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share of popular eloquence. The terms, in which he described the indulgences, and announced their effects, excited general disgust.

The celebrated Martin Luther was, at this time, professor of theology, in the university of Wittemberg, on the Elbe. He had taken the degree of

and possessed great reputation, and authority. In the most explicit, and bold language, he harangued, in the great church, both against the indulgences ; and against the manner, in which they were dispensed. In September, 1517, he published ninety-five propositions, expressing his sentiments respecting them. These were universally read, and produced the greatest sensation. The notions, which they conveyed, and the consequences, to which they evidently led, alarmed the see of Rome. Some attempts were made to silence, and pacify Luther. Tetzel was condemned; and, soon afterwards, loaded with general detestation, died of grief and despair. Miltitz, a Saxon knight, a person of learning, prudence and address, was then employed by Leo the tenth to confer with Luther. The conferences seem to have been conducted in a manner, which promised an amicable settlement. But, before they came to a conclusion, Leo the tenth issued a bull, dated the 25th June, 1520. In this memorable document, he solemnly condemned forty-one propositions, extracted from the writings of Luther; ordered his writings to be burnt; and summoned him, under pain of excommunication, to retract his errors, within sixty days. The sixty days expired without any retractation; and it was generally un

derstood, that the Pope was proceeding to issue a formal sentence of excommunication. To anticipate it, the reformer, on the 19th of December, 1520, caused a pile of wood to be erected, without the walls of the city of Wittemberg; and there, in the presence of an immense multitude of people, of all ranks and orders, committed to the flames, both the bull, which had been published against him; and those parts of the decretals and canons, which particularly related to the Pope's jurisdiction. By this proceeding, Luther formally withdrew himself from the communion of the see of Rome. On the 6th of the following month of January, the Pope issued a second bull; pronouncing Luther an obstinate heretic; and excommunicating him. Some time afterwards, in the execution of the bull, he appointed Luther's books to be burnt, at Rome. Luther by way of retaliation, assembled all the professors, and students, of the university of Wittemberg, caused a fire to be lighted, and cast the bull of excommunication into the flames.

He proceeded to attack other doctrines, and practices of the church of Rome. Justification, and the efficacy of the sacraments, were the first objects of his hostility. “ The justification of a sinner,” to use his own language, “ was the principle and source, “ from which all his doctrines flowed.” So great, in his opinion, was the importance of this article of faith, that he thought himself warranted in asserting, that, “whilst the doctrine upon it was pure, - there would be no reason to fear, either schism,

or division ; but that, if the true doctrine of jus

"tification were once altered, it would be impossible " to oppose error; or stop the progress of fanati“ cism *."

In the Historical and literary account of the formularies, confessions of faith, or symbolic books, of the Roman-catholic, Greek, and principal Protestant churches, written by the author of these pages, the reader will find a very accurate statement, drawn up by father Scheffmaker, a jesuit of Strasbourg, of the difference between the Roman-cathotic, and the Lutheran churches, concerning this important article.

With respect to the sacraments, the Catholic church believes them to be seven, ---baptism, confirmation, penance, the eucharist, holy orders,.extreme unction, and matrimony. Luther confined them to two, baptism, and the eucharist. In opposition to the catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, he contended, that in the sacramental elements, the bread and wine, and the body and blood of Christ, existed together. When the language of the epistle of St. James, was opposed to his doctrine, on the subject of justification, he absolutely denied its authenticity.

This short account of the principal religious tenets; in which the. Lutheran differs from the Catholic church, was necessary; and.will suffice, for the object of the present pages.

* Lutheri Opera, ed. Jenæ, 1561, tom. 6, p. 13; tom. 3, p. 189





AT this time, the throne of England was filled by Henry the eighth. He was zealously attached to the roman-catholic faith ; and the theological opinions of Luther no sooner found their way into his dominions, than they were marked by his indignation. He had been originally designed for the church ; and, on that account, had received an early tincture of scholastic erudition. He particularly venerated the writings of St. Thomas of Aquin. Most historians observe, that his dislike of Luther was much increased by the contemptuous terms, in which the reformer spoke of that voluminous father. The monarch had also a taste for classical learning; and was a warm admirer of pure latinity. He loyed the conversation of literary men. often the subject of their adulation ; and to him, many of them dedicated their works. “ Learning," says Erasmus, “would triumph, if we had such a

prince at home, as England has. The king is “ not unlearned ; and has a sharp wit. He openly “ protects literature ; and imposes silence upon os brawlers. It is not, therefore, to be wondered

He was


at, that the spirit of authorship should fall upon

the monarch ; or that he should chuse, for his subject, a theological theme.

Cardinal Wolsey, bishop Fisher, and others, are said to have assisted him, in the composition of this work. It was written in Latin, and intitled, Assertio septum Sacramentorum adversus Lutherum ; -- which may be translated, The defence of the Seven Sacraments against Luther. It is particularly opposed to Luther's treatise, De Captivitate Babylonica. It is dedicated to pope Leo the tenth ; and treats, under separate heads, of the eucharist, penance, satisfaction, confirmation, matrimony, holy orders, and extreme unction. It is written with order, and perspicuity; and with such force of argument, that Mr. Collier*, says that “the king had the better of “ the controversy; and was, generally speaking, “the sounder divine ;--superior to his adversary “in the vigour and propriety of his style, the “ force of his reasoning, and learning of his quotations.”_He adds, that “ his manner was not “ altogether unexceptionable; and that he leant « too much on his character; argued in his garter" robes; and wrote, as 'twere, with his sceptre.” It is observable, that the terms, in which Henry expressed himself, respecting the supremacy of the pope, were stronger than sir Thomas More thought it prudent for him to use." I moved the king's “highness," says sir Thomas, in his letter to Cromwell, “ either to leave out that point; or else

* Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. page 17.

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