the Palatine Elector. Here he was received with 
extraordinary demonstrations of respect by the 
Prince and by the university. His pleasure was 
enhanced by meeting his brother George and his 
dear friend Camerarius. But the latter had been 
sent on a sad mission. Melanchthon's wife had died 
on the eleventh of October, and Camerarius had 
come to break the news to him. Finding how happy 
he had made him by his visit, Camerarius postponed 
the announcement to the second day, when the two 
were walking together in the Prince's garden. Mel- 
anchthon heard the sorrowful intelligence with com- 
posure, and, looking up to heaven, exclaimed : " Fare 
thee well. I shall soon follow thee." He then 
spoke to his friend on the distressed condition of the 
Church, and on the terrible events that threatened, so 
that he seemed almost to bury his own sorrow in his 
thought of the common distress of the Fatherland. 1 

1 Camerarius, p. 335. 

i 5 6o] Closing Years and Death 373 

In November, he returned to Worms, where he 
prepared " A Formula of Agreement touching Cert- 
ain Disputed Articles." This formula gives the 
clearest proof of his adherence to the Confession 
and Apology, and to the whole Lutheran doctrinal 
system. It will stand forever in the estimation of 
fair and honest men as an all-sufficient refutation 
of the outrageous slanders of his baleful enemies, 
who were still boasting that they would drive him 
out of Germany. 1 

As the Protestants had been invited to recognise 
Ferdinand as Emperor, it was thought desirable to 
hold a convention for the consideration of religious 
questions. As usual, Melanchthon was commis- 
sioned to prepare an Opinion. This Opinion became 
the basis of the Frankfort Recess already referred to, 
which in time called forth the Weimar Confutation 

Melanchthon was now more than ever pained by 
the extravagance and violence of the Flacians. His 
distress was increased by the death, April 20, 1 558, of 
his dear friend and colleague, Pastor Bugenhagen, 
and by the imprisonment of Victorin Strigel and 
Pastor Hugel of Jena, because they would not sub- 
scribe the Confutation Book. 

Nothing could be farther from the spirit of Mel- 
anchthon than the application of such a method to 
secure uniformity in faith. Gladly would he have 
kept aloof from all further controversy with the 
Weimarians. But when the Elector of Saxony re- 
quired of his theologians an Opinion of the Confuta- 

1 C. R., 9: 401. 

374 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

tion Book, it .fell to the lot of Melanchthon to write 
it. Among other things he declared that the 
Weimarians make such statements hi regard to the 
Lord's Supper " as no one in the Church from the be- 
ginning has made, not even the Papists; viz., that 
the body of Christ is in all places, in stone and in 
wood." He refutes " the Stoic and Manichaean ab- 
surdities " of the Weimarians, as that " all the 
actions of men are necessitated." On the contrary, 
he says: " We begin with the Word of God, which 
condemns sin, and which offers forgiveness and 
grace for Christ's sake; and we say that thereby 
God works alarm and comfort, as is foreshown in 
David's conversion." He lays down the rule: 
4 Grace precedes ; the Will follows ; God draws, but 
he draws him that is willing. ' ' 1 

There were also outside enemies whom Melanch- 
thon had to meet and refute during this last year of 
his life. The Jesuits had worked their way into 
Bavaria, and were expelling every person who would 
not accept the thirty-one articles of their Inquisition, 
which " had been prepared by a disreputable, raving 
monk." Melanchthon first saw these articles in 
September, 1558. In August of the following year 
he published his Reply to the Impious Articles of 
the Bavarian Inquisition.' 1 The Reply ranks as one 
of its author's great apologetic writings, and has 
been called his swan's song, or dying confession, in- 
asmuch as in his last Will and Testament, written 
the day before his death, he reaffirms it as his " Con- 

C.^.,9: 765-769. 

9 Corpus Doctrines Christiana. 

i 5 6o] Closing Years and Death 375 

fession against the Papists, the Anabaptists, the 
Flacians, and the like." 

The Reply deals not only with the thirty-one 
articles of the Inquisition, but also with the various 
discussions which had risen among the Protestants 
themselves. It is direct and positive in tone, and 
leaves nothing to be desired from the standpoint of 
a true, evangelical Lutheranism. It affirms the real 
and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist 
and the communication of his body and blood. In 
regard to the Will he reaffirms the rule: " Grace 
precedes; the Will follows. The Word begins, the 
Will is called and drawn. God draws, but draws him 
who is willing/' 

A month later Melanchthon published the German 
edition of his Corpus Doctrines Christiana, or, A 
Complete Summary of the Correct, True, Christian 
Doctrine of the Holy Gospel. It contains the Augs- 
burg Confession, the Apology, the Saxon Confession 
of I55 1 * the Loci, the Examen Ordinandorum, The 
Reply to the Bavarian Ar tides } A Refutation of 
the Mohammedan Error of Servetus. The Preface 
bears date, September 29, 1559. The same book, 
with only slight deviations in contents, was prepared 
also in Latin, and published the following year. 
The Preface is dated, February 16, 1560. 

Melanchthon, now grown weary of life, and still 
more weary of the quarrels of the theologians, was 
destined to have his soul vexed again over a most 
disreputable quarrel in regard to the Lord's Supper. 
He had recommended Tillman Heshuss, a former 

1 C. X., 9 : 1099. 

37 6 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

pupil of his, to a professorship and to the superin- 
tendency at Heidelberg. Heshuss and one of his 
deacons, Klebitz by name, actually bought over the 
communion cup at the altar. The Elector deposed 
both of them, and sent his secretary to Wittenberg 
to obtain the advice of Melanchthon. Under the 
circumstances it would have been useless to propose 
new dogmatic formulas. Hence Melanchthon treated 
the subject of the Lord's Supper wholly on its prac- 
tical side as " a communion of the body," as " a 
consociation with the body of Christ," and ap- 
pealed to the Examen Ordinandorum for " the form 
of words concerning the Supper." He rejects the 
transubstantiation of the Catholics, as also the dic- 
tum of the Bremen theologians that " the bread is 
the substantial body of Christ," and that of Heshuss 
that " the bread is the true body of Christ." 1 

The Elector Frederick, in his revulsion from the 
disgraceful conduct of Heshuss and Klebitz, ban- 
ished the Lutheran doctrine and introduced the 
Reformed. This so excited the aged John Brentz 
that he assembled a synod at Stuttgart, and pro- 
cured the adoption of articles which set forth a most 
extreme doctrine of the Lord's Supper, including 
oral manducation and a declaration of the abso- 
lute ubiquity of the human nature of Christ. Mel- 
anchthon in a letter to George Cracovius complains 
of " the decree of the Wurtemberg abbots " as 
written in barbarous Latin, and as presenting a doc- 
trine " clearly in conflict with the ancient purer 
Church " ; and affirms that he still retains the form 

1 C. R., 9: 962. 

Closing Years and Death 377 

of words published many years ago in the Exarnen 
Ordinandorum. 1 

In this same letter he says that he "is cruelly 
tortured by many hostile armies." But this torture 
was not to last long. On the fifth of April, return- 
ing from Leipzig, whither he had gone to examine 
the Elector's Stipendiaries, he caught a cold. This 
affection was followed by a fever, which gradually 
grew worse, but did not at once prostrate the 
patient, nor wholly incapacitate him for work. 
He continued to lecture, to converse with his 
friends, to write letters, and to revise manuscripts 
for the press. A few days before the end came, he 
wrote on the left and right margins of a sheet of 
paper the reasons why he should not fear death : 

" Thou shalt depart from sin. " Thou shalt come into the 

Thou shalt be set free from vexa- light. Thou shalt see God. Thou 
tions, and from the rage of the shalt behold the Son of God. 
theologians." Thou shalt learn those won- 

derful mysteries which in this 
life thou couldst not understand, 
as why we were created as we 
are, and what is the character of 
the union of the two natures in 
Christ." 2 

As his weakness increased and his end drew nigh, 
Dr. Peucer asked him if he wished anything else. 
He answered, " Nothing else but heaven. Do not 
ask me any more." The pastor then prayed, all 
present falling on their knees. At evening the pastor 

l c. R., 9: 1036. 

2 A detailed account of Melanchthon's last sickness and death is 
given in C. R., 10 : 235 et seqq. 

378 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

pronounced the blessing on him, and Professor 
Winsheim quoted for him from the Psalmist: " Into 
thy hands I commend my spirit* thou hast re- 
deemed me, thou faithful and true God." His lips 
moved as if in prayer. At a quarter before seven 
o'clock in the evening of April 19, 1560, Philip 
Melanchthon fell on sleep, aged sixty-three years, 
two months, and three days. The earthly house of 
his tabernacle was dissolved. He had fought a good 
fight, he had finished his course, he had kept the 

The body was placed in a tin coffin, and this in a 
wooden one with an inscription in Latin which re- 
counts the chief events of his life, as that he had 
served the University of Wittenberg forty-two 
years, was the faithful assistant of Luther in the 
purification of doctrine, was the author of the Augs- 
burg Confession, and the firm defender of divine 
truth, publicly and privately, in diets and by his 
writings. The remains were first taken to the Parish 
Church and placed before the altar where he had 
been accustomed to kneel in prayer. Dr. Paul 
Eber, the pastor, delivered a German sermon on the 
hope of immortality. The remains were then re- 
moved to Castle Church, where Dr. Veit Winsheim, 
professor of Greek, pronounced a Latin funeral ora- 
tion. At five o'clock P.M., April 2 1st, all that was 
mortal of Philip Melanchthon was sunk into the 
grave by the side of the mortal remains of Martin 
Luther " lovely and pleasant in their lives, and 
in their death they were not divided." 

The funeral cortege, consisting of students, relat- 

isH Closing Years and Death 379 

ives, professors, officials, citizens, and nobles, was 
the largest ever seen in Wittenberg. Men and 
women alike testified their grief by their tears and 
lamentations. To all parts of Germany, except to 
those parts estranged by the Flacians, the news of 
" the dear father and preceptor's death brought 
sorrow." At Strassburg and Tubingen meetings 
were held and memorial addresses were delivered. 
Strangers who had never seen him sent letters of 
condolence, and many Greek and Latin elegies were 
written on his death. Yet death, the great recon- 
ciler, did not soften the wrath of his enemies. The 
Flacians pursued his memory with calumnies more 
virulent and malicious than ever. They charged 
him with heresy and with the betrayal of the Lu- 
theran doctrine. Even at the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, Leonhard Hutter, a Witten- 
berg professor of theology, during a public discus- 
sion, tore Melanchthon's picture down from the 
wall and trampled it under foot. But History has 
vindicated him against " the wrath of the theo- 
logians." To-day the Lutheran Church places him 
on a pedestal by the side of Luther, and honours 
the two together as the fathers and founders of the 
Lutheran Church. Germany proclaims him her Pre- 
ceptor. Protestantism venerates him as the witness 
of her spirit, as the prophet of her future. 



" HPHOUGH amid the public sorrow my voice is ob- 
1 structed by grief and tears, yet in this vast as- 
sembly something ought to be said, not, as among the 
heathen, only in praise of the deceased. Much rather 
is this assembly to be reminded of the wonderful govern- 
ment of the Church, and of her perils, that in our distress 
we may consider what we are, most of all, to desire, and 
by what examples we are to regulate our lives. There 
are ungodly men, who, in the confused condition of 
human affairs, think that everything is the result of ac- 
cident. But we who are illumined by the many explicit 
declarations of God, distinguish the Church from the 
profane multitude; and we know that it is in reality 
governed and preserved by God. We fix our eye on 
this Church. We acknowledge lawful rulers, and con- 
sider their manner of life. We also select suitable 
leaders and teachers, whom we may piously follow and 

"It is necessary to think on, and to speak of these 
things, so often as we name the name of the Reverend 
Doctor Martin Luther, our most dear Father and Pre- 
ceptor, whom many wicked men have most bitterly 


382 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

hated ; but whom we, who know that he was a minister 
of the Gospel raised up by God, love and applaud. We 
also have the evidence to show that his doctrine did not 
consist of seditious opinions scattered by blind impulse, 
as men of Epicurean tastes suppose; but that it is an ex- 
hibition of the will of God, and of true worship, an ex- 
position of the Holy Scriptures, a preaching of the Word 
of God, that is, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

" In orations delivered on occasions like the present, 
it is the custom to say many things about the personal 
endowments of those who are panegyrised. But I will 
omit this, and will speak only on the main subject, viz., 
his relation to the Church; for good men will always 
judge that if he promoted sound and necessary doctrine 
in the Church, we should give thanks to God because he 
raised him up; and all good men should praise his 
labours, fidelity, constancy, and other virtues, and should 
most affectionately cherish his memory. 

" So much for the exordium of my oration. The Son 
of God, as Paul observes, sits at the right hand of the 
Eternal Father, and gives gifts unto men, viz., the 
Gospel and the Holy Spirit. That he might bestow 
these he raises up Prophets, Apostles, Teachers, and 
Pastors, and selects from our midst those who study, 
hear, and delight in the writings of the Prophets and 
Apostles. Nor does he call into this service only those 
who occupy the ordinary stations; but he often makes 
war upon those very ones by teachers chosen from other 
stations. It is both pleasant and profitable to contem- 
plate the Church of all ages, and to consider the good- 
ness of God, in sending useful teachers, one after 
another, that as some fall in the ranks, others may at 
once press into their places. 

" Behold the Patriarchs, Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methu- 




tint &ttft>ere / get^an bufo pl>iltp# 

(Betrwcf t jw 


1546] Appendix 383 

selah, Noah, Shem. When in the time of the last named, 
who lived in the neighbourhood of the Sodomites, the 
nations forgot the teaching of Noah and Shem, and 
worshipped idols, Abraham was raised up to be Shem's 
companion and to assist him in his great work and in 
propagating sound doctrine. He was succeeded by 
Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, which last lighted the torch 
of truth in all the land of Egypt, which at that time was 
the most flourishing kingdom in all the world. Then 
came Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Elijah, Elisha, 
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Zechariah. Then Ezra, Onias, 
and the Maccabees. Then Simeon, Zacharias, the Bap- 
tist, Christ, and the Apostles. It is a delight to con- 
template this unbroken succession, inasmuch as it is a 
manifest proof of the presence of God in the Church. 

" After the Apostles comes a long line, inferior, in- 
deed, but distinguished by the divine attestations: Poly- 
carp, Irenaeus, Gregory of Neocaesarea, Basil, Augustin, 
Prosper, Maximus, Hugo, Bernard, Tauler, and others. 
And though these later times have been less fruitful, yet 
God has always preserved a remnant; and that a more 
splendid light of the Gospel has been kindled by the 
voice of Luther, cannot be denied. 

" To that splendid list of most illustrious men raised 
up by God to gather and establish the Church, and 
recognised as the chief glory of the human race, must 
be added the name of Martin Luther. Solon, Themis- 
tocles, Scipio, Augustus, and others, who established, or 
ruled over vast empires, were great men, indeed, but far 
inferior were they to our leaders, Isaiah, John the Bap- 
tist, Paul, Augustin, and Luther. It is proper that we 
of the Church should understand this manifest difference. 

"What, then, are the great and splendid things dis- 
closed by Luther which render his life illustrious ? Many 

384 Philip Melanchthon [i 497 - 

are crying out that confusion has come upon the Church, 
and that inexplicable controversies have arisen. I reply 
that this belongs to the regulation of tjie Church. When 
the Holy Spirit reproves the world, disorders arise on 
account of the obstinacy of the wicked. The fault is 
with those who will not hear the Son of God, of whom 
the Heavenly Father says: ' Hear ye him.' Luther 
brought to light the true and necessary doctrine. That 
the densest darkness existed touching the doctrine of re- 
pentance, is evident. In his discussions he showed what 
true repentance is, and what is the refuge and the sure 
comfort of the soul which quails under the sense of the 
wrath of God. He expounded Paul's doctrine, which 
says that man is justified by faith. He showed the 
difference between the Law and the Gospel, between the 
righteousness of faith and civil righteousness. He also 
showed what the true worship of God is, and recalled 
the Church from heathenish superstition, which imag- 
ines that God is worshipped, even though the mind, 
agitated by some academic doubt, turns away from God. 
He bade us worship in faith and with a good conscience, 
and led us to the one Mediator, the Son of God, who 
sits at the right hand of the Eternal Father and makes 
intercession for us not to images or to dead men, that 
by a shocking superstition impious men might worship 
images and dead men. 

" He also pointed out other services acceptable to 
God, and so adorned and guarded civil life, as it had 
never been adorned and guarded by any other man's 
writings. Then from necessary services he separated the 
puerilities of human ceremonies, the rites and institutions 
which hinder the true worship of God. And that the 
heavenly truth might be handed down to posterity he 
translated the Prophetical and Apostolic Scriptures into 

!546] Appendix 385 

the German language with so much accuracy that his 
version is more easily understood by the reader than 
most commentaries. 

" He also published many expositions, which Erasmus 
was wont to say excelled all others. And as it is re- 
corded respecting the rebuilding of Jerusalem that with 
one hand they builded and with the other they held the 
sword, so he fought with the enemies of the true doc- 
trine, and at the same time composed annotations replete 
with heavenly truth, and by his pious counsel brought 
assistance to the consciences of many. 

" Inasmuch as a large part of the doctrine cannot be 
understood by human reason, as the doctrine of the re- 
mission of sins and of faith, it must be acknowledged 
that he was taught of God ; and many of us witnessed 
the struggles through which he passed, in establishing 
the principle that by faith are we received and heard of 

" Hence throughout eternity pious souls will magnify 
the benefits which God has bestowed on the Church 
through Luther. First they will give thanks to God. 
Then they will own that they owe much to the labours of 
this man, even though atheists who mock the Church 
declare that these splendid achievements are empty and 
superstitious nothings. 

"It is not true, as some falsely affirm, that intricate 
disputes have arisen, that the apple of discord has been 
thrown into the Church, that the riddles of the Sphynx 
have been proposed. It is an easy matter for discreet 
and pious persons, and for those who do not judge 
maliciously, to see, by a comparison of views, which 
accord with the heavenly doctrine, and which do not. 
Yea, without doubt these controversies have already been 

settled in the minds of all pious persons. For since God 

386 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

wills to reveal himself and his purposes in the language 
of Prophets and Apostles, it is not to be imagined that 
that language is as ambiguous as the leaves of the Sibyl, 
which, when disturbed, fly away, the sport of the winds. 

" Some, by no means evil-minded persons, have com- 
plained that Luther displayed too much severity. I will 
not deny this. But I answer in the language of Eras- 
mus: 'Because of the magnitude of the disorders God 
gave this age a violent physician.' When God raised up 
this instrument against the proud and impudent enemies 
of the truth, he spoke as he did to Jeremiah: ' Behold I 
place my words in thy mouth; destroy and build.' Over 
against these enemies God set this mighty destroyer. In 
vain do they find fault with God. Moreover, God does 
not govern the Church by human counsels; nor does he~ 
choose instruments very like those of men. It isjiatural 
for mediocre and inferior minds to dislike tEose :: 5?Tr^^- 
ardent character, whether good or bad. When Aristides 
saw Themistocles by the mighty impulse of genius under- 
take and successfully accomplish great achievements, 
though he congratulated the State, he sought to turn the 
zealous mind of Themistocles from its course. 

" I do not deny that the more ardent characters some- 
times make mistakes, for amid the weakness of human 
nature no one is without fault. But we may say of such 
a one what the ancients said of Hercules, Cimon, and 
others: "AHOftfiog JAW, a\Xa ra fjieyiGrct ayaSoz 
4 rough indeed, but worthy of all praise.' And in the 
Church, if, as Paul says, he wars a good warfare, holding 
faith and a good conscience, he is to be held in the high- 
est esteem by us. 

" That Luther was such we do know, for he constantly 
defended purity of doctrine and kept a good conscience. 
There is no one who knew him, who does not know that 

1546] Appendix 387 

jie was possessed of the greatest kindness, and of the 
greatest affability in the society of his friends, and that 
he was in no sense contentious or quarrelsome. He also 
exhibited, as such a man ought, the greatest dignity of 
demeanour. He possessed 

dipevdsg f/$og, evnpoGijyopas ffTOjAat, 
* An upright character, a gracious speech.' 

" Rather may we apply to him the words of Paul: 
' Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are hon- 
est, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are 
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things 
are of good report. ' If he was severe, it was the severity 
of zeal for the truth, not the love of strife, or of harsh- 
jness. Of these things we and many others are witnesses. 
To his sixty-third year he spent his life in the most ardent 
study of religion and of all the liberal arts. No speech 
of mine can worthily set forth the praises of such a man. 
No lewd passions were ever detected in him, no seditious 
counsels. He was emphatically the advocate of peace. 
He never mingled the arts of politics with the affairs of 
the Church for the purpose of augmenting his own 
authority, or that of his friends. Such wisdom and 
virtue, I am persuaded, do not arise from mere human 
diligence. Brave, lofty, ardent souls, such as Luther 
had, must be divinely guided. 

" What shall I say of his other virtues ? Often have I 
found him weeping and praying for the whole Church. 
He spent a part of almost every day reading the Psalms, 
with which he mingled his own supplications amid tears 
jmd groans. Often did he express his indignation at 
those who through indifference or pretence of other occu- 
pations, are indifferent in the matter of prayer. On this 
account, he said, Divine Wisdom has prescribed forms of 

388 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

prayer, that by reading them our minds may be quick- 
ened, and the voice ever may proclaim the God we 

" In the many grave deliberations incident to the pub- 
lic perils, we observed the transcendent vigour of _his_ 
mind,, his valour, his unshaken courage, where terror 
reigned. God was his anchor, and faith never failed him. 

' 'As. regards the penetration jQf-his-min^iruthe midst 
of uncertainties he alone saw what was_tn be done. Nor 
was he indifferent, as many suppose, to the public weal. 
On the contrary he knew the wants of the state, and 
clearly understood the feelings and wishes of his fellow- 
citizens. And though his genius was so extraordinary, 
yet he read with the greatest eagerness both ancient and 
modern ecclesiastical writings and all histories, that he 
might find in them examples applicable to present con- 

' The immortal monuments of his eloquence remain, 
nor has the power of his oratory ever been surpassed. 

' The removal of such a man from our midst, a man 
of the most transcendent genius, skilled in learning, 
trained by long experience, adorned with many superb 
and heroic virtues, chosen of God for the reformation of 
the Church, loving us all with a paternal affection the 
removal of such a man from our midst calls for tears and 
lamentations. We are like orphans bereft of a distin- 
guished and faithful father! BuLthoiijtE-JEe must bow^ 
to God, yet let us not permit the memory of his virtues 
and of his good offices to perish from among us. And 
let us rejoice that he now holds that familiar and de- 
lightful intercourse with God and his Son, our Lord 
Jesus Christ, which by faith in the Son of God he always 
sought and expected, where, by the manifestations of 
God, and by the testimony of the whole Church in 

1546] Appendix 389 

heaven, he not only hears the applause of his toils in the 
service of the Gospel, but is also delivered from the 
mortal body as from a prison, and has entered that vastly 
higher school, where he can contemplate the essence of 
God, the two natures joined in Christ, and the whole pur- 
pose set forth in founding and redeeming the Church, 
which great things, contained and set forth in the sacred 
oracles, he contemplated by faith; but seeing them now 
face to face, he rejoices with unspeakable joy; and with 
his whole soul he ardently pours forth thanks to God for 
his great goodness. 

" There he knows why the Son of God is called the 
Word and the Image of the Eternal Father, and in what 
way the Holy Spirit is the bond of mutual affection, not 
only between the Father and Son, but also between them 
and the Church. The first principles of these truths he 
had learned in this mortal life, and often did he most 
earnestly and wisely discourse on these lofty themes, on 
the distinction between true and false worship, on the 
true knowledge of God and of divine revelation, on the 
true God as distinguished from false deities. 

" Many persons in this assembly have heard him dis- 
course on these words: ' Ye shall see the heaven open, 
and the angels of God ascending and descending upon 
the Son of man.' He bade his hearers fix their minds 
on that large word of comfort which declares that heaven 
is open, that God is revealed to us; that the bolts of the 
divine wrath are turned away from those who flee to the 
Son; that God is now with us, and that those who call 
upon him, are received, guided, and kept by him. 

' This purpose of God, pronounced by atheists to be 
a fable, admonishes us to banish doubt, and to cast out 
those fears which restrain our timid souls from calling 
on God and from resting in Him. 

39 Philip Melanchthon [1497- 

" He was wont to say that the angels, ascending and 
descending in the body of Christ, are ministers of the 
Gospel, who first under the direction of Christ ascend to 
God and receive from him the light of the Gospel and 
the Holy Spirit. Then they descend, that is, discharge 
the office of teaching among men. He was also accus- 
tomed to add that these heavenly spirits, these angels 
who behold the Son, study and rejoice over the mysteri- 
ous union of the two natures; and that since they are the 
armed servants of the Lord in defending the Church, 
they are directed by his hand. 

" Of these glorious things he is now a spectator, and 
as once under the direction of Christ he ascended and 
descended among the ministers of the Gospel, so now he 
beholds the angels sent by Christ, and enjoys with them 
the contemplation of the divine wisdom and the divine 

" We remember the great delight with which he re- 
counted the course, the counsels, the perils, and escapes 
of the Prophets, and the learning with which he dis- 
coursed on all the ages of the Church, thereby showing 
that he was inflamed by no ordinary passion for those 
wonderful men. Now he embraces them and rejoices to 
hear them speak, and to speak to them in turn. Now 
they hail him gladly as a companion, and thank God 
with him for having gathered and preserved the Church. 

" Hence we do not doubt that Luther is eternally 
happy. We mourn over our bereavement, and though 
it is necessary to bow to the will of God who has called 
him hence, let us know that it is the will of God that we 
should cherish the memory of this man's virtues and 
services. That duty let us now discharge. Let us 
acknowledge that this man was a blessed instrument of 
God, and let us studiously learn his doctrine. Let us in._ 

J546] Appendix 391 

our humble station imitate his virtues, so necessary for 
us: His fear of God, his faith, his devoutness in prayer, 
his uprightness in the ministry, his chastity, his diligence 
in avoiding seditious counsels, his eagerness for learning. 
And as we ought frequently to reflect on those other 
pious leaders of the Church, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, 
and Paul, so let us consider the doctrine and course of 
this man. Let us also join in thanksgiving and prayer, 
as is meet in this assembly. Follow me then with de- 
vout hearts: We give thanks to thee, Almighty God, the 
Eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Founder of 
thy Church, together with thy Coeternal Son, and the 
Holy Spirit, wise, good, merciful, just, true, powerful 
Sovereign, because thou dost gather a heritage for thy 
Son from among the human race, and dost maintain the 
ministry of the Gospel, and hast now reformed thy 
Church by means of Luther. We present our ardent 
supplications that thou wouldst henceforth preserve, fix, 
and impress upon our hearts the doctrines of truth, as 
Isaiah prayed for his disciples; and that by thy Holy 
Spirit thou wouldst inflame our minds with a pure de- 
votion, and direct our feet into the paths of holy 

" As the death of illustrious rulers often portends dire 
punishment to the survivors, we beseech you, we, espe- 
cially, to whom is committed the office of teaching, be- 
seech you to reflect on the perils that now threaten the 
whole world. Yonder, the Turks are advancing ; here, 
civil discord is threatened ; there, other adversaries, re- 
leased at last from the fear of Luther's censure, will 
corrupt the truth more boldly than ever. 

" That God may avert these calamities, let us be more 
diligent in regulating our lives and in directing our 
studies, always holding fast this sentiment, that so long 

39 2 Philip Melanchthon [1546 

as we retain, hear, learn, and love the pure teaching of 
the Gospel, we shall be the House and Church of God, 
as the Son of God says: ' If a man lov me, he will keep 
my words; and my Father will love him, and we will 
come unto him, and make our abode with him.' En- 
couraged by this ample promise, let us be quickened in 
teaching the truth of Heaven, and let us not forget that 
the human race and governments are preserved for the 
sake of the Church; and let us fix our eyes on that 
eternity to which God has called our attention, who has 
not revealed himself by such splendid witnesses and sent 
his Son in vain, but truly loves and cares for those who 
magnify his benefits. Amen." 1 

1 C. R., ii : 726 et seqq. 



Adams, Melchior, 175 
Adiaphoristic Controversy, 338 

., Agricola, John, 50, 58, 79, 167- 

170, 175 

Agricola, Rudolph, 13, 15 
Agricola, Stephen, 185, 187, 189, 

192, 258, 335, 350, 351 
Alber, 254 
Albert, Cardinal, 312 
Alesius, Alexander, 265 
Alliance against the Protestants, 


Altenburg, 49 

Amberg, 2 

Amsdorf, Nicholas, 50, 72, 80, 
87, 225, 257, 265, 281 

Anabaptists, 170, 171 

Andreae, 369 

Anshelm, Thomas, 22, 24 

Antonius (Barnes), Dr., 229 

Apology of the Augsburg Con- 
fession, 216, 217 

Aquila, Caspar, 326 

Articles of 1535, the Thirteen, 

Articles of the Peasants, 145, 

Augsburg Confession, 190-207, 

Augsburg, Diet of, 191-201 

Augsburg Interim, 329 

Augsburg Religious Peace, 362 

Aurogallus, 72 


Bacchanti, 8 

Baier, Dr., 81, 91, 200 

Baptism, 170, 171 

Barnes, Dr. Anthony, 228 

Baumgartner, Hieronimus, 131, 


Bebel, Heinrich, 20 
Beckman, Otto, 37 
Bellay, John, 224, 227 
Bellay, William, 224, 227 
Bern, 10 

Bernhard, Bartholomew, 78, 79 
Biel, Gabriel, 20 
Bigamy, the Landgrave's, 274 


Billican, Theobald, 18 
Billich, 297 
Bindseil, 281 
Blaurer, Ambrose, 225 
Bodenstein (Carlstadt), Andrew, 


Bora, Katharine von, 152, 153 
Borner, Caspar, 37 
Brassican, John, 19, 24 
Bread-worship, 364 
Brentz, John, 18, 185, 187, 189, 

225, 235, 243 
Bretschneider, 21, 26 
Bretten, 1-4, 8, 31, 33, 36, 114- 

117, 121, 175, 256 
Brismann, 152 
Bruck, Chancellor, 80, 192, 214, 

216, 221, 290, 303, 305, 306 
Bucer, Martin, 185, 188, 225, 

227, 250-253 




Bugenhagen, 127, 161, 162, 168, 

169, 229, 254, 257 
Bullinger, 363 
Burkhard, Francis, 113, 117, 

290, 337 
Busch, Hermann, 115 


Cajetan, Cardinal, 47, 49 

Calvin, John, 264, 301, 363, 365, 
366 ' 

Camerarius, Joachim, 35, 64, 114, 
117, 119, 125-127, 131, 132, 
136, 140, 152, 157, 160, 173, 
176, 216, 225, 230, 232, 256, 
280, 290, 295, 296, 329, 335, 
353, 361, 370, 372 

Campanius, 359, 361 

Campeggius, Lorenzo, 115, 122, 
190, 199, 209, 211, 212, 214, 


Capito, 253 
Carlowitz, Christopher von, 310, 

Carlstadt, 47, 49, 50, 52, 53, 79, 

80, 82, 83, 85, 91, 92, 107, 

126, 144, 195 
Cassel, Bucer and Melanchthon 

at, 251 

Celibacy, 156, 157 
Cellarius, Martin, 85, 91 
Celle Interim, 334 
Celtis, Conrad, 13 
Chemnitz, Martin, 103, 283, 284, 


Chilius, Dr. Ulrich, 224 
Chrysostom, John, 88, 233 
Chytraeus, David, 283, 284 
Coburg, 140, 194, 195, 216 ; see 


Cochlaeus, John, 102, 211 
Cologne Reformation, 296 sqq. 
Comitianus, Andrew Francis, 35 
Confession, see Augsburg 
Confessio Saxonica, 354 
Confessio Variata, 281 sqq'. 
Confutation, the Papal, 211 
Constance, Council of, 76 
Consultation, Hermann's, 296 


Cordatus, Conrad, 240, 257 
Cracovius, 371, 376 
Crotus, John, 13 
Crotus, Richard, 24 
Cruciger, 185, 229, 240, 252, 269, 
272, 300, 319 


Dalberg, John von, 13 
Denck, John, 195 
Diatribe, Erasmus's, 118 
Dietrich, Dr. Leonhard, 18 
Dietrich, Veit, 212, 259, 285 
Diets, see Augsburg, Regens- 

burg, Spires, Worms 
Dollinger, Dr., 137 
Doltsk, 80 

Dringenberg, Ludwig, 9 
Diiben, 35 
Dttrer, Albrecht, 130, 140 

Eber, Paul, 298, 324, 371, 378 

Eberbach, Peter, 24 

Eberhard, Duke, 19 

Ebner, Hieronimus, 131 

Eck, Dr. John, 32, 49-53, 55, 
56, 67, 68, 74, 102, 195, 197, 
202, 211, 283, 284, 286, 289- 
292 ; his 404 Articles, 195 

Eckinger, John, 190 

Education, oration on, 132, 133 

Einsiedel, Haubold von, 87, 91 

Emser, Jerome, 70, 71 

Epistola: Obscurorum Virorum , 

Erasmus, 27, 32, 48, 67, 102, 

103, 113, 117-121, 233, 312 
Erfurt, 30 
Examen Ordinandorum , 357 

Fabri, John, 176, 177, 211 
Family, Melanchthon's, 64 
Fanaticism at Wittenberg, 80, 84 
Faventinus, Didymus, 70 



Faventraut, Alexius, 190 
Ferdinand, 174, 177, 190 
Flacius, 205, 284, 322, 339, 340, 

342-344, 346-351, 359. 36o, 

366, 367, 369 
Forster, John, 361 
Frankenhausen, 148 
Frankfort Convention, 263 
Frankfort Recess, 368 
Frederick, George, 354 
Frederick, John, 220, 223, 270, 

320-322, 325, 332, 356 
Frederick the Wise, 30, 31, 48, 

82, 142 

Free Will, doctrine of, 233 sqq. 
Friedlieb, Francis, JO 
Ftirstenschulen, 135 
Funeral oration, 142, 143, 381 

Callus, Nicholas, 339, 364, 367 
Gerbel, Nicholas, 10, 101 
Gingelm, Nicholas, 36 
Glass, Solomon, 272 
Granvella, Chancellor, 290-292 
Greek Letter, Melanchthon's, 


Gresser, 335 
Gropper, John, 291, 297 
Grumbach, Chilian, 4 
Grynseus, Simon, 10, 115 
Gymnasia, 135, 137 


Hagenau, Colloquy of, 272 

Haller, Berthold. 10 

Haugwitz, Erasmus von, 159 

Hawerer, 4 

Hedio, 185, 188 

Heidelberg, University of, 13, 


Heilbron, 4 

Helvetius, Conrad, 9, 15 
Henry VIII., King of England, 

227 sqq. 

Hermann, Archbishop, 296, 298 
Hermann, Count, 24 
Heshuss, Tillman, 375 

Hess, Eoban, 24, 108, 132 

Hess, John, 60, 94, 265 

Hesse, Landgrave of, 121-124, 

154, 171, 172, 174, 229, 250, 


Heynlin, John, 20 
Hiltebrant, John, 9, 24 
Hochstratten, Jacob, 23 
Hochel, Melchior, 115 
House, Melanchthon's, 65 
Hubmeier, Balthaser, 195 
Hugel, 373 
Hyperaspistes, Erasmus's, 120 

Inaugural, Melanchthon's, 37, 38 

Infant baptism, 241 

Ingolstadt, 16, 28, 32, 34, 49, 66, 

67 ^ 

Inquisition, the Bavarian, 374 
Instruction on Lord's Supper, 

Luther's, 251 
Interim, see Augsburg, Celle, 



Jena, University of, 139 

John, Elector of Saxony, 220 

John, Margrave, 354 

Jonas, Justus, 72, 80, 82, 127, 
162, 169, 175, 185, 187, 189, 
192, 193, 229, 240, 251 ; Jr., 
296 ; 309, 358 

Juterbok, 334, 335 


Kaden, Michael, 190 
Kaisersburg, Geiler von, 16 
Kecheln, Peter, 4 
Kessler, John, 112 
Klebitz, 376 
Koch, John, 64 
Konigsberg, University of, 139 
Kolbe, Christopher, 115 
Kraft, Adam, 114, 130 
Krapp, Hieronimus, 63 
Krapp, Katharine, 63 



Lambert, Francis, 155 

Lange, Dr. John, 50, 58, 59, 63, 

Latin schools, 134 

League, Holy, 263 

Leipzig Disputation, 50, 51 

Leipzig Interim, 337 

Lemp, Jacob, 20, 22, 27 

Loci Communes, 94 sqq. , 231 sqq. 

Locker, Jacob, 16 

Lord's Supper, doctrine of, 178- 
180, 242, 361 

Lowenstein, Count von, 16 

Luther, Martin, called to Wit- 
tenberg, 30 ; his Theses, 31 ; 
compared with Melanchthon, 
41-43 ; at the Leipzig Dispu- 
tation, 50 ; burns the Pope's 
Bull, 68 ; writes two import- 
ant works, 68, 69 ; returns 
from the Wartburg, 89 ; his 
eight sermons, 90 ; publishes 
the New Testament in Ger- 
man, 93 ; controversy with 
Erasmus on the Will, 120; 
relation to the Peasants' War, 
147 ; his marriage, 154 ; at 
Marburg, 185-187 ; at Co- 
burg, 194 ; approves Melanch- 
thon's Loci, 247 ; instruction 
on the Lord's Supper, 251 ; his 
death, 309 


Major, Dr., 306, 360 

Maltz, Dietrich von, 311 

Mandari, Fandius, 5 

Mansfeld, 78, 79 

Marburg, University of, 138 ; 

Colloquy of, 185-189; articles, 


Martyr, Peter, 298, 363 
Mass, 155-156 
Matthesius, John, 350 
Maurer, Bernhard, 27 
Maximilian, Emperor, 5, 20, 24 
Medler, Nicholas, 323 

Melanchthon, Anna, 64 
Melanchthon, George, 64 
Melanchthon, Magdalena, 64 
Melanchthen, Philip, birth and 
early years, i-n ; student at 
Heidelberg, 12-18 ; student, 
teacher, proof-reader, and 
editor at Tubingen, 19-28 ; 
call to Wittenberg, 32 ; In- 
augural, 37 ; friendship with 
Luther, 40 ; attends the Leip- 
zig Disputation, 50 ; contro- 
versy with Eck, 53 ; Theses, 
58 ; marriage, family, salary, 
63-66 ; controversy with Rha- 
dinus and the Sorbonne, 71, 
74 ; relation to the Wittenberg 
fanaticism, 85 sqq. ; writes 
the Loci Communes, 94 ; 
wishes to relinquish theology, 
a compromise, 108-111 ; call 
to Nuremberg and services in 
the cause of education, 131, 
133-140 ; relation to the 
Peasants' War, 149 ; writes 
the Saxon Visitation Articles, 
161 ; controversy with Agri- 
cola, 167 ; tracts against the 
Anabaptists, 170, 171 ; at- 
tends the Diet of Spires and 
the Marburg Colloquy, 176, 
1 86 ; writes the Augsburg 
Confession, i^sqq.; negotia- 
tions with the Papists, 210- 
215 ; publishes the Confession 
and Apology, 218; called to 
England, to Tubingen, and to 
France, 224, 225, 229 ; new 
edition of the Loci, 231 ; his 
theology, 232 ; relation to the 
Wittenberg Concord, 251 sqq. ; 
at Schmalkald, 261, 262; his 
Will, 268-271; his sickness and 
relation to the Landgrave's 
bigamy, 272, 274-280 ; revises 
the Augsburg Confession, 280- 
282 ; at Worms and Regens- 
burg, 280, 290 ; aphorisms on 
the Lord's Supper, 292 ; assists 
in the Cologne Reformation, 



Melanchthon, Philip Continued 
296 sqq. ; writes the Wittenberg 
Reformation, 303 ; funeral 
oration over Luther, 310 ; let- 
ter to Carlowitz, 311 ; in ex- 
ile, 319 ; relation to the Gym- 
nasium and University of Jena, 
322 ; relation to the Interims, 
329 sqq. ; defamed by Flacius, 
339 ; letter of defence, 342- 
349 ; writes the Saxon Con- 
fession, 353 ; Mecklenburg 
Liturgy and the Examen Ordi- 
nandorum, 357 ; controversies 
on the Lord's Supper, 364 
sqq. ; the Flacian party, 369 ; 
reply to the Bavarian Articles, 
374 ; last sickness and death, 


Melanchthon, Philip, Jr., 64 
Menius, Justus, 159, 185, 254 
Miltitz, 49 

Mosellanus, Peter, 32, 35, 114 
Muhlberg, battle of, 318 
Miinzer, Thomas, 85, 144, 145 
Musa of Jena, 192 
Musculus, Andrew, 359 
Myconius, Frederick, 159, 254, 



Naucler, John, 22 
Naumburg, Convention of, 361 
Nausea, Frederick, 116 
Neander, 136 
Nesen, William, 113, 114, 125, 


New Testament, 93 
Nlitzel, Caspar, 131 
Nuremberg, 130 sqq.\ peace of , 



Oberlanders (South Germans), 

1$2 sqq. 

Obscurantism, 26, 27 
CEcolampadius, 15, 20, 23, 52, 

180, 182, 183, 185, 186, 188, 

243, 301 

Order of service, 91, 92 
Osiander, Andrew, 140, 185, 187, 
189, 258, 357, 361, 369 

Pacseus, 361 

Pack, Dr. Otto von, 171, 173 

Parma, 190 

Paulsen, 138 

Peace of Nuremberg, 220 

Peasants' War, 142 sqq. 

Pellican, Conrad, 31 

Peucer, Caspar, 64, 281, 282, 

371, 377 

Pfefferkorn, John, 23, 24 
Pfeffinger, 335 
Pflug, Julius von, 291 
Pforzheim, 6, 7, 9-11, 33, 67 
Philip, Count Palatine, 2-5, 13 
Philip, Landgrave, see Hesse 
Piacenza, 190 
Pirkheimer, Wilibald, 24, 28, 

34, 117, 130, 140 
Pistorius, John, 291, 297 
Planitz, John von, 159 
Pletner, 80 

Pollich, Dr. Martin, 30 
Pontanus, Chancellor, 270 
Pope Leo X., 46, 48-50, 52 
Pope Paul III., 260 
Preceptor of Germany, 125 sqq. 
Predestination, 236 
Prettin, 87 
Protest, Protestants, 177 


Ranke, 151, 191, 332 
Regensburg, Diet of, 291 ; Book, 


Regius, Urban, 185 
Reuchlin, Dionysius, 13 
Reuchlin, John, 6, 8-n, 13, 14, 

16, 19-21, 23, 24, 28, 31, 32, 

51, 66, 67 
Reuter, Barbara, 4 
Renter, Elizabeth, 8 
Reuter, Hans, 3, 4 
Rhadinus, Thomas, 70, 100 



Rhagius, John, 37 
Riccius, Dr. Paul, 31 
Rochlitz, 64 
Rorer, George, 284 
Roting, Michael, 132, 141 
Rubianus, Crotus, 25, 114 

SaJ)inus, George, 64 

Sachs, Hans, 130 

Sacraments, number of, 240 

Sadolet, Cardinal, 257 

Salary, Melanchthon's, 66 

Salmut, 361 

Schemer, John, 19 

Schenk, Jacob, 245, 257 

Scheurl, Christopher, 35 

Schleiz, 1 88 

Schmalkald Articles, 260 ; Ap- 
pendix to, 261 ; Convention, 
260 ; League, 219, 304 ; War, 
316 sqq. 

Schmidt, Dr. Carl, 35, 184, 286 

Schnepf, Erhard, 285 

Scholasticism, 13 

Schoner, John, 132 

Schreiber, Jerome, 296 

Schurf, Augustin, 323, 324 

Schurf, Jerome, 37, 80, 83, 91, 

Schwabach, 188, 189, 193, 194 ; 

Articles, 189 
Schwartzerd, Anna, 4 
Schwartzerd, Barbara, 4 
Schwartzerd, Claus, 2 
Schwartzerd, Elizabeth, 2 
Schwartzerd, George, 2-5 
Schwartzerd, George, Jr., 4, 115, 

175, 372 

Schwartzerd, John, 2 
Schwartzerd, Margaretha, 4 
Schwebel, John, 10, 57, 59, 60, 

101, 185 

Schwenckfeld, 359 
Seidler, Jacob, 78, 79 
Selneccer, Nicholas, 271, 281, 

283, 284, 369 
Servetus, 359 
Sickingen, Conrad von, 34 

Sickingen, Francis von, 24 

Sigismund, 266 

Silverborn, John, 113, 117 

Simler, Ge*>rge, 9, 10, 14, 19, 
20, 23, 27, 34 

Sleidan, 314 

Sorbil, 1 6 

Sorbonne, 73-76, 226 

Spalatin, 32, 33, 40, 41, 44, 45, 
48, 55, 57, 62,69, 77, 87, lor, 
107-110, 113, 119, 162, 192, 

202, 217 

Spangel, Dr. Pallas, 114 
Spengler, Lazarus, 131 
Spires, Diet of, 174-178 
Stadian, Francis, 20, 23, 27 
Stadion, Bishop, 198 
Stancar, Francis, 359, 369 
Staupitz, Dr. John von, 30, 59 
Stichs, Andrew, 4 
Stigel, 322 

Stoffler, Professor, 20, 23 
Storch, Nicholas, 85 
Strigel, Victorine, 103, 284, 322, 

Stiibner, Marcus Thomas, 85, 

88, 91 
Sturm, Jacob, 18, 176, 185, 226, 


Sturm, John, 136 
Sturm, Peter, 18 

Theology, Melanchthon's, 231 


Torgau Articles, 193 
Trent, Council of, 352 
Trotzendorf, 136 
Tubingen, Melanchthon's call 

to, 224, 225 
Tubingen, University of, 19, 20 


Ulrich, Duke, 144, 223 
Unger, John, 6, 7 

Valdesius, Alphonsus, 198 
Vienna, Council of, 76 



Vischer, Peter, 130 
Visitation Articles, 161 sqq. 
Voreus, Barnabas, 225 


Weimar, Confutation Book, 373 
Wessel, John, 13, 21 
Westphal, Joachim, 363, 364 
Wigand, 339 
Wiland, Ulrich, 184 
Will, controversy on, 118, ng 
Will, Melanchthon's, 268-271 
Wimpfeling, Jacob, 13, 16 
Wimpina, 211, 265 
Winsheim, Professor, 378 
Winter, Balthaser, 284 

Wittenberg, 29 sqq. ; Concord, 

254, 255 
Wolf, 136 
Works, good, 360 
Worms, Diet of, 289 

Zeigler, Bernhard, 265 

Zoch, Dr., 306 

Zweibrticken, 10 

Zwickau Prophets, 85, 86, 92, 


Zwilling, Gabriel, 80, 91 
Zwingli, 178, 180-186, 188, 195, 

211, 243, 300 

Heroes of the Reformation. 



Professor of Church History, New York University. 

Fully illustrated. Each 12, cloth, $1.50 

A SERIES of biographies of the leaders in the Protes- 
tant Reformation. 

The literary skill and the standing as scholars of the 
writers who have agreed to prepare these biographies 
will, it is believed, ensure for them a wide acceptance on 
the part not only of special students of the period but of 
the general reader. Full use will be made in them of the 
correspondence of their several subjects and of any other 
autobiographical material that may be available. The 
general reader will be pleased to find all these citations 
translated into English and the scholar to find them 
referred specifically to their source. The value of these 
volumes as works of reference will be furthered by ade- 
quate indexes and comprehensive bibliographies. 

It is, of course, the case that each one of the great 
teachers whose career is to be presented in this series 
looked at religious truth and at the problems of Chris- 
tianity from a somewhat different point of view. On this 
ground an important feature in each volume of the series 
will be a precise and comprehensive statement, given as 
nearly as practicable in the language of the original 
writer, of the essential points in his theology. 

It is planned that the narratives shall be not mere 
eulogies, but critical biographies ; and the defects of 
judgment or sins of omission or commission on the parts 
of the subjects will not be passed by or extenuated. On 
the other hand they will do full justice to the nobility of 
character and to the distinctive contribution to human 
progress made by each one of these great Protestant 
leaders of the Reformation period. The series will avoid 
the partisanship of writers like Merle d'Aubigne and in 
the opposite direction of the group of which Johannes 
Janssen may be taken as a type. 


I. Martin Luther (1483-1546). THE HERO OF THE REFOR- 
MATION. By Henry Eyster Jacobs, D.D., LL.D. (Thiel 
College, 1877, and 1891, respectively) ; Professor of Sys- 
tematic Theology, Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, Phila- 
delphia, Pa. ; author of " The Lutheran Movement in 
England during the Reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward 
VI., and its Literary Monuments." 

II. Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560). THE PROTESTANT 
PRECEPTOR OF GERMANY, By James William Richard, 
D.D. (Pennsylvania College, 1886) ; Professor of Ilomi- 
letics, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pa. 
III. Desiderius Erasmus (1467-1536). THE HUMANIST IN 
ton, Ph.D. (Leipzig University, 1876) ; Professor of Eccle- 
siastical History, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. ; 
author of "The Middle Ages (375-1300)." 

The following are in preparation : 

IV. Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). THE ENGLISH REFORM- 
ER. (Author will be announced later.) 

V. Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531). THE REFORMER OF 
GERMAN SWITZERLAND. By Samuel Macaulay Jackson, 
LL.D., (Washington and Lee University, 1892) ; D.D. 
(New York University, 1893) ; Professor of Church His- 
tory, New York University. Editor of the Series. 
VI. John Knox (1505-1572). THE HERO OF THE SCOTCH 

REFORMATION. (Author will be announced later.) 
VII. John Calvin (1509-1564). THE FOUNDER OF REFORMED 
PROTESTANTISM. By Williston Walker, Ph.D. (Leipzig 
University, 1888) ; D.D. (Adelbert College, 1894, Amherst 
College, 1895) ; Professor of Germanic and Western Church 
History, Theological Seminary, Hartford, Conn. ; author 
of " The Creeds and Platforms of Congregationalism." 
VIII. Theodore Beza (1519-1605). THE COUNSELLOR OF THE 
FRENCH REFORMATION. By Henry Martyn Baird, Ph.D. 
(College of New Jersey, 1867) ; D.D. (Rutgers College, 
1877) ; LL.D. (College of New Jersey, 1882) ; L.H.D. 
(Princeton University, 1896) ; Professor of the Greek 
Language and Literature, New York University ; author 
of " The Huguenots," 6 vols.