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Part 37

THE END.

[As regards the slander and complaint of the adversaries at the end of the Confutation, namely, that this doctrine is causing disobedience and other scandals, this is unjustly imputed to our doctrine. For it is evident that by this doctrine the authority of magistrates is most highly praised. Moreover, it is well known that in those localities where this doctrine is preached, the magistrates have hitherto by the grace of God, been treated with all respect by the subjects.

But as to the want of unity and dissension in the Church, it is well known how these matters first happened, and who have caused the division, namely, the sellers of indulgences, who shamelessly preached intolerable lies, and afterwards condemned Luther for not approving of those lies, and besides, they again and again excited more controversies, so that Luther was induced to attack many other errors. But since our opponents would not tolerate the truth, and dared to promote manifest errors by force, it is easy to judge who is guilty of the schism. Surely, all the world, all wisdom, all power ought to yield to Christ and His holy Word. But the devil is the enemy of God, and therefore rouses all his might against Christ, to extinguish and suppress the Word of God. Therefore the devil with his members, setting himself against the Word of God, is the cause of the schism and want of unity. For we have most zealously sought peace, and still most eagerly desire it, provided only we are not forced to blaspheme and deny Christ. For God, the discerner of all men's hearts, is our witness that we do not delight and have no joy in this awful disunion. On the other hand, our adversaries have so far not been willing to conclude peace without stipulating that we must abandon the saving doctrine of the forgiveness of sin by Christ without our merit; though Christ would be most foully blasphemed thereby.

And although, as is the custom of the world it cannot be but that offenses have occurred in this schism through malice and by imprudent people; for the devil causes such offenses, to disgrace the Gospel, yet all this is of no account in view of the great comfort which this teaching has brought men, that for Christ's sake, without our merit, we have forgiveness of sins and a gracious God. Again, that men have been instructed that forsaking secular estates and magistracies is not a divine worship, but that such estates and magistracies are pleasing to God and to be engaged in them is a real holy work and divine service.

If we also were to narrate the offenses of the adversaries, which, indeed, we have no desire to do, it would be a terrible list: what an abominable, blasphemous fair the adversaries have made of the Mass; what unchaste living has been instituted by their celibacy; how the Popes have for more than 400 years been engaged in wars against the emperors, have forgotten the Gospel, and only sought to be emperors themselves, and to bring all Italy into their power how they have juggled the possessions of the Church; how through their neglect many false teachings and forms of worship have been set up by the monks. Is not their worship of the saints manifest pagan idolatry? All their writers do not say one word concerning faith in Christ, by which forgiveness of sin is obtained; the highest degree of holiness they ascribe to human traditions, it is chiefly of these that they write and preach. Moreover this, too, ought to be numbered with their offenses, that they clearly reveal what sort of a spirit is in them, because they are now putting to death so many innocent, pious people on account of Christian doctrine. But we do not now wish to say more concerning this; for these matters should be decided in accordance with God's Word, regardless of the offenses on either aide.

We hope that all God-fearing men will sufficiently see from this writing of ours that ours is the Christian doctrine and comforting and salutary to all godly men. Accordingly, we pray God to extend His grace to the end that His holy Gospel may be known and honored by all, for His glory, and for the peace, unity, and salvation of all of us. Regarding all these articles we offer to make further statements if required.]

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