HISTORY of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH*
FROM A.D. 1517 TO 1648.
Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.—2 Cor. 3:17.
§ 1. The Turning Point of Modern History.
The Reformation of the sixteenth century is, next to the introduction of Christianity, the greatest event in history. It marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern times. Starting from religion, it gave, directly or indirectly, a mighty impulse to every forward movement, and made Protestantism the chief propelling force in the history of modern civilization.
The age of the Reformation bears a strong resemblance to the first century. Both are rich beyond any other period in great and good men, important facts, and permanent results. Both contain the ripe fruits of preceding, and the fruitful germs of succeeding ages. They are turning points in the history of mankind. They are felt in their effects to this day, and will be felt to the end of time. They refashioned the world from the innermost depths of the human soul in its contact, with the infinite Being. They were ushered in by a providential concurrence of events and tendencies of thought. The way for Christianity was prepared by Moses and the Prophets, the dispersion of the Jews, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the language and literature of Greece, the arms and laws of Rome, the decay of idolatry, the spread of skepticism, the aspirations after a new revelation, the hopes of a coming Messiah. The Reformation was preceded and necessitated by the corruptions of the papacy, the decline of monasticism and scholastic theology, the growth of mysticism, the revival of letters, the resurrection of the Greek and Roman classics, the invention of the printing press, the discovery of a new world, the publication of the Greek Testament, the general spirit of enquiry, the striving after national independence and personal freedom. In both centuries we hear the creative voice of the Almighty calling light out of darkness.
The sixteenth century is the age of the renaissance in religion, literature, and art. The air was stirred by the spirit of progress and freedom. The snows of a long winter were fast, melting before the rays of the vernal sun. The world seemed to be renewing its youth; old things were passing away, all things were becoming new. Pessimists and timid conservatives took alarm at the threatened overthrow of cherished notions and institutions, and were complaining, fault-finding and desponding. A very useless business. Intelligent observers of the signs of the times looked hopefully and cheerfully to the future. "O century!" exclaimed Ulrich von Hutten, "the studies flourish, the spirits are awake, it is a luxury to live." And Luther wrote in 1522: "If you read all the annals of the past, you will find no century like this since the birth of Christ. Such building and planting, such good living and dressing, such enterprise in commerce, such a stir in all the arts, has not been since Christ came into the world. And how numerous are the sharp and intelligent people who leave nothing hidden and unturned: even a boy of twenty years knows more nowadays than was known formerly by twenty doctors of divinity."
The same may be said with even greater force of the nineteenth century, which is eminently an age of discovery and invention, of enquiry and progress. And both then as now the enthusiasm for light and liberty takes two opposite directions, either towards skepticism and infidelity, or towards a revival of true religion from its primitive sources. But Christianity triumphed then, and will again regenerate the world.
The Protestant Reformation assumed the helm of the liberal tendencies and movements of the renaissance, directed them into the channel of Christian life, and saved the world from a disastrous revolution. For the Reformation was neither a revolution nor a restoration, though including elements of both. It was negative and destructive towards error, positive and constructive towards truth; it was conservative as well as progressive; it built up new institutions in the place of those which it pulled down; and for this reason and to this extent it has succeeded.
Under the motherly care of the Latin Church, Europe had been Christianized and civilized, and united into a family of nations under the spiritual government of the Pope and the secular government of the Emperor, with one creed, one ritual, one discipline, and one sacred language. The state of heathenism and barbarism at the beginning of the sixth century contrasts with the state of Christian Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century as midnight darkness compared with the dawn of the morning. But the sun of the day had not yet arisen.
All honor to the Catholic Church and her inestimable services to humanity. But Christianity is far broader and deeper than any ecclesiastical organization. It burst the shell of mediaeval forms, struck out new paths, and elevated Europe to a higher plane of intellectual, moral and spiritual culture than it had ever attained before.
§ 2. Protestantism and Romanism.
Protestantism represents the most enlightened and active of modern church history, but not the whole of it.
Since the sixteenth century Western Christendom is divided and runs in two distinct channels. The separation may be compared to the Eastern schism of the ninth century, which is not healed to this day; both parties being as firm and unyielding as ever on the doctrinal question of the Filioque, and the more important practical question of Popery. But Protestantism differs much more widely from the Roman church than the Roman church differs from the Greek, and the Protestant schism has become the fruitful mother of minor divisions, which exist in separate ecclesiastical organizations.
We must distinguish between Catholicism and Romanism. The former embraces the ancient Oriental church, the mediaeval church, and we may say, in a wider sense, all the modern evangelical churches. Romanism is the Latin church turned against the Reformation, consolidated by the Council of Trent and completed by the Vatican Council of 1870 with its dogma of papal absolutism and papal infallibility. Mediaeval Catholicism is pre-evangelical, looking to the Reformation; modern Romanism is anti-evangelical, condemning the Reformation, yet holding with unyielding tenacity the oecumenical doctrines once sanctioned, and doing this all the more by virtue of its claim to infallibility.
The distinction between pre-Reformation Catholicism and post-Reformation Romanism, in their attitude towards Protestantism, has its historical antecedent and parallel in the distinction between pre-Christian Israel which prepared the way for Christianity, and post-Christian Judaism which opposed it as an apostasy.
Catholicism and Protestantism represent two distinct types of Christianity which sprang from the same root, but differ in the branches.
Catholicism is legal Christianity which served to the barbarian nations of the Middle Ages as a necessary school of discipline; Protestantism is evangelical Christianity which answers the age of independent manhood. Catholicism is traditional, hierarchical, ritualistic, conservative; Protestantism is biblical, democratic, spiritual, progressive. The former is ruled by the principle of authority, the latter by the principle of freedom. But the law, by awakening a sense of sin and exciting a desire for redemption, leads to the gospel; parental authority is a school of freedom; filial obedience looks to manly self-government.
The characteristic features of mediaeval Catholicism are intensified by Romanism, yet without destroying the underlying unity.
Romanism and orthodox Protestantism believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in one divine-human Lord and Saviour of the race. They accept in common the Holy Scriptures and the oecumenical faith. They agree in every article of the Apostles’ Creed. What unites them is far deeper, stronger and more important than what divides them.
But Romanism holds also a large number of "traditions of the elders," which Protestantism rejects as extra-scriptural or anti-scriptural; such are the papacy, the worship of saints and relics, transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass, prayers and masses for the dead, works of supererogation, purgatory, indulgences, the system of monasticism with its perpetual vows and ascetic practices, besides many superstitious rites and ceremonies.
Protestantism, on the other hand, revived and developed the Augustinian doctrines of sin and grace; it proclaimed the sovereignty of divine mercy in man’s salvation, the sufficiency of the Scriptures as a rule of faith, and the sufficiency of Christ’s merit as a source of justification; it asserted the right of direct access to the Word of God and the throne of grace, without human mediators; it secured Christian freedom from bondage; it substituted social morality for monkish asceticism, and a simple, spiritual worship for an imposing ceremonialism that addresses the senses and imagination rather than the intellect and the heart.
The difference between the Catholic and Protestant churches was typically foreshadowed by the difference between Jewish and Gentile Christianity in the apostolic age, which anticipated, as it were, the whole future course of church history. The question of circumcision or the keeping of the Mosaic law, as a condition of church membership, threatened a split at the Council of Jerusalem, but was solved by the wisdom and charity of the apostles, who agreed that Jews and Gentiles alike are "saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 15:11). Yet even after the settlement of the controversy by the Jerusalem compromise Paul got into a sharp conflict with Peter at Antioch on the same question, and protested against his older colleague for denying by his timid conduct his better conviction, and disowning the Gentile brethren. It is not accidental that the Roman Church professes to be built on Peter and regards him as the first pope; while the Reformers appealed chiefly to Paul and found in his epistles to the Galatians and Romans the bulwark of their anthropology and soteriology, and their doctrine of Christian freedom. The collision between Paul and Peter was only temporary; and so the war between Protestantism and Romanism will ultimately pass away in God’s own good time.
The Reformation began simultaneously in Germany and Switzerland, and swept with astonishing rapidity over France, Holland, Scandinavia, Bohemia, Hungary, England and Scotland; since the seventeenth century it has spread by emigration to North America, and by commercial and missionary enterprises to every Dutch and English colony, and every heathen land. It carried away the majority of the Teutonic and a part of the Latin nations, and for a while threatened to overthrow the papal church.
But towards the close of the sixteenth century the triumphant march of the Reformation was suddenly arrested. Romanism rose like a wounded giant, and made the most vigorous efforts to reconquer the lost territory in Europe, and to extend its dominion in Asia and South America. Since that time the numerical relation of the two churches has undergone little change. But the progress of secular and ecclesiastical history has run chiefly in Protestant channels.
In many respects the Roman Church of to-day is a great improvement upon the Mediaeval Church. She has been much benefited by the Protestant Reformation, and is far less corrupt and far more prosperous in Protestant than in Papal countries. She was driven to a counter-reform which abolished some of the most crying abuses and infused new life and zeal into her clergy and laity. No papal schism has disgraced her history since the sixteenth century. No pope of the character of Alexander VI. or even Leo X. could be elected any more. She lives chiefly of the past, but uses for her defence all the weapons of modern warfare. She has a much larger membership than either the Greek or the Protestant communion; she still holds under her sway the Latin races of both hemispheres; she satisfies the religious wants of millions of human beings in all countries and climes; she extends her educational, benevolent and missionary operations all over the globe; she advances in proportion as Protestantism degenerates and neglects its duty; and by her venerable antiquity, historical continuity, visible unity, centralized organization, imposing ritual, sacred art, and ascetic piety she attracts intelligent and cultured minds; while the common people are kept in ignorance and in superstitious awe of her mysterious authority with its claim to open the gates of heaven and hell and to shorten the purgatorial sufferings of the departed. For good and evil she is the strongest conservative force in modern society, and there is every reason to believe that she will last to the end of time.
Thus the two branches of Western Christendom seem to hold each other in check, and ought to stimulate each other to a noble rivalry in good works.
The unhappy divisions of Christendom, while they are the source of many evils, have also the good effect of multiplying the agencies for the conversion of the world and facilitating the free growth of every phase of religious life. The evil lies not so much in the multiplicity of denominations, which have a mission to fulfil, as in the spirit of sectarianism and exclusivism, which denies the rights and virtues of others. The Reformation of the sixteenth century is not a finale, but a movement still in progress. We may look hopefully forward to a higher, deeper and broader Reformation, when God in His overruling wisdom and mercy, by a pentecostal effusion of His Holy Spirit upon all the churches, will reunite what the sin and folly of men have divided. There must and will be, in the fullest sense of Christ’s prophecy, "one flock, one Shepherd" (John 10:16).1
§3. Necessity of a Reformation.
The corruption and abuses of the Latin church had long been the complaint of the best men, and even of general councils. A reformation of the head and the members was the watchword at Pisa, Constance, and Basel, but remained a pium desiderium for a whole century.
Let us briefly review the dark side in the condition of the church at the beginning of the sixteenth century.
The papacy was secularized, and changed into a selfish tyranny whose yoke became more and more unbearable. The scandal of the papal schism had indeed been removed, but papal morals, after a temporary improvement, became worse than ever during the years 1492 to 1521. Alexander VI. was a monster of iniquity; Julius II. was a politician and warrior rather than a chief shepherd of souls; and Leo X. took far more interest in the revival of heathen literature and art than in religion, and is said to have even doubted the truth of the gospel history.
No wonder that many cardinals and priests followed the scandalous example of the popes, and weakened the respect of the laity for the clergy. The writings of contemporary scholars, preachers and satirists are full of complaints and exposures of the ignorance, vulgarity and immorality of priests and monks. Simony and nepotism were shamefully practiced. Celibacy was a foul fountain of unchastity and uncleanness. The bishoprics were monopolized by the youngest sons of princes and nobles without regard to qualification. Geiler of Kaisersberg, a stern preacher of moral reform at Strassburg (d. 1510), charges all Germany with promoting ignorant and worldly men to the chief dignities, simply on account of their high connections. Thomas Murner complains that the devil had introduced the nobility into the clergy, and monopolized for them the bishoprics.2 Plurality of office and absence from the diocese were common. Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz was at the same time archbishop of Magdeburg and bishop of Halberstadt. Cardinal Wolsey was archbishop of York while chancellor of England, received stipends from the kings of France and Spain and the doge of Venice, and had a train of five hundred servants. James V. of Scotland (1528–1542) provided for his illegitimate children by making them abbots of Holyrood House, Kelso, Melrose, Coldingham and St. Andrews, and intrusted royal favorites with bishoprics.
Discipline was nearly ruined. Whole monastic establishments and orders had become nurseries of ignorance and superstition, idleness and dissipation, and were the objects of contempt and ridicule, as may be seen from the controversy of Reuchlin with the Dominicans, the writings of Erasmus, and the Epistolae Virorum Obscurorum.
Theology was a maze of scholastic subtleties, Aristotelian dialectics and idle speculations, but ignored the great doctrines of the gospel. Carlstadt, the older colleague of Luther, confessed that he had been doctor of divinity before he had seen a complete copy of the Bible. Education was confined to priests and nobles. The mass of the laity could neither read nor write, and had no access to the word of God except the Scripture lessons from the pulpit.
The priest’s chief duty was to perform, by his magic words, the miracle of transubstantiation, and to offer the sacrifice of the mass for the living and the dead in a foreign tongue. Many did it mechanically, or with a skeptical reservation, especially in Italy. Preaching was neglected, and had reference, mostly, to indulgences, alms, pilgrimages and processions. The churches were overloaded with good and bad pictures, with real and fictitious relics. Saint-worship and image-worship, superstitious rites and ceremonies obstructed the direct worship of God in spirit and in truth.
Piety which should proceed from a living union of the soul with Christ and a consecration of character, was turned outward and reduced to a round of mechanical performances such as the recital of Paternosters and Avemarias, fasting, alms-giving, confession to the priest, and pilgrimage to a holy shrine. Good works were measured by the quantity rather than the quality, and vitiated by the principle of meritoriousness which appealed to the selfish motive of reward. Remission of sin could be bought with money; a shameful traffic in indulgences was carried on under the Pope’s sanction for filthy lucre as well as for the building of St. Peter’s Dome, and caused that outburst of moral indignation which was the beginning of the Reformation and of the fearful judgment on the Church of Rome.
This is a one-sided, but not an exaggerated description. It is true as far as it goes, and needs only to be supplemented by the bright side which we shall present in the next section.
Honest Roman Catholic scholars, while maintaining the infallibility and consequent doctrinal irreformability of their church, admit in strong terms the decay of discipline and the necessity of a moral reform in the sixteenth century.3
The best proof is furnished by a pope of exceptional integrity, Adrian VI., who made an extraordinary confession of the papal and clerical corruption to the Diet of Nürnberg in 1522, and tried earnestly, though in vain, to reform his court. The Council of Trent was called not only for the extirpation of heresy, but in part also "for the reformation of the clergy and Christian people;"4 and Pope Pius IV., in the bull of confirmation, likewise declares that one of the objects of the Council was "the correction of morals and the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline."5
On the other hand, it must be admitted that the church was more than once in a far worse condition, during the papal schism in the fourteenth, and especially in the tenth and eleventh centuries; and yet she was reformed by Pope Hildebrand and his successors without a split and without an alteration of the Catholic Creed.
Why could not the same be done in the sixteenth century? Because the Roman church in the critical moment resisted reform with all her might, and forced the issue: either no reformation at all, or a reformation in opposition to Rome.
The guilt of the western schism is divided between the two parties, as the guilt of the eastern schism is; although no human tribunal can measure the share of responsibility. Much is due, no doubt, to the violence and extravagance of the Protestant opposition, but still more to the intolerance and stubbornness of the Roman resistance. The papal court used against the Reformation for a long time only the carnal weapons of political influence, diplomatic intrigue, secular wealth, haughty pride, scholastic philosophy, crushing authority, and bloody persecution. It repeated the course of the Jewish hierarchy, which crucified the Messiah and cast the apostles out of the synagogue.
But we must look beyond this partial justification, and view the matter in the light of the results of the Reformation.
It was evidently the design of Providence to develop a new type of Christianity outside of the restraints of the papacy, and the history of three centuries is the best explanation and vindication of that design. Every movement in history must be judged by its fruits.
The elements of such an advance movement were all at work before Luther and Zwingli protested against papal indulgences.
§ 4. The Preparations for the Reformation.
C. Ullmann: Reformatoren vor der Reformation. Hamburg, 1841, 2d ed. 1866, 2 vols. (Engl. trans. by R. Menzies, Edinb. 1855, 2 vols.). C. de Bonnechose: Réformateurs avant réforme du xvi. siècle. Par. 1853, 2 vols. A good résumé by Geo. P. Fisher: The Reformation. New York, 1873, ch. III. 52–84; and in the first two lectures of Charles Beard: The Reformation, London, 1883, p. 1–75. Comp., also the numerous monographs of various scholars on the Renaissance, on Wiclif, Hus, Savonarola, Hutten, Reuchlin, Erasmus, etc. A full account of the preparation for the Reformation belongs to the last chapters of the History of Mediaeval Christianity (see vol. V.). We here merely recapitulate the chief points.
Judaism before Christ was sadly degenerated, and those who sat in Moses’ seat had become blind leaders of the blind. Yet "salvation is of the Jews;" and out of this people arose John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary, the Messiah, and the Apostles. Jerusalem, which stoned the prophets and crucified the Lord, witnessed also the pentecostal miracle and became the mother church of Christendom. So the Catholic church in the sixteenth century, though corrupt in its head and its members, was still the church of the living God and gave birth to the Reformation, which removed the rubbish of human traditions and reopened the pure fountain of the gospel of Christ.
The Reformers, it should not be forgotten, were all born, baptized, confirmed, and educated in the Roman Catholic Church, and most of them had served as priests at her altars with the solemn vow of obedience to the pope on their conscience. They stood as closely related to the papal church, as the Apostles and Evangelists to the Synagogue and the Temple; and for reasons of similar urgency, they were justified to leave the communion of their fathers; or rather, they did not leave it, but were cast out by the ruling hierarchy.
The Reformation went back to first principles in order to go forward. It struck its roots deep in the past and bore rich fruits for the future. It sprang forth almost simultaneously from different parts of Europe and was enthusiastically hailed by the leading minds of the age in church and state. No great movement in history—except Christianity itself—was so widely and thoroughly prepared as the Protestant Reformation.
The reformatory Councils of Pisa, Constance, and Basel; the conflict of the Emperors with the Popes; the contemplative piety of the mystics with their thirst after direct communion with God; the revival of classical literature; the general intellectual awakening; the biblical studies of Reuchlin, and Erasmus; the rising spirit of national independence; Wiclif, and the Lollards in England; Hus, and the Hussites in Bohemia; John von Goch, John von Wesel, and Johann Wessel in Germany and the Netherlands; Savonarola in Italy; the Brethren of the Common Life, the Waldenses, the Friends of God,—contributed their share towards the great change and paved the way for a new era of Christianity. The innermost life of the church was pressing forward to a new era. There is scarcely a principle or doctrine of the Reformation which was not anticipated and advocated in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Luther made the remark that his opponents might charge him with having borrowed everything from John Wessel if he had known his writings earlier. The fuel was abundant all over Europe, but it required the spark which would set it ablaze.
Violent passions, political intrigues, the ambition and avarice of princes, and all sorts of selfish and worldly motives were mixed up with the war against the papacy. But they were at work likewise in the introduction of Christianity among the heathen barbarians. "Wherever God builds a church, the devil builds a chapel close by." Human nature is terribly corrupt and leaves its stains on the noblest movements in history.
But, after all, the religious leaders of the Reformation, while not free from faults, were men of the purest motives and highest aims, and there is no nation which has not been benefited by the change they introduced.
§ 5. The Genius and Aim of the Reformation.
Is. Aug. Dorner: On the formal, and the material Principle of the Reformation. Two essays, first published in 1841 and 1857, and reprinted in his Gesammelte Schriften, Berlin, 1883, p. 48–187. Also his History of Protestant Theology, Engl. trans. 1871, 2 vols.
Phil. Schaff: The Principle of Protestantism, Chambersburg, Penn., 1845 (German and English); Protestantism and Romanism, and the Principles of the Reformation, two essays in his "Christ and Christianity," N. York, 1885. p. 124–134. Also Creeds of Christendom, Vol. I. 203–219.
Dan. Schenkel: Das Princip des Protestantimus. Schaffhausen, 1852 (92 pages). This is the concluding section of his larger work, Das Wesen des Protestantismus, in 3 vols.
K. F. A. Kahnis: Ueber die Principien des Protestatismus. Leipzig, 1865. Also his Zeugniss von den Grundwahrheiten des Protestantismus gegen Dr. Hengstenberg. Leipzig, 1862.
Charles Beard: The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in its relation to Modern Thought and Knowledge. Hibbert Lectures for 1883. London, 1883. A Unitarian view, written with ample learning and in excellent spirit.
Henry Wace and C. A. Buchheim: First Principles of the Reformation, or the 95 Theses and three Primary Works of Dr. M. Luther. London, 1885.
The literature on the difference between Lutheran and Reformed or Calvinistic Protestantism is given in Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom, l. 211.
The spirit and aim of evangelical Protestantism is best expressed by Paul in his anti-Judaistic Epistle to the Galatians: "For freedom did Christ set us free; stand fast, therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage." Christian freedom is so inestimable a blessing that no amount of abuse can justify a relapse into a state of spiritual despotism and slavery. But only those who have enjoyed it, can properly appreciate it.
The Reformation was at first a purely religious movement, and furnishes a striking illustration of the all-pervading power of religion in history. It started from the question: What must a man do to be saved? How shall a sinner be justified before God, and attain peace of his troubled conscience? The Reformers were supremely concerned for the salvation of the soul, for the glory of Christ and the triumph of his gospel. They thought much more of the future world than of the present, and made all political, national, and literary interests subordinate and subservient to religion.6
Yet they were not monks, but live men in a live age, not pessimists, but optimists, men of action as well as of thought, earnest, vigorous, hopeful men, free from selfish motives and aims, full of faith and the Holy Ghost, equal to any who had preceded them since the days of the Apostles. From the centre of religion they have influenced every department of human life and activity, and given a powerful impulse to political and civil liberty, to progress in theology, philosophy, science, and literature.
The Reformation removed the obstructions which the papal church had interposed between Christ and the believer. It opened the door to direct union with him , as the only Mediator between God and man, and made his gospel accessible to every reader without the permission of a priest. It was a return to first principles, and for this very reason also a great advance. It was a revival of primitive Christianity, and at the same time a deeper apprehension and application of it than had been known before.
There are three fundamental principles of the Reformation: the supremacy of the Scriptures over tradition, the supremacy of faith over works, and the supremacy of the Christian people over an exclusive priesthood. The first may be called the objective, the second the subjective, the third the social or ecclesiastical principle.7
They resolve themselves into the one principle of evangelical freedom, or freedom in Christ. The ultimate aim of evangelical Protestantism is to bring every man into living union with Christ as the only and all-sufficient Lord and Saviour from sin and death.
§ 6. The Authority of the Scriptures.
The objective principle of Protestantism maintains that the Bible, as the inspired record of revelation, is the only infallible rule of faith and practice; in opposition to the Roman Catholic coordination of Scripture and ecclesiastical tradition, as the joint rules of faith.
The teaching of the living church is by no means rejected, but subordinated to the Word of God; while the opposite theory virtually subordinates the Bible to tradition by making the latter the sole interpreter of the former and confining interpretation within the limits of an imaginary consensus patrum. In the application of the Bible principle there was considerable difference between the more conservative Lutheran and Anglican Reformation, and the more radical Zwinglian and Calvinistic Reformation; the former contained many post-scriptural and extra-scriptural traditions, usages and institutions, which the latter, in its zeal for primitive purity and simplicity, rejected as useless or dangerous; but all Reformers opposed what they regarded as anti-scriptural doctrines; and all agreed in the principle that the church has no right to impose upon the conscience articles of faith without clear warrant in the Word of God.
Every true progress in church history is conditioned by a new and deeper study of the Scriptures, which has "first, second, third, infinite draughts." While the Humanists went back to the ancient classics and revived the spirit of Greek and Roman paganism, the Reformers went back to the sacred Scriptures in the original languages and revived the spirit of apostolic Christianity. They were fired by an enthusiasm for the gospel, such as had never been known since the days of Paul. Christ rose from the tomb of human traditions and preached again his words of life and power. The Bible, heretofore a book of priests only, was now translated anew and better than ever into the vernacular tongues of Europe, and made a book of the people. Every Christian man could henceforth go to the fountain-head of inspiration, and sit at the feet of the Divine Teacher, without priestly permission and intervention. This achievement of the Reformation was a source of incalculable blessings for all time to come. In a few years Luther’s version had more readers among the laity than ever the Latin Vulgate had among priests; and the Protestant Bible societies circulate more Bibles in one year than were copied during the fifteen centuries before the Reformation.
We must remember, however, that this wonderful progress was only made possible by the previous invention of the art of printing and by the subsequent education of the people. The Catholic Church had preserved the sacred Scriptures through ages of ignorance and barbarism; the Latin Bible was the first gift of the printing press to the world; fourteen or more editions of a German version were printed before 1518; the first two editions of the Greek Testament we owe to the liberality of a Spanish cardinal (Ximenes), and the enterprise of a Dutch scholar in Basel (Erasmus); and the latter furnished the text from which, with the aid of Jerome’s Vulgate, the translations of Luther and Tyndale were made.
The Roman church, while recognizing the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible, prefers to control the laity by the teaching priesthood, and allows the reading of the Scriptures in the popular tongues only under certain restrictions and precautions, from fear of abuse and profanation. Pope Innocent III. was of the opinion that the Scriptures were too deep for the common people, as they surpassed even the understanding of the wise and learned. Several synods in Gaul, during the thirteenth century, prohibited the reading of the Romanic translation, and ordered the copies to be burnt. Archbishop Berthold, of Mainz, in an edict of January 4th, 1486, threatened with excommunication all who ventured to translate and to circulate translations of sacred books, especially the Bible, without his permission. The Council of Constance (1415), which burnt John Hus and Jerome of Prague, condemned also the writings and the hopes of Wiclif, the first translator of the whole Bible into the English tongue, to the flames: and Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury and chancellor of England, denounced him as that "pestilent wretch of damnable heresy who, as a complement of his wickedness, invented a new translation of the Scriptures into his mother tongue." Pope Pius IV. (1564), in the conviction that the indiscriminate reading of Bible versions did more harm than good (plus detrimenti quam utilitiatis), would not allow laymen to read the sacred book except by special permission of a bishop or an inquisitor. Clement VIII. (1598) reserved the right to grant this permission to the Congregation of the Index. Gregory XV. (1622), and Clement XI. (in the Bull Unigenitus, 1713), repeated the conditional prohibition. Benedict XIV., one of the liberal popes, extended the permission to read the Word of God in the vernacular to all the faithful, yet with the proviso that the translation be approved in Rome and guarded by explanatory notes from the writings of the fathers and Catholic scholars (1757). This excludes, of course, all Protestant versions, even the very best. They are regarded as corrupt and heretical and have often been committed to the flames in Roman Catholic countries, especially in connection with the counter-Reformation of the Jesuits in Bohemia and elsewhere. The first edition of Tyndale’s New Testament had to be smuggled into England and was publicly burnt by order of Tunstall, bishop of London, in St. Paul’s church-yard near the spot from which Bibles are now sent to all parts of the globe. The Bible societies have been denounced and condemned by modern popes as a "pestilence which perverts the gospel of Christ into a gospel of the devil." The Papal Syllabus of Pius IX. (1864), classes "Societates Biblicae" with Socialism, Communism, and Secret Societies, calls them "pests frequently rebuked in the severest terms," and refers for proof, to several Encyclicals from November 9th, 1846, to August 10th, 1863.8
Such fulminations against Protestant Bible societies might be in some measure excused if the popes favored Catholic Bible societies, which would be the best proof of zeal for the spread of the Scriptures. But such institutions do not exist. Fortunately papal bulls have little effect in modern times, and in spite of official prohibitions and discouragements, there are zealous advocates of Bible reading among modern Catholics, as there were among the Greek and Latin fathers.9 Nor have the restrictions of the Council of Trent been able to prevent the progress of Biblical scholarship and exegesis even in the Roman church. E pur si muove. The Bible, as well as the earth, moves for all that.
Modern Protestant theology is much more just to ecclesiastical tradition than the Reformers could be in their hot indignation against the prevailing corruptions and against the papal tyranny of their day. The deeper study of ecclesiastical and secular history has dispelled the former ignorance on the "dark ages," so called, and brought out the merits of the fathers, missionaries, schoolmen, and popes, in the progress of Christian civilization.
But these results do not diminish the supreme value of the sacred Scripture as an ultimate tribunal of appeal in matters of faith, nor the importance of its widest circulation. It is by far the best guide of instruction in holy living and dying. No matter what theory of the mode and extent of inspiration we may hold, the fact of inspiration is plain and attested by the universal consent of Christendom. The Bible is a book of holy men, but just as much a book of God, who made those men witnesses of truth and sure teachers of the way of salvation.
§ 7. Justification by Faith.
The subjective principle of Protestantism is the doctrine of justification and salvation by faith in Christ; as distinct from the doctrine of justification by faith and works or salvation by grace and human merit. Luther’s formula is sola fide. Calvin goes further back to God’s eternal election, as the ultimate ground of salvation and comfort in life and in death. But Luther and Calvin meant substantially the same thing, and agree in the more general proposition of salvation by free grace through living faith in Christ (Acts 4:12), in opposition to any Pelagian or Semi-pelagian compromise which divides the work and merit between God and man. And this is the very soul of evangelical Protestantism.10
Luther assigned to his solifidian doctrine of justification the central position in the Christian system, declared it to be the article of the standing or falling (Lutheran) church, and was unwilling to yield an inch from it, though heaven and earth should collapse.11 This exaggeration is due to his personal experience during his convent life. The central article of the Christian faith on which the church is built, is not any specific dogma of the Protestant, or Roman, or Greek church, but the broader and deeper truth held by all, namely, the divine-human personality and atoning work of Christ, the Lord and Saviour. This was the confession of Peter, the first creed of Christendom.
The Protestant doctrine of justification differs from the Roman Catholic, as defined (very circumspectly) by the Council of Trent, chiefly in two points. Justification is conceived as a declaratory and judicial act of God, in distinction from sanctification, which is a gradual growth; and faith is conceived as a fiducial act of the heart and will, in distinction from theoretical belief and blind submission to the church. The Reformers derived their idea from Paul, the Romanists appealed chiefly to James (2:17–26); but Paul suggests the solution of the apparent contradiction by his sentence, that "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love."
Faith, in the biblical and evangelical sense, is a vital force which engages all the powers of man and apprehends and appropriates the very life of Christ and all his benefits. It is the child of grace and the mother of good works. It is the pioneer of all great thoughts and deeds. By faith Abraham became the father of nations; by faith Moses became the liberator and legislator of Israel; by faith the Galilean fishermen became fishers of men; and by faith the noble army of martyrs endured tortures and triumphed in death; without faith in the risen Saviour the church could not have been founded. Faith is a saving power. It unites us to Christ. Whosoever believeth in Christ "hath eternal life." "We believe," said Peter at the Council of Jerusalem, "that we shall be saved through the grace of God," like the Gentiles who come to Christ by faith without the works and ceremonies of the law. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved," was Paul’s answer to the question of the jailor: "What must I do to be saved?"
Protestantism does by no means despise or neglect good works or favor antinomian license; it only subordinates them to faith, and measures their value by quality rather than quantity. They are not the condition, but the necessary evidence of justification; they are not the root, but the fruits of the tree. The same faith which justifies, does also sanctify. It is ever "working through love" (Gal. 5:6). Luther is often charged with indifference to good works, but very unjustly. His occasional unguarded utterances must be understood in connection with his whole teaching and character. "Faith" in his own forcible language which expresses his true view, "faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing and it is impossible that it should not do good without ceasing; it does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is put, it has done them already, and is always engaged in doing them; you may as well separate burning and shining from fire, as works from faith."
The Lutheran doctrine of Christian freedom and justification by faith alone, like that of St. Paul on which it was based, was made the cloak of excesses by carnal men who wickedly reasoned, "Let us continue in sin that grace may abound" (Rom. 6:1), and who abused their "freedom for an occasion to the flesh" (Gal. 5:13). All such consequences the apostle cut off at the outset by an indignant "God forbid."
The fact is undeniable, that the Reformation in Germany was accompanied and followed by antinomian tendencies and a degeneracy of public morals. It rests not only on the hostile testimonies of Romanists and separatists, but Luther and Melanchthon themselves often bitterly complained in their later years of the abuse of the liberty of the gospel and the sad state of morals in Wittenberg and throughout Saxony.12
But we should remember, first, that the degeneracy of morals, especially the increase of extravagance, and luxury with its attending vices, had begun in Catholic times in consequence of discoveries and inventions, the enlargement of commerce and wealth.13 Nor was it near as bad as the state of things which Luther had witnessed at Rome in 1510, under Pope Julius II., not to speak of the more wicked reign of Pope Alexander VI. Secondly, the degeneracy was not due so much to a particular doctrine, as to the confusion which necessarily followed the overthrow of the ecclesiastical order and discipline, and to the fact that the Lutheran Reformers allowed the government of the church too easily to pass from the bishops into the hands of secular rulers. Thirdly, the degeneracy was only temporary during the transition from the abolition of the old to the establishment of the new order of things. Fourthly, the disorder was confined to Germany. The Swiss Reformers from the start laid greater stress on discipline than the Lutheran Reformers, and organized the new church on a more solid basis. Calvin introduced a state of moral purity and rigorism in Geneva such as had never been known before in the Christian church. The Huguenots of France, the Calvinists of Holland, the Puritans of England and New England, and the Presbyterians of Scotland are distinguished for their strict principles and habits. An impartial comparison of Protestant countries and nations with Roman Catholic, in regard to the present state of public and private morals and general culture, is eminently favorable to the Reformation.
§ 8. The Priesthood of the Laity.
The social or ecclesiastical principle of Protestantism is the general priesthood of believers, in distinction from the special priesthood which stands mediating between Christ and the laity.
The Roman church is an exclusive hierarchy, and assigns to the laity the position of passive obedience. The bishops are the teaching and ruling church; they alone constitute a council or synod, and have the exclusive power of legislation and administration. Laymen have no voice in spiritual matters, they can not even read the Bible without the permission of the priest, who holds the keys of heaven and hell.
In the New Testament every believer is called a saint, a priest, and a king. "All Christians," says Luther, "are truly of the spiritual estate, and there is no difference among them, save of office alone. As St. Paul says, we are all one body, though each member does its own work, to serve the others. This is because we have one baptism, alike; one gospel, one faith, and are all Christians for baptism, gospel and faith, these alone make spiritual and Christian people." And again: "It is faith that makes men priests, faith that unites them to Christ, and gives them the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereby they become filled with all holy grace and heavenly power. The inward anointing—this oil, better than any that ever came from the horn of bishop or pope—gives them not the name only, but the nature, the purity, the power of priests; and this anointing have all they received who are believers in Christ."
This principle, consistently carried out, raises the laity to active co-operation in the government and administration of the church; it gives them a voice and vote in the election of the pastor; it makes every member of the congregation useful, according to his peculiar gift, for the general good. This principle is the source of religious and civil liberty which flourishes most in Protestant countries. Religious liberty is the mother of civil liberty. The universal priesthood of Christians leads legitimately to the universal kingship of free, self-governing citizens, whether under a monarchy or under a republic.
The good effect of this principle showed itself in the spread of Bible knowledge among the laity, in popular hymnody and congregational singing, in the institution of lay-eldership, and in the pious zeal of the magistrates for moral reform and general education.
But it was also shamefully perverted and abused by the secular rulers who seized the control of religion, made themselves bishops and popes in their dominion, robbed the churches and convents, and often defied all discipline by their own immoral conduct. . Philip of Hesse, and Henry VIII. of England, are conspicuous examples of Protestant popes who disgraced the cause of the Reformation. Erastianism and Territorialism whose motto is: cujus regio, ejus religio, are perversions rather than legitimate developments of lay-priesthood. The true development lies in the direction of general education, in congregational self-support and self-government, and in the intelligent co-operation of the laity with the ministry in all good works, at home and abroad. In this respect the Protestants of England, Scotland, and North America, are ahead of the Protestants on the Continent of Europe. The Roman church is a church of priests and has the grandest temples of worship; the Lutheran church is a church of theologians and has most learning and the finest hymns; the Reformed church is a church of the Christian people and has the best preachers and congregations.
§ 9. The Reformation and Rationalism.
G. Frank: De Luthero rationalismi praecursore. Lips., 1857.
S. Berger: La Bible an seizième siècle; étude sur les origines de la critique. Paris, 1879.
Charles Beard: The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in relation, to Modem Thought and Knowledge (Hibbert Lectures). London, 1883. Lect. V.
Comp. also Lecky: History of Rationalism in Europe. London, 4th ed. 1870, 2 vols. George P. Fisher: Faith and Rationalism. New York, 1879, revised 1885 (191 pages).
The Roman Catholic Church makes Scripture and tradition the supreme rule of faith, laying the chief stress on tradition, that is, the teaching of an infallible church headed by an infallible Pope, as the judge of the meaning of both.14
Evangelical, Protestantism makes the Scripture alone the supreme rule, but uses tradition and reason as means in ascertaining its true sense.
Rationalism raises human reason above Scripture and tradition, and accepts them only as far as they come within the limits of its comprehension. It makes rationality or intelligibility the measure of credibility. We take the word Rationalism here in the technical sense of a theological system and tendency in distinction from rational theology. The legitimate use of reason in religion is allowed by the Catholic and still more by the Protestant church, and both have produced scholastic systems in full harmony with orthodoxy. Christianity is above reason, but not against reason.
The Reformation is represented as the mother of Rationalism both by Rationalistic and by Roman Catholic historians and controversialists, but from an opposite point of view, by the former to the credit, by the latter to the disparagement of both.
The Reformation, it is said, took the first step in the emancipation of reason: it freed us from the tyranny of the church. Rationalism took the second step: it freed us from the tyranny of the Bible. "Luther," says Lessing, the champion of criticism against Lutheran orthodoxy, "thou great, misjudged man! Thou hast redeemed us from the yoke of tradition: who will redeem us from the unbearable yoke of the letter! Who will at last bring us a Christianity such as thou would teach us now, such as Christ himself would teach!"
Roman Catholics go still further and hold Protestantism responsible for all modern revolutions and for infidelity itself, and predict its ultimate dismemberment and dissolution.15 But this charge is sufficiently set aside by the undeniable fact that modern infidelity and revolution in their worst forms have appeared chiefly in Roman Catholic countries, as desperate reactions against hierarchical and political despotism. The violent suppression of the Reformation in France ended at last in a radical overthrow of the social order of the church. In Roman Catholic countries, like Spain and Mexico, revolution has become a chronic disease. Romanism provokes infidelity among cultivated minds by its excessive supernaturalism.
The Reformation checked the skepticism of the renaissance, and the anarchical tendencies of the Peasants’ War in Germany and of the Libertines in Geneva. An intelligent faith is the best protection against infidelity; and a liberal government is a safeguard against revolution.
The connection of the Reformation with Rationalism is a historical fact, but they are related to each other as the rightful use of intellectual freedom to the excess and abuse of it. Rationalism asserts reason against revelation, and freedom against divine as well as human authority. It is a one-sided development of the negative, protesting, antipapal and antitraditional factor of the Reformation to the exclusion of its positive, evangelical faith in the revealed will and word of God. It denies the supernatural and miraculous. It has a superficial sense of sin and guilt, and is essentially Pelagian; while the Reformation took the opposite Augustinian ground and proceeded from the deepest conviction of sin and the necessity of redeeming grace. The two systems are thus theoretically and practically opposed to each other. And yet there is an intellectual and critical affinity between them, and Rationalism is inseparable from the history of Protestantism. It is in the modern era of Christianity what Gnosticism was in the ancient church—a revolt of private judgment against the popular faith and church orthodoxy, an overestimate of theoretic knowledge, but also a wholesome stimulus to inquiry and progress. It is not a church or sect (unless we choose to include Socinianism and Unitarianism), but a school in the church, or rather a number of schools which differ very considerably from each other.
Rationalism appeared first in the seventeenth century in the Church of England, though without much effect upon the people, as Deism, which asserted natural religion versus revealed religion; it was matured in its various phases after the middle of the eighteenth century on the Continent, especially in Protestant Germany since Lessing (d. 1781) and Semler (d. 1791), and gradually obtained the mastery of the chairs and pulpits of Lutheran and Reformed churches, till about 1817, when a revival of the positive faith of the Reformation spread over Germany and a serious conflict began between positive and negative Protestantism, which continues to this day.
1. Let us first consider the relation of the Reformation to the use of reason as a general principle.
The Reformation was a protest against human authority, asserted the right of private conscience and judgment, and roused a spirit of criticism and free inquiry in all departments of knowledge. It allows, therefore, a much wider scope for the exercise of reason in religion than the Roman church, which requires an unconditional submission to her infallible authority. It marks real progress, but this progress is perfectly consistent with a belief in revelation on subjects which lie beyond the boundary of time and sense. What do we know of the creation, and the world of the future, except what God has chosen to reveal to us? Human reason can prove the possibility and probability of the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, but not the certainty and necessity. It is reasonable, therefore, to believe in the supernatural on divine testimony, and it is unreasonable to reject it.
The Reformers used their reason and judgment very freely in their contest with church authority. Luther refused to recant in the crisis at Worms, unless convinced by testimonies of the Scriptures and "cogent arguments."16 For a while he was disposed to avail himself of the humanistic movement which was skeptical and rationalistic in its tendency, but his strong religious nature always retained the mastery. He felt as keenly as any modern Rationalist, the conflict between natural reason and the transcending mysteries of revelation. He was often tormented by doubts and even temptations to blasphemy, especially when suffering from physical infirmity. A comforter of others, he needed comfort himself and asked the prayers of friends to fortify him against the assaults of the evil spirit, with whom he had, as he thought, many a personal encounter. He confessed, in 1524, how glad he would have been five years before in his war with papal superstition, if Carlstadt could have convinced him that the Eucharist was nothing but bread and wine, and how strongly he was then inclined to that rationalistic view which would have given a death blow to transubstantiation and the mass. He felt that every article of his creed—the trinity, in unity, the incarnation, the transmission of Adam’s sin, the atonement by the blood of Christ, baptismal regeneration, the real presence, the renewal of the Holy Spirit, the resurrection of the body—transcended human comprehension. In Aug. 2, 1527, during the raging of the pestilence at Wittenberg, he wrote to Melanchthon, who was absent at Jena: "For more than a week I have been tossed about in death and hell; so that, hurt in all my body, I still tremble in every limb. For having almost wholly lost Christ, I was driven about by storms and tempests of despair and blasphemy against God. But God, moved by the prayers of the saints, begins to have pity upon me, and has drawn my soul out of the lowest hell. Do not cease to pray for me, as I do for you. I believe that this agony of mine pertains to others also."17
In such trials and temptations he clung all the more mightily to the Scriptures and to faith which believes against reason and hopes against hope. "It is a quality of faith," he says in the explanation of his favorite Epistle to the Galatians, "that it wrings the neck of reason and strangles the beast, which else the whole world, with all creatures, could not strangle. But how? It holds to God’s Word, and lets it be right and true, no matter how foolish and impossible it sounds. So did Abraham take his reason captive and slay it, inasmuch as he believed God’s Word, wherein was promised him that from his unfruitful and as it were dead wife, Sarah, God would give him seed."
This and many similar passages clearly show the bent of Luther’s mind. He knew the enemy, but overcame it; his faith triumphed over doubt. In his later years he became more and more a conservative churchman. He repudiated the mystic doctrine of the inner word and spirit, insisted on submission to the written letter of the Scriptures, even when it flatly contradicted reason. He traced the errors of the Zwickau prophets, the rebellious peasants, the Anabaptists, and the radical views of Carlstadt and Zwingli, without proper discrimination, to presumptuous inroads of the human reason into the domain of faith, and feared from them the overthrow of religion. He so far forgot his obligations to Erasmus as to call him an Epicurus, a Lucian, a doubter, and an atheist. Much as he valued reason as a precious gift of God in matters of this world, he abused it with unreasonable violence, when it dared to sit in judgment over matters of faith.18
Certainly, Luther must first be utterly divested of his faith, and the authorship of his sermons, catechisms and hymns must be called in question, before he can be appealed to as the father of Rationalism. He would have sacrificed his reason ten times rather than his faith.
Zwingli was the most clear-headed and rationalizing among the Reformers.19 He did not pass through the discipline of monasticism and mysticism, like Luther, but through the liberal culture of Erasmus. He had no mystic vein, but sound, sober, practical common sense. He always preferred the plainest sense of the Bible. He rejected the Catholic views on original sin, infant damnation and the corporeal presence in the eucharist, and held advanced opinions which shocked Luther and even Calvin. But he nevertheless reverently bowed before the divine authority of the inspired Word of God, and had no idea of setting reason over it. His dispute with Luther was simply a question of interpretation, and he had strong arguments for his exegesis, as even the best Lutheran commentators must confess.
Calvin was the best theologian and exegete among the Reformers. He never abused reason, like Luther, but assigned it the office of an indispensable handmaid of revelation. He constructed with his logical genius the severest system of Protestant orthodoxy which shaped French, Dutch, English and American theology, and fortified it against Rationalism as well as against Romanism. His orthodoxy and discipline could not keep his own church in Geneva from becoming Socinian in the eighteenth century, but he is no more responsible for that than Luther for the Rationalism of Germany, or Rome for the infidelity of Voltaire. Upon the whole, the Reformed churches in England, Scotland and North America, have been far less invaded by Rationalism than Germany.
2. Let us now consider the application of the principle of free inquiry to the Bible.20
The Bible, its origin, genuineness, integrity, aim, and all its circumstances and surroundings are proper subjects of investigation; for it is a human as well as a divine book, and has a history, like other literary productions. The extent of the Bible, moreover, or the Canon, is not determined by the Bible itself or by inspiration, but by church authority or tradition, and was not fully agreed upon till the close of the fourth century, and even then only by provincial synods, not by any of the seven oecumenical Councils. It was therefore justly open to reinvestigation.
The Church of Rome, at the Council of Trent, settled the Canon, including the Apocrypha, but without any critical inquiry or definite theological principle; it simply confirmed the traditional usage, and pronounced an anathema on every one who does not receive all the books contained in the Latin Vulgate.21 She also checked the freedom of investigation by requiring conformity to a defective version and a unanimous consensus of the fathers, although such an exegetical consensus does not exist except in certain fundamental doctrines.
The Reformers re-opened the question of the extent of the Canon, as they had a right to do, but without any idea of sweeping away the traditional belief or undermining the authority of the Word of God. On the contrary, from the fulness of their faith in the inspired Word, as contained in the Scriptures, they questioned the canonicity of a few books which seem to be lacking in sufficient evidence to entitle them to a place in the Bible. They simply revived, in a new shape and on doctrinal rather than historical grounds, the distinction made by the Hebrews and the ancient fathers between the canonical and apocryphal books of the Old Testament, and the Eusebian distinction between the Homologumena and Antilegomena of the New Testament, and claimed in both respects the freedom of the ante-Nicene church.
They added, moreover, to the external evidence, the more important internal evidence on the intrinsic excellency of the Scripture, as the true ground on which its authority and claim to obedience rests; and they established a firm criterion of canonicity, namely, the purity and force of teaching Christ and his gospel of salvation. They did not reject the testimonies of the fathers, but they placed over them what Paul calls the "demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (1 Cor. 2:4).
Luther was the bold pioneer of a higher criticism, which was indeed subjective and arbitrary, but, after all, a criticism of faith. He made his central doctrine of justification by faith the criterion of canonicity.22 He thus placed the material or subjective principle of Protestantism above the formal or objective principle, the truth above the witness of the truth, the doctrine of the gospel above the written Gospel, Christ above the Bible. Romanism, on the contrary, places the church above the Bible. But we must remember that Luther first learnt Christ from the Bible, and especially, from the Epistles of Paul, which furnished him the key for the understanding of the scheme of salvation.
He made a distinction, moreover, between the more important and the less important books of the New Testament, according to the extent of their evangelic purity and force, and put Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation at the end of the German Bible.23
He states his reason in the Preface to the Hebrews as follows: "Hitherto we have had the right and genuine books of the New Testament. The four that follow have been differently esteemed in olden times." He therefore appeals to the ante-Nicene tradition, but his chief objection was to the contents.
He disliked, most of all, the Epistle of James because he could not harmonize it with Paul’s teaching on justification by faith without works,24 and he called it an epistle of straw as compared with the genuine apostolic writings.25
He objected to the Epistle to the Hebrews because it seems to deny (in Heb. 6, 10 and 12) the possibility of repentance after baptism, contrary to the Gospels and to Paul, and betrays in 2:3, a post-apostolic origin. He ascribed the authorship to Apollos by an ingenious guess, which, though not supported by ancient tradition, has found great favor with modern commentators and critics,26 chiefly because the authorship of any other possible writer (Paul, Barnabas, Luke, Clement) seems to offer insuperable difficulties, while the description of Apollos in Acts 18:24–28, compared with the allusions in 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:6; 4:6; 16:12, seems to fit exactly the author of this anonymous Epistle.
He called the Epistle of Jude an "unnecessary epistle," a mere extract from Second Peter and post-apostolic, filled with apocryphal matter, and hence rejected by the ancient fathers.
He could at first find no sense in the mysteries of the Apocalypse and declared it to be "neither apostolic nor prophetic," because it deals only with images and visions, and yet, notwithstanding its obscurity, it adds threats and promises, "though nobody knows what it means"; but afterwards he modified his judgment when the Lutheran divines found in it welcome weapons against the church of Rome.
The clearest utterance on this subject is found at the close of his preface to the first edition of his German version of the New Testament (1522), but it was suppressed in later editions.27
Luther’s view of inspiration was both strong and free. With the profoundest conviction of the divine contents of the Bible, he distinguished between the revealed truth itself and the human wording and reasoning of the writers. He says of one of the rabbinical arguments of his favorite apostle: "My dear brother Paul, this argument won’t stick."28
Luther was, however, fully aware of the subjective and conjectural character of these opinions, and had no intention of obtruding them on the church: hence he modified his prefaces in later editions. He judged the Scriptures from an exclusively dogmatic, and one-sidedly Pauline standpoint, and did not consider their gradual historical growth.
A few Lutheran divines followed him in assigning a subordinate position to the seven Antilegomena of the New Testament;29 but the Lutheran church, with a sound instinct, accepted for popular use the traditional catholic Canon (not even expressly excluding the Jewish Apocrypha), yet retained his arrangement of the books of the New Testament.30 The Rationalists, of course, revived, intensified, and carried to excess the bold opinions of Luther, but in a spirit against which he would himself raise the strongest protest.
The Reformed divines were more conservative than Luther in accepting the canonical books, but more decided in rejecting the Apocrypha of the Old Testament. The Reformed Confessions usually enumerate the canonical books.
Zwingli objected only to the Apocalypse and made no doctrinal use of it, because he did not deem it an inspired book, written by the same John who wrote the fourth Gospel.31 In this view he has many followers, but the severest critical school of our days (that of Tübingen) assigns it to the Apostle John. Wolfgang Musculus mentions the seven Antilegomena, but includes them in the general catalogue of the New Testament; and Oecolampadius speaks of six Antilegomena (omitting the Hebrews), as holding an inferior rank, but nevertheless appeals to their testimony.32
Calvin had no fault to find with James and Jude, and often quotes Hebrews and Revelation as canonical books, though he wrote no commentary on Revelation, probably because he felt himself incompetent for the task. He is silent about Second and Third John. He denies, decidedly, the Pauline authorship, but not the canonicity, of Hebrews.33 He is disposed to assign Second Peter to a pupil of Peter, who wrote under the auspices and by direction of the Apostle; but he guards in this case, also, against unfavorable inferences from the uncertainty of origin.34
Calvin clearly saw the inconsistency of giving the Church the right of determining the canon after denying her right of making an article of faith. He therefore placed the Canon on the authority of God who bears testimony to it through the voice of the Spirit in the hearts of the believer. The eternal and inviolable truth of God, he says, is not founded on the pleasure and judgment of men, and can be as easily distinguished as light from darkness, and white from black. In the same line, Peter Vermilius denies that "the Scriptures take their authority from the Church. Their certitude is derived from God. The Word is older than the Church. The Spirit of God wrought in the hearts of the bearers and readers of the Word so that they recognized it to be truly divine." This view is clearly set forth in several Calvinistic Confessions.35 In its exclusive form it is diametrically opposed to the maxim of Augustin, otherwise so highly esteemed by the Reformers: "I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Church."36 But the two kinds of evidence supplement each other. The human authority of tradition though not the final ground of belief, is indispensable as an historical witness of the genuineness and canonicity, and is of great weight in conflict with Rationalism. There is no essential antagonism between the Bible and the Church in the proper sense of the term. They are inseparable. The Church was founded by Christ and the apostles through the preaching of the living Word of God, and the founders of the Church are also the authors of the written Word, which continues to be the shining and guiding light of the Church; while the Church in turn is the guardian, preserver, translator, propagator, and expounder of the Bible.
3. The liberal views of the Reformers on inspiration and the canon were abandoned after the middle of the sixteenth century, and were succeeded by compact and consolidated systems of theology. The evangelical scholasticism of the seventeenth century strongly resembles, both in its virtues and defects, the catholic scholasticism of the Middle Ages which systematized and contracted the patristic theology, except that the former was based on the Bible, the latter on church tradition. In the conflict with Romanism the Lutheran and Calvinistic scholastics elaborated a stiff, mechanical theory of inspiration in order to set an infallible book against an infallible pope. The Bible was identified with the Word of God, dictated to the sacred writers as the penmen of the Holy Ghost. Even the classical purity of style and the integrity of the traditional text, including the Massoretic punctuation, were asserted in the face of stubborn facts, which came to light as the study of the origin and history of the text advanced. The divine side of the Scriptures was exclusively dwelled upon, and the human and literary side was ignored or virtually denied. Hence the exegetical poverty of the period of Protestant scholasticism. The Bible was used as a repository of proof texts for previously conceived dogmas, without regard to the context, the difference between the Old and New Testaments, and the gradual development of the divine revelation in accordance with the needs and capacities of men.
4. It was against this Protestant bibliolatry and symbololatry that Rationalism arose as a legitimate protest. It pulled down one dogma after another, and subjected the Bible and the canon to a searching criticism. It denies the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, except in a wider sense which applies to all works of genius, and treats them simply as a gradual evolution of the religious spirit of Israel and the primitive Christian Church. It charges them with errors of fact and errors of doctrine, and resolves the miracles into legends and myths. It questions the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch, the genuineness of the Davidic Psalms, the Solomonic writings, the prophecies of Deutero-Isaiah and Daniel, and other books of the Old Testament. It assigns not only the Eusebian Antilegomena, but even the Gospels, Acts, the Catholic Epistles, and several Pauline Epistles to the post-apostolic age, from a.d. 70 to 150.
In its later developments, however, Rationalism has been obliged to retreat and make several concessions to orthodoxy. The canonical Gospels and Acts have gained by further investigation and discovery;37 and the apostolic authorship of the four great Epistles of Paul to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians and the Apocalypse of John is fully admitted by the severest school of criticism (that of Tübingen). A most important admission: for these five books teach or imply all the leading facts and truths of the gospel, and overthrow the very foundations of Rationalism. With the Christ of the Gospels, and the Apostle Paul of his acknowledged Epistles, Christianity is safe.
Rationalism was a radical revolution which swept like a flood over the Continent of Europe. But it is not negative and destructive only. It has made and is still making valuable contributions to biblical philology, textual criticism, and grammatico-historical exegesis. It enlarges the knowledge of the conditions and environments of the Bible, and of all that belongs to the human and temporal side of Christ and Christianity. It cultivates with special zeal and learning the sciences of Critical Introduction, Biblical Theology, the Life of Christ, the Apostolic and post-Apostolic Ages.
5. These acquisitions to exegetical and historical theology are a permanent gain, and are incorporated in the new evangelical theology, which arose in conflict with Rationalism and in defense of the positive Christian faith in the divine facts of revelation and the doctrines of salvation. The conflict is still going on with increasing strength, but with the sure prospect of the triumph of truth. Christianity is independent of all critical questions on the Canon, and of human theories of inspiration; else Christ would himself have written the Gospels, or commanded the Apostles to do so, and provided for the miraculous preservation and inspired translation of the text, . His "words are spirit, and are life." "The flesh profiteth nothing." Criticism and speculation may for a while wander away from Christ, but will ultimately return to Him who furnishes the only key for the solution of the problems of history and human life. "No matter," says the world-poet Goethe in one of his last utterances, "how much the human mind may progress in intellectual culture, in the science of nature, in ever-expanding breadth and depth: it will never be able to rise above the elevation and moral culture which shines in the Gospels."
The famous close of the Preface of Luther’s edition of the German New Testament was omitted in later editions, but is reprinted in Walch’s ed. XIV. 104 sqq., and in the Erlangen Frankf. ed. LXIII. (or eleventh vol. of the Vermischte Deutsche Schriften), p. 114 sq. It is verbatim as follows:
"Aus diesem allen kannst du nu recht urtheilen unter allen Büchern, und Unterschied nehmen, welchs die besten sind. Denn, naemlich, ist Johannis Evangelion, und St. Pauli Episteln, sonderlich die zu den Römern, und Sanct Peters erste Epistel der rechte Kern und Mark unter allen Büchern; welche auch billig die, ersten sein sollten, und einem jeglichen Christen zu rathen wäre, das er dieselben am ersten und allermeisten läse, und ihm durch täglich Lesen so gemein mächte, als das täglich Brod.
"Denn in diesen findist [findest] du nicht viel Werk und Wunderthaten Christi beschrieben; du findist aber gar meisterlich ausgestrichen, wie der Glaube an Christum Sünd, Tod und Hölle überwindet, und das Leben, Gerechtigkeit und Seligkeit gibt. Welchs die rechte Art ist des Evangelii, wie du gehöret hast.
"Denn wo ich je der eins mangeln sollt, der Werke oder der Predigt Christi, so wollt ich lieber der Werke denn seiner Predigt mangeln. Denn die Werke helfen mir nichts; aber seine Worte, die geben das Leben, wie er selbst sagt (Joh 5.V.51). Weil nu Johannes gar wenig Werke von Christo, aber gar viel seiner Predigt schreibt; wiederumb die andern drei Evangelisten viel seiner Werke, wenig seiner Worte beschreiben: ist Johannis Evangelion das einige zarte, recht(e) Hauptevangelion, und den andren dreien weit fürzuzichen und höher zu heben. Also auch Sanct Paulus und Petrus Episteln weit über die drei Evangelia Matthai, Marci und Lucä vorgehen.
"Summa, Sanct Johannis Evangel. und seine erste Epistel, Sanct Paulus Epistel(n), sonderlich die zu den Römern, Galatern, Ephesern, und Sanct Peters erste Epistel. das sind die Bücher, die dir Christum zeigen, und alles lehren, das dir zu wissen noth und selig ist ob du sohon kein ander Buch noch Lehre nummer [nimmermehr] sehest and horist [hörest]. Darumb ist Sanct Jakobs Epistel ein recht strohern(e) Epistel, gegen sie, denn sie doch kein(e) evangelisch(e) Art an ihr hat. Doch davon weiter in andern Vorreden."
§ 10. Protestantism and Denominationalism.38
The Greek Church exists as a patriarchal hierarchy based on the first seven oecumenical Councils with four ancient local centres: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople; to which must be added, since 1725, St. Petersburg where the Holy Synod of orthodox Russia resides. The patriarch of Constantinople claims a primacy of honor, but no supremacy of jurisdiction over his fellow-patriarchs.
The Roman Church is an absolute monarchy, headed by an infallible pope who claims to be vicar of Christ over all Christendom and unchurches the Greek and the Protestant churches as schismatical and heretical.
The Reformation came out of the bosom of the Latin Church and broke up the visible unity of Western Christendom, but prepared the way for a higher spiritual unity on the basis of freedom and the full development of every phase of truth.
Instead of one organization, we have in Protestantism a number of distinct national churches and confessions or denominations. Rome, the local centre of unity, was replaced by Wittenberg, Zurich, Geneva, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh. The one great pope had to surrender to many little popes of smaller pretensions, yet each claiming and exercising sovereign power in his domain. The hierarchical rule gave way to the caesaropapal or Erastian principle, that the owner of the territory is also the owner of its religion (cujus regio, ejus religio), a principle first maintained by the Byzantine Emperors, and held also by the Czar of Russia, but in subjection to the supreme authority of the oecumenical Councils. Every king, prince, and magistrate, who adopted the Reformation, assumed the ecclesiastical supremacy or summepiscopate, and established a national church to the exclusion of Dissenters or Nonconformists who were either expelled, or simply tolerated under various restrictions and disabilities.
Hence there are as many national or state churches as there are independent Protestant governments; but all acknowledge the supremacy of the Scriptures as a rule of faith and practice, and most of them also the evangelical confessions as a correct summary of Scripture doctrines. Every little principality in monarchical Germany and every canton in republican Switzerland has its own church establishment, and claims sovereign power to regulate its creed worship, and discipline. And this power culminates not in the clergy, but in the secular ruler who appoints the ministers of religion and the professors of theology. The property of the church which had accumulated by the pious foundations of the Middle Ages, was secularized during the Reformation period and placed under the control of the state, which in turn assumed the temporal support of the church.
This is the state of things in Europe to this day, except in the independent or free churches of more recent growth, which manage their own affairs on the voluntary principle.
The transfer of the episcopal and papal power to the head of the state was not contemplated by the Reformers, but was the inevitable consequence of the determined opposition of the whole Roman hierarchy to the Reformation. The many and crying abuses which followed this change in the hands of selfish and rapacious princes, were deeply deplored by Melanchthon, who would have consented to the restoration of the episcopal hierarchy on condition of the freedom of gospel preaching and gospel teaching.
The Reformed church in Switzerland secured at first a greater degree of independence than the Lutheran; for Zwingli controlled the magistrate of Zurich, and Calvin ruled supreme in Geneva under institutions of his own founding; but both closely united the civil and ecclesiastical power, and the former gradually assumed the supremacy.
Scandinavia and England adopted, together with the Reformation, a Protestant episcopate which divides the ecclesiastical supremacy with the head of the state; yet even there the civil ruler is legally the supreme governor of the church.
The greatest Protestant church-establisbments or national churches are the Church of England, much weakened by dissent, but still the richest and most powerful of all; the United Evangelical Church of Prussia which, since 1817, includes the formerly separated Lutheran and Reformed confessions; the Lutheran Church of Saxony (with a Roman Catholic king); the Lutheran Churches of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; the Reformed Churches of Switzerland, and Holland; and the Reformed or Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
Originally, all evangelical Protestant churches were embraced under two confessions or denominations, the Lutheran which prevailed and still prevails in Germany and Scandinavia, and the Reformed which took root in Switzerland, France, Holland, England and Scotland, and to a limited extent also in Germany, Bohemia and Hungary. The Lutheran church follows the larger portion of German and Scandinavian emigrants to America and other countries, the Reformed church in its various branches is found in all the Dutch and British colonies, and in the United States.
From these two confessions should be distinguished the Anglican Church, which the continental historians from defective information usually count with the Reformed Church, but which stands midway between evangelical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, and may therefore be called Anglo-Catholic. She is indeed moderately Reformed in her doctrinal articles,39 but in polity and ritual she is much more conservative than the Calvinistic and even the Lutheran confession, pays greater deference to the testimony of the ancient fathers, and lays stress upon her unbroken episcopal succession.
The confessional division in the Protestant camp arose very early. It was at first confined to a difference of opinion on the eucharistic presence, which the Marburg Conference of 1529 could not remove, although Luther and Zwingli agreed in fourteen and a half out of fifteen articles of faith. Luther refused any compromise. Other differences gradually developed themselves, on the ubiquity of Christ’s body, predestination, and baptismal regeneration, which tended to widen and perpetuate the split. The union of the two Confessions in Prussia and other German states, since 1817, has not really healed it, but added a third Church, the United Evangelical, to the two older Confessions which, still continue separate in other countries.
The controversies among the Protestants in the sixteenth century roused all the religious and political passions and cast a gloom over the bright picture of the Reformation. Melanchthon declared that with tears as abundant as the waters of the river Elbe he could not express his grief over the distractions of Christendom and the "fury of theologians." Calvin also, when invited, with Melanchthon, Bullinger and Buzer, in 1552, by Archbishop Cranmer to Lambeth Palace for the purpose of framing a concensus-creed of the Reformed churches, was willing to cross ten seas for the cause of Christian union.40 But the noble scheme was frustrated by the stormy times, and still remains a pium desiderium.
Much as we must deplore and condemn sectarian strife and bitterness, it would be as unjust to charge them on Protestantism, as to charge upon Catholicism the violent passions of the trinitarian, christological and other controversies of the Nicene age, or the fierce animosity between the Greek and Latin Churches, or the envy and jealousy of the monastic orders of the Middle Ages, or the unholy rivalries between Jansenists and Jesuits, Gallicans and Ultramontanists in modern Romanism. The religious passions grow out of the selfishness of depraved human nature in spite of Christianity, whether Greek, Roman, or Protestant., and may arise in any denomination or in any congregation. Paul had to rebuke the party spirit in the church at Corinth. The rancor of theological schools and parties under one and the same government is as great and often greater than among separate rival denominations. Providence overrules these human weaknesses for the clearer development of doctrine and discipline, and thus brings good out of evil.
The tendency of Protestantism towards individualism did not stop with the three Reformation Churches, but produced other divisions wherever it was left free to formulate and organize the differences of theological parties and schools. This was the case in England, in consequence of what may be called a second Reformation, which agitated that country during the seventeenth century, while Germany was passing through the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War.
The Toleration Act of 1689, after the final overthrow of the semi-popish and treacherous dynasty of the Stuarts, gave the Dissenters who were formerly included in the Church of England, the liberty to organize themselves into independent denominations under the names of Presbyterians, Independents or Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers; all professing the principles of the Reformation, but differing in minor points of doctrine, and especially in discipline, and the mode of worship.
The Methodist revival of religion which shook England and the American colonies during the eighteenth century, gave rise to a new denomination which spread with the enthusiasm of an army of conquest and grew into one of the largest and most influential communions in English-speaking Christendom.
In Scotland, the original unity of the Reformed Kirk was likewise broken up, mostly on the question of patronage and the sole headship of Christ, so that the Scotch population is now divided chiefly into three branches, the Established Church, the United Presbyterian Church, and the Free Church of Scotland; all holding, however, to the Westminster standards.
In Germany, the Moravian brotherhood acquired a legal existence, and fully earned it by its missionary zeal among the heathen, its educational institutions, its pure discipline and stimulating influence upon the older churches.
All these Churches of Great Britain and the Continent were transplanted by emigration to the virgin soil of North America, where they mingle on a basis of equality before the law and in the enjoyment of perfect religious freedom. But few communions are of native growth. In America, the distinction between church and sect, churchmen and dissenters, has lost its legal meaning. And even in Europe it is weakened in the same proportion in which under the influence of modern ideas of toleration and freedom the bond of union of church and state is relaxed, and the sects or theological parties are allowed to organize themselves into distinct communities.
Thus Protestantism in the nineteenth century is divided into half a dozen or more large denominations, without counting the minor divisions which are even far more numerous. The Episcopalians, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, the Congregationalists, the Methodists, and the Baptists, are distinct and separate families. Nor is the centrifugal tendency of Protestantism exhausted, and may produce new denominations, especially in America, where no political power can check its progress.
To an outside spectator, especially to a Romanist and to an infidel, Protestantism presents the aspect of a religious chaos or anarchy which must end in dissolution.
But a calm review of the history of the last three centuries and the present condition of Christendom leads to a very different conclusion. It is an undeniable fact that Christianity has the strongest hold upon the people and displays the greatest vitality and energy at home and abroad, in English-speaking countries, where it is most divided into denominations and sects. A comparison of England with Spain, or Scotland with Portugal, or the United States with Mexico and Peru or Brazil, proves the advantages of living variety over dead uniformity. Division is an element of weakness in attacking a consolidated foe, but it also multiplies the missionary, educational, and converting agencies. Every Protestant denomination has its own field of usefulness, and the cause of Christianity itself would be seriously weakened and contracted by the extinction of any one of them.
Nor should we overlook the important fact, that the differences which divide the various Protestant denominations are not fundamental, and that the articles of faith in which they agree are more numerous than those in which they disagree. All accept the inspired Scriptures as the supreme rule of faith and practice, salvation by grace, and we may say every article of the Apostles’ Creed; while in their views of practical Christianity they unanimously teach that our duties are comprehended in the royal law of love to God and to our fellow-men, and that true piety and virtue consist in the imitation of the example of Christ, the Lord and Saviour of all.
There is then unity in diversity as well as diversity in unity.
And the tendency to separation and division is counteracted by the opposite tendency to Christian union and denominational intercommunion which manifests itself in a rising degree and in various forms among Protestants of the present day, especially in England and America, and on missionary fields, and which is sure to triumph in the end. The spirit of narrowness, bigotry and exclusiveness must give way at last to a spirit of evangelical catholicity, which leaves each denomination free to work out its own mission according to its special charisma, and equally free to co-operate in a noble rivalry with all other denominations for the glory of the common Master and the building up of His Kingdom.
The great problem of Christian union cannot be solved by returning to a uniformity of belief and outward organization. Diversity in unity and unity in diversity is the law of God in history as well as in nature. Every aspect of truth must be allowed room for free development. Every possibility of Christian life must be realized. The past cannot be undone; history moves zig-zag, like a sailing vessel, but never backwards. The work of church history, whether Greek, Roman, or Protestant, cannot be in vain. Every denomination and sect has to furnish some stones for the building of the temple of God.
And out of the greatest human discord God will bring the richest concord.
§ 11. Protestantism and Religious Liberty.
Comp. Ph. Schaff: The Progress of Religious Freedom as shown in the History of Toleration Acts, N. York, 1889. (126 pages.)
The Reformation was a grand act of emancipation from spiritual tyranny, and a vindication of the sacred rights of conscience in matters of religious belief. Luther’s bold stand at the Diet of Worms, in the face of the pope and the emperor, is one of the sublimest events in the history of liberty, and the eloquence of his testimony rings through the centuries.41 To break the force of the pope, who called himself and was believed to be, the visible vicar of God on earth, and who held in his hands the keys of the kingdom of heaven, required more moral courage than to fight a hundred battles, and it was done by an humble monk in the might of faith.
If liberty, both civil and religious, has since made progress, it is due in large measure to the inspiration of that heroic act. But the progress was slow and passed through many obstructions and reactions. "The mills of God grind slowly, but wonderfully fine."
It seems one of the strangest inconsistencies that the very men who claimed and exercised the right of protest in essentials, should have denied the same right to others, who differed from them in nonessentials. After having secured liberty from the yoke of popery, they acted on the persecuting principles in which they had been brought up. They had no idea of toleration or liberty in our modern sense. They fought for liberty in Christ, not from Christ, for liberty to preach and teach the gospel, not to oppose or pervert it. They were as intensely convinced of their views as their Roman opponents of theirs. They abhorred popery and heresy as dangerous errors which should not be tolerated in a Christian society. John Knox feared one Romish mass in Scotland more than an army of ten thousand French invaders. The Protestant divines and princes of the sixteenth century felt it to be their duty to God and to themselves to suppress and punish heresy as well as civil crimes. They confounded the law with the gospel. In many cases they acted in retaliation, and in self-defense. They were surrounded by a swarm of sects and errorists who claimed to be the legitimate children of the Reformation, exposed it to the reproach of the enemies and threatened to turn it into confusion and anarchy. The world and the church were not ripe for a universal reign of liberty, nor are they even now.
Religious persecution arises not only from bigotry and fanaticism, and the base passions of malice, hatred and uncharitableness, but also from mistaken zeal for truth and orthodoxy, from the intensity of religious conviction, and from the alliance of religion with politics or the union of church and state, whereby an offence against the one becomes an offence against the other. Persecution is found in all religions, churches and sects which had the power; while on the other hand all persecuted religions, sects, and parties are advocates of toleration and freedom, at least for themselves. Some of the best as well as the worst men have been persecutors, believing that they served the cause of God by fighting his enemies. Saul of Tarsus, and Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic saint and philosopher on the throne of the Caesars, have in ignorance persecuted Christianity, the one from zeal for the law of Moses, the other from devotion to the laws and gods of Rome. Charlemagne thought he could best promote Christianity among the heathen Saxons by chasing them through the river for wholesale baptism. St. Augustin, Thomas Aquinas, and Calvin were equally convinced of the right and duty of the civil magistrate to punish heresy. A religion or church established by law must be protected by law against its enemies. The only sure guarantee against persecution is to put all churches on an equal footing before the law, and either to support all or none.
Church history is lurid with the infernal fires of persecutions, not only of Christians by heathens and Mohammedans, but of Christians by Christians.
But there is a silver lining to every cloud, and an overruling Providence in all human wickedness. The persecutions test character, develop moral heroism, bring out the glories of martyrdom, and sow the bloody seed of religious liberty. They fail of their object when the persecuted party has the truth on its side, and ultimately result in its victory. This was the case with Christianity in the Roman empire, and to a large extent with Protestantism. They suffered the cross, and reaped the crown.
Let us now briefly survey the chief stages in the history of persecution, which is at the same time a history of religious liberty.
1. The New Testament furnishes not a single passage in favor of persecution. The teaching and example of Christ and the Apostles are against it. He came to save the world, not to destroy it. He declared that His kingdom is not of this world. He rebuked the hasty Peter for drawing the sword, though it was in defense of his Master; and he preferred to suffer and to die rather than to call the angels of God to aid against his enemies. The Apostles spread the gospel by spiritual means and condemned the use of carnal weapons.
For three hundred years the church followed their example and advocated freedom of conscience. She suffered persecution from Jews and Gentiles, but never retaliated, and made her way to triumph through the power of truth and a holy life sealed by a heroic death.42
2. The change began with the union of church and state under Constantine the Great, in the East, and Charles the Great, in the West. Both these emperors represent the continuation of the old Roman empire under the dominion of the sword and the cross.
The mediaeval theory of the Catholic Church assumes a close alliance of Caesar and Pope, or the civil and ecclesiastical power, in Christian countries, and the exclusiveness of the Catholic communion out of which there can be no salvation. The Athanasian Creed has no less than three damning clauses against all who dissent from the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and the Incarnation. From this point of view every heresy, i.e., every departure from catholic orthodoxy, is a sin and a crime against society, and punishable both by the church and the state, though in different ways. "The church does not thirst for blood "43 but excommunicates the obstinate heretic and hands him over to the civil magistrate to be dealt with according to law. And the laws of pagan Rome and Christian Rome were alike severe against every open dissent from the state religion. The Mosaic legislation against idolatry and blasphemy, which were punished by death, as a crime against the theocracy and as treason against Jehovah,44 seemed to afford divine authority for similar enactments under the Christian dispensation, in spite of the teaching and example of Christ and his Apostles. The Christian emperors after Constantine persecuted the heathen religion and heretical sects, as their heathen predecessors had persecuted the Christians as enemies of the national gods. The Justinian code, which extended its influence over the whole Continent of Europe, declares Christian heretics and schismatics, as well as Pagans and Jews, incapable of holding civil or military offices, forbids their public assemblies and ecclesiastical acts, and orders their books to be burned.
The leading divines of the church gave sanction to this theory. St. Augustin, who had himself been a heretic for nine years, was at first in favor of toleration.45 But during the Donatist controversy, he came to the conclusion that the correction and coërcion of heretics and schismatics was in some cases necessary and wholesome. His tract on the Correction of the Donatists was written about 417, to show that the schismatical and fanatical Donatists should be subjected to the punishment of the imperial laws. He admits that it is better that men should be led to worship God by teaching than be driven to it by fear of punishment or pain; but he reasons that more men are corrected by fear. He derives the proof from the Old Testament. The only passages from the New Testament which he is able to quote, would teach a compulsory salvation rather than punishment, but are really not to the point. He refers to Paul’s conversion as a case of compulsion by Christ himself, and misapplies the word of our Lord in the parable of the Supper: "Constrain them to come in."46 Yet he professed, on the other hand, the correct principle that "no man can believe against his will."47 And he expressly discouraged the infliction of the death-penalty on heretics.48
Thomas Aquinas, next to Augustin, the highest authority among the canonized doctors of the Latin church, went a step further. He proved, to the satisfaction of the Middle Ages, that the rites of idolaters, Jews, and infidels ought not to be tolerated,49 and that heretics or corruptors of the Christian faith, being worse criminals than debasers of money, ought (after due admonition) not only to be excommunicated by the church, but also be put to death by the state.50 He does not quote a Bible passage in favor of the death-penalty of heretics; on the contrary he mentions three passages which favor toleration of heretics, 2 Tim. 2:24; 1 Cor. 11:19; Matt. 13:29, 30, and then tries to deprive them of their force by his argument drawn from the guilt of heresy.
The persecution of heretics reached its height in the papal crusades against the Albigenses under Innocent III., one of the best of popes; in the dark deeds of the Spanish Inquisition; and in the unspeakable atrocities of the Duke of Alva against the Protestants in the Netherlands during his short reign (1567–1573).51
The horrible massacre of St. Bartholomew (Aug. 24, 1572) was sanctioned by Pope Gregory XIII., who celebrated it by public thanksgivings, and with a medal bearing his image, an avenging angel and the inscription, Ugonottorum strages.52
The infamous dragonnades of Louis XIV. were a continuation of the same politico-ecclesiastical policy on a larger scale, aiming at the complete destruction of Protestantism in France, in violation of the solemn edict of his grandfather (1598, revoked 1685), and met the full approval of the Roman clergy, including Bishop Bossuet, the advocate of Gallican liberties.53
The most cruel of the many persecutions of the innocent Waldenses in the valleys of Piedmont took place in 1655, and shocked by its boundless violence the whole Protestant world, calling forth the vigorous protest of Cromwell and inspiring the famous sonnet of Milton, his foreign secretary:
Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold,
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshiped stocks and stones."
These persecutions form the darkest, we may say, the satanic chapters in church history, and are a greater crime against humanity and Christianity than all the heresies which they in vain tried to eradicate.
The Roman church has never repented of her complicity with these unchristian acts. On the contrary, she still holds the principle of persecution in connection with her doctrine that there is no salvation outside of her bosom. The papal Syllabus of 1864 expressly condemns, among the errors of modern times, the doctrine of religious toleration.54 Leo XIII., a great admirer of the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Encyclical of Nov. 1, 1885, "concerning the Christian constitution of states," wisely moderates, but reaffirms, in substance, the political principles of his predecessor.55 A revocation would be fatal to the Vatican dogma of papal infallibility. The practice of persecution is a question of power and expediency; and although isolated cases still occur from time to time,56 the revival of mediaeval intolerance is an impossibility, and would be condemned by intelligent and liberal Roman Catholics as a folly and a crime.
3. The Protestant theory and practice of persecution and toleration.
(a) The Lutheran Reformers and Churches.
Luther was the most advanced among the Reformers in the ideas of toleration and liberty. He clearly saw the far-reaching effect of his own protest against Rome, and during his storm- and pressure-period, from 1517 to 1521, he was a fearless champion of liberty. He has left some of the noblest utterances against coërcion in matters of conscience, which contain almost every essential feature of the modern theory on the subject. He draws a sharp line between the temporal power which is confined to the body and worldly goods, and the spiritual government which belongs to God. He says that "no one can command or ought to command the soul, except God, who alone can show it the way to heaven;" that "the thoughts and mind of man are known only to God;" that "it is futile and impossible to command, or by force to compel any man’s belief;" that "heresy is a spiritual thing which no iron can hew down, no fire burn, no water drown;" that "belief is a free thing which cannot be enforced."57 He opposed the doctrine of the Anabaptists with every argument at his command, but disapproved the cruel persecution to which they were subjected in Protestant as well as Catholic countries. "It is not right," he said in a book against them (1528), "and I deeply regret that such wretched people should be so miserably murdered, burned, and cruelly put to death; every one should be allowed to believe what he pleases. If he believes wrongly, he will have punishment enough in the eternal fire of hell. Why should they be tortured in this life also?"58 If heretics were to be punished by death, the hangman would be the best (the most orthodox) theologian. "I can in no way admit," he wrote to his friend Link in 1528, "that false teachers should be put to death: it is enough that they should be banished ."59
To this extent, then, he favored punishment of heretics, but no further. He wanted them to be silenced or banished by the government. He spent his violence in words, in which he far outstripped friends and foes, and spared neither papists, nor Zwinglians, nor Anabaptists, nor even temporal princes like Henry VIII., Duke George of Saxony, and Duke Henry of Brunswick.60 But his acts of intolerance are few. He refused the hand of fellowship to Zwingli, and would not have tolerated him at Wittenberg. He begged the elector, John, to prevent a certain Hans Mohr from spreading Zwinglian opinions in Coburg. He regretted the toleration of the Zwinglians in Switzerland after their defeat, which he uncharitably interpreted as a righteous judgment of God.61
A few words on his views concerning the toleration of the Jews who had to suffer every indignity from Christians, as if they were personally responsible for the crime of the crucifixion. Luther was at first in advance of public opinion. In 1523 he protested against the cruel treatment of the Jews, as if they were dogs, and not human beings, and counseled kindness and charity as the best means of converting them. If the apostles, he says, who were Jews, had dealt with the heathen, as we heathen Christians deal with the Jews, no heathen would ever have been converted, and I myself, if I were a Jew, would rather become anything else than a Christian.62 But in 1543 he wrote two violent books against the Jews.63 His intercourse with several Rabbis filled him with disgust and indignation against their pride, obstinacy and blasphemies. He came to the conclusion that it was useless to dispute with them and impossible to convert them. Moses could do nothing with Pharaoh by warnings, plagues and miracles, but had to let him drown in the Red Sea. The Jews would crucify their expected Messiah, if he ever should come, even worse than they crucified the Christian Messiah. They are a blind, hard, incorrigible race.64 He went so far as to advise their expulsion from Christian lands, the prohibition of their books, and the burning of their synagogues and even their houses in which they blaspheme our Saviour and the Holy Virgin. In the last of his sermons, preached shortly before his death at Eisleben, where many Jews were allowed to trade, he concluded with a severe warning against the Jews as dangerous public enemies who ought not to be tolerated, but left the alternative of conversion or expulsion.65
Melanchthon, the mildest of the Reformers, went—strange to say—a step further than Luther, not during his lifetime, but eight years after his death, and expressly sanctioned the execution of Servetus for blasphemy in the following astounding letter to Calvin, dated Oct. 14, 1554: "Reverend sir and dearest brother: I have read your work in which you have lucidly refuted the horrible blasphemies of Servetus, and I thank the Son of God, who has been the arbiter (brabeuthv") of this your contest. The church, both now and in all generations, owes and will owe you a debt of gratitude. I entirely assent to your judgment. (Tuo judicio prorsus adsentior.) And I say, too, that your magistrates did right in that, after solemn trial, they put the blasphemer (hominem blasphemum) to death."66 He expressed here his deliberate conviction to which he adhered. Three years later, in a warning against the errors of Theobald Thammer, he called the execution of Servetus "a pious and memorable example to all posterity."67 We cannot tell what Luther might have said in this case had he lived at that time. It is good for his reputation that he was spared the trial.68
The other Lutheran Reformers agreed essentially with the leaders. They conceded to the civil ruler the control over the religious as well as political opinions of their subjects. Martin Bucer went furthest in this direction and taught in his "Dialogues" (1535) the right and the duty of Christian magistrates to reform the church, to forbid and punish popish idolatry, and all false religions, according to the full rigor of the Mosaic law.69
In accordance with these views of the Lutheran Reformers the Roman Catholics in Lutheran countries were persecuted, not, indeed, by shedding their blood as the blood of Protestants was shed in Roman Catholic countries, but by the confiscation of their church property, the prohibition of their worship, and, if it seemed necessary, by exile. In the reorganization of the church in Electoral Saxony in 1528, under the direction of the Wittenberg Reformers, the popish priests were deprived of their benefices, and even obstinate laymen were forced to sell their property and to leave their country. "For," said the Elector, "although it is not our intention to bind any one to what he is to believe and hold, yet will we, for the prevention of mischievous tumult and other inconveniences, suffer neither sect nor separation in our territory."70
The Protestant dissenters fared no better in Lutheran Saxony. The Philippists (Melanchthonians) or Crypto-Calvinists were outlawed, and all clergymen, professors and school teachers who would not subscribe the Formula of Concord, were deposed (1580). Dr. Caspar Peucer, Melanchthon’s son-in-law, professor of medicine at Wittenberg and physician to the Elector Augustus of Saxony, was imprisoned for ten years (1576–1586) for no other crime than "Philippism" (i.e. Melanchthonianism), and Nicolas Crell, the chancellor of Saxony, was, after ten years’ confinement, beheaded at Dresden for favoring Crypto-Calvinism at home and supporting the Huguenots abroad, which was construed as high treason (1601).71 Since that time the name of Calvin was as much hated in Saxony as the name of the Pope and the Turk.72
In other Lutheran countries, Zwinglians and Calvinists fared no better. John a Lasco, the Reformer of Poland and minister of a Protestant congregation in London, when fleeing with his followers, including many women and children, from the persecution of the bloody Mary, was not allowed a resting place at Copenhagen, or Rostock, or Lübeck, or Hamburg, because he could not accept the Lutheran doctrine of the real presence, and the poor fugitives were driven from port to port in cold winter, till at last they found a temporary home at Emden (1553).73
In Scandinavia every religion except the Lutheran was forbidden on pain of confiscation and exile, and these laws were in force till the middle of the nineteenth century. Queen Christina lost her Swedish crown by her apostasy from Lutheranism, which her father had so heroically defended in the Thirty Years’ War.
(b) The Swiss Reformers, though republicans, were not behind the Germans in intolerance against Romanists and heretics.
Zwingli extended the hand of brotherhood to Luther, and hoped to meet even the nobler heathen in heaven, but had no mercy on the Anabaptists, who threatened to overthrow his work in Zürich. After trying in vain to convince them by successive disputations, the magistrate under his control resorted to the Cruel irony of drowning their leaders (six in all) in the Limmat near the lake of Zürich (between 1527 and 1532).74
Zwingli counselled, at the risk of his own life, the forcible introduction of the Reformed religion into the territory of the Catholic Forest Cantons (1531); forgetting the warning of Christ to Peter, that they who take the sword shall perish by the sword.75
Calvin has the misfortune rather than the guilt of pre-eminence for intolerance among the Reformers. He and Servetus are the best abused men of the sixteenth century; and the depreciation of the good name of the one and the exculpation of the bad name of the other have been carried far beyond the limits of historic truth and justice. Both must be judged from the standpoint of the sixteenth, not of the nineteenth, century.
The fatal encounter of the champion of orthodoxy and the champion of heresy, men of equal age, rare genius, and fervent zeal for the restoration of Christianity, but direct antipodes in doctrine, spirit and aim, forms the most thrilling tragedy in the history of the Reformation. The contrast between the two is almost as great as that between Simon Peter and Simon Magus.76 Their contest will never lose its interest. The fires of the funeral pile which were kindled at Champel on the 27th of October, 1553, are still burning and cast their lurid sparks into the nineteenth century.
Leaving the historical details and the doctrinal aspect for another chapter,77 we confine ourselves here to the bearing of the case on the question of toleration.
Impartial history must condemn alike the intolerance of the victor and the error of the victim, but honor in both the strength of conviction. Calvin should have contented himself with banishing his fugitive rival from the territory of Geneva, or allowing him quietly to proceed on his contemplated journey to Italy, where he might have resumed his practice of medicine in which he excelled. But he sacrificed his future reputation to a mistaken sense of duty to the truth and the cause of the Reformation in Switzerland and his beloved France, where his followers were denounced and persecuted as heretics. He is responsible, on his own frank confession, for the arrest and trial of Servetus, and he fully assented to his condemnation and death "for heresy and blasphemy," except that he counselled the magistrate, though in vain, to mitigate the legal penalty by substituting the sword for the fire.78
But the punishment was in accordance with the mediaeval laws and wellnigh universal sentiment of Catholic and Protestant Christendom; it was unconditionally counselled by four Swiss magistrates which had been consulted before the execution (Zurich, Berne, Basel, and Schaffhausen), and was expressly approved by all the surviving reformers: Bullinger, Farel, Beza, Peter Martyr, and (as we have already seen) even by the mild and gentle Melanchthon. And strange to say, Servetus himself held, in part at least, the theory under which he suffered: for he admitted that incorrigible obstinacy and malice deserved death,79 referring to the case of Ananias and Sapphira; while schism and heresy should be punished only by excommunication and exile.
Nor should we overlook the peculiar aggravation of the case. We may now put a more favorable construction on Servetus’ mystic and pantheistic or panchristic Unitarianism than his contemporaries, who seemed to have misunderstood him, friends as well as foes; but he was certainly a furious fanatic and radical heretic, and in the opinion of all the churches of his age a reckless blasphemer, aiming at the destruction of historic Christianity. He was thus judged from his first book (1531),80 as well as his last (1553),81 and escaped earlier death only by concealment, practicing medicine under a fictitious name and the protection of a Catholic archbishop. He had abused all trinitarian Christians, as tritheists and atheists; he had denounced the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as a dream of St. Augustin, a fiction of popery, an invention of the devil, and a three-headed Cerberus.82 He had attacked with equal fury infant-baptism, as a detestable abomination, a killing of the Holy Spirit, an abolition of regeneration, and overthrow of the entire kingdom of Christ, and pronounced a woe on all baptizers of infancy who close the kingdom of heaven against mankind. He had been previously condemned to the stake by the Roman Catholic tribunal of the inquisition, after a regular trial, in the archiepiscopal city of Vienne in France, partly on the ground of his letters to Calvin procured from Geneva, and burned in effigy with his last book after his escape. He then rushed blindly into the hands of Calvin, whom he denounced, during the trial, as a liar, a hypocrite, and a Simon Magus, with a view, apparently, to overthrow his power, in league with his enemies, the party of the Libertines, which had then the majority in the council of Geneva.83
Considering all these circumstances Calvin’s conduct is not only explained, but even justified in part. He acted in harmony with the public law and orthodox sentiment of his age, and should therefore not be condemned more than his contemporaries, who would have done the same in his position.84
But all the humane sentiments are shocked again by the atrocity, of the execution; while sympathy is roused for the unfortunate sufferer who died true to his conviction, reconciled to his enemies, and with the repeated prayer in the midst of the flames: "Jesus, thou Son of the eternal God, have mercy upon me!"
The enemies of Calvin raised, in anonymous and pseudonymous pamphlets, a loud protest against the new tribunal of popery and inquisition in Geneva, which had boasted to be an asylum of all the persecuted. The execution of Servetus was condemned by his anti-trinitarian sympathizers, especially the Italian refugees in Switzerland, and also by some orthodox Christians in Basel and elsewhere, who feared that it would afford a powerful argument to the Romanists for their persecution of Protestants.
Calvin felt it necessary, therefore, to come out with a public defense of the death-penalty for heresy, in the spring of 1554.85 He appealed to the Mosaic law against idolatry and blasphemy, to the expulsion of the profane traffickers from the temple-court (Matt. 21:12), and he tries to refute the arguments for toleration which were derived from the wise counsel of Gamaliel (Acts 5:34), the parable of the tares among the wheat (Matt. 13:29), and Christ’s rebuke of Peter for drawing the sword (Matt. 26:52). The last argument he disposes of by making a distinction between private vengeance and public punishment.
Beza also defended, with his usual ability, in a special treatise, the punishment of heretics, chiefly as a measure of self-defense of the state which had a right to give laws and a duty to protect religion. He derived the doctrine of toleration from scepticism and infidelity and called it a diabolical dogma.86
The burning of the body of Servetus did not destroy his soul. His blood was the fruitful seed of the doctrine of toleration and the Unitarian heresy, which assumed an organized form in the Socinian sect, and afterward spread in many orthodox churches, including Geneva.
Fortunately the tragedy of 1553 was the last spectacle of burning a heretic in Switzerland, though several years later the Anti-trinitarian, Valentine Gentile, was beheaded in Berne (1566).
(c) In France the Reformed church, being in the minority, was violently and systematically persecuted by the civil rulers in league with the Roman church, and it is well for her that she never had a chance to retaliate. She is emphatically a church of martyrs.
(d) The Reformed church in Holland, after passing through terrible trials and persecutions under Spanish rule, showed its intolerance toward the Protestant Arminians who were defeated by the Synod of Dort (1619). Their pastors and teachers were deposed and banished. The Arminian controversy was, however, mixed up with politics; the Calvinists were the national and popular party under the military lead of Prince Maurice; while the political leaders of Arminianism, John Van Olden Barneveldt and Hugo Grotius, were suspected of disloyalty for concluding a truce with Spain (1609), and condemned, the one to death, the other to perpetual banishment. With a change of administration the Arminians were allowed to return (1625), and disseminated, with a liberal theology, principles of religious toleration.
§ 12. Religious Intolerance and Liberty in England and America.
The history of the Reformation in England and Scotland is even more disfigured by acts of intolerance and persecution than that of the Continent, but resulted at last in greater gain for religious freedom. The modern ideas of well regulated, constitutional liberty, both civil and religious, have grown chiefly on English soil.
At first it was a battle between persecution and mere toleration, but toleration once legally secured prepared the way for full religious liberty.
All parties when persecuted, advocated liberty of conscience, and all parties when in power, exercised intolerance, but in different degrees. The Episcopalians before 1689 were less intolerant than the Romanists under Queen Mary; the Presbyterians before 1660 were less intolerant than the Episcopalians; the Independents less intolerant (in England) than the Presbyterians (but more intolerant in New England); the Baptists, Quakers, Socinians and Unitarians consistently taught freedom of conscience, and were never tempted to exercise intolerance. Finally all became tolerant in consequence of a legal settlement in 1689, but even that was restricted by disabling clauses. The Romanists used fire and sword; the Episcopalians fines, prisons, pillories, nose-slittings, ear-croppings, and cheek-burnings; the Presbyterians tried depositions and disabilities; the Independents in New England exiled Roger Williams, the Baptist (1636), and hanged four Quakers (two men and two women, 1659, 1660 and 1661) in Boston, and nineteen witches in Salem (1692). But all these measures of repression proved as many failures and made persecution more hateful and at last impossible.
1. The first act of the English Reformation, under Henry VIII., was simply the substitution of a domestic for a foreign popery and tyranny; and it was a change for the worse. No one was safe who dared to dissent from the creed of the despotic monarch who proclaimed himself "the supreme head of the Church of England." At his death (1547), the six bloody articles were still in force; but they contained some of the chief dogmas of Romanism which he held in spite of his revolt against the pope.
2. Under the brief reign of Edward VI. (1547–1553), the Reformation made decided progress, but Anabaptists were not tolerated; two of them, who held some curious views on the incarnation, were burnt as obstinate heretics, Joan Bocher, commonly called Joan of Kent, May 2, 1550, and George Van Pare, a Dutchman April 6, 1551. The. young king refused at first to sign the death-warrant of the woman, correctly thinking that the sentence was "a piece of cruelty too like that which they had condemned in papists;" at last he yielded to Cranmer’s authority, who argued with him from the law of Moses against blasphemy, but he put his hand to the warrant with tears in his eyes and charged the archbishop with the responsibility for the act if it should be wrong.
3. The reign of the bloody Queen Mary (1553–1558) was a fearful retaliation, but sealed the doom of popery by the blood of Protestant martyrs, including the Reformers, Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, who were burnt in the market place at Oxford.
4. Queen Elizabeth (1558–1603), by virtue of her office, as "Defender of the Faith, and supreme governor of the Church" in her dominions, permanently established the Reformed religion, but to the exclusion of all dissent. Her penal code may have been a political necessity, as a protection against domestic treason and foreign invasion, but it aimed systematically at the annihilation of both Popery and Puritanism. It acted most severely upon Roman Catholic priests, who could only save their lives by concealment or exile. Conformity to the Thirty-nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer was rigidly enforced; attendance upon the Episcopal service was commanded, while the mass and every other kind of public worship were forbidden under severe penalties. The rack in the tower was freely employed against noblemen suspected of disloyalty to the queen-pope. The statute de haereticis comburendis from the reign of Henry IV. (1401) remained in force, and two Anabaptists were burnt alive under Elizabeth, and two Arians under her successor. The statute was not formally abolished till 1677. Ireland was treated ecclesiastically as well as politically as a conquered province, and England is still suffering from that cruel polity, which nursed a hereditary hatred of the Catholic people against their Protestant rulers, and made the removal of the Irish grievances the most difficult problem of English statesmanship.
Popery disappeared for a while from British soil, and the Spanish Armada was utterly defeated. But Puritanism, which fought in the front rank against the big pope at Rome, could not be defeated by the little popes at home. It broke out at last in open revolt against the tyranny of the Stuarts, and the cruelties of the Star Chamber and High-Commission Court, which were not far behind the Spanish Inquisition, and punished freedom of speech and of the press as a crime against society.
5. Puritanism ruled England for about twenty years (1640 to 1660), which form the most intensely earnest and excited period in her history. It saved the rights of the people against the oppression of their rulers, but it punished intolerance with intolerance, and fell into the opposite error of enforcing Puritan, in the place of Episcopal, uniformity, though with far less severity. The Long Parliament abolished the Episcopal hierarchy and liturgy (Sept. 10, 1642), expelled about two thousand royalist clergymen from their benefices, and executed on the block Archbishop Laud (1644) and King Charles I. (1649), as traitors; thus crowning them with the glory of martyrdom and preparing the way for the Restoration. Episcopalians now became champions of toleration, and Jeremy Taylor, the Shakespeare of the English pulpit, raised his eloquent voice for the Liberty of Prophesying (1647), which, however, he afterward recalled in part when he was made a bishop by Charles II. (1661).87
The Westminster Assembly of Divines (1643–1652), which numbered one hundred and twenty-one divines and several lay-deputies and is one of the most important ecclesiastical meetings ever held, was intrusted by Parliament with the impossible task of framing a uniform creed, discipline and ritual for three kingdoms. The extraordinary religious commotion of the times gave rise to all sorts of religious opinions from the most rigid orthodoxy to deism and atheism, and called forth a lively pamphlet war on the subject of toleration, which became an apple of discord in the Assembly. Thomas Edwards, in his Gangraena (1645), enumerated, with uncritical exaggeration, no less than sixteen sects and one hundred and seventy-six miscellaneous "errors, heresies and blasphemies," exclusive of popery and deism.88
There were three theories on toleration, which may be best stated in the words of George Gillespie, one of the Scottish commissioners of the Assembly.89
(a) The theory of the "Papists who hold it to be not only no sin, but good service to God to extirpate by fire and sword all that are adversaries to, or opposers of, the Church and Catholic religion." Under this theory John Hus and Jerome of Prague were burnt at the Council of Constance. Gillespie calls it., in the Preface, "the black devil of idolatry and tyranny."
(b) "The second opinion doth fall short as far as the former doth exceed: that is, that the magistrate ought not to inflict any punishment, nor put forth any coërcive power upon heretics and sectaries, but on the contrary grant them liberty and toleration." This theory is called "the white devil of heresy and schism," and ascribed to the Donatists (?), Socinians, Arminians and Independents. But the chief advocate was Roger Williams, the Baptist, who became the founder of Rhode Island.90 He went to the root of the question, and demanded complete separation of politics from religion. Long before him, the Puritan Bishop Hooper, and Robert Browne, the renegade founder of Congregationalism had taught the primitive Christian principle that the magistrates had no authority over the church and the conscience, but only over civil matters. Luther expressed the same view in 1523.91
(c) "The third opinion is that the magistrate may and ought to exercise his coërcive power in suppressing and punishing heretics and sectaries less or more, according as the nature and degree of the error, schism, obstinacy, and danger of seducing others may require." For this theory Gillespie quotes Moses, St. Augustin, Calvin, Beza, Bullinger, Voëtius, John Gerhard, and other Calvinistic and Lutheran divines. It was held by the Presbyterians in England and Scotland, including the Scottish commissioners in the Assembly, and vigorously advocated by Dr. Samuel Rutherford, Professor of Divinity in St. Andrews,92 and most zealously by Thomas Edwards, a Presbyterian minister in London.93 It had a strong basis in the national endorsement of the Solemn League and Covenant, and triumphed in the Westminster Assembly. It may therefore be called the Presbyterian theory of the seventeenth century. But it was never put into practice by Presbyterians, at least not to the extent of physical violence, against heretics and schismatics either in England or Scotland.94
The Westminster Confession of Faith, in its original shape, declares, on the one hand, the great principle of religious liberty, that "God alone is Lord of the conscience," but also, on the other hand, that dangerous heretics "may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church, and by the power of the civil magistrate."95 And it assigns to the civil magistrate the power and duty to preserve "unity and peace in the church," to suppress "all blasphemies and heresies," to prevent or reform "all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline," and for this purpose "to call synods and be present at them."96
6. The five Independent members of the Assembly under the lead of Dr. Goodwin protested against the power given to the civil magistrate and to synods.97 The obnoxious clauses of the Confession were therefore omitted or changed in the Congregational recension called "the Savoy Declaration" (1658).98
But the toleration of the Independents, especially after they obtained the ascendancy under Cromwell’s protectorate differed very little from that of the Presbyterians. They were spoiled by success.99 They excluded from their program Popery, Prelacy, and Socinianism. Dr. Owen, their most distinguished divine, who preached by command a sermon before Parliament on the day after the execution of Charles I., entitled "Righteous Zeal encouraged by Divine Protection" (Jer. 15:19, 20), and accepted the appointment as Dean of Christ Church and Vice-Chancellor of the University at Oxford, laid down no less than sixteen fundamentals as conditions of toleration.100 He and Dr. Goodwin served on the Commission of the forty-three Triers which, under Cromwell’s protectorate, took the place of the Westminster Assembly. Cromwell himself, though the most liberal among the English rulers and the boldest protector of Protestantism abroad, limited toleration to Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists and Quakers, all of whom recognized the sacred Scriptures and the fundamental articles of Christianity; but he had no toleration for Romanists and Episcopal Royalists, who endangered his reign and who were suspected of tolerating none but themselves. His great foreign secretary, John Milton, the most eloquent advocate of liberty in the English language, defended the execution of the king, and was intolerant to popery and prelacy.
Had Cromwell reigned longer, the Triers and the Savoy Conference which he reluctantly appointed, would probably have repeated the vain attempt of the Westminster Assembly to impose a uniform creed upon the nation, only with a little more liberal "accommodation" for orthodox dissenters except "papists" and "prelatists"). Their brethren in New England where they had full sway, established a Congregational theocracy which had no room even for Baptists and Quakers.
7. Cromwell’s reign was a brief experiment. His son was incompetent to continue it. Puritanism had not won the heart of England, but prepared its own tomb by its excesses and blunders. Royalty and Episcopacy, which struck their roots deep in the past, were restored with the powerful aid of the Presbyterians. And now followed a reaction in favor of political and ecclesiastical despotism, and public and private immorality, which for a time ruined all the good which Puritanism had done.
Charles II., who "never said a foolish thing and never did a wise one," broke his solemn pledges and took the lead in intolerance and licentiousness. The Act of Uniformity was re-enacted May 19, 1662, and went into operation on St. Bartholomew’s Day, August 24, 1662, made hideous by the St. Bartholomew Massacre, nearly a hundred years before. "And now came in," says Baxter, one of the most moderate as well as most learned and pious of the Nonconformists, "the great inundation of calamities, which in many streams overwhelmed thousands of godly Christians, together with their pastors." All Puritan ministers were expelled from their livings and exposed to starvation, their assemblies forbidden, and absolute obedience to the king and conformity to episcopacy were enforced, even in Scotland. The faithful Presbyterians in that country (the Covenanters) were subjected by the royal dragonnades to all manner of indignities and atrocities. "They were hunted"—says an English historian101 — like criminals over the mountains; their ears were torn from their roots; they were branded with hot irons; their fingers were wrenched asunder by the thumbkins; the bones of their legs were shattered in the boots; women were scourged publicly through the streets; multitudes were transported to the Barbadoes; an infuriated soldiery was let loose upon them, and encouraged to exercise all their ingenuity in torturing them."
The period of the Restoration is, perhaps, the most immoral and disgraceful in English history. But it led at last to the final overthrow of the treacherous and semi-popish dynasty of the Stuarts, and inaugurated a new era in the history of religious liberty. Puritanism was not dead, but produced some of its best and most lasting works—Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress—in this period of its deepest humiliation and suffering.
8. The act of Toleration under the reign of William and Mary, 1689, made an end to violent persecutions in England. And yet it is far from what we now understand by religious liberty. Toleration is negative, liberty positive; toleration is a favor, liberty a right; toleration may be withdrawn by the power which grants it, liberty is as inalienable as conscience itself; toleration is extended to what cannot be helped and what may be in itself objectionable, liberty is a priceless gift of the Creator.
The Toleration of 1689 was an accommodation to a limited number of Dissenters—Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists and Quakers, who were allowed liberty of separate organization and public worship on condition of subscribing thirty-six out of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. Roman Catholics and Unitarians were excluded, and did not acquire toleration in England till the nineteenth century, the former by the Act of Emancipation passed April 13, 1829. Even now the Dissenters in England labor under minor disabilities and social disadvantages, which will continue as long as the government patronizes an established church. They have to support the establishment, in addition to their own denomination. Practically, however, there is more religious liberty in England than anywhere on the Continent, and as much as in the United States.
9. The last and most important step in the progress of religious liberty was taken by the United States of America in the provision of the Federal Constitution of 1787, which excludes all religious tests from the qualifications to any office or public trust. The first amendment to the Constitution (1789) enacts that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."102
Thus the United States government is by its own free act prevented from ever establishing a state-church, and on the other hand it is bound to protect freedom of religion, not only as a matter of opinion, but also in its public exercise, as one of the inalienable rights of an American citizen, like the freedom of speech and of the press. History had taught the framers of the Constitution that persecution is useless as well as hateful, and that it has its root in the unholy alliance of religion with politics. Providence had made America a hospitable home for all fugitives from persecution,—Puritans, Presbyterians, Huguenots, Baptists, Quakers, Reformed, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, etc.—and foreordained it for the largest development of civil and religious freedom consistent with order and the well-being of society. When the colonies, after a successful struggle for independence, coalesced into one nation they could not grant liberty to one church or sect without granting it to all. They were thus naturally driven to this result. It was the inevitable destiny of America. And it involved no injustice or injury to any church or sect.
The modern German empire forms in some measure a parallel. When it was formed in 1870 by the free action of the twenty or more German sovereignties, it had to take them in with their religion, and abstain from all religious and ecclesiastical legislation which might interfere with the religion of any separate state.
The constitutional provision of the United States in regard to religion is the last outcome of the Reformation in its effect upon toleration and freedom, not foreseen or dreamed of by the Reformers, but inevitably resulting from their revolt against papal tyranny. It has grown on Protestant soil with the hearty support of all sects and parties. It cuts the chief root of papal and any other persecution, and makes it legally impossible. It separates church and state, and thus prevents the civil punishment of heresy as a crime against the state. It renders to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and renders to God the things that are God’s. It marks a new epoch in the history of legislation and civilization. It is the American contribution to church history. No part of the federal constitution is so generally accepted and so heartily approved as that which guarantees religious liberty, the most sacred and most important of all liberties. It is regarded almost as an axiom which needs no argument.
Religious liberty has thus far been fully justified by its effects. It has stimulated the fullest development of the voluntary principle. The various Christian churches can live in peace and harmony together, and are fully able to support and to govern themselves without the aid of the secular power. This has been proven by the experience of a century, and this experience is the strongest argument in favor of the separation of church and state. Christianity flourishes best without a state-church.
The separation, however, is peaceful, not hostile, as it was in the Ante-Nicene age, when the pagan state persecuted the church. Nor is it a separation of the nation from Christianity. The government is bound to protect all forms of Christianity with its day of rest, its churches, its educational and charitable institutions.103 Even irreligion and infidelity are tolerated within the limits of the law of self-preservation. Religious liberty may, of course, be abused like any other liberty. It has its necessary boundary in the liberty of others and the essential interests of society. The United States government would not tolerate, much less protect, a religion which requires human sacrifices, or sanctions licentious rites, or polygamy, or any other institution inconsistent with the laws and customs of the land, and subversive of the foundation of the state and the order of Christian civilization. Hence the recent prohibition of polygamy in the Territories, and the unwillingness of Congress to admit Utah into the family of States unless polygamy is abolished by the Mormons. The majority of the population decides the religion of a country, and, judged by this test, the American people are as Christian as any other on earth, only in a broader sense which recognizes all forms of Christianity. While Jews and infidels are not excluded from the enjoyment of any civil or political right on account of their religion or irreligion, they cannot alter the essentially Christian character of the sentiments, habits and institutions of the nation.
There are three important institutions in which church and state touch each other even in the United States, and where a collision of interests may take place: education in the public schools, marriage, and Sunday as a day of civil and sacred rest. The Roman Catholics are opposed to public schools unless they can teach in them their religion which allows no compromise with any other; the Mormons are opposed to monogamy, which is the law of the land and the basis of the Christian family; the Jews may demand the protection of their Sabbath on Saturday, while infidels want no Sabbath at all except perhaps for amusement and dissipation. But all these questions admit of a peaceful settlement and equitable adjustment, without a relapse into the barbarous measures of persecution.
The law of the United States is supreme in the Territories and the District of Columbia, but does not forbid any of the States to establish a particular church, or to continue a previous establishment. The Colonies began with the European system of state-churchism, only in a milder form, and varying according to the preferences of the first settlers. In the New England Colonies—except Rhode Island founded by the Baptist Roger Williams—orthodox Congregationalism was the established church which all citizens were required to support; in Virginia and the Southern States, as also in New York, the Episcopal Church was legally established and supported by the government.104 Even those Colonies which were professedly founded on the basis of religious toleration, as Maryland and Pennsylvania, enacted afterwards disabling clauses against Roman Catholics, Unitarians, Jews and infidels. In Pennsylvania, the Quaker Colony of William Penn, no one could hold office, from 1693 to 1775, without subscribing a solemn declaration of belief in the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity and condemning the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and the mass as idolatrous.105
The great revolution of legislation began in the Colony of Virginia in 1776, when Episcopacy was disestablished, and all other churches freed from their disabilities.106 The change was brought about by the combined efforts of Thomas Jefferson (the leading statesman of Virginia, and a firm believer in absolute religious freedom on the ground of philosophic neutrality), and of all dissenting denominations, especially the Presbyterians, Baptists and Quakers. The other Colonies or States gradually followed the example, and now there is no State in which religious freedom is not fully recognized and protected.
The example of the United States exerts a silent, but steady and mighty influence upon Europe in raising the idea of mere toleration to the higher plane of freedom, in emancipating religion from the control of civil government, and in proving the advantages of the primitive practice of ecclesiastical self-support and self-government.
The best legal remedy against persecution and the best guarantee of religious freedom is a peaceful separation of church and state; the best moral remedy and guarantee is a liberal culture, a comprehensive view of the many-sidedness of truth, a profound regard for the sacredness of conscientious conviction, and a broad and deep Christian love as described by the Apostle Paul.
§ 13. Chronological Limits.
The Reformation period begins with Luther’s Theses, a.d. 1517, and ends with the Peace of Westphalia, a.d. 1648. The last event brought to a close the terrible Thirty Years’ War and secured a legal existence to the Protestant faith (the Lutheran and Reformed Confession) throughout Germany.
The year 1648 marks also an important epoch in the history of English and Scotch Protestantism, namely, the ratification by the Long Parliament of the doctrinal standards of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (1643 to 1652), which are still in use among the Presbyterian Churches in England, Scotland, Ireland and the United States.
Within this period of one hundred and thirty-one years there are several minor epochs, and the dates vary in different countries.
The German Reformation, which is essentially Lutheran, divides itself naturally into four sub-periods:1. From 1517 to the Augsburg Diet and Augsburg Confession, 1530. 2. From 1530 to the so-called "Peace of Augsburg," 1555. 3. From 1555 to the "Formula of Concord," 1577, which completed the Lutheran system of doctrine, or 1580 (when the "Book of Concord" was published and enforced). 4. From 1580 to the conclusion of the Thirty Years’ War, 1648.
The Scandinavian Reformation followed closely in the path of the Lutheran Reformation of Germany, and extends, likewise, to the Thirty Years’ War, in which Gustavus Adolphus, of Sweden, took a leading part as defender of Protestantism. The Reformation triumphed in Sweden in 1527, in Denmark and Norway in 1537.
The Swiss Reformation was begun by Zwingli and completed by Calvin, and is accordingly divided into two acts: 1. The Reformation of German Switzerland to the death of Zwingli, 1517 to 1531. 2. The Reformation of French Switzerland to the death of Calvin, 1564, or we may say, to the death of Beza, 1605.
The introduction of the Reformed church into Germany, especially the Palatinate, falls within the second period.
In the stormy history of French Protestantism, the years 1559, 1598 and 1685, mark as many epochs. In 1559, the first national synod was held in Paris and gave the Reformed congregations a compact organization by the adoption of the Gallican Confession and the Presbyterian form of government. In 1598, the Reformed church secured a legal existence and a limited measure of freedom by the edict of Nantes, which King Henry IV. gave to his former fellow-religionists. But his bigoted grandson, Louis XIV., revoked the edict in 1685. Since that time the French Reformed church continued like a burning bush in the desert; while thousands of her sons reluctantly left their native land, and contributed, by their skill, industry and piety, to the prosperity of Switzerland, Holland, Germany, England, and North America.
The Reformation in Holland includes the heroic war of emancipation from the Spanish yoke and passed through the bloody bath of martyrdom, until after unspeakable sufferings under Charles V. and Philip II., the Utrecht Union of the seven Northern Provinces (formed in 1579), was reluctantly acknowledged by Spain in 1609. Then followed the internal theological war between Arminianism and Calvinism, which ended in the victory of the latter at the National Synod of Dort, 1619.
The progressive stages of the English Reformation, which followed a course of its own, were influenced by the changing policy of the rulers, and are marked by the reigns of Henry VIII., 1527–1547; of Edward VI., 1547–1553; the papal reaction and period of Protestant martyrdom under Queen Mary, 1553–1558; the re-establishment of Protestantism under Queen Elizabeth, 1558–1603. Then began the second Reformation, which was carried on by the people against their rulers. It was the struggle between Puritanism and the semi-popery of the Stuart dynasty. Puritanism achieved a temporary triumph, deposed and executed Charles I. and Archbishop Laud; but Puritanism as a national political power died with Cromwell, and in 1660 Episcopacy and the Prayer Book were restored under Charles II., till another revolution under William and Mary in 1688 made an end to the treacherous rule of the Stuarts and gave toleration to the Dissenters, who hereafter organized themselves in separate denominations, and represent the left wing of English Protestantism.
The Reformation in Scotland, under the lead of John Knox (1505–1572), the Luther of the North, completed its first act in 1567 with the legal recognition and establishment by the Scotch Parliament. The second act was a struggle with the papal reaction under Queen Mary of Scots, till 1590. The third act may be called the period of anti-Prelacy and union with English Puritanism, and ended in the final triumph of Presbyterianism in 1690. Since that time, the question of patronage and the relation of church and state have been the chief topics of agitation and irritation in the Church of Scotland and gave rise to a number of secessions; while the Westminster standards of faith and discipline have not undergone any essential alteration.
The Reformed faith secured a partial success and toleration in Poland, Hungary, Transylvania, Bohemia and Moravia, but suffered severely by the Jesuitical reaction, especially in Bohemia. In Italy and Spain the Reformation was completely suppressed; and it is only since the overthrow of the temporal rule of the Pope in 1871, that Protestants are allowed to hold public worship in Rome and to build churches or chapels.
§ 14. General Literature on the Reformation.
I. On The Protestant Side: (1) The works of the Reformers, especially Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Calvin, Cranmer, Knox. They will be quoted in the chapters relating to their history.
(2) Contemporary Historians: Joh. Sleidan (Prof. of law in Strassburg, d. 1556): De Statu Religionis et Reipublicae Carolo V. Caesare commentarii. Libri XXVI. Argentor. 1555 fol., best ed. by Am Ende, Francof. ad M. 1785–86, 3 vols. Engl. transl. by Bohun, London, 1689, 3 vols. fol. French transl. with the notes of Le Courayer, 1767. Embraces the German and Swiss Reformation.
The Annales Reformationis of Spalatin, and the Historia Reformationis of Fr. Myconius, refer only to the Lutheran Reformation. So, also, Löscher’s valuable collection of documents, 3 vols. See below § 15.
II. Roman Catholic: (1) Official documents. Leonis X. P. M. Regesta, ed. by Cardinal Hergenröther under the auspices of Pope Leo XIII., from the Vatican archives. Freiburg i. B. 1884 sqq., 12 fascic. The first three parts contain 384 pages to a.d. 1514.—Monumenta Reformationis Lutheranae ex tabulariis secretioribus S. Sedis, 1521–’25, ed. by Petrus Balan, Ratisbonae, 1884 (589 pages). Contains the acts relating to the Diet of Worms, with the reports of Aleander, the papal legate, and the letters of Clement VII. from 1523–’25. It includes a document of 1513, heretofore unknown, which disproves the illegitimate birth of Clement VII. and represents him as the son of Giuliano de Medici and his wife, Florets. Monumenta Saeculi XVI. Historiam illustrantia, ed. by Balan, vol. I. Oeniponte, 1885 (489 pages).
(2) Controversial writings: Joh. Eck (d. 1563): Contra Ludderum, 1530. 2 Parts fol. Polemical treatises on the Primacy, Penance, the Mass, Purgatory etc. Jo. Cochlaeus (canon of Breslau, d. 1552): Commentaria de Actis et Scriptis Lutheri ab Anno Dom. 1517 ad A. 1547 fideliter conscripta. Mogunt. 1549 fol.; Par. 1565; Colon. 1568.—Laur. Surius (a learned Carthusian, d. at Cologne, 1578): Commentarius rerum in orbe gestarum ab a. 1500–1564. Colon. 1567. Against Sleidan.
I. Protestant Works.
(1) The respective sections in the General Church Histories of Schröckh (Kirchengesch. seit der Reformation, Leipzig, 1804–’12, 10 vols.), Mosheim, Gieseler (Bd. III. Abth. I. and II., 1840 and 1852; Engl. transl. N. Y. vols. IV. and V., 1862 and 1880), Baur (Bd. IV. 1863), Hagenbach (vol. III., also separately publ. 4th ed. 1870; Engl. transl. by Miss Eveline Moore, Edinburgh, 1878, 2 vols.; especially good on the Zwinglian Reformation). More briefly treated in the compends of Guericke, Neidner, Hase (11th ed. 1886), Ebrard, Herzog (vol. IIIrd), Kurtz (10th ed. 887, vol. IInd).
All these works pay special attention to the Continental Reformation, but very little to that of England and Scotland.
Neander comes down only to 1430; his lectures on modern church history (which I heard in 1840) were never published. Gieseler’s work is most valuable for its literature down to 1852, and extracts from the sources, but needs an entire reconstruction, which is contemplated by Prof. Brieger at Leipzig.
(2) Jean Henri Merle d’aubigne (usually miscalled D’Aubigné, which is simply an addition indicating the place of his ancestors, d. 1872): Histoire de la reformation du 16. siècle, Paris, 1835–’53, 5 vols., 4th ed. 1861 sqq.; and Histoire de la réformation en Europe au temps du Calvin, Par., 1863–’78, 8 vols. (including a posthumous vol.). Also in German by Runkel (Stuttgart, 1848 sqq.), and especially in English (in several editions, some of them mutilated). Best Engl. ed. by Longman, Green & Co., London, 1865 sqq.; best Am. ed. by Carter, New York, 1870–’79, the first work in 5, the second in 8 vols. Merle’s History, owing to its evangelical fervor, intense Protestantism and dramatic eloquence, has had an enormous circulation in England and America through means of the Tract Societies and private publishers.
H. Stebbing: History of the Reformation, London, 1836, 2 vols.
G. Waddington (Anglican, d. 1869): A History of the Reformation on the Continent. London, 1841, 3 vols. (Only to the death of Luther, 1546.)
F. A. Holzhauzen: Der Protestantismus nach seiner geschichtl. Entstehung, Begründung und Fortbildung. Leipzig, 1846–’59, 3 vols. Comes down to the Westphalian Treaty. The author expresses his standpoint thus (III. XV.): "Die christliche Kirche ist ihrer Natur nach wesentlich Eine, und der kirchliche Auflösungs-process, welcher durch die Reformation herbeigeführt worden ist, kann keinen anderen Zweck haben, als ein neues höhes positives Kirchenthum herzustellen."
B. Ter Haar (of Utrecht) Die Reformationsgeschichte in Schilderungen. Transl. from the Dutch by C. Gross. Gotha, 5th ed. 1856, 2 vols.
Dan. Schenkel (d. 1885): Die Refomatoren und die Reformation. Wiesbaden. 1856. Das Wesen des Protestantismus aus den Quellen des Ref. zeitalters. Schaffhausen, 1862, 3 vols.
Charles Hardwick: (Anglican, d. 1859): A History of the Christian Church during the Reformation. Cambridge and London, 1856. Third ed. revised by W. Stubbs (bishop of Chester), 1873.
J. Tulloch: (Scotch Presbyt., d. 1886): Leaders of the Reformation: Luther, Calvin, Latimer, Knox. Edinb., 1859; 3d ed. 1883.
L. Häusser (d. 1867): Geschichte des Zeitalters der Reformation, 1517–1648. ed. by Oncken, Berlin, 1868 (867 pages). Abridged EngI. transl. by Mrs. Sturge, N. Y., 1874.
E. L. Th. Henke (d. 1872): Neuere Kirgesch. ed. by Dr. Gass, Halle, 1874, 2 vols. The first vol. treats of the Reformation.
Fr. Seebohm: The Era of the Protestant Revolution. London and N. York, 1874.
J. A. Wylie: History of Protestantism. London, 1875–77, 3 vols.
George P. Fisher (Prof. of Church History in Yale College): The Reformation. New York, 1873. A comprehensive work, clear, calm, judicial, with a useful bibliographical Appendix (p. 567–591).
J. M. Lindsay (Presbyt.): The Reformation. Edinb., 1882. (A mere sketch.)
Charles Beard (Unitarian): The Reformation in its relation to Modern Thought and Knowledge. Hibbert Lectures. London, 1883; 2d ed., 1885. Very able. German translation by F. Halverscheid. Berlin, 1884.
John F. Hurst (Method. Bishop): Short History of the Reformation. New York, 1884 (125 pages).
Ludwig Keller: Die Reformation und die älteren Reformparteien. Leipz., 1885 (516 pages). In sympathy with the Waldenses and Anabaptists.
Two series of biographies of the Reformers, by a number of German scholars the Lutheran series in 8 vols., Elberfeld, 1861–’75, and the Reformed (Calvinistic) series in 10 vols., Elberfeld, 1857–’63. The Lutheran series was introduced by Nitzsch, the Reformed by Hagenbach. The several biographies will be mentioned in the proper places.
(3) For the general history of the world and the church during and after the period of the Reformation, the works of Leopold von Ranke (d. 1886) are of great importance, namely: Fürsten und Völker von Südeuropa im 16. und 17. Jahrh. (Berlin 1827, 4th ed. enlarged 1877); Geschichten der romanischen und germanischen Völker von 1494–1514 (3d ed. 1885); Die römischen Päpste, ihre Kirche und ihr Staat im 16. und 17. Jahrh. (Berlin, 8th ed. 1885, 3 vols. Engl. trans. by Sarah Austin, Lond. 4th ed. 1867, 3 vols.); Französische Geschichte im 16. und 17. Jahrh. (Stuttgart, 1852, 4th ed. 1877, 6 vols.); Englische Geschichte vornehmlich im 16. u. 17. Jahrh. (4th ed. 1877, 6 vols.; Engl. transl. publ. by the Clarendon Press); and especially his classical Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation (Berlin, 1839–’43, 6th ed. 1880–’82, in 6 vols.; transl. in part by S. Austin, 1845–’47, 3 vols.). Ranke is a master of objective historiography from the sources in artistic grouping of the salient points, and is in religious and patriotic sympathy with the German Reformation; while yet he does full justice to the Catholic church and the papacy as a great power in the history of religion and civilization. In his 85th year he began to dictate in manly vigor a Universal History down to the time of Emperor Henry IV. and Pope Gregory VII., 1881–86; to which were added 2 posthumous vols. by Dove and Winter, 1888, 9 vols. in all. His library was bought for the University in Syracuse, N. Y.
For the general literature see Henry Hallam: Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the 15th, 16th, and 17th Centuries. London, 1842, etc. N. York ed., 1880, in 4 vols.
II. Roman Catholic Works.
(1) The respective sections in the General Church Histories of Möhler (d. 1838, ed. from lectures by Gams, Regensburg, 1867–1868, 3 vols.; the third vol. treats of the Reformation), Alzog (10th ed. 1882, 2 vols.; Engl. transl. by Pabish and Byrne, Cincinnati, 1874 sqq., 3 vols.), Kraus (2d ed. 1882), and Cardinal Hergenröther (third ed. 1885). Comp. also, in part, the Histories of the Council of Trent by Sarpi (d. 1623), and Pallavicini (d. 1667).
(2) Thuanus (De Thou, a moderate Catholic, d. 1617); Historiarum sui Temporis libri 138. Orleans (Geneva), 1620 sqq., 5 vols. fol. and London, 1733, 7 vols. fol.; French transl. London, 1734, 16 vols. 4to. Goes from 1546 to 1607.
Louis Maimbourg (Jesuit, d. at Paris, 1686): Histoire du Lutheranisme Paris, 1680; Histoire du Calvinisme, 1682. Controversial, and inspired by partisan zeal; severely handled by R. Bayle in his Critique générale de l’histoire du Calvinisme de M., Amsterd., 1684.
Bp. Bossuet (d. 1704): Histoire des variations des églises protestantes. Paris, 1688, 2 vols. and later edd., also in his collected works, 1819 sqq. and 1836 sqq. English transl., Dublin, 1829, 2 vols. German ed. by Mayer, Munich. 1825, 4 vols. A work of great ability, but likewise polemical rather than historical. It converted Gibbon to Romanism, but left him at last a skeptic, like Bayle, who was, also, first a Protestant, then a Romanist for a short season.
Kaspar Riffel: Kirchengesch. Der Neusten Zeit. Mainz, 1844–47, 3 vols.
Martin John Spalding (since 1864 Archbishop of Baltimore, d. 1872): History of the Protest. Reformation in Germany and Switzerland, and in England, Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands, France., and Northern Europe. Louisville, 1860; 8th ed., revised and enlarged. Baltimore, 1875, 2 vols. No Index. Against Merle D’Aubigné. The Archbishop charges D’Aubigné (as he calls him) with being a "bitter partisan, wholly unreliable as an historian," and says of his work that it is "little better than a romance," as he "omits more than half the facts, and either perverts or draws on his imagination for the remainder." His own impartiality and reliableness as an historian may be estimated from the following judgments of the Reformers: "Luther, while under the influence of the Catholic Church, was probably a moderately good man; he was certainly a very bad one after he left its communion "(I. 72)."Heu! quantum mutatus ab illo!" (77). "His violence often drove him to the very verge of insanity .... He occasionally inflicted on Melanchthon personal chastisement" (87). Spalding quotes from Audin, his chief authority (being apparently quite ignorant of German): "Luther was possessed not by one, but by a whole troop of devils" (89). Zwingli (or Zuingle, as he calls him) he charges with "downright paganism" (I. 175), and makes fun of his marriage and the marriages of the other Reformers, especially Bucer, who "became the husband of no less than three ladies in succession: and one of them had been already married three times—all too, by a singular run of good luck, in the reformation line" (176). And this is all that we learn of the Reformer of Strassburg. For Calvin the author seems to draw chiefly on the calumnies of Audin, as Audin drew on those of Bolsec. He describes him as "all head and no heart;" "he crushed the liberties of the people in the name of liberty;" "he combined the cruelty of Danton and Robespierre with the eloquence of Murat and Mirabeau, though he was much cooler, and therefore more successful than any one of them all; he was a very Nero." Spalding gives credit to Bolsec’s absurd stories of the monstrous crimes and horrible death of Calvin, so fully contradicted by his whole life and writings and the testimonies of his nearest friends, as Beza, Knox, etc. (I. 375, 384, 386, 388, 391). And such a work by a prelate of high character and position seems to be the principal source from which American Roman Catholics draw their information of the Reformation and of Protestantism!
The historico-polemical works of Döllinger and Janssen belong to the history of
the German Reformation and will be noticed in the next section.
* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.
1 We say "one flock" (miva poivmnh) not "one fold" (which would require miva aujlhv). The latter is a strange mistranslation which has passed from the Latin version (ovile) into King James’s version, and has often been abused as an argument for the papacy and ecclesiastical uniformity. It is corrected in the Revision. The two flocks, Jews and Gentiles, became one flock in the one Shepherd (poivmhn), not by entrance into the aujlhv of the Jews. There may be one flock in many folds or ecclesiastical organizations. The prophecy was no doubt already fulfilled in the Apostolic Church (Eph. 2:11-22), but awaits a higher fulfillment when "the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and all Israel shall be saved." Rom. 11:25, 26.
2 In his Narrenbeschwörung (1512):
"Aber seit der Teufel hat
Den Adel bracht in Kirchenstat,
Seit man kein’ Bischof mehr will han
Er sei denn ganz ein Edelmann ," etc.
3 So Bellarmine and Bossuet. Möhler also (in his Kirchengesch. III. 99) says: "We do not believe that the period before the Reformation was a flourishing period of church history, for we hear from it a thousand voices for a reformation in the head and members (wir hören aus derselben den tausendstimmigen Ruf nach einer Verbesserung anHaupt und Gliedern uns entgegentönen)" Even Janssen, the eulogist of mediaeval Germany, devotes the concluding section of the first volume of his Geschichte des deutschen Volkes (p. 594-613) to a consideration of some of the crying evils of those times.
4 Sess. I. (held Dec. 13, 1545): "ad extirpationem haeresium , ad pacem et unionem ecclessiae, ad reformationem cleri et populi Christiani." See Smets, Concilii Trident. Canones et Decreta, p.10.
5 "Ad plurimas et perniciosissimas haereses extirpandas, ad corrigendos mores, et restituendam ecclesiasticam disciplinam" etc. See Smets, l.c. 209.
6 What Dr. Baur, the critical Tübingen historian, says of Luther, is equally applicable to all the other Reformers: "Dass für Luther die Reformation zur eigensten Sache seines Herzens geworden war, dass er sie in ihrem reinsten religiösen Interesse auffasste, getrennt von allen ihr fremdartigen blos äusserlichen Motiven, dass es ihm um nichts anderes zu thun war, alsum die Sache des Evangeliums und seinerseligmachenden Kraft, wie er sie an sich selbst in seinem innern Kampf um die Gewissheit der Sündenvergebung erfahren hatte, diess ist es, was ihn zum Reformator machte."Gesch. der Christl. Kirche, vol. IV. 5 (ed. by his son, 1863). Froude says of Luther: "He revived and maintained the spirit of piety and reverence in which, and by which alone, real progress is possible."Luther, Preface, p. vi.
7 German writers distinguish usually two principles of the Reformation, the authority of the Scriptures, and justification by faith, and call the first the formal principle (or Erkenntnissprincip, principium cognoscendi), the second the material principle (principium essendi); the third they omit, except Kahnis, who finds a third principle in the idea of the invisible church, and calls this the Kirchenprincip. The Lutheran Church gives to the doctrine of justification by faith the first place; and the Formula of Concord calls it "articulus praecipuus in tota doctrina Christiana." But the Reformed confessions give the first place to the doctrine of the normative authority of Scripture, from which alone all articles of faith are to be derived, and they substitute for the doctrine of justification by faith the ulterior and wider doctrine of election and salvation by free grace through faith. The difference is characteristic, but does not affect the essential agreement.
8 Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, II. 218; Köllner, Symbolik II. 351, sqq.; Hase, Handbuch der Protestant. Polemik, fourth ed., 1878, p. 68 sqq. There were indeed vernacular translations of the Bible long before the Reformation; but it is a most astounding exaggeration when Perrone, as quoted by Hase, asserts (Praelect. Theol. III. § 317): "Per idem tempus 800plus minus editiones Bibliorum aut N. T. ante Reformationem prodierant, ac per universam Europam catholicam circumferebantur, antequam vel protestantis nomen agnosceretur. Et ex his 200 versiones in linguis vernaculis diversarum gentium omnium manibus libere versabantur."
9 See L. Van Ess,Auszüge über das nothwendige und nützliche Bibellesen aus den Kirchenvätern und anderen kathol. Schriften, second ed., 1816; also the preface to his translation of the New Testament.
10 Only in this sense can it be called Augustinian; for otherwise Augustin’s conception of justificatio is catholic, and he identifies it with sanctificatio. Moreover he widely differs from the Protestant conception of the church and its authority. Luther felt the difference in his later years.
11 Articuli Smalcaldici, p. 305 (ed. Rechenb., or 310 ed. Müller): "De hoc articulo [solam fidem nos justificare] cedere or aliquid contra illum largiri aut permittere nemo piorum potest etiamsi coelum et terra et omnia corruant. (Acts 4:12; Isa. 53:3). Et in hoc articulo sita sunt et consistunt omnia, quae contra papam, diabolum et universum mundum in vita nostra docemus, testamur et agimus. Quare opportet nos de hac doctrina esse certos, et minime dubitare, alioquin actum est prorsus, et papa et diabolus et omnia adversa jus et victoriam contra nos obtinent." Luther inserted in his translation of Rom. 3:28, the word allein (sola fide, hence the term solifidianism), and the revised Probebibel of 1883 retained it. On the exegetical questions involved, see my annotations to Lange on Romans 3:28.
12 The weight of Döllinger’s three volumes on the Reformation (1848) consists in the collection of such unfavorable testimonies from the writings of Erasmus, Wizel, Haner, Wildenauer, Crotus Rubeanus, Biblicanus, Staupitz, Amerpach, Pirkheimer, Zasius, Frank, Denk, Hetzer, Schwenkfeld, Luther, Melanchthon, Spalatin, Bugenhagen, and others. They give, indeed, a very gloomy, but a very one-sided picture of the times. Janssen makes good use of these testimonies. But both these Catholic historians whose eminent learning is undeniable, wrote with a polemic aim, and make the very truth lie by omitting the bright side of the Reformation. Comp. on this subject the controversial writings of Köstlin and Ebrard against Janssen, and Janssen’s replies, An meine Kritiker, Freiburg i. B. 1883 (Zehntes Tausend, 227 pages), and Ein zweites Wort an meine Kritiker, Freib. 1883 (Zwölftes Tausend, 144 pages).
13 Even Janssen admits this, but is silent about the greater corruption in Rome. See his Geschichte des Deutschen Volkes I. 375 sqq. Comp. his Ein zweites Wort an meine Kritiker, p. 82.
14 "I am the tradition" (la tradizione son io), said Pope Pius IX., during the Vatican Council which substituted an infallible papacy for an infallible council, in conflict both with oecumenical councils and popes who officially denounced Pope Honorius III. as a Monotheletic heretic. See vol. IV. 500 sqq.
15 This charge is sanctioned by several papal Encyclicals; it is implied, negatively, in the Syllabus of Pius IX. (1864), and, positively, though cautiously, in the Encyclical of Leo XIII Immortale Dei (Nov. 1, 1885), which characterizes the Reformation movements (without naming them) as "those pernicious and deplorable revolutionary tendencies which were aroused in the sixteenth century, and which, after introducing confusion into Christendom, soon, by a natural course, entered the domain of philosophy, and from philosophy into all the lines of civil society. Hasak, in his book—Dr. M. Luther (Regensburg, 1881), takes as his motto: " Be reconciled to the Church of God, the old mother church, which, for these eighteen hundred years, has been the preserver of the eternal truth, before the bloody flood of atheism and the socialistic republic breaks upon us as a true judgment of the world."
16 "Scripturae sacrae testimoniis vel evidenti ratione," or "evidentissimis rationibus; in the German form, as repeated by him on the occasion, "durch Zeugnisse der heil. Schrift und durch helle Gründe."See Köstlin II. 452 sq. and 800. The words seem to assign to reason an independent position by, the side of the Scriptures, but in case of conflict Luther always allowed the decision to the Scriptures.
17 Briefe, ed. de Wette, III. 189: "Ego sane ... plus tota hebdomada in morte et inferno jactatus, ita ut toto corpore laesus adhuc tremam membris," etc. Comp. Luther’s letters to Spalatin, July 10th and Aug. 19th, 1527, l.c. III. 187, 191.
18 He called reason "the mistress of the devil,"" the ugly devil’s bride,"" a poisonous beast with many dragons’ heads," "God’s bitterest enemy." The coarsest invective against this gift of God is found in the last sermon he preached at Wittenberg, in the year of his death (1546), on Rom. 12:3. He here represents reason as the fountain of gross and subtle idolatry, and says: Wucherei, Säuferei, Ehebruch, Mord, Todtschlag, etc., die kann man merken, und verstehet auch die Welt, dass sie Sünde sein; aber des Tuefels Braut, Ratio, die shöne Metze, fähret herein, und will klug sein, und was sie saget, meinet sie, es sei der heilige Geist; wer will da helfen? Weder Jurist, Medicus, noch König oder Kaiser. Denn es ist die höchste Hure die der Teufel hat!’ And again:" Derohalben wie ein junger Gesell muss der bösen Lust wehren, ein Alter dem Geiz: also ist die Vernunft von Art und Natur eine, schädliche Hure."... " Die Vernunft ist und soll in der Taufe ersäuft sein."" Höre auf, du verfluchte Hure; willst du Meisterin sein über den Glauben, welcher sagt, dass im Abendmahl des Herrn sei der wahre Leib und das wahre Blut; item dass die Taufe nicht schlecht Wasser ist ... Diesem Glauben muss die Vernunft unterthan und gehorsam sein."And much of the same sort, with vehement denunciations of the Schwärmergeister and Sacramentirer (the sectaries and Zwinglians). See Werke, ed. Walch XII. col. 1530 sqq. It is noteworthy that Luther first abused reason in his book on the Slavery of the Human Will against the semi-Pelagianism of Erasmus. But his assaults on Aristotle and the scholastic theology began several years earlier, before 1517.
19 Luther felt this when he told him at Marburg: "You have a different spirit."
20 Comp. here the Critical Introductions to the Bible, and especially Reuss, Histoire du Canon des Saintes Écritures, Strasbourg, 1863. Ch. XVI. p. 308 sqq.; Hunter’s Engl. transl. (1884) p. 290 sqq.
21 Sess. IV. (April 8th, 1546): "Si quis autem libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt, et in veteri Vulgata Latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit et traditiones praedictas sciens et prudens contempserit, anathema sit." Schaff, Creeds II. 82. There were, however, protesting voices in the council: some desired to recognize the old distinction between Homologumena and Antilegomena; others simply an enumeration of the sacred books used in the Catholic church, without a dogmatic definition. Sarpi censures the council for its decision, and there are Catholic divines (as Sixtus Senensis, Du Pin, Jahn), who, in spite of the decision, make a distinction between protocanonical and deuterocanonical books.
22 "This," he says in the Preface to the Epistle of James, " is the true touchstone (der rechte Prüfstein) of all books, whether they make Christ their sole topic and aim" [literally " drive Christ,"Christum treiben], " or not; since all Scripture shows Christ (Rom. 3), and St. Paul wishes to know nothing but Christ (1 Cor. 2). That which does not teach Christ is not apostolic, though St. Peter and Paul should teach it; again, that which preaches Christ is apostolic, though Judas, Annas, Pilate and Herod should say it."The devil himself can quote Scripture.
23 In this distinction Carlstadt had preceded him in his book, De Canon. Scripturis (Wittenb. 1520, reprinted in Credner’s Zur Gesch. des Kanons, 1847, p. 291-412). Carlstadt divided the books of the canon into three ordines: (1) libri summae dignitatis (the Pentateuch, though not written by Moses, and the Gospels); (2) secundae dignitatis (the Prophets and 15 Epistles); (3) tertiae dignitatis (the Jewish Hagiographa and the seven Antilegomena of the New Testament).
24 He rejects the epistle first of all, "because it gives righteousness to works in flat contradiction to Paul and all other Scriptures;" secondly, "because, while undertaking to teach Christian people, it does not once mention the passion, the resurrection, the Spirit of Christ; it names Christ twice, but teaches nothing about him; it calls the law a law of liberty, while Paul calls it a law of bondage, of wrath, of death and of sin." He offered his doctor’s cap to any who could harmonize James and Paul on the subject of justification, and jests about the trouble Melanchthon took to do it. He made the contradiction unnecessarily stronger by inserting his allein (sola) before durch den Glauben in Rom. 3:28. He first attacked the Epistle of James in his book De Captivitate Babylonica, in 1520, where he calls it an epistle unworthy of the apostolical spirit. Carlstadt seems to have fallen out with Luther in the same year on this question; for he defended the Epistle against the frivola argumenta of a bonus sacerdos amicitiae nostrae (who can be no other than Luther), in his book De canonicis Scripturis, Wittenbergae, 1520.
25 The comparison must not be overlooked. He says: gegen sie, i.e., as compared with the Epistles of Paul, Peter and John, previously mentioned. See the passage in full below. He could not be blind to the merits of James as a fresh, vigorous teacher of practical Christianity.
26 Bleek, de Wette, Tholuck, Lünemann, Kendrick (in Lange), Hilgenfeld, de Pressensé, Davidson, Alford, Farrar, and others.
27 See note at the end of this section. His Table Talk contains bold and original utterances on Esther, Ecclesiastes and other books of the Old Testament; see Reuss on the Canon, 330 sqq. While Luther on the one hand limited the canon, he seemed disposed on the other hand to extend it, when he declared Melanchthon’s Loci Theologici to be worthy of a place in the canon. But this was merely an extravagant compliment.
28 Comp. his comments on the allegory of Sarah and Hagar in his Latin Com. on Gal. 3:25 (Erl. ed. II. 252).
29 Brentius, Flacius, Urbanus Regius, the authors of the Magdeburg Centuries, and Chemnitz.
30 None of the symbolical books of the Lutheran church gives a list of the canon, but the Formula of Concord (p. 570) declares that the "prophetica et apostolica scripta V. et N. T. " are the "unica regula et norma secundum quam omnia dogmata omnesque doctores aestimari et judicari opporteat."
31 "Us Apocalypsi nehmend wir kein Kundschafft an, denn es nit ein biblisch Buch ist." Werke, ed. Schuler and Schulthess, II. 1. p. 169. In another place he says: "Apocal. liber non sapit os et ingenium Joannis." De clar. Verbi Dei, p. 310.
32 See Reuss, p. 315 sq. Eng. ed.
33 In the introduction to his Com. on Hebrews: "Ego ut Paulum auctorem agnoscam adduci nequeo." His reasons are, the difference of style and of the docendi ratio, and because the writer counts himself with the disciples of the Apostles (Heb. 2:3); but nevertheless he accepts the book as inspired and canonical, because it more clearly than any other book treats of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ.
34 In Argum. Ep. Sec. Petri, he notes "manifestum discrimen" between the first and second Epistle, and adds: "Sunt et aliae probabiles conjecturae ex quibus colligere licet alterius esse potius quam Petri," but he sees in it, "nihil Petro indignum"
35 The Second Helvetic confession, c. 1 and 2, and the Belgic Confession, art. 5, combine the testimony of tradition and that of the Holy Spirit, but lay chief stress upon the latter. So the Gallican Conf., art. 4: "We know these books to be canonical and the sure rule of our faith, not so much by the common accord and consent of the church (non tant par le, commun a ord et consentement de l’eglise), as by the testimony and inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to distinguish them from other ecclesiastical books, upon which, however useful, we cannot found any articles of faith." The Westminster Confession, ch. I. 4, sets aside the testimony of tradition, saying: "The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God." The Scripture proofs given are, 2 Pet. 1:19, 21; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 5:9; 1 Thess. 2:13; but they have no bearing upon the question of canonicity.
36 "Ego evangelio non crederem, nisi me moveret ecclesiae auctoritas," Contra Ep. Fundam., c. 5. A thoroughly Roman catholic principle in opposition to the Manichaen heresy. But the testimony of the church is indispensable only in the history of the origin of the several books, and the formation of the canon.
37 Thus Mark is regarded by many Rationalists as the primitive Gospel based on Peter’s sermons. Matthew has received valuable testimonies from the discovery of the Greek Barnabas who quotes him twice, and from the discovery of the Didache of the Apostles, which contains about twenty reminiscences from the first Gospel. On the Johannean question the Tübingen critics have been forced to retreat from 170 to 140, 120, 110, almost to the life time of John. The Acts have received new confirmation of their historical credibility from the excavations in Cyprus and Ephesus, and the minute test of the nautical vocabulary of chapter 27 by an experienced seaman. On all these points see the respective sections in the first volume of this History, ch. XII. p. 569 sqq.; 715 sqq.; 731 sqq; and 853 sqq.
38 Denominationalism is, I believe, an American term of recent origin, but useful and necessary to express the fact, without praise or blame, that Protestant Christianity exists in various ecclesiastical organizations, some of which are large, others small, some differing in doctrine, others only in polity and worship, some liberal and catholic, others contracted and exclusive. I use it in this neutral sense, in preference to Confessionalism which implies confessional or doctrinal difference, and Sectarianism which implies bigotry and is a term of reproach.
39 The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, as revised under Elizabeth (1563 and 1571), are borrowed in part, verbatim, from the Augsburg Confession of 1530 and the Würtemberg Confession of 1552, but are moderately Calvinistic in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, and on predestination; the five Lambeth Articles of 1595, and the Irish Articles of Archbishop Ussher (1615) are strongly Calvinistic, and the latter furnished the basis of the Westminster Confession. But the Lambeth Articles and the Irish Articles were gradually forgotten, and the Book of Common Prayer which is based on the office of Sarum, has practically much greater influence than even the Thirty-nine Articles. See Schaff, Creeds of Christendom vol. I. 624 sqq., 630 sqq., 658 sqq., 662 sqq.
40 See the correspondence in Cranmer’s Works publ. by the Parker Society, Vol.II. 430-433.
41 Froude says (Luther, p. 38): "The appearance of Luther before the Diet on this occasion, is one of the finest, perhaps it is the very finest, scene in human history."
42 Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Lactantius made some of the strongest pleas in favor of religious liberty. See vol. II. 35 and 825.
43 Ecclesia non sitit sanguinem,"a maxim held by the Catholic church even in the darkest days of persecution. When the first blood of heretics was shed by order of the Emperor Maximus who punished some Priscillianists in Spain by the sword in 388, St. Ambrose of Milan and St. Martin of Tours loudly protested against the cruelty and broke off communion with the bishops who had approved it.
44 Ex. 22:20; Num. 25:2-8; Deut. 13:1-14; 17:2-5; Lev. 24:14-16; comp. 1 Kings 21:10, 13. The law was executed against Stephen, the protomartyr, Acts 6:11, 13; 7:58.
45 He begins his anti-Manichaean work, Adv. Epistolam Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti, written in 397, with these noble Christian sentiments: "My prayer to the one true, almighty God, of whom and by whom and in whom are all things, has been and is now, that in opposing and refuting the heresy of you Manichaeans, as you may after all be heretics more from thoughtlessness than from malice, He would give me a calm and composed mind, aiming at your recovery rather than your discomfiture. For, while the Lord by his servants overthrows the kingdoms of error, his will concerning erring men, as far as they are men, is that they should be restored rather than destroyed. And in every case where, previous to the final judgment, God inflicts punishment ... we must believe that the designed effect is the recovery of men, and not their ruin; while there is a preparation for the final doom in the case of those who reject the means of recovery," And in ch. 3 he says to the Manichaeeans, remembering his own former connection with them: I can on no account treat you angrily; for I must bear with you now as formerly I had to bear with myself, and I must be as patient with you as my associates were with me, when I went madly and blindly astray in your beliefs."
46 De Correct. Donatist, c. 6, § 24: "The Lord himself (Luke 14:23) bids the guests in the first instance to be invited to His great supper, and afterwards to be compelled." He understands the highways and hedges of the parable to mean heresies and schisms, and the Supper of the Lord to mean the unity of the body of Christ in the sacrament of the altar and the bond of peace. He says (ch. 7, § 25) that when the imperial laws against heresy first were sent to Africa he with certain brethren opposed their execution, but afterwards justified them as a measure of catholic self-defense against the fanatical violence of the Donatists. The result was, that both Catholics and Donatists were overwhelmed in ruin by the Vandal conquerors, who were Arian heretics.
47 "Credere non potest homo nisi volens." See his Tract. XXVI. in Joan. c. 2, where he says: "A man can come to church unwillingly, can approach the altar unwillingly, partake of the sacrament unwillingly; but he can not believe unless he is willing. If we believed with the body, men might be made to believe against their will. But believing is not a thing done with the body." I am pleased to find an approving reference to this sentence in the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII. of Nov. 1, 1885.
48 In a letter to Proconsul Donatus (Ep. C.) he adjured him by Jesus Christ, not to repay the Donatists in kind, and says: "Corrigi eos cupimus, non necari."
49 Summa Theol. Secunda Secundae, Quaest. x., Art. 11.
50 Ibid. Quaest. xi., Art. 3, where he says of heretics: "Meruerunt non solum ab ecclesia per excommunicationem seperari, sed etiam per mortem a mundo excludi ... Si falsarii pecuniae vel alii malefactores statim per saeculares principes juste morti traduntur, multo magis haeretici statim ex quo de haerisi convincuntur, possunt non solum excommunicari, sed et juste occidi."
51 Gibbon asserts that "the number of Protestants who were executed [by the Spaniards] in a single province and a single reign, far exceeded that of the primitive martyrs in the space of three centuries, and in the Roman empire?" Decline and Fall, Ch. xvi., towards the close. Grotius, to whom he refers, states that the number of Dutch martyrs exceeded 100,000; Sarpi reduces the number to 50,000. Alva himself boasted that during his six years’ rule as the agent of Philip II., he had caused 18,000 persons to be executed, but this does not include the much larger number of those who perished by siege, battle, and in prisons. At the sack of Haarlem, 300 citizens, tied two and two and back to back, were thrown into the lake, and at Zutphen 500 more, in the same manner, were drowned in the Yssel. See Motley’, Rise of the Dutch Republic, vol. II. 504: "The barbarities committed amid the sack and ruin of those blazing and starving cities are almost beyond belief; unborn infants were torn from the living bodies of their mothers; women and children were violated by the thousands; and whole populations burned and hacked to pieces by soldiers in every mode which cruelty, in its wanton ingenuity, could devise."
52 See De Thou, Hist. lib. LXIII.; Gieseler, IV. 304 (Am. ed,); Wachler, Die Pariser Bluthochzeit., 2d ed., Leipzig, 1828; Henry White, Massacre of St. Bartholomew, N. Y., 1868; Henry M. Baird, History of the Rise of the Huguenots, New York, 1879; Henri Bordier, La Saint-Barthélemy et la Critique moderne, Paris, 1879; H. Baumgarten, Vor der Bartholomaeusnacht, Strassburg, 1882. The number of victims of that massacre in Paris and throughout France, is variously stated from 10,000 to 100,000; De Thou and Ranke give 20,000 as the most moderate estimate (2,000 in Paris). Roman Catholic writers defend the pope on the ground of ignorance; but he had abundant time to secure full information from his nuncio and others before the medals were struck. It is said that Philip II. of Spain, for the first time in his life, laughed aloud when he heard of the massacre.
53 See the French histories of Martin, Benoit, Michelet, De Félice, Ranke, Soldan, Von Polenz, and other works quoted by H. M. Baird in Schaff-Herzog II., 1037. The number of French refugees is estimated as high as 800,000; Baird reduces it to 400,000. Martin thinks, that taking all in all, "France lost the activity of more than a million of men, and of the men that produced most." Many of the descendants of the refugees whom the Elector Frederic William of Prussia so hospitably invited to Berlin, fought against France in the Napoleonic wars, and aided in the terrible retribution of 1870.
54 Among the errors condemned are these, § X., 78 and 79: "In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion shall be held as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all other modes of worship.""Whence it has been wisely provided by law, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own worship." The condemnation of toleration implies the approval of intolerance. See Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, II., 232. Janssen, while he condemns the Protestant persecutions of Catholics, approves the Catholic persecutions of Protestants in the time of the Reformation. He says: "Für die katholische Geistlichkeit, die katholischen Fürsten und Magistrate und das katholsche Volk war es ein Kampf der Sebsterhaltung, wenn sie Alles aufboten, um dem Protestantismus den Eingang in ihre Gebiete zu wehren und ihn, wenn er eingedrungen war, daraus wieder zu entfernen." -Geschichte des deutschen Volkes, III., 193.
55 After glorifying the Middle Ages and the hierarchical rule of the church over the state, Leo XIII. in that Encyclical proceeds to say: "No doubt the same excellent state of things would have continued, if the agreement of the two powers had continued, and greater things might rightfully have been expected, if men had obeyed the authority, the teaching office, and the counsels of the church with more fidelity and perseverance. For that is to be regarded as a perpetual law which Ivo, of Chartres, wrote to Pope Paschal II.: ’When kingship and priesthood are agreed, the world is well ruled, the church flourishes and bears fruit. But when they are at variance, not only do little things not grow, but even great things fall into miserable ruin and decay.’ " Then the pope rejects among the evil consequences of the "revolution" of the sixteenth century (meaning, of course, the Reformation) the erroneous opinion that "no religion should be publicly professed [by the state]; nor ought one to be preferred to the rest; nor ought there to be any inquiry which of many is alone true; nor ought one to be specially favored, but to each alike equal rights ought to be assigned, provided only, that the social order incurs no injury from them." This is probably aimed at Italy and France, but implies also a condemnation of the separation of church and state as it exists in the United States. Further on, the pope approvingly refers to the Encyclical Mirari Vos of Gregory XVI. (Aug. 15, 1832), which condemns the separation of church and state, and to the Syllabus of Pius IX., who "noted many false opinions and ordered them to be collected together in order that in so great a conflux of errors Catholics might have something which they might follow without stumbling."
56 Thus, in 1852, the Madiai family were imprisoned in Florence for holding prayer meetings and reading the Bible, and in 1853, Matamoras, Carrasco and their friends were imprisoned and condemned to the galleys at Madrid for the same offense, and were only released after a powerful protest of an international deputation of the Evangelical Alliance. No public worship except the Roman Catholic was tolerated in the city of Rome before 1870.
57 See his tract, written in 1523, Von weltlicher Obrigkeit, wie weit man ihr Gehorsam schuldig sei? In Walch X. 426-479, especially the second part, col. 451 sqq. "Der Seelen kann und soll niemand gebieten, er wisse denn ihr den Weg zu weisen gen Himmel. Das kann aber kein Mensch thun, sondern Gott allein. Darum in den Sachen, die der Seelen Seligkeit betreffen, soll nichts denn Gottes Wort gelehret und angenommenwerden" (453). Es ist ein frei Werk um den Glauben, dazu man niemand kann zwingen ... Zum Glauben kann und soll man niemand zwingen" (455 sq.). He justly confines the duty of obedience taught in Rom. 13:1, and 1 Pet. 2:13, to secular matters, and qualifies them by Matt. 22:21.
58 Von der Wiedertaufe, an zwei Pfarrherrn, written in Dec., 1527 or Jan., 1528, and addressed to two pastors in a Roman Catholic country (probably under the rule of Duke George of Saxony). See Walch XVII., 2644, and the Erl. Frankf. ed. xxvi., or of the Reformations-historische Schriften III. (2d ed. 1885), p. 283, from which I quote the whole passage: "Doch ist’s nicht recht, und ist mir wahrlich leid, dass man solche elende Lente so jämmerlich ermordet, verbrennet und greulich umbringt; man sollte, ja einen jeglichen lassen gläuben, was er wollt. Gläubet er unrecht, so hat er gnug Strafen an dem ewigen Feur in der Höllen. Warumb will man sie denn auch noch zeitlich martern, so ferne sie allein im Glauben irren, und nicht auch daneben aufruhrisch oder sonst der Oeberkeit widerstreben? Lieber Gott, wie bald ists geschehen, dass einer irre wird und dem Teufel in Strick fället! Mit der Schrift und Gottes Wort sollt man ihn wehren und widerstehen; mit Feuer wird man wenig ausrichten."
59 Briefe, de Wette III., 347 sq.: "Quod quaeris, an liceat magistratui accidere pseudoprophetas? Ego ad judiciam sanguinis tardus sum, etiam ubi meritum abundat ... Nullo modo possum admittere, falsos doctores occidi; satis est eos relegari." He gives as a reason that the law of the death penalty among the Jews and Papists was made a pretext for killing true prophets and saints.
60 His coarse attack on Henry VIII., "by God’s disfavor (or disgrace, Ungnade) king of England," is well known. In his book, Von weltlicher Obrigkeit, which is dedicated to his own prince, Duke John, he ventures the opinion that wise and pious rulers have from the beginning of the world been rare birds, and that princes are usually the greatest fools or worst boobies on earth (sie sind gemeiniglich die grössten Narren oder die ärgsten Buben auf Erden). Walch X., 460 and 464."Es sind gar wenig Fürsten, die man nicht für Narren und Buben hält. Das macht, sie bewiesen sich auch also, und der gemeine Mann wird verständig."Ibid., 464.
61 In a letter to Albrecht of Brandenburg, a. 1532, after he heard of Zwingli’s death. De Wette IV., 349-355. In the same letter he speaks of Zwingli’s salvation only problematically, as having possibly occurred in the last moment! He lays there the greatest stress on the real presence as a fundamental article of faith.
62 See his tract entitled Dass Jesus Christus ein geborner Jude sei, in the Erl. Frkf. ed. Bd. XIX., p. 45-75. He says that if I were a Jew and suffered what the Jews had to suffer from popes, bishops and monks, "so wäre ich eher eine Sau worden denn ein Christ. Denn sie haben mit den Juden gehandelt, als wären es Hunde, und nicht Menschen" (p. 47).
63 Von den Jüden und ihren Lügen, Wittenb., 1543, and Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi, Wittenb., 1543. In the Erl. Frkf. ed. Bd. XXXII., 99-274, and 275-358.
64 "Ein Jüde oder jüdisch Herz ist so stock-stein-eisen-teufel-hart, dass es mit keiner Weise zu bewegen ist ... Summa, es sind junge Teufel, zur Höllen verdammt" (l.c. p. 276). He had no hope of the future conversion of the Jews, which some justly derived from Rom. 11, but "St. Paulus meinet gar viel ein Anderes" (277).
65 "Vermahnung wider die Jüden," 1546, Erl. ed. LXV., 186-188. He concludes: Wollen sich die Jüden zu uns bekehren und von ihrer Lästerung und was sie uns sonst gethan haben, aufhören, so wollen wir es ihnen gerne vergeben: wo aber nicht, so sollen wir sie auch bei uns nicht dulden noch leiden."This reminds one of the way in which Prince Bismarck in the year 1886 proposed to deal with the Poles in Posen as enemies of Prussia and Germany: to buy them out, and expel them from the land of their birth. In several other respects, both favorable and unfavorable, that great statesman may be called the political Luther of the nineteenth century.
66 Corpus Reform. Opera Mel. VIII., 362. Comp. H. Tollin, Ph. Melanchthon und M. Servet. Eine Quellen-Studie. Berlin, 1876 (198 pages). Tollin wrote several monographs on Servetus in his various relations.
67 Ibid., IX., 133: "Dedit vero et Genevensis Reipubl. Magistratus ante annos quatuor punitae insanabilis blasphemiae adversus Filium Dei, sublato Serveto Arragone, pium et memorabile ad omnem posteritatem exemplum."
68 Luther knew only the Servetus of 1531, and once refers to him in his Table-Talk, as a fanatic who mastered theology by false philosophy. See Tollin, Luther und Servet, Berlin, 1875 (61 pages).
69 See Tollin, Butzer’s Confutatio der Libri VII. De Trinitatis Erroribus, in the "Studien und Kritiken" for 1875; and Michael Servet und Martin Butzer, Berlin, 1880; Baum, Capito und Butzer (1860), pp. 489 sq., 478, and 495 sq.; also Janssen, Gesch. des deutschen Volkes, vol. III., 194.
70 "Denn wiewohl unsere Meinung nicht ist, jemand zu verbinden, was er glauben und halten soll, so wollen wir doch zur Verhütung schädlicher Aufruhre und anderer Unrichtigkeiten keine Sekten noch Trennung in unseren Landen dulden." Köstlin II., 29. What a difference between this restriction and the declaration of Frederick the Great, that in his dominions every body may be saved after his own fashion (nach seiner eigenen Façon).
71 Fr. Koch, De Vita Caspar. Peuceri Marburg, 1856. Richard, Der churfürstl. sächs. Kanzler Dr. Nic. Krell. Dresden, 1859, 2 vols. Henke, Kaspar Peucer und Nik. Krell, Marburg, 1865. Calinich, Kampf und Untergang des Melathonismus in Kursachsen, Leipzig, 1866; Zwei sächsische Kanzler, Chemnitz, 1868.
72 The following lines were familiar during the seventeenth century:
"Gottes Wort und Lutheri Schrift
Sind des Papst’s und Calvini Gift ."
73 Hermann Dalton (of St. Petersburg), in his Johannes a Laasco (Gotha, 1881), pp. 427-438, gives a graphic description of what he calls Laski’s "martyrdom in Denmark and North Germany." Calvin raised his indignant protest against this cruel treatment of his brethren, but in the same year Servetus was made to suffer death for heresy and blasphemy under Calvin’s eye!
74 Bullinger, Reformationsgeschichte, I., 382. Comp. his Von der Wiedertäufer Ursprung, etc., 1560. Hagenbach, Kirchengesch., III. 350 sqq. Emil Egli, Die Züricher Wiedertäufer zur Reformatiosszeit, Zürich, 1884. Nitsche, Gesch. der Wiedertäufer in der Schweiz, Einsiedeln, 1885.
75 The statue erected to his memory at Zürich, August 25th, 1885, represents him as holding the Bible in his right hand and the sword with his left. Dr. Alex. Schweizer protested (as he informed me) against the sword, and took no part in the festivities of the dedication of the monument.
76 Servetus probably imagined himself to represent the Apostle when he called Calvin "Simon Magus." He did identify himself with the archangel Michael fighting against the dragon, i.e. the Pope of Rome, Apoc. 12:7.
77 Together with the extensive literature.
78 Servetus appeared on a Sunday morning, August 13th, 1553, in one of the churches at Geneva and was recognized by one of the worshippers, who at once informed Calvin of the fact, whereupon he was thrown into prison. "Nec sane dissimulo," says Calvin (Opera, vol. VIII., col. 461, ed. Baum, Reuss, etc.), "mea opera consilioque jure in carcerem fuisse conjectum." Beza, in his Vita Calv., reports the fact as providential that Servetus, "a quodam agnitus, Calvino Magistratum admonente," was arrested. Servetus had previously applied for a safe-conduct from Vienne to Geneva, but Calvin refused it, and wrote to Farel, February 13th, 1546: "Si venerit, modo valeat mea auctoritas, vivum exire numquam patiar." During the process, he expressed the hope, in a letter to Farel (August 2nd, 1553), that Servetus might be condemned to death, but that the sentence be executed in a milder form (Opera xiv., col. 590): "Spero capitale saltem fore judicium, poenae vero atrocitatem [ignem] remitti cupio." In the same letter he gives a sketch of the system of Servetus as teaching a pantheistic diffusion of the deity in wood, stone, and even in devils.
79 "Hoc crimen," he says in the 27th of his letters to Calvin (Opera VIII., 708), "est morte simpliciter dignum." Calvin refers to this admission of Servetus (VIII., 462) and charges him with inconsistency.
80 De Trinitatis Erroribus Libri Sept. Per michaelem Serveto, aliàs Reves ab Aragonia Hispanum. Anno M. D. XXXI. No place of publication is given in the copy before me, but it was printed at Hagenau in the Alsace, as appears from the trial at Geneva. The book excited the greatest indignation in Oecolampadius and Bucer. Luther called it an awfully wicked book (ein gräulich bös Buch). Bucer thought the author ought to be torn to pieces.
81 Christianismi Restitutio ... MDLIII., secretly printed at Vienne in France, with his initials on the last page, M. S. V. (i e.: Villanovanus).
82 Such blasphemy of the Trinity appeared to be blasphemy of the Deity itself. Hence Beza calls Servetus "ille sacrae Triadis, id est omnis verae Deitatis hostis, adeoque monstrum ex omnibus quantumvis rancidis et portentosis haeresibus conflatum."Calv. Vita, ad a. 1553. He charges his book with being "full of blasphemies." Servetus called Jesus "the Son of the eternal God," but obstinately refused to call him "the eternal Son of God," in other words, to admit his eternal divinity.
83 "The year 1553," says Beza in Calvini Vita, ad a. 1553, "by the impatience and malice of the factious [the Libertines] was a year so full of trouble that not only the church, but the republic of Geneva, came within a hair’s breadth of ruin ... All power had fallen into their hands, that nothing seemed to hinder them from attaining the ends for which they had so long been striving." Then he mentions the trial of Servetus as the other danger, which was aggravated by the first.
84 H. Tollin, a Reformed clergyman of Magdeburg, the most enthusiastic and voluminous advocate of Servetus and his system, admits this, saying (Charakterbild M. Servet’s, Berlin, 1876, p. 6): "Nicht Calvin ist schuldig der That, sondern der Protestantismus seiner Zeit." Another apologist, Dardier (in Lichtenberger’s "Encyclopédie " XI. 581), says the same: C’est la Réforme tout entière qui est coupable."The famous Christian philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, went further. In one of his last utterances, in his Table-Talk, sub Jan. 3, 1834 (to which a friend directed my attention), he expressed his views as follows: " I have known books written on tolerance, the proper title of which would be—intolerant or intolerable books on tolerance. Should not a man who writes a book expressly to inculcate tolerance learn to treat with respect, or at least with indulgence, articles of faith which tens of thousands ten times told of his fellow-subjects or his fellow-creatures believe with all their souls, and upon the truth of which they rest their tranquillity in this world, and their hopes of salvation in the next,—those articles being at least maintainable against his arguments, and most certainly innocent in themselves?—Is it fitting to run Jesus Christ in a silly parallel with Socrates—the Being whom thousand millions of intellectual creatures, of whom I am an humble unit, take to be their Redeemer, with an Athenian philosopher, of whom we should know nothing except through his glorification in Plato and Xenophon?—And then to hitch Latimer and Servetus together! To be sure, there was a stake and a fire in each case, but where the rest of the resemblance is I cannot see. What ground is there for throwing the odium of Servetus’s death upon Calvin alone?—Why, the mild Melanchthon wrote to Calvin, expressly to testify his concurrence in the act, and no doubt he spoke the sense of the German Reformers; the Swiss churches advised the punishment in formal letters, and I rather think there are letters from the English divines, approving Calvin’s conduct!—Before a man deals out the slang of the day about the great leaders of the Reformation, he should learn to throw himself back to the age of the Reformation, when the two great parties in the church were eagerly on the watch to fasten a charge of heresy on the other. Besides, if ever a poor fanatic thrust himself into the fire, it was Michael Servetus. He was a rabid enthusiast, and did everything he could in the way of insult and ribaldry to provoke the feeling of the Christian church. He called the Trinitytriceps monstrum et Cerberum quemdam tri-partitum, and so on!’
85 Defensio orthodoxae fidei de sacra trinitate contra prodigiosos errores Michaelis Serveti Hispani ubi ostenditur haereticos jure gladii örcendos esse. In Calvin’s Opera, ed. Reuss, etc., vol. VIII. 483-644. Bullinger urged him to the task in a letter of December 12th, 1553 (Opera, XIV. 698): "Vide, me Calvine, ut diligenter et, pie omnibus piis describas Servetum cum suo exitu, ut omnes abhorreant a bestia."
86 De haeriticis a civili magistratu puniendis, adversus Martini Bellii (an unknown person) farraginem et novorum academicorum sectam. Geneva (Oliva Rob. Stephani), 1554; second ed. 1592; French translation by Nic. Colladon, 1560. See Heppe’s Beza, p. 38 sq.
87 Coleridge regards this revocation as the only blot on Taylor’s character. His second wife was a natural daughter of Charles I.
88 For the extensive literature on the subject see the list of Dr. Dexter, The Congregationalism of the last three hundred years as seen in its Literature (N. York, 1880), Appendix, pp. 49-82. The Hansard Knollys (Baptist) Society has published, in 1846 at London, a series of Tracts on Liberty of Conscience and Persecution, written from 1614-1661. I mention only those which I have myself examined in the rich McAlpin Collection of the Union Theol. Seminary, N. York.
89 Wholesome Severity reconciled with Christian Liberty, or the true Resolution of a present Controversie concerning Liberty of Conscience. Here you have the question stated, the middle way between Popish tyrannie and Schismatizing Liberty approved, and also confirmed from Scripture, and the testimonies of Divines, yea, of whole churches ... And in conclusion a Paraenetick to the five Apologists for choosing Accommodation rather than Toleration. London, 1645 (40 pages). Dexter (p. 56) assigns the pamphlet, which is anonymous, to Gillespie, and its sentiments agree with those he expressed in a sermon he preached before the House of Lords, August 27, 1645.
90 He wrote "The Bloody Tenent of Persecution," etc., 1644 (248 pp.), and "The Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody," etc., 1652 (373 pp.). Among the anonymous pamphlets on the same side, we mention The Compassionate Samaritane, Unbinding the Conscience, and pouring oyle into the wounds which have been made upon the Separation, etc., 1644 (84 pp.).
91 Dr. Dexter asserts (p. 101) that "Robert Browne is entitled to the proud pre-eminence of having been the first writer clearly to state and defend in the English tongue the true and now accepted doctrine of the relation of the magistrate to the church," in his Treatise of Reformation, published in 1582. Comp. Dexter, p. 703 sq., and Append. p. 8. But this is an error. Bishop John Hooper of Gloucester, who suffered martyrdom under Queen Mary (1555), says in one of his earliest treatises: "As touching the superior powers of the earth, it is well known to all that have readen and marked the Scripture that it appertaineth nothing unto their office to make any law to govern the conscience of their subjects in religion."Early Writings of Bishop Hooper, p. 280, quoted by Dr. Mitchell, The Westminster Assembly, p. 16, where may be found a still stronger passage in, Latin to the same effect: "Profecto Christus non ignem non carceres, non vincula, non violentiam, non bonorum confiscationem, non regineae majestatis terrorem media organa constituit quibus veritas verbi sui mundo promulgaretur; sed miti ac diligenti praedicatione evangelii sui mundum ab errore et idolatria converti praecepit."Later Writings of Bp. Hooper, p. 386. The same principle found expression among Mennonites and Anabaptists of the Reformation period, and may be traced back to the Apostolic and the Ante-Nicene period, when Christianity had no connection whatever with politics and secular government.
92 He wrote A Free Disputation against pretended Liberty of Conscience tending to resolve Doubts moved by Mr. John Goodwin, John Baptist, Dr. Jer. Taylor, the Belgick Arminians, Socinians, and other authors contending for lawless Liberty, or licentious Toleration of sects and Heresies. London, 1649. 410 pages. He calls the advocates of toleration "Libertines."
93 The author of Reasons against Independent Government of Particular Congregations: as also against the Toleration of such churches to be erected in this kingdom. Presented to the House of Commons. London, 1641 (56 pp.). Antapologia; or, a Full Answer to the Apologetical Narration of Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nye, Mr. Sympson, Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Bridge, Members of the Assembly of Divines. Wherein many of the controversies of these times are handled. London, 1646 (259 pp.). The First and Second Part of Gangraena; or, A Catalogue and Discovery of many of the Errors, Heresies, Blasphemies and pernicious Practices of the Sectaries of this time, vented and acted in England in these four last years, etc. London, 1646. The first part has 116, the second part 178 pages. They were followed by The Third Part of Gangraena; or, A New and Higher Discovery of Errors, etc. London, 1646 (295 pp.), and by The Casting down of the last and strongest hold of Satan; or, A Treatise against Toleration and pretended Liberty of Conscience. London, 1647 (218 pp.).—"The ministers of Christ within the province of London," December 14, 1647, sent out a Testimony of the Truth of Jesus Christ, and to our Solemn League, and Covenant; as also Against the Errors, Heresies and Blasphemies of these times, and the Toleration of them. London, 1648 (38 pp.).
94 Dr. M’Crie, in his Annals of English Presbytery (pp. 190, 191), says: "It admits of being shown that even the hypothetical intolerance of our Presbyterian fathers differed essentially from Romish and Prelatic tyranny .... In point of fact it never led them to persecute, it never applied the rack to the flesh, or slaked its vengeance in blood or the maiming of the body."
95 Chapter XX., 2, 4. The clause "and by the power of the civil magistrate," is omitted in the American recension of the Westminster Confession.
96 Ch. XXIII., 3; Comp. Ch. XXXI., 1, 2. These sections were changed and adapted to the separation of Church and State by the united Synod of Philadelphia and New York which met at Philadelphia, May 28, 1787. See the comparative statement in Schaff, Creeds of Christendom vol. I., 807 sq. and III., 607, 653 sq., 668 sq. The Presbyterian churches in Scotland, England and Ireland adhere to the original Confession, but with an express disavowal of persecuting sentiments. Schaff, I., 799 sq.
97 Goodwin wrote several pamphlets in favor of toleration: An Apologeticall Narration, Humbly submitted to the Hon. Houses of Partiament (by, Goodwin, Nye, Bridge, Simpson, and Burroughes). London, 1643 (32pp.). Qeomaciva; or the grand imprudence of men running the hazard of fighting against God in suppressing any way, doctrine or practice concerning which they know not certainly whether it be from God or no, 1644 (52 pp.). Innocencie’s Triumph, 1644 (64 pp.). Cretensis; or, a brief Answer to Mr. T. Edwards, his Gangraena, 1646. Anapologesiates Antapologias; or, the Inexcusableness of that grand Accusation of the Brethren, called Antapologia ... proving the utter insufficiency of the Antapoloogist for his great undertaking in behalf of the Presbyterian cause: with answers to his arguments or reasons (so call’d) for the support thereof ... especially in the point of Non-toleration ... Publ. by Authoritie. London, 1646 (253 pp.); with a long Preface, dated "From my studie in Coleman street, July 17, 1646; " chiefly directed against Edwards. Hagiomastix; or, the Scourge of the Saints displayed in his colours of Ignorance and Blood, etc. London, 1646 (134 pp.). A Postscript or Appendix to a treatise intituled, Hagiomastix. London, 1646 (28 pp.). The Apologist condemned; or, a Vindication of the Thirty Queries (with their author)concerning the power of the Civil Magistrate in Matters of Religion. London, 1653 (32 pp.). Peace Protected and Discontent Disarmed, etc. London, 1654 (78 pp.). Sugkrhvtismo"; or Dis-Satisfaction Satisfied. London, 1654 (24 pp.).
98 See Schaff, vol. I., 829 sq. and III., 718-723.
99 Dexter (p. 660) says: "During the short protectorate of that wonderful man, these lowly Independents came into relations so close with the ruling religious power, that—in order to fill important places—some of them were led to do violence to their noblest fundamentals." Several leading Baptists were guilty of the same inconsistency.
100 See Alex. F. Mitchell, The Westminster Assembly, its History and Standards. London, 1883, pp. 203 and 493. "Owen, Goodwin, Simpson, and Nye were chiefly concerned in drawing up a list of fundamentals which the parliament of 1654 wished to impose on all who claimed toleration. Neal gives sixteen of them. The Journal of the House of Commons speaks of twenty."
101 Lecky, History of Rationalism in Europe, II., 48 (N. Y. ed.).
102 Ph. Schaff, Church and State in the United States, New York, 1888.
103 The government even indirectly supports it in part by exempting church buildings, hospitals, colleges and theological seminaries from public taxation, and by appointing chaplains for the army and navy and for Congress, in deference to the Christian sentiment of the people.
104 A Presbyterian minister, Francis Makemie, was arrested on a warrant of the Episcopal Governor Cornby of New York, Jan. 20, 1707, for preaching in a private house, without permission, and although he was ably defended in a public trial and acquitted on the ground that he had been licensed to preach under the Act of Toleration, he had to pay the costs of the prosecution as well as the defence to the large amount of £83 7s. 6d. See Briggs, American Presbyterianism, New York, 1885, pp. 152-154.
105 Comp. Dr. Charles J. Stillé, Religious Tests in Provincial Pennsylvania. A paper read before the, Hist. Soc. of Penna., Nov. 9, 1885. Philada., 1886. 58 pp. "It is hard to believe," he says, p. 57, "that a man like Franklin, for instance, would at any time have approved of religious tests for office; yet Franklin’s name is attached over and over again in the Qualification Books to the Declaration of Faith, which he was forced to make when he entered upon the duties of the various offices which be held. He must have been literally forced to take such a test; for we find him on the first opportunity, when the people of this commonwealth determined to declare their independence alike of the Penn family and of the Crown of Great Britain, raising his voice against the imposition of such tests as had been taken during the Provincial period. Franklin was the president and the ruling spirit of the convention which framed the State Constitution of 1776, and to his influence has generally been ascribed the very mild form of test which by that instrument was substituted for the old one."
106 The act of 1776 was completed by an act of October, 1785. See Hening, Collection of the Laws of Virginia, vol. XII. 84.