1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Reformation, The
REFORMATION, THE. The Reformation, as commonly understood, means the religious and political revolution of the 16th century, of which the immediate result was the partial disruption of the Western Catholic Church and the establishment of various national and territorial churches. These agreed in repudiating certain of the doctrines, rites and practices of the medieval Church, especially the sacrifice of the Mass and the headship of the bishop of Rome, and, whatever their official designations, came generally to be known as “Protestant.” In some cases they introduced new systems of ecclesiastical organization, and in all they sought to justify their innovations by an appeal from the Church’s tradition to the Scriptures. The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants speedily merged into the chronic political rivalries, domestic and foreign, which distracted the European states; and religious considerations played a Very important part in diplomacy and war for at least a century and a half, from the, diet of Augsburg in 1530 to the English revolution and the league of Augsburg, 1688–89. The terms “Reformation” and “Protestantism” are inherited by the modern historian; they are not of his devising, and come to him laden with reminiscences of all the exalted enthusiasms and bitter antipathies engendered by a period of fervid religious dissension. The unmeasured invective of Luther and Aleander has not ceased to re-echo, and the old issues are by no means dead.
The heat of controversy is, however, abating, and during the past thirty or forty years both Catholic and Protestant investigators have been vying with one another in adding to our knowledge and in rectifying old mistakes; while an ever-increasing number of writersThe Reformation not exclusively
a Religious Revolution. pledged to neither party are aiding in developing an idea of the scope and nature of the Reformation which differs radically from the traditional one. We now appreciate too thoroughly the intricacy of the medieval Church; its vast range of activity, secular as well as religious; the inextricable interweaving of the civil and ecclesiastical governments; the slow and painful process of their divorce as the old ideas of the proper functions of the two institutions have changed in both Protestant and Catholic lands: we perceive all too clearly the limitations of the reformers, their distrust of reason and criticism—in short, we know too much about medieval institutions and the process of their disintegration longer to see in the Reformation an abrupt break in the general history of Europe. No one Will, of course, question the importance of the schism which created the distinction between Protestants and Catholics, but it must always be remembered that the religious questions at issue comprised a relatively small part of the whole compass of human aspirations and conduct, even to those to whom religion was especially vital, while a large majority of the leaders in literature, art, science and public affairs went their way seemingly almost wholly unaffected by theological problems.
That the religious elements in the Reformation have been greatly overestimated from a modern point of view can hardly be questioned, and one of the most distinguished students of Church history has ventured the assertion that “The motives, both remote and proximate, which led to the Lutheran revolt were largely secular rather than spiritual.” “We may,” continues Mr H. C. Lea, “dismiss the religious changes incident to the Reformation with the remark that they were not the object sought, but the means for attaining the object. The existing ecclesiastical system was the practical evolution of dogma, and the overthrow of dogma was the only way to obtain permanent relief from the intolerable abuses of that system” (Cambridge Modern History, i. 653). It would perhaps be nearer the truth to say that the secular and spiritual interests intermingled and so permeated one another that it is almost impossible to distinguish them clearly even in thought, while in practice they were so bewilderingly confused that they were never separated, and were constantly mistaken for one another.
The first step in clarifying the situation is to come to a full realization that the medieval Church was essentially an international state, and that the character of the Protestant secession from it was largely determined by this fact. As Maitland suggests: “We could frame noResemblance of the medieval Church to
the State. acceptable definition of a State which would not comprehend the Church. What has it not that a State should have? It has laws, law givers, law courts, lawyers. It uses physical force to compel men to obey the laws. It keeps prisons. In the 13th century, though with squeamish phrases, it pronounced sentence of death. It is no voluntary society; if people are not born into it they are baptized into it when they cannot help themselves. If they attempt to leave they are guilty of crimen laesae majestatis, and are likely to be burned. It is supported by involuntary contributions, by tithe and tax” (Canon Law in the Church of England, p. 100). The Church was not only organized like a modern bureaucracy, but performed many of the functions of a modern State. It dominated the intellectual and profoundly affected the social interests of western Europe. Its economic influence was multiform and incalculable, owing to its vast property, its system of taxation and its encouragement of monasticism. When Luther made his first great appeal to the German people in his Address to the German Nobility, he scarcely adverts to religious matters at all. He deals, on the contrary, almost exclusively with the social, financial, educational, industrial and general moral problems of the day. If Luther, who above all others had the religious issue ever before him, attacks the Church as a source of worldly disorder, it is not surprising that his contemporary Ulrich von Hutten should take a purely secular view of the issues involved. Moreover, in the fascinating collection of popular satires and ephemeral pamphlets made by Schade, one is constantly impressed with the absence of religious fervour, and the highly secular nature of the matters discussed. The same may be said of the various Gravamina, or lists of grievances against the papacy drafted from time to time by German diets.
But not only is the character of the Reformation differently conceived from what it once was; our notions of the process of change are being greatly altered. Formerly, writers accounted for the Lutheran movement by so magnifying the horrors of the pre-existing regime Historic continuity
of the Reformation.that it appeared intolerable, and its abolition consequently inevitable. Protestant Writers once contented themselves with a brief caricature of the Church, a superficial account of the traffic in indulgences, and a rough and ready assumption, which even Kostlin makes, that the darkness was greatest just before the dawn. Unfortunately this crude solution of the problem proved too much; for conditions were no worse immediately before the revolt than they had been for centuries, and German complaints of papal tyranny go back to Hildegard of Bingen and Walther von der Vogelweide, who antedated Luther by more than three centuries. So a new theory is logically demanded to explain why these conditions, which were chronic, failed to produce a change long before it actually occurred. Singularly enough it is the modern Catholic scholars, Johannes Janssen above all, .who, in their efforts further to discredit the Protestant revolt by rehabilitating the institutions which the reformers attacked, have done most -to explain the success of the Reformation. A humble, patient Bohemian priest, Hasak, set to work toward half a century ago to bring together the devotional works published during the seventy years immediately succeeding the invention of printing. Every one knows that one at least of these older books, The German Theology, was a great favourite of Luther's; but there are many more in Hasak's collection which breathe the same spirit of piety and spiritual emulation. Building upon the foundations laid by Hasak and other Catholic writers who have been too much neglected by Protestant historians, Janssen produced a monumental work in defence of the German Church before Luther's defection. He exhibits the great achievements of the latter part of the 15th and the early portion of the 16th centuries; the art and literature, the material prosperity of the towns and the fostering of the spiritual life of the people. It may well be that his picture is too bright, and that in his obvious anxiety to prove the needlessness of an ecclesiastical revolution he has gone to the opposite extreme from the Protestants. Yet this rehabilitation of pre-Reformation Germany cannot but make a strong appeal to the unbiased historical student who looks to a conscientious study of the antecedents of the revolt as furnishing the true key to the movement. Outwardly the Reformation would seem to have begun when, on the 10th of December 1520, a professor in the university of Wittenberg invited all the friends of evangelical R It
nfs; truth among his students to assemble outside the V3|"0||3 wall at the ninth hour to witness a pious spectacle-E""°P"” the burning of the “godless book of the papal iixg' decrees.” He committed to the flames the whole from the body of the canon law, together with an edict of P"P°l the head of the Church which had recently been monarchy.
issued against his teachings. In this manner Martin Luther, with the hearty sympathy of a considerable number of his countrymen, publicly proclaimed and illustrated his repudiation of the papal government under which western Europe had lived for centuries.” Within a generation after this event the states of north Germany and Scandinavia, England, Scotland, the Dutch Netherlands and portions of Switzerland, had each, in its particular manner permanently seceded from the papal monarchy. France, after a long period of uncertainty and disorder, remained faithful to the bishop of Rome. Poland, after a defection of years, was ultimately recovered for the papacy by the zeal and devotion of the jesuit missionaries. In the Habsburg hereditary dominions the traditional policy and Catholic fervour of the ruling house resulted, after a long struggle, in the restoration of the supremacy of Rome; while in Hungary the national spirit of independence kept Calvinism alive to divide the religious allegiance of the people. In Italy and Spain, on the other hand, the rulers, who continued loyal to the pope, found little difficulty in suppressing any tendencies of revolt on the part of the few converts to the new doctrines. Individuals, often large groups, and even whole districts, had indeed earlier rejected some portions of the Roman Catholic faith, or refused obedience to the ecclesiastical government; but previously to the burning of the canon law by Luther no prince had openly and permanently cast off his allegiance to the international ecclesiastical state of which the bishop of Rome was head. Now, a prince or legislative assembly that accepted- the doctrine of Luther, that the temporal power had been “ ordained by God for the chastisement of the wicked and the protection of the good ” and must be permitted to exercise its functions “ unhampered throughout the whole Christian body, without respect to persons, whether it strikes popes, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, or whoever else ”-such as government could proceed to ratify such modifications of the Christian faith as appealed to it in a particular religious confession; it could .order its subject to conform to the innovations, and could expel, persecute or tolerate dissenters, as seemed good to it. A f' reformed” prince could seize the property of the monasteries, and appropriate such ecclesiastical foundations as he desired. He could make rules for the selection of .the clergy, disregarding the ancient canons of the Church and the claims of the pope to the right of ratification. He could cut off entirely all forms of papal taxation and put an end to papal jurisdiction. The personnel, revenue, jurisdiction, ritual, even the faith of the Church, were in this way placed under the complete control of the territorial governments. This is the central and significant fact of the so-called Reformation. Wholly novel and distinctive it is not, for the rulers of Catholic countries, like Spain and France, and of England (before the publication of the Act of Supremacy) could and did limit the pope's claims to unlimited jurisdiction, patronage 'and taxation, and they introduced the place! forbidding the publication within their realms of papal edicts, decisions and orders, without the express sanction of the government-in short, in many ways tended to approach the conditions in Protestant lands. The Reformation was thus essentially a stage in the disengaging of the modern state from that medieval, international ecclesiastical state which had its beginning in the ecclesia of the Acts of the Apostles. An appreciation of the issues of the Reformationor Protestant revolt, as it might be more exactly called-depends therefore upon an understanding of the development of the papal monarchy, the nature of its claims, the relations it established with the civil powers, the abuses which developed in it and the attempts to rectify them, the sources of friction between the Church and the government, and finally the process by which certain of the European states threw off their allegiance to the Christian commonwealth, of which they had so long formed a part.
It is surprising to observe how early the Christian Church assumed the form of a state, and how speedily upon entering into its momentous alliance with the Roman imperial Character government under Constantine it acquired the chief °;“;'; privileges and prerogatives it was so long to retain. fnfnamhy In the twelfth book of the Theodosian Code we see I and its claims.
the foundations of the medieval Church already laid; for it was the 4th, not the r3th century that established the principle that defection from the Church was a crime in the eyes of the State, and raised the clergy to a privileged class, exempted from the ordinary taxes, permitted under restrictions to try its own members and to administer the wealth which flowed into its coffers from the gifts of the faithful. The bishop of Rome, who had from the first probably enjoyed a leading position in the Church as “ the successor of the two most glorious of the apostles, ” elaborated his claims to be the divinely appointed head of the ecclesiastical organization. Siricius (384-389), Leo the Great (440-461), and Gelasius I. (492-496) left little for their successors to add to the arguments in favour of the papal supremacy. In short, if we recall the characteristics of the Church in the West from the times of Constantine to those of Theodoric-its reliance upon the civil power for favours and protection, combined with its assumption of a natural superiority over the civil power and its innate tendency to monarchical unity-it becomes clear that Gregory VII. in his effort in the latter half of the 11th century to establish the papacy as the great central power of western Europe was in the main only reaffirming and developing old claims in a new world. His brief statement of the papal powers as he conceived them is found in his Dictatus. The bishop of Rome, who enjoys a unique title, that of “pope,” may annul the decrees of all other powers, since he judges all but is judged by none. He may depose emperors and absolve the subjects of the unjust from their allegiance. Gregory’s position was almost inexpugnable at a time when it was conceded by practically all that spiritual concerns were incalculably more momentous than secular, that the Church was rightly one and indivisible, with one divinely revealed faith and a system of sacraments absolutely essential to salvation. No one called in question the claim of the clergy to control completely all “ spiritual ” matters. Moreover, the mightiest secular ruler was but a poor sinner dependent for his eternal welfare on the Church and its head, the pope, who in this way necessarily exercised an indirect control over the civil government, which even the emperor Henry IV. and William the Conqueror would not have been disposed to deny. They would also have conceded the pope the right to play the role of a secular ruler in his own lands, as did the German bishops, and to dispose of such fiefs as reverted to him. This class of prerogatives, as well as the right which the pope claimed to ratify the election of the emperor, need not detain us, although they doubtless served in the long run to weaken the papal power. But the pope laid claim to a direct power over the civil governments. Nicholas II. (1058–1061) declared that Jesus had conferred on Peter the control (ima) of an earthly as well as of a heavenly empire; and this phrase was embodied in the canon law. Innocent III., a century and a half later, taught that James the brother of the Lord left to Peter not only the government of the whole Church, but that of the whole world (totum seculum gubernandum). So the power of the pope no longer rested upon his headship of the Church or his authority as a secular prince, but on a far more comprehensive claim to universal dominion. There was no reason why the bishop of Rome should justify such acts as Innocent himself performed in deposing King John of England and later in annulling Magna Carta; or Gregory IV. when he struck out fourteen articles from the Sachsenspiegel; or Nicholas V. when he invested Portugal with the right to subjugate all peoples on the Atlantic coast; or Julius II. when he threatened to transfer the kingdom of France to England; or the conduct of those later pontiffs who condemned the treaties of Westphalia, the Austrian constitution of 1867 and the' establishment of the kingdom of Italy. The theory and practice of papal absolutism was successfully promulgated by Gratian in his Decretum, completed at Bologna about 1142. This was supplemented by later collections composed mainly of papal decretals. (See Canon Law and Decretals, False.) As every fully equipped university had its faculty of canon law in which the Corpus juris canonici was studied, Rashdall is hardly guilty of exaggeration when he says: “By means of the happy thought of the Bolognese monk the popes were enabled to convert the new-born universities-the offspring of that intellectual new birth of Europe which might have been so formidable an enemy to the papal pretensions-into so many engines for the propagation of Ultramontane ideas.” Thomas Aquinas was the first theologian to describe the Church as a divinely organized absolute monarchy, whose head concentrated in his person the entire authority of the Church, and was the'-source of all the ecclesiastical law (conditor juris), issuing the decrees of general councils in his own name, and claiming the right to revoke or modify the decrees of former councils-indeed, to make exceptions or to set aside altogether anything which did not rest upon the dictates of divine or natural law. In practice the whole of western Europe was subject to the jurisdiction of one tribunal of last resort, the Roman Curia.. The pope claimed the right to tax church property throughout Christendom. He was able to exact an oath of fidelity from the archbishops, named many of the bishops, and asserted the right to transfer and dispose them. The organs of this vast monarchy were the papal Curia, which first appears distinctly in the 11th century (see Curia Romana), and the legates, who visited the courts of Europe as haughty representatives of the central government of Christendom.
It should always be remembered that the law of the Church was regarded by all lawyers in the later middle ages as the law common to all Europe (jus commune). The laws of the Carolingian empire provided that one excommunicated by the Church who did not make his peaceRelations of the ecclesiastical and civil governments. within a year and a day should be outlawed, and this general principle was not lost sight of. It was a capital offence in the eyes of the State to disagree with the teachings of the Church, and these, it must be remembered, included a recognition of the papal supremacy. The civil authorities burnt an obstinate heretic, condemned by the Church, without a thought of a new trial. The emperor Frederick II.’s edicts and the so-called établissements of St Louis provide that the civil officers should search out suspected heretics and deliver them to the ecclesiastical judges. The civil government recognized monastic vows by regarding a professed monk as civilly dead and by pursuing him and returning him to his monastery if he violated his pledges of obedience and ran away. The State recognized the ecclesiastical tribunals and accorded them a wide jurisdiction that we should now deem essentially secular in its nature. The State also admitted that large classes of its citizens-the clergy, students, crusaders, widows and the miserable and helpless in general-were justice able only by Church tribunals. By the middle of the 13th century many lawyers took the degree of doctor of both laws (J.U.D.), civil and canon, and practised both. As is well known, temporal rulers constantly selected clergymen as their most trusted advisers. The existence of this theocratic international state was of course conditioned by the weakness of the civil government. So long as feudal monarchy continued, the Church supplied to some extent the deficiencies of the turbulent and ignorant princes by endeavouring to maintain order, administer justice, protect the weak and encourage learning. So soon as the modern national state began to gain strength, the issue between secular rulers and the bishops of Rome took a new form. The clergy naturally stoutly defended the powers which they had long enjoyed and believed to be rightly theirs. On the other hand, the State, which could count upon the support of an ever-increasing number of prosperous and loyal subjects, sought to protect its own interests and showed itself less and less inclined to tolerate the extreme claims of the pope. Moreover, owing to the spread of education, the king was no longer obliged to rely mainly upon the assistance of the clergy in conducting his government.
The chief sources of friction between Church and State were four in number. First, the growth of the practice of “reservation” and “provision,” by which the popes assumed the right to appoint their own nominees to vacant sees and other benefices, in defiance of the claims of the crown, the chapters and private patrons. In the case of wealthy bishoprics or abbacies this involved a serious menace to the secular authority. Both pope and king were naturally anxious to place their own friends and supporters in these influential positions. The pope, moreover, had come to depend to a considerable extent for his revenue upon the payments made by his nominees, which represented a corresponding drain on the resources of the secular states. Secondly, there was the great question, how far the lands and other property of the clergy should be subject to taxation. Was this vast amount of property to increase indefinitely without contribution to the maintenance of the secular government? A decretal of Innocent III. permitted the clergy to make voluntary contributions to the king when there was urgent necessity, and the resources of the laity had proved inadequate. But the pope maintained that, except in the most critical cases, his consent must be obtained for such grants. Thirdly, there was the inevitable jealousy between the secular and ecclesiastical courts and the serious problem of the exact extent of the original and appellate jurisdiction of the Roman Curia. Fourthly, and lastly, there was the most fundamental difficulty of all, the extent to which the pope, as the universally acknowledged head of the Church, was justiied in interfering in the internal affairs of particular states. Unfortunately, most matters could be viewed from both a secular and religious standpoint; and even in purely secular affairs the claims of the pope to at least indirect control were practically unlimited. The specific nature of the abuses which flourished in the papal monarchy, the unsuccessful attempts to remedy them, and the measures taken by the chief European states to protect themselves will become apparent as we hastily review the principal events of the 14th and 15th centuries.
As one traces the vicissitudes of the papacy during the two centuries from Boniface VIII. to Leo X. one cannot fail to be The impressed with the almost incredible strength of the papacyln ecclesiastical state which had been organized and ffl# 1415 fortified by Gregory VII., Alexander III., Innocent III. °°"t“'y' and Gregory IX. In spite of the perpetuation of all the old abuses and the continual appearance of new devices for increasing the papal revenue; in spite of the jealousy of kings and princes, the attacks of legists and the preaching of the heretics; in spite of seventy years of exile from the holy city, forty years of distracting schism and discord, and thirty years of conflict with stately ecumenical councils deliberating in the name of the Holy Spirit and intent upon permanently limiting the papal prerogatives; in spite of the unworthy conduct of some of those who ascended the papal throne, their flagrant political ambitions, and their greed; in spite of the spread of knowledge, old and new, the development of historical criticism, and philosophical speculation; in spite, in short, of every danger which could threaten the papal monarchy, it was still intact when Leo X. died in 1 521. Nevertheless, permanent if partial dissolution was at hand, for no one of the perils which the popes had seemingly so successfully overcome had failed to weaken the constitution of their empire; and it is impossible to comprehend its comparatively sudden disintegration without reckoning with the varied hostile forces which were accumulating and combining strength during the 14th and 15th centuries. The first serious conflict that arose between the developing modern state and the papacy centred about the pope's claim that the property of the clergy was normally exempt from royal taxation. Boniface VIII. was forced to permit Edward I. and Philip the Fair to continue to demand and receive subsidies granted by the clergy of their realms. Shortly after the bitter humiliation of Boniface by the French government and his death in 1303, the bishop of Bordeaux was elected pope as Clement V. (1305). He preferred to remain in France, and as the Italian cardinals died they were replaced by F renchmen. The papal court was presently established at Avignon, on the confines of France, where it remained until 1377. While the successors of Clement V. were not so completely under the control of the French kings as has often been alleged, the very proximity of the curia to France served inevitably to intensify national jealousies. The claims of John XXII. (1316-1334) to control the election of the emperor called forth the first fundamental and critical attack on the papal monarchy, by Marsiglio of Padua, who declared in his Defensor pacis (1324) that the assumed supremacy of the bishop of Rome was without basis, since it was very doubtful if Peter was ever in Rome, and in any case there was no evidence that he had transmitted any exceptional prerogatives to succeeding bishops. But Marsiglio's logical and elaborate justihcation for a revolt against the medieval Church produced no perceptible effects. The removal of the papal court from Rome to Avignon, however, not only reduced its prestige but increased the pope's chronic financial embarrassments, by cutting 0E the income from his own dominions, which he could no longer control, while the unsuccessful wars waged by John XXII., the palace building and the notorious luxury of some of his successors, served enormously to augment the expenses. Various devices were resorted to, old and new, to fill the treasury. The fees of the Curia were raised for the numberless favours, dispensations, ab solutions, and exemptions of all kinds which were sought by clerics and laymen. The right claimed by the pope to fill benefices of all kinds was extended, and the amount contributed to the pope by his nominees amounted to from a third to a half of the first year's revenue (see ANNATES). Boniface VIII. had discovered a rich source of revenue in the jubilee, and in the jubilee indulgences extended to those who could not come to Rome. Clement VI. reduced the period between these lucrative occasions from one hundred to fifty years, and Urban VI. determined in 1389 that they should recur at least once in a generation (every thirty-three years). Church offices, high and low, were regarded as investments from which the pope had his commission.
England showed itself better able than other countries to defend itself against the papal control of church preferment. From 1343 onward, statutes were passed by parliament forbidding any one to accept a papal provision, and 'md me England
cutting off all appeals to the papal curia or ecclesias- 'P-1p-l¢.Y ll tical courts in cases involving benefices. Neverthe- ZELT less, as a statute of 1379 complains, benefices continued to be given “ to divers people of another language and of strange lands and nations, and sometimes to actual enemies of the king and of his realm, which never made residence in this same, nor cannot, may not, nor will not in any wise bear and perform the charges of the same benefice in hearing confessions, preaching or teaching the people.” When, in 1365, Innocent VI. demanded that the arrears of the tribute promised by King John to the pope should be paid up, parliament abrogated the Whole contract on the ground that John had no right to enter into it. A species of anti-clerical movement, which found an unworthy leader in John of Gaunt, developed at this time. The Good Parliament of 1376 declared that, in spite of the laws restricting papal provisions, the popes at Avignon received five times as much revenue from England as the English kings themselves. Secularization was mentioned in parliament. Wycliffe began his public career in 1366 by proving that England was not bound to pay tribute to the pope. Twelve years later he was, like Marsiglio, attacking the very foundations of the papacy itself, as lacking all scriptural sanction. He denounced the papal government as utterly degraded, and urged that the vast property of the Church, which he held to be the chief cause of its degradation, should be secularized and that the clergy should consist of “poor priests, ” supported only by tithes and alms. They should preach the gospel and encourage the people to seek the truth in the Scriptures themselves, of which a translation into English was completed in 1382. During the later years of his life he attacked the doctrine of transubstantiation, and all the most popular institutions of the Church-indulgences, pilgrimages, invocation of the saints, relics, celibacy of the clergy, auricular confession, &c. His opinions were spread abroad by the hundreds of sermons and popular pamphlets written in English for the people (see WYCLIFFE). For some years after Wycliffe's death his followers, the Lollards, continued to carry on his work; but they roused the effective opposition of the conservative clergy, and were subjected to a persecution which put an end to their public agitation. They rapidly disappeared and, except in Bohemia, WyclilIe's teachings left no clearly traceable impressions. Yet the discussions he aroused, the attacks he made upon the institutions of the medieval Church, and especially the position he assigned to the Scriptures as the exclusive source of revealed truth, serve to make the development of Protestantism under Henry VIII. more explicable than it would otherwise be.
Wycliffe's later attacks upon the papacy had been given point by the return of the popes to Rome in 1377 and the opening of the Great Schism which was to endure The area, for forty years. There had been many anti-popes in Schlsm the past, but never before had there been such pro- gg?- longed and genuine doubt as to which of two lines of popes was legitimate, since in this case each was supported by a college of cardinals, the one at Rome, the other at Avignon. Italy, except Naples, took the side of the Italian pope; France, of the Avignon pope; England, in its hostility to France, sided with Urban VI. in Rome, Scotland with Clement VII., his rival; Flanders followed England; Urban secured Germany, Hungary and the northern kingdoms; while Spain, after remaining neutral for a time, went over to Clement. Western Christendom had now two papal courts'to support. The schism extended down to the bishoprics, and even to the monasteries and parishes, where partisans of the rival popes struggled to obtain possession of sees and benefices. The urgent necessity for healing the schism, the difficulty of uniting the colleges of cardinals, and the prolonged and futile negotiations carried on between the rival popes inevitably raised the whole question of the papal supremacy, and led to the search for a still higher ecclesiastical authority, which, when the normal system of choosing the head of the Church broke down, might re-establish that ecclesiastical unity to which all Europe as yet clung. The idea of the supreme power on earth of a general council of Christendom, deliberating in the name of the Holy Spirit, convoked, if necessary, independently of the popes, was defended by many, and advocated by the university of Paris. The futile council of Pisa in 1409, however, only served to increase to three the number of rival representatives of God on earth. The considerable pamphlet literature of the time substantiates the conclusion of an eminent modern Catholic historian, Ludwig Pastor, who declares that the crisis through which the church passed in this terrible period of the schism was the most serious in all its history. It was at just this period, when the rival popes were engaged in a life-and-death struggle, that heretical movements appeared in England, France, Italy, Germany, and especially in Bohemia, which threatened the whole ecclesiastical order.
The council of Constance assembled in 1414 under auspices hopeful not only for the extinction of the schism but for the general reform of the Church. Its members showed no patience with doctrinal innovations, even such moderate ones as John Huss represented. TheyThe councils of Constance and Basel. turned him over to the secular arm for execution, although they did not thereby succeed in checking the growth of heresy in Bohemia (see Huss). The healing of the schism proved no very difficult matter; but the council hoped not only to restore unity and suppress heresy, but to re-establish general councils as a regular element in the legislation of the Church. The decree Sacrosancta (April 1415) proclaimed that a general council assembled in the Holy Spirit and representing the Catholic Church militant had its power immediately from Christ, and was supreme over every one in the Church, not excluding the pope, in all matters pertaining to the faith and reformation of the Church of God in head and members. The decree Frequens (October 1417) provided for the regular convocation of councils in the future. As to ecclesiastical abuses the council could do very little, and finally satisfied itself with making out a list of those which the new pope was required to remedy in co-operation with the.deputies chosen by the council. The list serves as an excellent summary of the evils of the papal monarchy as recognized by the unimpeachable orthodox. It included: the number, character and nationality of the cardinals, the abuse of the “reservations” made by the apostolic see, the annates, the collation to benefices, expectative favours, cases to be brought before the papal, Curia (including appeals), functions of the papal chancery and penitentiary, benefices in oommendam, confirmation of elections, income during vacancies, indulgences, tenths, for what reasons and how is a pope to be corrected or deposed. The pope and the representatives of the council made no serious effort to remedy the abuses suggested under these several captions; but the idea of the superiority of a council over the pope, and the right of those who felt aggrieved by papal decisions to appeal to a future council, remained a serious menace to the theory of papal absolutism. The decree Frequens was not wholly neglected; though the next council, at Siena, came to naught, the council at Basel, whose chief business was to put an end to the terrible religious war that had been raging between the Bohemians and Germans, was. destined to cause Eugenius IV. much anxiety. It reaffirmed the decree Sacrosancta, and refused to recognize the validity of a bull Eugenius issued in December 1431 dissolving it. Two years later political reverses forced the pope to sanction the existence of the council, which not only concluded a treaty with the Bohemian heretics but abolished the papal fees for appointments, confirmation and consecration—above all, the annates—and greatly reduced papal reservations; it issued indulgences, imposed tenths, and established rules for the government of the papal states. France, however, withdrew its support from the council, and in 1438, under purely national auspices, by the 'famous Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, adjusted the relations of the Gallican Church to the papacy; and Eugenius soon found himself in a position to repudiate the council and summoned a new one to assemble in 1438 at Ferrara under his control to take up the important question of the pending union with the Greek Church. The higher clergy deserted the council of Basel, and left matters in the hands of the lower clergy, who chose an anti-pope; but the rump council gradually lost credit and its lingering members were finally dispersed. The Various nations were left to make terms with a reviving papacy. England had already taken measures to check the papal claims. France in the Pragmatic Sanction reformulated the claim of the councils to be superior to the pope, as Well as the decision of the council of Basel in regard to elections, annates and other dues, limitations on ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and appeals to the- pope. While the canonical elections were re-established, the prerogatives of the crown were greatly increased, as in England. In short, the national ecclesiastical independence of the French Church was established. The German diet of Regensburg (1439) ratified in the main the decrees of the council of Basel, which clearly gratihed the electors, princes and prelates; and Germany for the first time joined the ranks of the countries which subjected the decrees of the highest ecclesiastical instance to the place! or approval of the civil authorities. But there was no strong power, as in England and France, to attend to the execution of the provisions.
In 1448 Eugenius’s successor, Nicholas V., concluded a concordat with the emperor Frederick III. as representative of the German nation. This confined itself to papal appointments and the annates. In practice it restored the former range of papal reservations, and extendedGermany and the papacy in the 15th century. the papal right of appointment to all benefices (except the higher offices in cathedrals and collegiate churches) which fell vacant during the odd months. It also accorded him the right to confirm all newly elected prelates and to receive the annates. Nothing was said in the concordat of a great part of the chief subjects of complaint. This gave the princes an excuse for the theory that the decrees of Constance and Basel were still in force, limiting the papal prerogatives in all respects not noticed in the concordat. It was Germany which gave the restored papacy the greatest amount of anxiety during the generation following the dissolution of the council of Basel. In the “recesses” or formal statements issued at the conclusion of the sessions of the diet one can follow the trend of opinion among the German princes, secular and ecclesiastical. The pope is constantly accused of violating the concordat, and constant demands are made for a general council, or at least a national one, which should undertake to remedy the abuses. The capture of Constantinople by the Turks afforded a new excuse for papal taxation. In 1453 crusading bull was issued imposing a tenth on all benefices of the earth to equip an expedition against the infidel. The diet held at Frankfort in 1456 recalled the fact that the council of Constance had forbidden the pope to impose tenths without the consent of the clergy in the region affected, and that it was clear that he proposed to “pull the German sheep’s fleece over its ears.” A German correspondent of Aeneas Sylvius assures him in 1457 that “thousands of tricks are devised by the Roman see which enables it to extract the money from our pockets very neatly, as if we were mere barbarians. Our nation, once so famous, is a slave now, who must pay tribute, and has lain in the dust these many years bemoaning her fate.” Aeneas Sylvius issued, immediately after his accession to the papacy as Pius II. the bull Execrabilis forbidding all appeals to a future council. This seemed to Germany to cut off its last hope. It found a spokesman in the vigorous. Gregory of Heimburg, who accused the pope of issuing the bull so that he and his cardinals might conveniently pillage Germany unhampered by the threat of a council. “By forbidding appeals to a council the pope treats us like slaves, and wishes to take for his own pleasures all that we and our ancestors have accumulated by honest labour. He calls me a chatterer, although he himself is more talkative than a magpie.” Heimburg’s denunciations of the pope were widely circulated, and in spite of the major excommunication he was taken into the service of the archbishop of Mainz and was his representative at the diet of Nuremberg in 1462. It is thus clear that motives which might ultimately lead to the withdrawal of a certain number of German princes from the' papal ecclesiastical state were accumulating and intensifying during the latter half of the 15th century.
It is impossible to review here the complicated political
history of the opening years of the 16th century. The
names of Charles VIII. and Louis XII. of France, of
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, of Henry VII. and
Henry VIII. of England, of Maximilian the GermanConditions in Germany at the opening
of the 16th century. king, of Popes Alexander VI., Julius II. and Leo X., stand for better organized civil governments, with growing powerful despotic heads; for a perfectly worldly papacy absorbed in the interests of an Italian principality, engaged in constant political negotiations with the European powers which are beginning to regard Italy as their chief field of rivalry, and are using its little states as convenient counters in their game of diplomacy and war. It was in Germany, however, seemingly the weakest and least aggressive of the European states, that the first permanent and successful revolts against the papal monarchy occurred. Nothing came of the lists of German gravamina, or of the demands for a council, so long as the incompetent Frederick III. continued to reign. His successor, Maximilian, who was elected emperor in 1493, was mainly preoccupied with his wars and attempts to reform the constitution of the empire; but the diet gave some attention to ecclesiastical reform. For instance, in 1501 it took measures to prevent money raised by the granting of a papal indulgence from leaving the country. After the disruption of the league of Cambray, Maximilian, like Louis XII., was thrown into a violent anti-curial reaction, and in 1510 he sent to the well-known humanist, Joseph Wimpheling, a copy of the French Pragmatic Sanction, asking his advice and stating that he had determined to free Germany from the yoke of the Curia and prevent the great sums of money from going to Rome. Wimpheling in his reply rehearsed the old grievances and complained that the contributions made to the pope by the archbishops on receiving the pallium was a great burden on the people. He stated that that of the archbishop of Mainz had been raised from ten to twenty-five thousand gulden, and that there had been seven vacancies within a generation, and consequently the subjects of the elector had been forced to pay that amount seven times. But Wimpheling had only some timid suggestions to make, and, since Maximilian was once more on happy terms with the pope, political considerations served to cool completely his momentary ardour for ecclesiastical reform. In 1514 the archbishopric of Mainz fell vacant again, and Albert of Brandenburg, already archbishop of Magdeburg and administrator “of Halberstadt, longing to add it to his possessions, was elected. After some scandalous negotiations with Leo X. it was arranged that Albert should pay 14,000 ducats for the papal confirmation and 10,000 as a “composition ” for permission to continue to hold, against the rules of the Church, his two former archbishoprics. Moreover, in order to permit him to pay the sums, he was to have half the proceeds in his provinces from an indulgence granted to forward the rebuilding of St Peter’s. A Dominican monk, Iohann Tetzel, was selected to proclaim the indulgence (together with certain supplementary graces) in the three provinces of the elector. This suggestion came from the curia, not the elector, whose representatives could not suppress the fear that the plan would arouse opposition and perhaps worse. Tetzel’s preaching and the exaggerated claims that he was reported to be making for the indulgences attracted the attention of an Augustinian friar, Martin Luther, who had for some years been lecturing on theology at the university of Wittenberg. He found it impossible to reconcile Tetzel’s views of indulgences with his own fundamental theory of salvation. He accordingly hastily drafted ninety-five propositions relating to indulgences, and posted an invitation to those who wished to attend a disputation in Wittenberg on the matter, under his presidency. He points out the equivocal character of the word poenitentia, which meant both “ penance ” and “ penitence ”: he declared that “ true contrition seeks punishment, while the ampleness of pardons relaxes it and causes men to hate it.” Christians ought to be taught that he who gives to a poor man or lends to the needy does better than if he bought pardons. He concludes with certain “keen questionings of the laity, ” as, Why does not the pope empty purgatory forthwith for charity’s sake, instead of cautiously for money? Why does he not, since he is rich as Croesus, build St Peter’s with his own money instead of taking that of poor believers P It was probably these closing reflections which led to the translation of the theses from Latin into German, and their surprising circulation. It must not be assumed that Luther’s ninety-five theses produced any considerable direct results. They awakened the author himself to a consciousness that his doctrines were after all incompatible with some of the Church’s teachings, and led him to consider the nature of the papal power which issued the indulgence. Two or three years elapsed before Luther began to be generally known and to exercise a perceptible influence upon affairs.
In July 1518 a diet assembled in Augsburg to consider the
new danger from the Turks, who were making rapid conquests
under Sultan Selim I. The pope’s representative,
Cardinal Cajetan, made it clear that the only safety Augsburg
lay in the collection of a tenth from the clergyThe diet of Augsburg
of 1518. a twentieth from laymen; but the diet appointed a committee to consider the matter and explain why they proposed to refuse the pope’s demands. Protests urging the diet not to weaken came in from all sides. There was an especially bitter denunciation of the Curia by some unknown writer. He claims that “the pope bids his collectors go into the whole world, saying, ‘He that believeth, and payeth the tenths, shall be saved.’ But it is not necessary to stand in such fear of the thunder of Christ’s vicar, but rather to fear Christ Himself, for it is the Florentine’s business, not Christ’s, that is at issue.” The report of the committee of the diet was completed on the 27th of August 1518. It reviews all the abuses, declares that the German people are the victims of war, devastation and dearth, and that the common man is beginning to comment on the vast amount of wealth that is collected for expeditions against the Turk through indulgences or otherwise, and yet no expedition takes place. This is the first recognition in the official gravamina of the importance of the people. Shortly after the committee submitted its report the clergy of Liége presented a memorial which, as the ambassador from Frankfort observed, set forth in the best Latin all the various forms of rascality of which the curtizanen (i.e. curiales, officials of the curia) were guilty. From this time on three new streams begin to reinforce the rather feeble current of official efforts for reform. The common man, to whom the diet of Augsburg alludes, had long been raising his voice against the “parsons” (Pfaffen); the men of letters, Brand, Erasmus, Reuchlin, and above all Ulrich von Hutten, contributed, each in their way, to discredit the Roman Curia; and lastly, a new type of theology, represented chiefly by Martin Luther, threatened to sweep away the very foundations of the papal monarchy.
The growing discontent of the poor people, whether in country or town, is clearly traceable in Germany during the 1 5th century, and revolutionary agitation was chronic in southern Germany at least during the first two decades of the 16th. The clergy were satirized and denounced inHostility of the masses to the clergy in Germany. popular pamphlets and songs. The tithe was an oppressive form of taxation, as were the various fees demanded for the performance of the sacraments. The so-called “Reformation of Sigismund,” drawn up in 1438, had demanded that the celibacy of the clergy should be abandoned and their excessive wealth reduced. “ It is a shame which cries to heaven, this oppression by tithes, dues, penalties, excommunication, and tolls of the peasant, on whose labour all men depend for their existence.” In 1476 a poor young shepherd drew thousands to Nicklashausen to hear him denounce the emperor as a rascal and the pope as a worthless fellow, and urge the division of the Church’s property among the members of the community. The “parsons ” must be killed, and the lords reduced to earn their bread by daily labour. An apocalyptic pamphlet of 1508 shows on its cover the Church upside down, with the peasant performing the services, while the priest guides the plough outside and a monk drives the horses. Doubtless the free peasants of Switzerland contributed to stimulate disorder and discontent, especially in southern Germany. The conspiracies were repeatedly betrayed and the guilty parties terribly punished. That discovered in 1517 made a deep impression on the authorities by reason of its vast extent, and doubtless led the diet of Augsburg to allude to the danger which lay in the refusal of the common man to pay the ecclesiastical taxes. “ It was into this mass of seething discontent that the spark of religious protest fell-the one thing needed to ire the train and kindle the social conflagration. This was the society to which Luther spoke, and its discontent was the sounding board which made his words reverberate.”
On turning from the attitude of the peasants and poorer townspeople to that of the scholars, we find in their writings a good deal of harsh criticism of the scholastic theology, satirical allusions to the friars, and, in Germany, sharp denunciations of the practices of the Curia. But thereAttitude of the humanists. are many reasons for believing that the older estimate of the influence of the so-called Renaissance, , or “new learning,” in promoting the Protestant revolt was an exaggerated one. The class of humanists which had grown up in Italy during the 15th century, and whose influence had been spreading into Germany, France and England during the generation immediately preceding the opening of the Protestant revolt, represented every phase of religious feeling from mystic piety to cynical indifference, but there were very few anti-clerical among them. The revival of Greek from the time of Chrysoloras onward, instead of begetting a Hellenistic spirit, transported the more serious-minded to the nebulous shores of Neo-Platonism, while the less devout became absorbed in scholarly or literary ambitions, translations, elegantly phrased letters, clever epigrams or indiscriminate invective. It is true that Lorenzo Valla (d. 1457) showed the Donation of Constantine to be a forgery, denied that Dionysius the Areopagite wrote the works ascribed to him, and refuted the commonly accepted notion that each of the apostles had contributed a sentence to the Apostles' Creed. But such attacks were rare and isolated and were not intended to effect a breach in the solid ramparts of the medieval Church, but rather to exhibit the ingenuity of the critic. In the libraries collected under humanistic influences the patriotic writers, both Latin and Greek, and the scholastic doctors are conspicuous. Then most of the humanists were clerics, and in Italy they enjoyed the patronage of the popes. They not unnaturally showed a tolerant spirit on the whole toward existing institutions, including the ecclesiastical abuses, and, in general, cared little how long the vulgar herd was left in the superstitious darkness which befitted their estate, so long as the superior man was permitted to hold discreetly any views he pleased. Of this attitude Mutian (1411–1526), the German humanist who perhaps approached most nearly the Italian type, furnishes a good illustration. He believed that Christianity had existed from all eternity, and that the Greeks and Romans, sharing in God’s truth, would share also in the celestial joys. Forms and ceremonies should only be judged as they promoted the great object of life, a clean heart and a right spirit, love to God and one’s neighbour. He defined faith as commonly understood to mean “not the conformity of what we say with fact, but an opinion upon divine things founded upon credulity which seeks after profit.” “With the cross,” he declares, “we put our foes to flight, we extort money, we consecrate God, we shake hell, we work miracles.”
These reflections were, however, for his intimate friends, and like him, his much greater contemporary, Erasmus, abhorred anything suggesting open revolt or revolution. The extraordinary popularity of Erasmus is a sufficient indication that his attitude of mind was viewed withErasmus (1464–1536). sympathy by the learned, whether in France, England, Germany, Spain or Italy. He was a firm believer in the efficacy of culture. He maintained that old prejudices would disappear with the progress of knowledge, and that superstition and mechanical devices of salvation would be insensibly abandoned. The laity should read their New Testament, and would in this way come to feel the true significance of Christ’s life and teachings, which, rather than the Church, formed the centre of Erasmus’s religion. The dissidence of dissent, however, filled him with uneasiness, and he abhorred Luther’s denial of free will and his exaggerated notion of man’s utter depravity; in short, he did nothing whatever to promote the Protestant revolt, except so far as his frank denunciation and his witty arraignment of clerical and monastic weaknesses and soulless ceremonial, especially in his Praise of Folly and Colloquies, contributed to bring the faults of the Church into strong relief, and in so far as his edition of the New Testament furnished a simple escape from innumerable theological complications.
A peculiar literary feud in Germany served, about 1515, to throw into sharp contrast the humanistic party, which had been gradually developing during the previous fifty years, and the conservative, monkish, scholastic group, who found their leader among the Dominicans of the university of Cologne. Johann Reuchlin, a well-known scholar, who had been charged by the Dominicans with heresy, not only received the support of the newer type of scholars, who wrote him encouraging letters which he published under the title Epistolae clarorum virorum, but this collection suggested to Crotus Rubianus and Ulrich von Hutten one of the most successful satires of the ages, the Epistolae obscurorum virorum. As Creighton well said, the chief importance of the “Letters of Obscure Men” lay in its success in popularizing the conception of a stupid party which was opposed to the party of progress. At the same time that the Neo-Platonists, like Ficino and Pico de la Mirandola, and the pantheists, whose God was little more than a reverential conception of the universe at large, and the purely worldly humanists, like Celtes and Bebel, were widely diverging each by his own particular path from the ecclesiastical Weltanschauung of the middle ages, Ulrich von Hutten was busy attacking the Curia in his witty Dialogues, in the name of German patriotism. He, at least, among the well-known scholars eagerly espoused Luther's cause, as he understood it. A few of the humanists became Protestants-Melanchthon, Bucer, Oecolampadius and others-but the great majority of them, even if attracted for the moment by Luther's denunciation of scholasticism, speedily repudiated the movement. In Socinianism (see below) we have perhaps the only instance of humanistic antecedents leading to the formation of a religious sect.
A new type of theology made its appearance at the opening of the 16th century, in sharp contrast with the Aristotelian scholasticism of the Thomists and Scotists. This was due to the renewed enthusiasm for, and appreciation of, ghealugy St Paul with which Erasmus sympathized, and which andThe new theology and Martin Luther. found an able exponent in England in John Colet and in France in Lefevre of Etaples (Faber Stapulensis). Luther was reaching somewhat similar views at the same time, although in a strikingly different manner and with far more momentous results for the western world. Martin Luther was beyond doubt the most important single figure in the Protestant revolt. His influence was indeed by no means so decisive and so pervasive as has commonly been supposed, and his attacks on the evils in the Church were no bolder or more comprehensive than those of Marsiglio and Wyclide, or of several among his contemporaries who owed nothing to his example. Had the
German princes not found it to their interests to enforce his principles, he might never have been more than the leader of an obscure mystic sect. He was, moreover, no statesman. He was recklessly impetuous in his temperament, coarse and grossly superstitious according to modern standards. Yet in spite of all these allowances he remains one of the great heroes of all history. Few come in contact with his writings without feeling his deep spiritual nature and an absolute genuineness and marvellous individuality which seem never to sink into mere routine or affectation. In his more important works almost every sentence is alive with that autochthonic quality which makes it unmistakably his. His fundamental religious conception was his own hard-found answer to his own agonized question as to the nature and assurance of salvation. Even if others before him had reached the conviction that the Vulgate's word jnstitia in Romans i. 16-17 meant “ righteousness” rather than “justice ” in a juridical sense, Luther exhibited supreme religious genius in his interpretation of “ God's righteousness ” (Gerechtigkeit) as over against the “ good works ” of man, and in the overwhelming importance he attached to the promise that the just shall live by faith. It was his anxiety to remove everything that obscured this central idea which led him to revolt against the ancient Church, and this conception of faith served, when he became leader of the German Protestants, as a touchstone to test the expediency of every innovation. But only gradually did he come to realize that his source of spiritual consolation might undermine altogether the artfully constructed fabric of the medieval Church. As late as ISI6 he declared that the life of a monk was never a more enviable one than at that day. He had, however, already begun to look sourly upon Aristotle and the current scholastic theology, which he believed hid the simple truth of the gospel and the desperate state of mankind, who were taught a vain reliance upon outward works and ceremonies, when the only safety lay in throwing oneself on God's mercy. He was suddenly forced to take up the consideration of some of the most fundamental points in the orthodox theology by the appearance of Tetzel in IS17. In his hastily drafted Ninety-ive Theses he sought to limit the potency of indulgences, and so indirectly raised the question as to the power of the pope. He was astonished to observe the wide circulation of the theses both in the Latin and German versions. They soon reached Rome, and a Dominican monk, Prierius, wrote a reply in defence of the papal power, in an insolent tone which first served to rouse Luther's suspicion of the theology of the papal Curia. He was summoned to Rome, but, out of consideration for his patron, the important elector of Saxony, he was permitted to appear before the papal legate during the diet of Augsburg in 1518. He boldly contradicted the legate's theological statements, refused to revoke anything-and appealed to a future council. On returning to Wittenberg, he turned to the canon law, and was shocked to find it so completely at variance with his notions of Christianity. He reached the conclusion that the papacy was but four hundred years old. Yet, although of human origin, it was established by common consent and with God's sanction, so that no one might withdraw his obedience without offence.
It was not, however, until 1520 that Luther became in a sense the leader of the German people by issuing his three great pamphlets, all of which were published in German as well as in Latin-his Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, his Babylonish Captivity of the Church, and his Freedom of the Christian. In the first he urged that, since the Church had failed to reform itself, the secular government should come to the rescue. “ The Romanists have with great dexterity built themselves about with three walls, which have hitherto protected them against reform; and thereby is Christianity fearfully fallen. In the first place, when the temporal power has pressed them hard, they have affirmed and maintained that the temporal power has no jurisdiction over them-that, on the contrary, the spiritual is above the temporal. Secondly, when it was proposed to admonish them from the Holy Scriptures they said, 'It beseems no one but the pope to interpret the Scriptures, ' and, thirdly, when they were threatened with a council, they invented the idea that no one but the pope can call a council. Thus they have secretly stolen our three rods that they may go unpunished, and have entrenched themselves safely behind these three walls in order to carry on all the rascality and wickedness that we now see.” He declares that the distinction between the “spiritual estate, ” composed of pope, bishops, priests and monks, as over against the “temporal estate ” composed of princes, lords, artisans and peasants, is a very ine hypocritical invention of which no one should be afraid. “ A cobbler, a smith, a peasant, every man has his own calling and duty, just like the consecrated priests and bishops, and every one in his calling or office must help and serve the rest, so that all may work together for the common good.” After overthrowing the other two walls, Luther invites the attention of the German rulers to the old theme of the pomp of the pope and cardinals, for which the Germans must pay. “ What the Romanists really mean to do, the 'drunken Germans' are not to see until they have lost everything .... If we rightly hang thieves and behead robbers, why do we leave the greed of Rome unpunished P for Rome is the greatest thief and robber that has ever appeared on earth, or ever will; and all in the holy names of the Church and St Peter.” After proving that the secular rulers were free and in duty bound to correct the evils of the Church, Luther sketches a plan for preventing money from going to Italy, for reducing the number of idle, begging monks, harmful pilgrimages and excessive holidays. Luxury and drinking were to be suppressed, the universities, especially the divinity schools, reorganized, &c.
Apart from fundamental rejection of the papal supremacy, there was little novel in Luther's appeal. It had all been said before in the various protests of which we have spoken, and very recently by Ulrich von Hutten in his Dialogues, but no one had put the case so strongly, or so clearly, before. In addressing the German nobility Luther had refrained from taking up theological or religious doctrines; but in September 1520 he attacked the whole sacramental system of the medieval Church in his Babylonish Captivity of the Church. Many reformers, like Glapion, the Franciscan confessor of Charles V., who had read the Address with equanimity if not approval, were shocked by Luther's audacity in rejecting the prevailing fundamental religious conceptions. Luther says: “ I must begin by denying that there are seven sacraments, and must lay down for the time being that there are only three baptism, penance and the bread, and that by the court of Rome all these have been brought into miserable bondage, and the Church despoiled of her liberty.” It is, however, in the Freedom of the Christian that the essence of Luther's religion is to be found. Man cannot save himself, but is saved then and there so soon as he believes God's promises, and to doubt these is the supreme crime. So salvation was to him not a painful progress toward a goal to be reached by the sacraments and by right conduct, but a state in which man found himself so soon as he despaired absolutely of his own efforts, and threw himself on God's assurances. Man's utter incapacity to do anything to please God, and his utter personal dependence on God's grace seemed to render the whole system of the Church well-nigh gratuitous even if it were purged of all the “ sophistry ” which to Luther seemed to bury out of sight all that was essential in religion. Luther's gospel was one of love and confidence, not of fear and trembling, and came as an overwhelming revelation to those who understood and accepted it.
The old question of Church reform inevitably reappeared when the young emperor Charles V. opened his first imperial diet at Worms early in 1521, and a committee of German princes drafted a list of gravamina, longer and bitterer than preceding one. While the resolute papal nuncio Aleander was indefatigable in his efforts to induce theThe edict of Worms, 1521. diet to condemn Luther’s teachings, his curious and instructive dispatches to the Roman Curia complain constantly of the ill-treatment and insults he encountered, of the readiness of the printers to issue innumerable copies of Luther’s pamphlets and of their reluctance to print anything in the pope’s favour. Charles apparently made up his mind immediately and once for all. He approved the gravamina, for he believed a thorough reform of the Church essential. This reform he thought should be carried out by a council, even against the pope’s will; and he was destined to engage in many fruitless negotiations to this end before the council of Trent at last assembled a score of years later. But he had no patience with a single monk who, led astray by his private judgment, set himself against the faith held by all Christians for a thousand years. “What my forefathers/ established at the council of Constance and other councils it is my privilege to maintain,” he exclaims. Although, to Aleander’s chagrin, the emperor consented to summon Luther to Worms, where he received a species of ovation, Charles readily approved the edict drafted by the papal nuncio, in which Luther is accused of having “brought together all previous heresies in one stinking mass,” rejecting all law, teaching a life wholly brutish, and urging the lay people to bathe their hands in the blood of priests. He and his adherents were outlawed; no one was to print, sell or read any of his writings, “since they are foul, harmful, suspected, and come from a notorious and stiff-necked heretic.” The edict of Worms was entirely in harmony with the laws of Western Christendom, and there were few among the governing classes in Germany at that time who really understood or approved Luther’s fundamental ideas; nevertheless-if we except the elector of Brandenburg, George of Saxony, the dukes of Bavaria, and Charles V.’s brother Ferdinand—the princes, including the ecclesiastical rulers and the towns, commonly neglected to publish the edict, much less to enforce it. They were glad to leave Luther unmolested in order to spite the “Curtizanen,” as the adherents of the papal Curia were called. The emperor was forced to leave Germany immediately after the diet had dissolved, and was prevented by a succession of wars from returning for nearly ten years. The governing council, which had been organized to represent him in Germany, fell rapidly into disrepute, and exercised no restraining influence on those princes who might desire to act on Luther’s theory that the civil government was supreme in matters of Church reform.
The records of printing indicate that religious, social and
economic betterment was the subject of an ever-increasing
number of pamphlets. The range of opinion was
wide. Men like Thomas Murner, for instance, heartily
denounced “the great Lutheran fool,” but at the sameWide divergence
of opinion in Germany. time bitterly attacked monks and priests, and popularized the conception of the simple man with the hoe (Karsthans). Hans Sachs, on the other hand, sang the praises of the “Wittenberg Nightingale,” and a considerable number of prominent men of letters accepted Luther as their guide—Zell and Bucer, in Strassburg, Eberlin in Ulm, Oecolampadius in Augsburg, Osiander and others in Nuremberg, Pellicanus in Nordlingen. Moreover, there gradually developed a group of radicals who were convinced that Luther had not the courage of his convictions. They proposed to abolish the “idolatry” of the Mass and all other outward signs of what they deemed the old superstitious. Luther’s colleague at Wittenberg, Carlstadt (q.v.), began denouncing the monastic life, the celibacy of the clergy, the veneration of images; and before the end of 1521 we 'und the first characteristic outward symptoms of Protestantism. Luther had meanwhile been concealed by his friends in the Wartburg, near Eisenach, where he busied himself with a new German translation of the New Testament, to be followed in a few years by the Old Testament. The Bible had long been available in the language of the people, and there are indications that the numerous early editions of the Scriptures were widely read. Luther, however, possessed resources of style which served to render his version far superior to the older one, and to give it an important place in the development of German literature, as well as in the history of the Protestant churches. During his absence two priests from parishes near Wittenberg married; while several monks, throwing aside their cowls, left their cloisters. Melanchthon, who was for a moment carried away by the movement, partook, with several of his students, of the communion under both kinds, and on Christmas Eve a crowd invaded the church of All Saints, broke the lamps, threatened the priests and made sport of the venerable ritual. Next day, Carlstadt, who had laid aside his clerical robes, dispensed the Lord’s Supper in the “evangelical fashion.” At this time three prophets arrived from Zwickau, eager to hasten the movement of emancipation. They were Weavers who had been associated with Thomas Münzer, and like him looked forward to a very radical reform of society. They rejected infant baptism, and were among the forerunners of the Anabaptists.
In January 1522, Carlstadt induced the authorities of Wittenberg to publish the first evangelical church ordinance. The revenues from ecclesiastical foundations, as well as those from the industrial gilds, were to be placed in common chest, to be in charge of the townsmen and theThe Protestant Revolt begins in Saxony, 1522. magistrates. The priests were to receive fixed salaries; begging, even by monks and poor students, was prohibited; the poor, including the monks, were to be supported from the common chest. The service of the Mass was modified, and the laity were to receive the elements in both kinds. Reminders of the old religious usages were to be done away with, and fast days were to be no longer observed. These measures, and the excitement which followed the arrival of the radicals from Zwickau, led Luther to return to Wittenberg in March 1522, Where he preached a series of sermons attacking the impatience of the radical party, and setting forth clearly his own views of what the progress of the Reformation should be. “The Word created heaven and earth and all things; the same Word will also create now, and not we poor sinners. Faith must be unconstrained and must be accepted without compulsion. To marry, to do away with images, to become monks and nuns, or for monks and nuns to leave their convent, to eat meat on Friday or not to eat it, and other like things—all these are open questions, and should not be forbidden by any man . . . . What we want is the heart, and to win that we must preach the gospel. Then the Word will drop into one heart to-day and to-morrow into another, and so will work that each will forsake the Mass.” Luther succeeded in quieting the people both in Wittenberg and the neighbouring towns, and in preventing the excesses which had threatened to discredit the whole movement.
In January 1522, Leo X. had been succeeded by a new pope, Adrian VI., a devout Dominican theologian, bent on reforming the Church, in which, as he injudiciously confessed through his legate to the diet at Nuremberg, Roman Curia had perhaps been the chief sourceAdrian VI. 1522–1523. of “that corruption which had spread from the head to the members.” The Lutheran heresy he held to be God’s terrible judgment on the sins of the clergy. The diet refused to accede to the pope’s demand' that the edict of Worms should be enforced, and recommended that a Christian council should be summoned in January, to include not only ecclesiastics but laymen, who should be permitted freely to express their opinions. While the diet approved the list of abuses drawn up at Worms, it ordered that Luther’s books should no longer be published, and that Luther himself should hold his peace, while learned men were to admonish the erring preachers. The decisions of this diet are noteworthy, since they probably give a very fair idea of the prevailing opinion of the ruling classes in Germany. They refused to regard Luther as in any way their leader, or even to recognize him as a discreet person. On the other hand, they did not wish to take the risk of radical measures against the new doctrines, and were glad of an excuse for refusing the demands of the pope. Adrian soon died, worn out by his futile attempts to correct the abuses at home, and was followed by Clement VII., a Medici, less gifted but not less worldly in his instincts than Leo X.
Clement sent one of his ablest Italian diplomatists, Campeggio, to negotiate with the diet which met at Spires in 1524. He induced the diet to promise to execute the edict of Worms as far as that should be possible; but it was generally understood that it was impossible. TheBeginning of the religious cleft between the German states of the north and south in 1524. diet renewed the demand for a general council to meet in a German town to settle the affairs of the Church in Germany, and even proposed the convocation of national council at Spires in November, to effect a temporary adjustment. In this precarious situation Campeggio, realizing the hopelessness of his attempt to induce all the members of the diet to co-operate with him in re-establishing the pope’s control, called together at Regensburg a certain number of rulers whom he believed to be rather more favourably disposed toward the pope than their fellows. These included Ferdinand, duke of Austria, the two dukes of Bavaria, the archbishops of Salzburg and Trent, the bishops of Bamberg, Spires, Strassburg and others. He induced these to unite in opposing the Lutheran heresy on condition that the pope would issue a decree providing for some of the most needed reforms. There was to be no more financial oppression on the part of the clergy, and no unseemly payments for performing the church services. Abuses arising from the granting of indulgences were to be remedied, and the excessive number of church holidays, which seriously interfered with the industrial Welfare of Germany, was to be reduced. The states in the Catholic League were permitted to retain for their own uses about one-fifth of the ecclesiastical revenue; the clergy was to be subjected to careful discipline; and only authorized preachers were to be tolerated, who based their teachings on the works of the four Latin Church fathers. Thus the agreement of Regensburg is of great moment in the development of the Protestant revolt in Germany. For Austria, Bavaria and the great ecclesiastical states in the south definitely sided with the pope against Luther’s heresies, and to this day they still remain Roman Catholic. In the north, on the other hand, it became more and more apparent that the princes were drifting away from the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, it should be noted that Campeggio’s diplomacy was really the beginning of an effective betterment of the old Church, such as had been discussed for two or three centuries. He met the long-standing and general demand for reform without a revolution in doctrines or institutions. A new edition of the German Bible was issued with the view of meeting the needs of Catholics, a new religious literature grew up designed to substantiate the beliefs sanctioned by the Roman Church and to carry out the movement begun long before toward spiritualizing its institutions and rites.
In 1525 the conservative party, which had from the first feared that Luther’s teaching would result in sedition, received a new and terrible proof, as it seemed to them, of the noxious influence of the evangelical preachers. The peasant movements alluded to above, which had causedThe peasant Revolt, 1525. so much anxiety at the diet of Augsburg in 1518, culminated in the fearful Peasant Revolt in which the common man, both in country and town, rose in the name of “God’s justice” to avenge long-standing wrongs and establish his rights. Luther was by no means directly responsible for the civil war which followed, but he had certainly contributed to stir up the ancient discontent. He had asserted that, owing to the habit of foreclosing small mortgages, “any one with a hundred gulden could gobble up a peasant a year.” The German feudal lords he pronounced hangmen, who knew only how to swindle the poor man—“such fellows were formerly called scoundrels, but now we must call them ' Christians and revered princes.”' Yet in spite of this harsh talk about princes, Luther relied upon them to .forward the reforms in which he was interested, and he justly claimed that he had greatly increased their powers by reducing the authority of the pope and subjecting the clergy in all things to the civil government.
The best known statement of the peasants' grievances is to be found in the famous “Twelve Articles” drawn up in 1524. They certainly showed the unmistakable influence of the evangelical teaching. The peasants demanded that the gospel should be taught them as a guide in life, and that each community should be permitted to choose its pastor and depose him if he conducted himself improperly. “The pastor thus chosen should teach us the gospel pure and simple, without any addition, doctrine or ordinance of man.” The old tithe on grain shall continue to be paid, since that is established by the Old Testament. It will serve to support the pastor, and what is left over shall be given to the poor. Serfdom is against God’s word, “since Christ has delivered and redeemed us all without exception, by the shedding of. his precious blood, the lowly as well as the great.” Protests follow against hunting and fishing rights, restrictions on wood-cutting, and excessive demands made on peasants. “In the twelfth place,” the declaration characteristically concluded, “it is our conclusion and final resolution that if one or more of the articles here set forth should not be in agreement with the word of God, as we think they are, such articles will we willingly retract if it be proved by a clear explanation of Scripture really to be against the word of God.” More radical demands came from the working classes in the towns. The articles of Heilbronn demanded that the property of the Church should be confiscated and used for the community; clergy and nobility alike were to be deprived of all their privileges, so that they could no longer oppress the poor man. The more violent leaders, like Münzer, renewed the old cry that the parsons must be slain. Hundreds of castles and monasteries were destroyed by the frantic peasantry, and some of the nobles were murdered with shocking cruelty. Luther, who believed that the peasants were trying to cloak their dreadful sins with 'excuses from the gospel, exhorted the government to put down the insurrection. “Have no pity on the poor folk; stab, smite, throttle, who can!” To him the peasants' attempt to abolish serfdom was wholly unchristian, since it was a divinely sanctioned institution, and if they succeeded they would “make God a liar.” The German rulers took Luther’s advice with terrible literalness, and avenged themselves upon the peasants, whose lot was apparently worse afterwards than before.
The terror inspired by the Peasant War led to a new alliance, the League of Dessau, formed by some of the leading rulers of central and northern Germany, to stamp out the “accursed Lutheran sect.” This included Luther’s old enemy, Duke George of Saxony, the electors of BrandenburgAppearance of an evangelical party. and Mainz, and two princes of Brunswick. The rumour that the emperor was planning to return to Germany in order to root out the growing heresy, led a few princes who had openly favoured Luther to unite also. Among these the chief were the new elector of Saxony, John (who, unlike his brother, Frederick the Wise, had openly espoused the new doctrines), and the energetic Philip, land grave of Hesse. The emperor did not return, and since there was no one to settle the religious question in Germany, the diet of Spires (1526) determined that, pending the meeting of the proposed general council, each prince, and each knight and town owing immediate allegiance to the emperor, should decide individually what particular form of religion should prevail within the limits of their territories. Each prince was “so to live, reign and conduct himself as he would be willing to answer before God and His Imperial Majesty.” While the evangelical party still hoped that some form of religion might be agreed upon which would prevent the disruption of the Church, the conservatives were confident that the heretics would soon be suppressed, as they had so often been in the past. The situation tended to become more, rather than less, complicated, and there was every variety of reformer and every degree of conservatism, for there were no standards for those who had rejected the papal supremacy, and even those who continued to accept it differed widely. For example, George of Saxony viewed Aleander, the pope’s nuncio, with almost as much suspicion as he did Luther himself.
The religious ideas in South Germany were affected by the development of a reform party in Switzerland, under the influence of Zwingli, who claimed that at Einsiedeln, near the lake of Zurich, he had begun to preach the gospel of Christ in the year 1516 “before any one in my localityZwingli and the Reformation in Switzerland. had so much as heard the name of Luther.” Three years later he became preacher in the cathedral of Zurich. Here he began to denounce the abuses in the Church, as well as the traffic in mercenaries which had so long been a blot upon his country’s honour. From the first he combined religious and political reform. In 1523 he prepared a complete statement of his beliefs, in the form of sixty-seven theses. He maintained that Christ was the only high priest and that the gospel did not gain its sanction from the authority of the Church. He denied the existence of purgatory, and rejected those practices of the Church which Luther had already set aside. Since no one presented himself to refute him, the town council ratified his conclusions, so that the city of Zurich practically withdrew from the Roman Catholic Church. Next year the Mass, processions and the images of saints were abolished. The shrines were opened and the relics burned. Some other towns, including Bern, followed Zürich’s example, but the Forest cantons refused to accept the innovations. In 1525 a religious and political league was arranged between Zürich and Constance, which in the following year was joined by St Gallen, Biel, Miihlhausen, Basel and Strassburg, Philip of Hesse was attracted by Zwingli’s energy, and was eager that the northern reformers should be brought into closer relations with the south. But the league arranged by Zwingli was directed against the house of Habsburg, and Luther did not deem it right to oppose a prince by force of arms.Zwingli and Luther. The Marburg Articles. Moreover, he did not believe that Zwingli, who conceived the Eucharist to be merely symbolical in its character, “held the whole truth of God.” Never-theless, Philip of Hesse finally arranged a religious conference in the castle of Marburg (1529) where Zwingli and Luther met. They were able to agree on fourteen out of the fifteen “Marburg Articles,” which stated the chief points in the Christian faith as they were accepted by both. A fundamental difference as to the doctrine of the Eucharist, however, stood in the way of the real union.
The diet of Spires (1529) had received a letter from the emperor directing it to look to the enforcement of the edict of Worms against the heretics. No one was to preach against the Mass, and no one was to be prevented from attending it freely. This meant that the evangelicalThe diet of Spires, 1529, and the “Protestants.” princes would be forced to restore the most characteristic Catholic rite. As they formed only a minority in the diet, they could only draw up a protest, which was signed by John Frederick of Saxony, Philip of Hesse, and fourteen of the three towns, including Strassburg, Nuremberg and Ulm. In this they claimed that the majority had no right to abrogate the stipulations of the former diet of Spires, which permitted each prince to determine religious matters provisionally for himself, for all had unanimously pledged themselves to observe that agreement. They therefore appealed to the emperor and to a future council against the tyranny of the majority. Those who signed this appeal were called Protestants, a name which came to be generally applied to those who rejected the supremacy of the pope, the Roman Catholic conceptions of the clergy and of the Mass, and discarded sundry practices of the older Church, without, however, repudiating the Catholic creeds.
During the period which had elapsed since the diet of Worms, the emperor had resided in Spain, busy with a series of wars waged mainly with the king of France. In 1530 the emperor found himself in a position to visit Germany once more, and summoned the diet to meet at Augsburg,The diet and confession of Augsburg, 1530 with the hope of settling the religious differences and bringing about harmonious action against the Turk. The Protestants were requested to submit a statement of their opinions, and on June 2 5th the “Augsburg Confession” was read to the diet. This was signed by the elector of Saxony and his son and successor, John Frederick, by George, margrave of Brandenburg, two dukes of Lüneburg, Philip of Hesse and Wolfgang of Anhalt, and by the representatives of Nuremberg and Reutlingen. The confession was drafted by Melanchthon, who sought consistently to minimize the breach which separated the Lutherans from the old Church. In the first part of the confession the Protestants seek to prove that there is nothing in their doctrines at variance with those of the universal Church “or even of the Roman Church so far as that appears in the writings of the Fathers.” They made it clear that they still held a great part of the beliefs of the medieval Church, especially as represented in Augustine’s writings, and repudiated the radical notions of the Anabaptists and of Zwingli. In the second part, those practices of the Church are enumerated which the evangelical party rejected; the celibacy of the clergy, the Mass, as previously understood, auricular confession, and monastic vows, the objections to which are stated with much vigour. “ Christian perfection is this: to fear God sincerely, to trust assuredly that we have, for Christ’s sake, a gracious and merciful God; to ask and look with confidence for help from him in all our affairs, accordingly to our calling, and outwardly to do good works diligently, and to attend to our vocation. In these things doth true perfection and a true worship of God consist. It doth not consist in going about begging, or in wearing a black or a grey cowl.” The Protestant princes declared that they had no intention of depriving the bishops of their jurisdiction, but this one thing only is requested of them, “that they would suffer the gospel to be purely taught, and would relax a few observances in which we cannot adhere without sin.”
The confession was turned over to a committee of conservative theologians, including Eck, Faber and Cochlaeus. Their refutation of the Protestant positions seemed needlessly sharp to the emperor, and five drafts were made of it. Charles finally reluctantly accepted it, although heCourse of events in Germany, 1531–1540. would gladly have had it milder, for it made reconciliation hopeless. The majority of the diet approved a recess, allowing the Protestants a brief period of immunity until the 15th of April 1531, after which they were to be put down by force. Meanwhile, they were to make no further innovations, they were not to molest the conservatives, and were to aid the emperor in suppressing the doctrines of Zwingli and of the Anabaptists. The Lutheran princes protested, together with fourteen cities, and left the diet. The diet thereupon decided that the edict of Worms should at last be enforced. All Church property was to be restored, and, perhaps most important of all, the jurisdiction of the Imperial court (Reichskammergericht), which was naturally Catholic in its sympathies, was extended to appeals involving the seizure of ecclesiastical benefices, contempt of episcopal decisions and other matters deeply affecting the Protestants. In November the Protestants formed the Schmalkaldic League, which, after the death of Zwingli, in 1 531, was joined by a number of the South German towns. The period of immunity assigned to the Protestants passed by; but they were left unmolested, for the emperor was involved in many difficulties, and the Turks were threatening Vienna. Consequently, at the diet of Nuremberg (1532) a recess was drafted indefinitely extending the religious truce and quashing such cases in the Reichskammergericht as involved Protestant innovations. The conservatives refused to ratify the recess, which was not published, but the Protestant states declared that they would accept the emperor’s word of honour, and furnished him with troops for repelling the Mahommedans. The fact that the conservative princes, especially the dukes of Bavaria, were opposed to any strengthening of the emperor’s power, and were in some cases hereditary enemies of the house of Habsburg, served to protect the Protestant princes. In 1534 the Schmalkaldic League succeeded in restoring the banished duke of Württemberg, who declared himself in favour of the Lutheran reformation, and thus added another to the list of German Protestant states. In 1339 George of Saxony died, and was succeeded by his brother Henry, who also accepted the new faith, and in the same year the new elector of Brandenburg became a Protestant. Indeed, there was reason to believe at this time that the archbishops of Mainz, Trier and Cologne, as well as some other bishops, were planning the secularization of their principalities.
To the north, Lutheran influence had spread into Denmark; Sweden and Norway were also brought within its sphere. Christian II. of Denmark, a nephew of the elector of Saxony, came to the throne in 1513, bent on bringing Swede, Sweden and Norway, over which he nominally ruled inDenmark, Norway and Sweden become Protestant. accordance with the terms of the Union of Kalmar (1397), completely under his control. In order to do this it was necessary to reduce the power of the nobility and clergy, privileged classes exempt from taxation and rivals of the royal power. Denmark had suffered from all the abuses of papal provisions, and the nuncio of Leo X. had been forced in 1518 to flee from the king’s wrath. Christian II. set up a supreme court for ecclesiastical matters, and seemed about to adopt a policy similar to that later pursued by Henry VIII. of England, when his work was broken off by a revolt which compelled him to leave the country. Lutheranism continued to make rapid progress, and Christian’s successor permitted the clergy to marry, appropriated the annates and protected the Lutherans. Finally Christian III., an ardent Lutheran, ascended the throne in 1536; with the sanction of the diet he severed, in 1537, all connexion with the pope, introducing the Lutheran system of Church government and accepting the Augsburg Confession. Norway was included in the changes, but Sweden had won its independence of Denmark, under Gustavus Vasa, who, in 1523, was proclaimed king. He used the Lutheran theories as an excuse for overthrowing the ecclesiastical aristocracy, which had been insolently powerful in Sweden. In 1527, supported by the diet, he carried his measures for secularizing such portions of the Church property as he thought fit, and for subjecting the Church to the royal power (Ordinances of Vesteräs); but many of the old religious ceremonies and practices were permitted to continue, and it was not until 1592 that Lutheranism was officially sanctioned by the Swedish synod.
Charles V., finding that his efforts to check the spread of the
religious schism were unsuccessful, resorted once more to
conferences between' Roman Catholic and Lutheran
theologians, but it became apparent that no permanent
compromise was possible. The emperor then succeededThe Council
of Trent. in disrupting the Schmalkaldic League by winning over, on purely political grounds, Philip of Hesse and young Maurice of Saxony, whose father, Henry, had died after a very brief reign. Charles V. had always exhibited the greatest confidence in the proposed general council, the summoning of which had hitherto been frustrated by the popes, and at last, in 1545, the council was summoned to meet at Trent, which lay conveniently upon the confines of Italy and Germany (see Trent, Council of). The Dominicans and, later, members of the newly born Order of Jesus, were conspicuous, among the theological deputies, while the Protestants, though invited, refused to attend. It was clear from the first that the decisions of the council would be uncompromising in character, and that the Protestants would certainly refuse to be bound by its decrees. And so it fell out. The very first anathemas of the council were directed against those innovations which the Protestants had most at heart. The emperor had now tried threats, conferences and a general council, and all had failed to unify the Church.
Maurice of Saxony, without surrendering his religious beliefs, had become the political friend of the emperor, who had promised him the neighbouring electorate of Saxony. John Frederick, the elector, was defeated at Mühlberg, April 1547, and taken prisoner. Philip of HesseEvents culminating in the religious peace of Augsburg, 1555. also surrendered, and Charles tried once more to establish a basis of agreement. Three theologians, including a conservative Lutheran, were chosen to draft the so-called “Augsburg Interim.” This reaffirmed the seven sacraments, transubstantiation and the invocation of saints, and declared the pope head of the Church, but adopted Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith in a conditional way, as well as the marriage of priests, and considerably modified the theory and practice of the Mass. For four years Charles, backed by the Spanish troops, made efforts to force the Protestant towns to observe the Interim, but with little success. He rapidly grew extremely unpopular, and in 1552 Maurice of Saxony turned upon him and attempted to capture him at Innsbruck. Charles escaped, but Maurice became for the moment leader of the German princes who gathered at Passau (August 1552) to discuss the situation. The settlement, however, was deferred for the meeting of the diet, which took place at Augsburg, 1555. There was a general anxiety to conclude a peace—“beständiger, beharrlicher, unbedingter, für und für ewig währender.” There was no other way but to legalize the new faith in Germany, but only those were to be tolerated who accepted the Augsburg Confession. This excluded, of course, not only the Zwinglians and Anabaptists, but the ever-increasing Calvinistic or “Reformed” Church. The principle cujus regio ejus religio was adopted, according to which each secular ruler might choose between the old faith and the Lutheran. His decision was to bind all his subjects, but a subject professing another religion from his prince was to be permitted to leave the country. The ecclesiastical rulers, however, were to lose their possessions if they abandoned the old faith. Freedom of conscience was thus established for princes alone, and their power became supreme in religious as well as secular matters. The Church and the civil government had been closely associated with one another for centuries, and the old system was perpetuated in the Protestant states. Scarcely any one dreamed that individual subjects could safely be left to believe what they would, and permitted, so long as they did not violate the law of the land, freely to select and practise such religious rites as afforded them help and comfort.
During the three or four years which followed the signing of the Augsburg Confession in 1530 and the formation of the Schmalkaldic League, England, while bitterly denouncing and burning Lutheran heretics in the name of the Holy Catholic Church, was herself engaged inReligious situation in England at the opening of the 16th century. severing the bonds which had for well-nigh a thousand opening of years bound her to the Apostolic See. An independent national Church was formed in 1534, continued, however, for a time to adhere to all the characteristic beliefs of the medieval Catholic Church, excepting alone the headship of the pope. The circumstances which led to the English schism are dealt with elsewhere (see England, Church of), and need be reviewed here only in the briefest manner. There was some heresy in England during the opening decades of the 16th century, survivals of the Lollardy which now and then brought a victim to the stake. There was also the old discontent among the orthodox in regard to the Church’s exactions, bad clerics and dissolute and lazy monks. Scholars, like Colet, read the New Testament in Greek and lectured on justification by faith before they knew of Luther, and More included among the institutions of Utopia a rather more liberal and enlightened religion than that which he observed around him. Erasmus was read and approved, and his notion of reform by culture no doubt attracted many adherents among English scholars. Luther’s works found their way into England, and were read and studied at both Oxford and Cambridge. In May 1521 Wolsey attended a pompous burning of Lutheran tracts in St Paul’s churchyard, where Bishop Fisher preached ardently against the new German heresy. Henry VIII. himself stoutly maintained the headship of the pope, and, as is well known, after examining the arguments of Luther, published his Defence of the Seven Sacraments in 1521, which won for him from the pope the glorious title of “Defender of the Faith.” The government and the leading men of letters and prelates appear therefore to have harboured no notions of revolt before the matter of the king’s divorce became prominent in 1527.
Henry’s elder brother Arthur, a notoriously sickly youth of scarce fifteen, had been married to Catherine, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, but had died less than five months after the marriage (April 1502), leaving and the doubts as to whether the union had ever been physicallyHenry VIII. and the divorce case. consummated. Political reasons dictated an alliance between the young widow and her brother-in-law Henry, prince of Wales, nearly five years her junior; Julius II. was induced reluctantly to grant the dispensation necessary on account of the relationship, which, according to the canon law and the current interpretation of Leviticus xviii. 16, stood in the way of the union. The wedding took place some years later (1509), and several children were born, none of whom survived except the princess Mary. By 1527 the king had become hopeless of having a male heir by Catherine. He was tired of her, and in love with the black-eyed Anne Boleyn, who refused to be his mistress. He alleged that he was beginning to have a horrible misgiving that his marriage with Catherine had been invalid, perhaps downright “incestuous.” The negotiations with Clement VII. with the hope of obtaining a divorce from Catherine, the reluctance of the pope to impeach the dispensation of his predecessor Julius II., and at the same time to alienate the English queen’s nephew Charles V., the futile policy of Wolsey and his final ruin in 1529 are described elsewhere (see ENGLISH HISTORY; HENRY VIII.; CATHERINE OF ARAGON). The king’s agents secured the opinion of a number of prominent universities that his marriage was void, and an assembly of notables, which he summoned in June 1530, warned the pope of the dangers involved in leaving the royal succession in uncertainty, since the heir was not only a woman, but, as it seemed to many, of illegitimate birth.
Henry’s next move was to bring a monstrous charge against the clergy, accusing them of having violated the ancient laws of praemunire in submitting to the authority of papal legates (although he himself had ratified the appointment of Wolsey as legate a latere). The clergy of theBeginning of England’s revolt against papacy. province of Canterbury were fined £100,000 and compelled to declare the king “their singular protector and only supreme lord, and, as far as that is permitted by the law of Christ, the supreme head of the Church and of the clergy.” This the king claimed, perhaps with truth, was only a clearer statement of the provisions of earlier English laws. The following year, 1532, parliament presented a petition to the king (which had been most carefully elaborated by the monarch’s own advisers) containing twelve charges against the bishops, relating to their courts, fees, injudicious 'appointments and abusive treatment of heretics, which combined to cause an unprecedented and “ marvellous disorder of the godly quiet, peace and tranquillity” of the realm. For the remedy of these abuses parliament turned to the king, “in whom and by whom the only and sole redress, reformation and remedy herein absolutely rests and remains.” The ordinaries met these accusations with a lengthy and dignified answer; but this did not satisfy the king, and convocation was compelled on the 15th of May 1532, further to -clarify the ancient laws of the land, as understood by the king, in the very brief, very humble and very pertinent document known as the “Submission of the Clergy.” Herein the king’s “most humble subjects daily orators, and bedesmen” of the clergy of England, in view of his goodness and fervent Christian zeal and his learning far exceeding that of all other kings that they have read of, agree never to assemble in convocation except at the king’s summons, and to enact and promulgate no constitution or ordinances except they receive the royal assent and authority. Moreover, the existing canons are to be subjected to the examination of a commission appointed by the king, half its members from parliament, half from the clergy, to abrogate with the king’s assent such provisions as the majority find do not stand with God’s laws and the laws of the realm. This appeared to place the legislation of the clergy, whether old or new, entirely under the monarch’s control. A few months later Thomas Cranmer, who had been one of those to discuss sympathetically Luther’s works in the little circle at Cambridge, and who believed the royal supremacy would tend to the remedying of grave abuses and that the pope had acted ultra vires in issuing a dispensation for the king’s marriage with Catherine, was induced by Henry to succeed Warham as archbishop of Canterbury. About the same time parliament passed an interesting and important statute, forbidding, unless the king should wish to suspend the operation of the law, the payment to the pope of the annates. This item alone amounted during the previous forty-six years, the parliament declared, “ at the least to eight score thousand pounds, besides other great and intolerable sums which have yearly been conveyed to the said court of Rome by many other ways and means to the great impoverishment of this realm.” The annates were thereafter to accrue to the king; and bishops and archbishops were thenceforth, in case the pope refused to confirm them, to be consecrated and invested within the realm, “in like manner as divers other archbishops and bishops have been heretofore in ancient times by sundry the king’s most noble progenitors.” No censures, excommunications or interdicts with which the Holy Father might Vex or grieve the sovereign lord or his subjects, should be published or in any way impede the usual performance of the sacraments and the holding of the divine services. In February parliament discovered that “ by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles ” it was manifest that the realm of England was an empire governed by one supreme head, the king, to whom all sorts and degrees of people-both clergy and laity ought to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience, and that to him God had given the authority finally to determine all causes and contentions in the realm, “ without restraint, or provocation to any foreign princes or potentates of the world.” The ancient statutes of the praemunire and pro visors are recalled and the penalties attached to their violation re-enacted. All appeals were to be tried within the realm, and suits begun before an archbishop were to be determined by him without further appeal. Acting on this, Cranmer tried the divorce case before his court, which declared the marriage with Catherine void and that with Anne Boleyn, which had been solemnize cl privately in January, valid. The pope replied by ordering Henry under pain of excommunication to put away Anne and restore Catherine, his legal wife, within ten days. This sentence the emperor, all the Christian princes and the king’s own subjects were summoned to carry out by force of arms if necessary.
As might have been anticipated, this caused no break in the policy of the English king and his parliament, and a series of famous acts passed in the year 1534 completed and confirmed the independence of the Church of England, which, except during five years under Queen Mary,Secession of England from the papal monarchy, 1534. was thereafter as completely severed from the papal monarchy as the electorate of Saxony or the duchy Hesse. The payment of annates and of Peter’s pence was absolutely forbidden, as well as the application to the bishop .of Rome for dispensations. The bishops were thereafter to be elected by the deans and chapters upon receiving the king’s congé d'eslire (q.v.). The Act of Succession provided that, should the king have no sons, Elizabeth, Anne’s daughter, should succeed to the crown. The brief Act of Supremacy confirmed the king’s claim to be reputed the “ only supreme head in earth of the Church of England ”; he was to enjoy all the honours, dignities, jurisdictions and profits thereunto appertaining, and to have full power and authority to reform and amend all such errors, heresies and abuses, as by any manner of spiritual authority might lawfully be reformed, or amended, most to the pleasure of Almighty God, and the increase of virtue in Christ’s religion, “ foreign authority, prescription, or any other thing or things to the contrary hereof, notwithstanding.” The Treasons Act, terrible in its operation, included among capital offences that of declaring in words or writing the king to be “ a heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper." The convocations were required to abjure the papal supremacy by declaring “ that the bishop of Rome has not in Scripture any greater jurisdiction in the kingdom of England than any other foreign bishop.” The king had now clarified the ancient laws of the realm to his satisfaction, and could proceed to abolish superstitious rites, remedy abuses, and seize such portions of the Church’s possessions, especially pious and monastic foundations, as he deemed superfluous for the maintenance of religion.
In spite of the fact that the separation from Rome had been carried out during the sessions of a single parliament, and that there had been no opportunity for a general expression of opinion on the part of the nation, there is no reason to suppose that the majority of theThe reform of the English Church under Henry VIII. people, thoughtful or thoughtless, were not ready to reconcile themselves to the abolition of the papal supremacy. It seems just as clear that there was no strong evangelical movement, and that Henry’s pretty consistent adherence to the fundamental doctrines of the medieval Church was agreeable to the great mass of his subjects. The ten “ Articles devised by the Kyng’s Highnes Majestic to stablysh Christen quietness” (1536), together with the “injunctions” of 1536 and 1538, are chiefly noteworthy for their affirmation of almost all the current doctrines of the Catholic Church, except those relating to the papal supremacy, purgatory, images, relics and pilgrimages, and the old rooted distrust of the Bible in the vernacular. The clergy were bidden to exhort their hearers to the “works of charity, mercy and faith, specially prescribed and commanded in Scripture, and not to repose their trust or affiance in any other works devised by men’s phantasies beside Scripture; as in wandering to pilgrimages, offering of money, candles or tapers to images or relics, or kissing or licking the same, saying over a number of beads, not understood or minded on, or in such-like superstition.” To this end a copy of the whole English Bible was to be set up in each parish church where the people could read it. During the same years the monasteries, lesser and greater, were dissolved, and the chief shrines were despoiled, notably that of St Thomas of Canterbury. Thus one of the most important of all medieval ecclesiastical institutions, monasticism, came to an end in England. Doubtless the king’s sore financial needs had much to do with the dissolution of the abbeys and the plundering of the shrines, but there is no reason to suppose that he was not fully convinced that the monks had long outlived their usefulness and that the shrines were centres of abject superstition and ecclesiastical deceit. Henry, however, stoutly refused to go further in the direction of German Protestantism, even with the prospect of forwarding the proposed union between him and the princes of the Schmalkaldic League. An insurrection of the Yorkshire peasants, which is to be ascribed in part to the distress caused by the enclosure of the commons on which they had been wont to pasture their cattle, 'and in part to the destruction of popular shrines, may have caused the king to defend his orthodoxy by introducing into parliament in 1 5 39 the six questions. These parliament enacted into the terrible statute of “The Six Articles,” in which a felon’s death was prescribed for those who obstinately denied transubstantiation, demanded the communion under both kinds, questioned the binding character of vows of chastity, or the lawfulness of private Masses or the expediency of auricular confession. On the 3oth of July 1540 three Lutheran clergymen were burned and three Roman Catholics beheaded, the latter for denying the king’s spiritual supremacy. The king’s ardent desire that diversities of minds and opinions should be done away with and unity be “charitably established” was further promoted by publishing in 1543 A Necessary Doctrine and Erndition for any Christian M an, set forth by the King’s Majesty of England, in which the tenets of medieval theology, except for denial of the supremacy of the bishop of Rome and the unmistakable assertion of the supremacy of the king, were once more restated.
Henry VIII. died in January 1547, having chosen a council
of regency for his nine-year-old son Edward, the members
of which were favourable to further religious innovations.
Somerset, the new Protector, strove to govern becomes
on the basis of civil liberty and religious tolerance.England becomes Protestant under
1547–1553. The first parliament of the reign swept away almost all the species of treasons created during the previous two centuries, the heresy acts, including the Six Articles, all limitations on printing the Scriptures in English and reading and expounding the same—indeed “all and every act or acts of parliament concerning doctrine or matters of religion.” These measures gave a great impetus to religious discussion and local innovations. Representatives of all the new creeds hastened from the Continent to England, where they hoped to find a safe and fertile field for the particular seed they had to plant. It is impossible exactly to estimate the influence which these teachers exerted on the general trend of religious opinion in England; in any case, however, it was not unimportant, and the Articles of Religion and official homilies of the Church of England show unmistakably the influence of Calvin’s doctrine. There was, however, no such sudden breach with the traditions of the past as characterized the Reformation in some continental countries. Under Edward VI. the changes were continued on the lines laid down by Henry VIII. The old hierarchy continued, but service books in English were substituted for those in Latin, and preaching was encouraged. A royal visitation, beginning in 1547, discovered, however, such a degree of ignorance and illiteracy among the parish clergy that it became clear that preaching could only be gradually given its due place in the services of the Church. Communion under both kinds and the marriage of the clergy were sanctioned, thus gravely modifying two of the fundamental institutions of the medieval Church. A conservative Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies after the Use of the Church of England—commonly called the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. was—issued in 1549. This was based upon ancient “uses,” and represented no revolutionary change in the traditions of the “old religion.” It was followed, however, in 1552 by the second Prayer Book, which was destined to be, with some modifications, the permanent basis of the English service. This made it clear that the communion was no longer to be regarded as a propitiatory sacrifice, the names “Holy Communion” and “Lord’s Supper” being definitively substituted for “Mass” (q.v.), while the word “altar” was replaced by “table.” In the Forty-two Articles we have the basis of Queen Elizabeth’s Thirty-nine Articles. Thus during the reign of Edward we have not only the. foundations of the Anglican Church laid, but there appears the beginning of those evangelical and puritanical sects which were to become the “dissenters” of the following centuries.
With the death of Edward there came a period of reaction lasting for five years. Queen Mary, unshaken in her attachment to the ancient faith and the papal monarchy, was able with the sanction of a subservient parliament to turn back the wheels of ecclesiastical legislation,Catholic reaction under Mary, 1553–1558. to restore the old religion, and to reunite the 1558- English Church with the papal monarchy; the pope’s legate, Cardinal Pole, was primate of all England. Then, the ancient heresy laws having been revived, came the burnings of Rogers, Hooker, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer and many a less noteworthy champion of the new religion. It would seem as if this sharp, uncompromising reaction was what was needed to produce a popular realization of the contrast between the Ecclesia anglicana of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., and the alternative of “perfect obedience to the See Apostolic.”
Elizabeth, who succeeded her sister Mary in 1558, was suspected to be Protestant in her leanings, and her adviser, Cecil, had received his training as secretary of the Protector Somerset; but the general European situation as well as the young queen’s own temperament precludedSettlement under Elizabeth. any abrupt or ostentatious change in religious matters. The new sovereign’s first proclamation was directed against all such preaching as might lead to contention and the breaking of the common quiet. In 1559 ten of Henry VIII.’s acts were revived. On Easter Sunday the queen ventured to display her personal preference for the Protestant conception of the Eucharist by forbidding the celebrant in her chapel to elevate the host. The royal supremacy was reasserted, the title being modified into “supreme governor”; and a new edition of Edward VI.’s second Prayer Book, with a few changes, was issued. The Marian bishops who refused to recognize these changes were deposed and imprisoned, but care was taken to preserve the “succession” by consecrating others in due form to take their places. Four years later the Thirty-nine Articles imposed an official creed upon the English nation. This was Protestant in its general character: in its appeal to the Scriptures as the sole rule of faith (Art. VI.), its repudiation of the authority of Rome (Art. XXXVIL), its definition of the Church (Art. XIX.), its insistence on justification by faith only (Art. XI.) and repudiation of the sacrifice of the Mass (Arts. XXVIII, and XXXI.). As supreme governor of the Church of England the sovereign strictly controlled all ecclesiastical legislation and appointed royal delegates to hear appeals from the ecclesiastical courts, to be a “papist” or to “hear Mass” (which was construed as the same thing) was to risk incurring the terrible penalties of high treason. By the Act of Uniformity (1559) a uniform ritual, the Book of Common Prayer, was imposed upon clergy and laity alike, and no liberty of public worship was permitted. Every subject was bound under penalty of a fine to attend church on Sunday. While there was in a certain sense freedom of opinion, all printers had to seek a licence from the government for every manner of book or paper, and heresy was so closely affiliated with treason that the free expression of thought, whether reactionary or revolutionary, was beset with grave danger.
Attempts to estimate the width of the gulf separating the Church of England in Elizabeth's time from the corresponding institution as it existed in the early years of her father's reign are likely to be gravely affected by personal bias. There is a theory that no sweeping revolution in dogma took place, but that only a few medieval beliefs were modified or rejected owing to the practical abuses to which they had given rise. To Professor A. F. Pollard, for example, “ The Reformation in England was mainly a domestic affair, a national protest against national grievances rather than part of a cosmopolitan movement toward doctrinal change ” (Camb. Mod. Hist. ii. 478-9). This estimate appeals to persons of widely different views and temperaments. It is as grateful to those who, like many “Anglo-Catholics,” desire on religious grounds to establish the doctrinal continuity of the Anglican Church with that of the middle ages, as it is obvious to those who, like W. K. Clifford, perceive in the ecclesiastical organization and its influence nothing more than a perpetuation of demoralizing medieval superstition. The nonconformists have, moreover, never wearied of denouncing the “papistical” conservatism of the Anglican establishment. On the other hand, the impartial historical student cannot compare the Thirty-nine Articles with the contemporaneous canons and decrees of the council of Trent without being impressed by striking contrasts between the two sets of dogmas. Their spirit is very different. The unmistakable rejection on the part of the English Church of the conception of the Eucharist as a sacrifice had alone many wide reaching implications. Even although the episcopal organization was retained, the conception of “ tradition, ” of the conciliar powers, of the “ characters” of the priest, of the celibate life, of purgatory, of “ good works, ” &c.-all these serve clearly to differentiate the teaching of the English Church before and after the Reformation. From this standpoint it is obviously unhistorical to deny that England had a very important part in the cosmopolitan movement toward doctrinal change. The little backward kingdom of Scotland definitely accepted the new faith two years after Elizabeth's accession, and after having for centuries sided with France against England, The Rem, she was inevitably forced by the Reformation into an mation in alliance with her ancient enemy to the south when they Scotland. 1560.
both faced a confederation of Catholic powers. The first martyr of Luther's gospel had been Patrick Hamilton, who had suffered in 1528; but in spite of a number of executions the new ideas spread, even among the nobility. John Knox, who, after a chequered career, had come under the influence of Calvin at Geneva, returned to Scotland for a few months in 1555, and shortly after (1557) that part of the Scottish nobility which had been won over to the new faith formed their first “ covenant ” for mutual protection. These “ Lords of the Congregation” were able to force some concessions from the queen regent. Knox appeared in Scotland again in 1559, and became a sort of second Calvin. He opened negotiations with Cecil, who induced the reluctant Elizabeth to form an alliance with the Lords of the Congregation, and the English sent a fleet to drive away the French, who were endeavouring to keep their hold on Scotland. In 156O a confession of faith was prepared by John Knox and five companions. This was adopted by the Scottish parliament, with the resolution “ the bishops of Rome have no jurisdiction nor authorities in this Realme in tymes cuming.” The alliance of England and the Scottish Protestants against the French, and the common secession from the papal monarchy, was in a sense the foundation and beginning of Great Britain. Scottish Calvinism was destined to exercise no little influence, not only on the history of England, but on the form that the Protestant faith was to take in lands beyond the seas, at the time scarcely known to the Europeans.
While France was deeply affected during the 16th century by the Protestant revolt, its government never undertook any thoroughgoing reform of the Church. During the part of the century its monarchs were engaged in a bloody struggle with a powerful religious-political party, the Huguenots, who finally won a toleration which they continued to enjoy until the of the edict of Nantes in 168 5. It was not until 1789 that the French Church of the middle ages lost its vast possessions and was subjected to a fundamental reconstruction by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1791). Yet no summary of the Protestant revolt would be complete without some allusion to the contrast between the course of affairs in France and in the neighbouring countries. The French monarchy, as we have seen, had usually succeeded in holding its own against the centralizing tendencies of the pope. By the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438) it had secured the advantages of the conciliar movement. In 1516, after Francis I. had won his victory at Marignano, Leo X. concluded a new concordat with France, in which, in view of the repudiation of the offensive Pragmatic Sanction, the patronage of the French Church was turned over, with scarce any restriction, to the French monarch, although in another agreement the annates were reserved to the pope. The encroachments-which had begun in the time of Philip the Fair—of the king’s lawyers on the ancient ecclesiastical jurisdiction, had reached a point where there was little cause for jealousy on the part of the State. The placet had long prevailed, so that the king had few of the reasons, so important in Germany and England, for quarrelling with the existing system, unless it were on religious grounds. France had been conspicuous in the conciliar movement. It had also furnished its due quota of heretics, although no one so conspicuous as Wycliffe or Huss. Marsiglio of Padua had had Frenchmen among his sympathizers and helpers. The first prominent French scholar to “preach Christ from the sources” was Jacques Lefèbvere of Etaples, who in 1512 published a new Latin translation of the epistles of St Paul. Later he revised an existing French translation of both the New Testament (which appeared in 1523, almost contemporaneously with Luther’s German version) and, two years later, the Old Testament. He agreed with Luther in rejecting transubstantiation, and in believing that works without the grace of God could not make for salvation. The centre of Lefèbvere’s followers was Meaux, and they found an ardent adherent in Margaret of Angouléme, the king’s sister, but had no energetic leader who was willing to face the danger of disturbances. Luther’s works found a good many readers in France, but were condemned (1521) by both the Sorbonne and the parlement of Paris. The parlement appointed a commission to discover and punish heretics; the preachers of Meaux fled to Strassburg, and Lefèbvere’s translation of the Bible was publicly burned. A council held at Sens, 1528–29, approved all those doctrines of the old Church which the Protestants were attacking, and satisfied itself with enumerating a list of necessary conservative reforms.
After a fierce attack on Protestants caused by the mutilation of a statue of the Virgin, in 1528, the king, anxious to conciliate both the German Protestants and anti-papal England, invited some of the reformers of Meaux to preach in the Louvre. An address written byJohn Calvin and his “Institutes of the Christian Religion.” a young man of twenty-four, Jean Cauvin (to become immortal under his Latin name of Calvinus) was read by the rector of the university. It was a defence of the new evangelical views, and so aroused the Sorbonne that Calvin was forced to flee from Paris. In October 1534, the posting of placards in Paris and other towns, containing brutal attacks on the Mass and denouncing the pope and the “vermin” of bishops, priests and monks as blasphemers and liars, produced an outburst of persecution, in which thirty-five Lutherans were burned, while many fled the country. The events called forth from Calvin, who was in Basel, the famous letter to Francis which forms the preface to his Institutes of the Christian Religion. In this address he sought to vindicate the high aims of the Protestants, and to put the king on his guard against those mad men who were disturbing his kingdom with their measures of persecution. The Institutes, the first great textbook of Protestant theology, was published in Latin in 1536, and soon (1541) in a French version. The original work is much shorter than in its later editions, for, as Calvin says, he wrote learning and learned writing. His address had little effect on the king. The parlements issued a series of edicts against the heretics, culminating in the very harsh general edict of Fontainebleau, sanctioned by the parlement of Paris in 1543. The Sorbonne issued a concise series of twenty-five articles, refuting the Institutes of Calvin. This statement, when approved by the king and his council, was published throughout France, and formed a clear test of orthodoxy. The Sorbonne also drew up a list of prohibited books, including those of Calvin, Luther and Melanchthon; and the parlement issued a decree against all printing of Protestant literature. The later years of Francis’s reign were noteworthy for the horrible massacre of the Waldenses and the martyrdom of fourteen from the group of Meaux, who were burnt alive in 1546. When Francis died little had been done, in spite of the government’s cruelty, to check Protestantism, while a potent organ of evangelical propaganda had been developing just beyond the confines of France in the town of Geneva.
In its long struggle with its bishops and with the dukes of Savoy, Geneva had turned to her neighbours for aid, especially to Bern, with which an alliance was concluded in 1526. Two years later Bern formally sanctioned the innovations advocated by the Protestant preachers,Geneva becomes a centre of propoganda. and although predominantly German assumed the rôle of protector of the reform party in the Pays de Vaud and Geneva. William Farel, one of the group of Meaux, who had fled to Switzerland and had been active in the conversion of Bern, went to Geneva in 1531. With the protection afforded him and his companions by Bern, and the absence of well-organized opposition on the part of the Roman Catholics, the new doctrines rapidly spread, and by 1535 Farel was preaching in St Pierre itself. After a public disputation in which the Catholics were weakly represented, and a popular demonstration in favour of the new doctrines, the council of Geneva rather reluctantly sanctioned the abolition of the Mass. Meanwhile Bern had declared war on the duke of Savoy, and had not only conquered a great part of the Pays de Vaud, including the important town of Lausanne, but had enabled Geneva to win its complete independence. In the same year (September 1536), as Calvin was passing through the town on his way back to Strassburg after a short visit in Italy, he was seized by Farel and induced most reluctantly to remain and aid him in thoroughly carrying out the Reformation in a city in which the conservative sentiment was still very strong. As there proved to be a large number in the town councils who did not sympathize with the plans of organization recommended by Calvin and his colleagues, the town preachers were, after a year and a half of unsatisfactory labour, forced to leave Geneva. For three years Calvin sojourned in Germany; he signed the Augsburg Confession, gained the friendship of Melanchthon and other leading reformers, and took part in the religious conferences of the period. In 1541 he was induced with great difficulty to surrender once more his hopes of leading the quiet life of a scholar, and to return again to Geneva (September 1541), where he spent the remaining twenty-three years of his life. His ideal was to restore the conditions which he supposed prevailed during the first three centuries of the Church’s existence; but the celebrated Ecclesiastical Ordinances adopted by the town in 1541 and revised in 1 561 failed fully to realize his ideas, which find a more complete exemplification in the regulations governing the French Church later. He wished for the complete independence and self-government of the Church, with the right of excommunication to be used against the ungodly. The Genevan town councils were quite ready to re-enact all the old police regulations common in that age in regard to excessive display, dancing, obscene songs, &c. It was arranged too that town government should listen bo the “ Consistory, ” made up of the “ Elders, ” but the Small Council was to choose the members of the Consistory, two of whom should belong to the Small Council, four to the Council of Sixty, and six to the Council of Two Hundred. One of the four town syndics was to preside over its sessions. The Consistory was thus a sort of committee of the councils, and it had no power to inflict. civil punishment on odenders. Thus “we ought,” as Lindsay says, “to see in the disciplinary powers and punishments of the Consistory of Geneva not an exhibition of the working of the Church organized on the principles of Calvin, but the ordinary procedure of the town council of a medieval city. Their petty punishments and their minute interferences with private life are only special instances of what was common to all municipal rule in the 16th century.” This is true of the supreme crime of heresy, which in the notorious case of Servetus was only an expression of rules laid down over a thousand years earlier in the Theodosian Code. Geneva, however, with its most distinguished of Protestant theologians, became a school of Protestantism, which sent its trained men into the Netherlands, England and Scotland, and especially across the border into France. It served too as a place of refuge for thousands of the persecuted adherents of its beliefs. Ca1vin’s book furnished the Protestants not only with a compact and admirably written handbook of theology, vigorous and clear, but with a system of Church government and a code of morals.
After the death of Francis I., his successor, Henry II., set himself even more strenuously- to extirpate heresy; a special branch of the parlement of Paris—the so-called Chambre ardente (q.v.)—for the trial of heresy cases was established, and the fierce edict of Chateaubriand (June 1551) explicitly adopted many of the expedients of the papal inquisition. While hundreds were imprisoned or burned, Protestants seemed steadily to increase in numbers, and finally only the expostulations of the parlement of Paris prevented the king from introducing the Inquisition in France in accordance with the wishes of the pope and the cardinal of Lorraine. The civil tribunals, however, practically assumed the functions of regular inquisitorial courts, in spite of the objections urged by the ecclesiastical courts. Notwithstanding these measures for their extermination, the French Protestants were proceeding to organize a church in accordance with the conceptions of the early Christian communities as Calvin described them in his Institutes. Beginning with Paris, some fifteen communities with their consistories were established in French towns between 1555 and 1560. In spite of continued persecution a national synod was assembled in Paris in 1559, representing at least twelve Protestant churches in Normandy and central France, which drew up a confession of faith and a book of church discipline. It appears to have been from France rather than from Geneva that the Presbyterian churches of Holland, Scotland and the United States derived their form of government. A reaction against the extreme severity of the king’s courts became apparent at this date. Du Bourg and others ventured warmly to defend the Protestants in the parlement of Paris in the very presence of the king and of the cardinal of Lorraine. The higher aristocracy began now to be attracted by the new doctrines, or at least repelled by the flagrant power enjoyed by the Guises during the brief reign of Francis II. (1559–1560). Protestantism was clearly becoming inextricably associated with politics of a very intricate sort. The leading members of the Bourbon branch of the royal family, and Gaspard de Coligny, admiral of France, were conspicuous among the converts to Calvinism. Persecution was revived by the Guises, Du Bourg, the brave defender of the Protestants, was burned as a heretic; yet Calvin could in the closing years of his life form a cheerful estimate that some three hundred thousand of his countrymen had been won over to his views. The death of Francis II. enabled Catherine de' Medici, the queen mother, to assert herself against the Guises, and become the regent of her ten-year-old son Charles IX. A meeting of the States General had already been summoned to consider the state of the realm. Michel de l'H6pital, the chancellor, who opened the assembly, was an advocate of toleration; he deprecated the abusive use of the terms “Lutherans,” “Papists” and “Huguenots,” and advocated deferring all action until a council should have been called. The deputies of the clergy were naturally conservative, but advocated certain reforms, an abolition of the Concordat, and a re-establishment of the older Pragmatic Sanction. The noblesse were divided on the matter of toleration, but the ca/tiers (lists of grievances and suggestions for reform) submitted by the Third Estate demanded, besides regular meetings of the estates every five years, complete toleration and a reform of the Church. This grew a little later into the recommendation that the revenues and possessions of the French Church should be appropriated by the government, which, after properly subsidizing the clergy, might hope, it was estimated, that a surplus of twenty-two millions of livres would accrue to the State. Two hundred and thirty years later this plan was realized in the Civil 'Constitution of the Clergy. The deliberations of 1561 resulted in the various reforms, the suspension of persecution and the liberation of Huguenot prisoners. These were not accorded freedom of worship, but naturally took advantage of the situation to carry on their services more publicly than ever before. An unsuccessful effort was made at the conference of Poissy to bring the two religious parties together; Beza had an opportunity to defend the Calvinistic cause, and Lainez, the general of the Order of Jesus, that of the bishop of Rome. The government remained tolerant toward the movement, and in January 1562 the Huguenots were given permission to hold public services outside the walls of fortified towns and were not forbidden to meet in private houses within the walls. Catherine, who had promoted these measures, cared nothing for the Protestants, but desired the support of the Bourbon princes. The country was Catholic, and disturbances inevitably occurred, culminating in the attack of the duke of Guise and his troops on the Protestants at Vassy, less than two months after the issuing of the edict.
It is impossible to review here the Wars of Religion which distracted France, from the “massacre of Vassy” to the publication of the edict of Nantes, thirty-six years later. Religious issues became more and more dominated by purely political and dynastic ambitions, and the whole situation was constantly affected by the policy of Philip II. and the struggle going on in the Netherlands. Henry IV. was admirably fitted to reunite France once more, and, after a, superficial conversion to the Catholic faith, to meet the needs of his former co-religionists, the Huguenots. The edict of Nantes recapitulated and codified the provisions of a series of earlier edicts of toleration, which had come with each truce during the previous generation. Liberty of conscience in religious matters was secured and the right of private worship to those of the “so-called Reformed religion.” Public worship was permitted everywhere where it had existed in 1596–1597, in two places within each bailliage and sénéchaussée, and in the chateaux of the Protestant nobility, with slight restrictions in the case of lower nobility. Protestants were placed upon a political equality and made eligible to all public offices. To ensure these rights, they were left in military control of two hundred towns, including La Rochelle, Montauban and Montpellier. Tealous of their “sharing the State with the king ” Richelieu twenty-five years later reduced the exceptional privileges of the Huguenots, and with the advent of Louis XIV. they began to suffer renewed persecution, which the king at last flattered himself had so far reduced their number that in 1685 he revoked the edict of Nantes and reduced the Protestants to the status of outlaws. It was not until 1786 that they were restored to their civil rights, and by the Declaration of the Rights of Man, in 1789, to their religious freedom.
Contemporaneously with the Wars of Religion in France a long and terrible struggle between the king of Spain and his Dutch and Belgian provinces had resulted in the formation of a Protestant statw-the United Netherlands, which was destined to play an important rôleThe United Netherlands and their importance in the history of toleration. in the history of the Reformed religion. Open both German and French influences, the Netherlands had been the scene of the first executions of Lutherans; they had been a centre of Anabaptist agitation; but Calvinism finally triumphed in the Confession of Dordrecht, since Ca1vin’s system of church government did not, like Luther’s, imply the sympathy of the civil authorities. Charles V. had valiantly opposed the development of heresy in the Netherlands, and nowhere else had there been such numbers of martyrs, for some thirty thousand are supposed to have been put to death during his reign. Under 'Philip II. it soon became almost impossible to distinguish clearly between the religious issues and the resistance to the manifold tyranny of Philip and his representatives. William of Orange, who had passed through several phases of religious conviction, stood first and foremost for toleration. Indeed, Holland became the home of modern religious liberty, the haven of innumerable free spirits, and the centre of activity of printers and publishers, who asked for no other imprimatur than the prospect of intelligent readers.
It is impossible to offer any exhaustive classification of those who, while they rejected the teachings of the old Church, refused at the same time to conform to the particular types of Protestantism which had found favour in the eyes of the princes and been imposed by them on theirThe Anabaptists. subjects. This large class of “ dissenters ” found themselves as little at home under a Protestant as under a Catholic regime, and have until recently been treated with scant sympathy by historians of the Church. Long before the Protestant revolt, simple, obscure people, under the influence of leaders whose names have been forgotten, lost confidence in the official clergy and their sacraments and formed secret organizations of which vague accounts are found in the reports of the 13th-century inquisitors, Rainerus Sacchoni, Bernard Gui, and the rest. Their anti-sacerdotal ism appears to have been their chief offence, for the inquisitors admit that they were puritanically careful in word and conduct, and shunned all levity. Similar groups are mentioned in the town chronicles of the early 16th century, and there is reason to assume that informal evangelical movements were no new things when Luther first began to preach. His appeal to the Scriptures against the traditions of the Church encouraged a more active propaganda on the part of Balthasar Hubmaier, Carlstadt, Miinzer, ]ohann Denk (d. 1527) and others, some of whom were well-trained scholars capable of maintaining with vigour and effect their ideas of an apostolic life as the high road to salvation. Miinzer dreamed of an approaching millennium on earth to be heralded by violence and suffering, but Hubmaier and Denk were peaceful evangelists who believed that man's will was free and that each had within him an inner light which would, if he but followed it, guide him to God. To them persecution was an outrage upon Jesus's teachings. Luther and his sympathizers were blind to the reasonableness of the fundamental teachings of these “ brethren.” The idea of adult baptism, which had after 1 S2 5 become generally accepted among them, roused a bitterness which it is rather hard to understand nowadays. But it is easy to see that informal preaching to the people at large, especially after the Peasant Revolt, with which Miinzer had been identified, should have led to a general condemnation, under the name “Anabaptist ” or “Catabaptist,” of the heterogeneous dissenters who agreed in rejecting the State religion and associated a condemnation of infant baptism with schemes for social betterment. The terrible events in Münster, which was controlled for a short time (1533–34) by a group of Anabaptists under the leadership of John of Leiden, the introduction of polygamy (which appears to have been a peculiar accident rather than a general principle), the speedy capture of the town by an alliance of Catholic and Protestant princes, and the ruthless retribution inflicted by the victors, have been cherished by ecclesiastical writers as a choice and convincing instance of the natural fruits of a rejection of infant baptism. Much truer than the common estimate of the character of the Anabaptists is that given in Sebastian Franck's Chronicle: “ They taught nothing but love, faith and the crucifixion of the flesh, manifesting patience and humility under many sufferings, breaking bread with one another in sign of unity and love, helping one another with true helpfulness, lending, borrowing, giving, learning to have all things in common, calling each other 'brother.' ” Menno Simons (b. circ. 1500) succeeded in bringing the scattered Anabaptist communities into a species of association; he discouraged the earlier apocalyptic hopes, inculcated non-resistance, denounced the evils of State control over religious matters, and emphasized personal conversion, and adult baptism as its appropriate seal. The English Independents and the modern Baptists, as well as the Mennonites, may be regarded as the historical continuation of lines of development going back to the Waldensians and the Bohemian Brethren, and passing down through the German, Dutch and Swiss Anabaptists.
The modern scholar as he reviews the period of the Protestant Revolt looks naturally, but generally in vain, for those rationalistic tendencies which become so clear in the latter part of the 17th century. Luther found no intellectual difficulties in his acceptance and interpretationSocinians or Anti-Trinitarians. of the Scriptures as God's word, and in maintaining against the Anabaptists the legitimacy of every old custom that was not obviously contrary to the Scriptures. Indeed, he gloried in the inherent and divine unreasonableness of Christianity, and brutally denounced reason as a cunning fool, “a pretty harlot.” The number of questions which Calvin failed to ask or eluded by absolutely irrational expedients frees him from any taint of modern rationalism. But in Servetus, whose execution he approved, we find an isolated, feeble revolt against assumptions which both Catholics and Protestants of all shades accepted without question. It is pretty clear that the common accounts of the Renaissance and of the revival of learning grossly exaggerate the influence of the writers of Greece and Rome, for they produced no obvious rationalistic movement, as would have been the case had Plato and Cicero, Lucretius and Lucian, been taken really seriously. Neo-Platonism, which is in some respects nearer the Christian patriotic than the Hellenic spirit, was as far as the radical religious thinkers of the Italian Renaissance receded. The only religious movement that can be regarded as even rather vaguely the outcome of humanism is the Socinian. Faustus Sozzini, a native of Sienna (1539–1603), much influenced by his uncle Lelio Sozzini, after a wandering, questioning life, found his way to Poland, where he succeeded in uniting the various Anabaptist sects into a species of church, the doctrines of which are set forth in the Confession of Rakow (near Minsk), published in Polish in 1605 and speedily in German and Latin. The Latin edition declares that although this new statement of the elements of the Christian faith differs from the articles of other Christian creeds it is not to be mistaken for a challenge. It does not aim at binding the opinions of men or at condemning to the tortures of hell-fire those who refuse to accept it. Absit a nobis ea mens, immo amentia. “We have, it is true, ventured to prepare a catechism, but we force it on no one; we express our opinions, but we coerce no one. It is free to every one to form his own conclusions in religious matters; and so we do no more than set forth the meaning of divine things as they appear to our minds Without, however, attacking or insulting those who differ from us. This is the golden freedom of preaching which the holy words of the New Testament so strictly enjoin upon us. . . . Who art thou, miserable man, who would smother and extinguish in others the fire of God's Spirit which it has pleased him to kindle in them?” The Socinian creed sprang from intellectual rather than religious motives. Sufficient reasons could be assigned for accepting the New Testament as God's word and Christ as the Christian's guide. He was not God, but a divine prophet born of a virgin and raised on the third day as the first-fruits of them that slept. From the standpoint of the history of enlightenment, as Harnack has observed, “ Socinianism with its systematic criticism (tentative and imperfect as it may now seem) and its rejection of all the assumptions based upon mere ecclesiastical tradition, can scarcely be rated too highly. That modern Unitarianism is all to be traced back to Sozzini and the Rakow Confession need not be assumed. The anti-Trinitarian path was one which opened invitingly before a considerable class of critical minds, seeming as it did to lead out into a sunny open, remote from the unfathomable depths of mystery and clouds of religious emotion which beset the way of the sincere Catholic and Protestant alike.
The effects of the Protestant secession on the doctrines, organization and practices of the Roman Catholic Church are difficult to estimate, still more so to substantiate. It is clear that the doctrinal conclusions of the council of Trent were largely determined by the necessityThe Catholic Reformation. of condemning Protestant tenets, and that the result of the council was to give the Roman Catholic faith a more precise form than it would otherwise have had. It is much less certain that the disciplinary reforms which the council, following the example of its predecessors, re-enacted, owed anything to Protestantism, unless indeed the council would have shown itself less intolerant in respect to such innovations as the use of the vernacular in the services had this not smacked of evangelicalism. In the matter of the pope's supremacy, the council followed the canon law and Thomas Aquinas, not the decrees of the council of Constance. It prepared the way for the dogmatic formulation of the plenitude of the papal power three centuries later by the council of the Vatican. The Protestants have sometimes taken credit to themselves for the indubitable reforms in the Roman Catholic Church, which by the end of the 16th century had done away with many of the crying abuses against which councils and diets had so long been protesting. But this conservative reformation had begun before Luther's preaching, and might conceivably have followed much the same course had his doctrine never found popular favour or been ratified by the princes.
In conclusion, a word may be said of the place of the Reformation in the history of progress and enlightenment. A “philosopher,” as Gibbon long ago pointed out, who asks from what articles of faith above and against reason the early Reformers enfranchised their followersThe place of the Reformation in the history of progress. will be surprised at their timidity rather than scandalized by their freedom. They remained severely orthodox in the doctrines of the Fathers—the Trinity, the Incarnation, the plenary inspiration of the Bible—and they condemned those who rejected their teachings to a hell whose fires they were not tempted to extenuate. Although they surrendered transubstantiation, the loss of one mystery was amply compensated by the stupendous doctrines of original sin, redemption, faith, grace and predestination upon which they founded their theory of salvation. They ceased to appeal to the Virgin and saints, and to venerate images and relics, procure indulgences and go on pilgrimages, they deprecated the monastic life, and no longer nourished faith by the daily repetition of miracles, but in the witch persecutions their demonology cost the lives of thousands of innocent women. They broke the chain of authority, without, however, recognizing the propriety of toleration. In any attempt to determine the relative importance of Protestant and Catholic countries in promoting modern progress it must not be forgotten that religion is naturally conservative, and that its avowed business has never been to forward scientific research or political reform. Luther and his contemporaries had not in any degree the modern idea of progress, which first becomes conspicuous with Bacon and Descartes, but believed, on the contrary, that the strangling of reason was the most precious of offerings to God. “Freethinker” and “rationalist” have been terms of opprobrium whether used by Protestants or Catholics. The pursuit of salvation does not dominate by any means the whole life and ambition of even ardent believers; statesmen, philosophers, men of letters, scientific investigators and inventors have commonly gone their way regardless of the particular form of Christianity which prevailed in the land in which they lived. The Reformation was, fundamentally, then, but one phase, if the most conspicuous, in the gradual decline of the majestic medieval ecclesiastical State, for this decline has gone on in France, Austria, Spain and Italy, countries in which the Protestant revolt against the ancient Church ended in failure.
Bibliography.—Reference is made here mainly to works dealing with the Reformation as a whole. Only recent books are mentioned, since the older works have been largely superseded owing to modern critical investigations: Thomas M. Lindsay, A History of the Reformation, 2 vols. (1906–7), the best general treatment; The Cambridge Modern History, vol. i. (1902), chaps. xviii. and xix., vol. ii. (1909), “ The Reformation,” and vol. iii. (1905), “The Wars of Religion,” with very full bibliographies; M. Creighton, History of the Papacy during the Reformation, 6 vols. (new ed. 1899–1901). from a Catholic standpoint: L. Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters (1891 sqq., especially vol. iv. in two parts, 1906–7, and vol. v., 1909). This is in course of publication and is being translated into English (8 vols. have appeared, 1891–1908, covering the period 1305–1521); J. Janssen, History of the German People at the Close of the Middle Ages, 12 vols., 1896–1907, corresponding to vols. i.–vi. of the German original, in 8 vols., edited by Pastor, 1897–1904. This is the standard Catholic treatment of the Reformation, and is being supplemented by a series of monographs, Ergänzungen zu Janssens Geschichte des deutschen Volkes, which have been appearing since 1898 and correspond with the Protestant Schriften des Vereins für Reformationsgeschichte (1883 sqq.). P. von Bezold, Geschichte der deutschen Reformation (1890), an excellent illustrated account; E. Troeltsch, Protestantisches Christentum und Kirche der Neuzeit, in the series “ Kultur der Gegenwart," Teil i. Abt. 4, i. Hälfte, 1905; Charles Beard, The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in its Relation to Modern Thought and Knowledge (The Hibbert Lectures for 1883), and by the same, Martin Luther, vol. i. (no more published; 1889); A. Harnack, History of Dogma (trans. from the 3rd German edition, vol. vii., 1900); A. E. Berger, Die Kulturaufgaben der Reformation (2nd ed., 1908); Thudichum, Papsttum und Reformation (1903); “Janus,” The Pope and the Council (1869), by Döllinger and others, a suggestive if not wholly accurate sketch of the papal claims; W. Maurenbrecher, Geschichte der Katholischen Reformation, vol. i. (no more published) (1880); J. Haller, Papsttum und Kirchenreform, vol. i. (1903) relates to the 14th century; J. Köstlin, Martin Luther, sein Leben und seine Schriften, new edition by Kawerau, 2 vols., 1903, the most useful life of Luther; H. Denifle, Luther und Luthertum, 2 vols. (1904–6), a bitter but learned arraignment of Luther by a distinguished Dominican scholar. H. Boehner, Luther im Lichte der neueren Forschungen (1906), brief and suggestive. First Principles of the Reformation, the Three Primary Works of Dr Martin Luther, edited by Wace and Buchheim,—an English translation of the famous pamphlets of 1520. (J. H. R.*)
- See further, Innocent III.
- In 1527 the pope’s capital was sacked by Charles’s army. This was, of course, but an incident in the purely political relations of the European powers with the pope, and really has no bearing upon the progress of the Protestant revolt.
- The episcopal office was retained, but the “succession” broken, the new Lutheran bishops being consecrated by Buggenhagen, who was only in priest’s orders.
- The episcopal system and succession were maintained, and the “Mass vestments” (i.e. alb and chasuble) remain in use to this day.
- This so-called “ecclesiastical reservation” was not included in the main peace.
- Cranmer himself had taken the oath of canonical obedience to the Holy See and duly received the pallium.
- Only one of the Marian bishops, Kitchin of Llandaff, was found willing to conform.
- In 1795 the National Convention gruffly declared that the Republic would no longer subsidize any form of worship or furnish buildings for religious services. “ The law recognizes no minister of religion, and no one is to appear in public with costumes or ornaments used in religious ceremonies.” Bonaparte, in the Concordat which he forced upon the po e in 1801, did not provide for the return of any of the lands of the Shurch which had been sold, but agreed that the government should pay the salaries of bishops and priests, whose appointment it controlled. While the Roman Catholic religion was declared to be that accepted b the majority of Frenchmen, the state subsidized the Reformedy Church., those adhering to the Augsburg Confession and the Jewish community. Over a century elapsed before the Concordat was abrogated by the Separation Law of 1905 which suppressed all government appropriations for religious purposes and vested the control of Church property in “associations for public worship” (associations cultuelles), to be composed of from seven to twenty-five members according to the size of the commune.