Page:Lectures on Modern History.djvu/128
LECTURES ON MODERN HISTORY
it would almost appear as if Luther never became a Lutheran. And the truth is that he held one doctrine which he never succeeded in imposing, and which forbade all approach and all endeavours to explain. For he believed that the Pope was anti-Christ. The idea came to him from Lorenzo Valla, whose tract on the Donation was published in 1518 by Hutten. He became convinced almost immediately after writing to Leo that deferential letter which he had agreed upon with Miltitz. It obliged him to force on a breach at Worms. His main objection to the Confession of Augsburg was that this article was excluded from it.
Under the malediction of Church and State, Luther was lost sight of for some months. He was hidden in the Wartburg, the castle of his Elector, above Eisenach, disguised as a country gentleman. He wore a moustache, dined joyously, carried a sword, and shot a buck. Although his abode was unknown, he did not allow things to drift. The Archbishop of Mentz had been a heavy loser by the arrest of his indulgence, and he took advantage of the aggressor's disappearance to issue a new one. He was friendly to Luther, and repressed preaching against him; and the Elector of Saxony ordered that the controversy should not be revived. Luther replied that he would destroy the Elector rather than obey him; the Thesis had been posted in vain, and the spirit of Tetzel was abroad once more; he gave the Archbishop a fortnight, after which he would let the world see the difference between a bishop and a wolf. The prelate gave way, and having arrested one of his priests, who had married, he consented, at the reformer's request, to release him.
The most important result of the stay at the Wartburg was the translation of the New Testament, which was begun towards the end of the year, and was completed in about three months. There were already eighteen German Bibles, and he knew some of them, for a particular blunder is copied from an edition of 1466. All those that I have seen, and I have seen nearly all in Dr