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as it was proposed, this pestilence would never thus have got possession of the world."*


In the last remark alone Erasmus was in error, and that, through the character of his mind, more keen to detect a particular mistake than to comprehend a general principle. Though Prierias had held his peace, and his brother monks had been equally mute, the "pestilence' would still have descended. Its progress, under the hand of Providence, was indeed hastened by the intemperance of those Dominicans; but the causes from which it sprang were firmly fixed beyond the reach of any partial influences, and were pregnant with inevitable change.


* "Indignabantur quorum res agebatur. Missa sunt ad Leonem X. Respondit Sylvester Prierias tam feliciter, ut ipse Pontifex indixerit illi silentium. Successere monachorum quorundam vociferationes apud populum, nihil habentes in ore, præter hæreses, blasphemias et schismata. Visa narro. Nulla res magis conciliavit omnium favorem Luthero. Quod si de condonationibus sobrie, sicut erant proposita, disputatum fuisset, nunquam hæc lues ita occupasset orbem." Lib. xix. Ep. 71.




General assembly of the Augustinians at Heidelberg-Luther propounds and defends his paradoxes-account of this affair by Bucer-the subjects, Free Will and Aristotle-Luther then puts forth his solutions of his theses his praises of Leo and abuse of Rome-he sends a copy with a letter to his diocesan-then to Staupitz, requesting him to forward them to the Pope-remarks on these two letters-also an epistle to Leo X.-substance of it-its great humility—the interference of the Pope was now inevitable-Luther's own self-reproaches in later life on the feebleness of these beginnings-how he was progressive in the acquisition of truth-In respect to his motives, they were unquestionably religious-Hostile calumnies; that he was prompted by personal ambition—his retort on Prierias-by love of personal distinction-by monastic jealousy-confuted by Pallavicino-by Frederick's jealousy of the Elector of Brandenburg-unimportance of these charges, even had they been true-concluding remarks.

In the spring of 1518 a general assembly of the Augustinian order was held at Heidelberg, and Luther was invited to attend it. So favourable an opportunity for diffusing his principles was not to be neglected. He determined to be present; and immediately after Easter, on the 13th of April, he set out on his journey on foot, and performed the greater part of it in that manner. The university of Heidelberg was held in high repute throughout the south and west of Germany, and any seeds which might be scattered there could scarcely fail to spread widely. The city was adorned by a palace of the Elector Palatine, in whose dominions it was placed, and who received the professor of Wittemberg with attention and hospitality. Staupitz likewise attended; he had even brought Luther from Würtzburg in his

own conveyance, so that the latter presented himself before the learned assembly surrounded with every outward mark of respect. He availed himself of these circumstances, and lost no time in promulgating a number of propositions, which he undertook to maintain in public disputation on the 26th of April.

General curiosity, the singularity of the theses and the name of Luther, attracted large crowds not only of divines and students but of the higher class of citizens, and the attendants of the court. The heads of the university discountenanced this debate, by closing the hall appropriated to such purposes; but it was held within the walls of the Augustinian monastery. Luther's theses were forty in number, and he designated them, not alto

gether without justice, "Paradoxes." The first twentyeight related to theology; the other twelve to philosophy. In the former he entered deeply into the mysteries of free will, grace, original sin, predestination. In the latter he treated with little ceremony the name and system of Aristotle. But what may seem singular, when we consider the ardour with which he was at that moment contending against one prominent practical abuse of Christian doctrine, he made no direct allusion, either in the one or in the other, to the subject of indulgences.

The following were among his paradoxes :—

1. The Law of God, though a very salutary rule of life, cannot advance a man towards righteousness, but is rather an obstacle.*

2. Still less can the works of men, operated by their natural strength, however frequently repeated, produce that effect.

3. The works of men, however specious and excellent

* "Lex Dei, saluberrima vita doctrina, non potest hominem ad justitiam promovere, sed magis obest."

they may appear without, are in all probability mortal sins.*

4. The works of God, however deformed and evil they may appear, are in truth immortal merits.

7. The works of the justified would be mortal sins, unless through a holy fear of God they were regarded with terror, as mortal sins, by the justified themselves.†

8. Much more are the works of men mortal sins, which are worked without any fear, in a mere false security.

9. To say that works done without Christ are indeed dead works, but not mortal sins, is a dangerous forgetfulness of the fear of God.

11. Presumption cannot be avoided nor true hope be present, unless the judgment of condemnation be feared in every act of life.

13. Free will after original sin is a mere name, and let it use all its exertions it can only sin mortally.

16. A man, who dreams that he can attain grace by doing all that is in his power, adds sin to sin, and is doubly guilty.

18. It is certain that a man ought to despair of himself altogether, that he may become fit for the reception of the grace of Christ.

21. The theologian of vanity calls evil good, and good evil. The theologian of the cross represents things as they are.

22. That wisdom, which discovers the invisible things

* "Opera hominum, ut semper sint speciosa bonaque videantur, probabile tamen est ea esse peccata mortalia."

"Justorum opera essent mortalia, nisi pio Dei timore ab ipsismet justis, ut mortalia, timerentur. Multo magis opera hominum sunt

mortalia. . . &c. . . ."

"Homo putans se ad gratiam velle pervenire faciendo quod in se est peccatum addit peccato, ut duplo reus fiat.'

of God from the understanding of His visible works, altogether inflates, blinds and hardens the heart.

23. The law works the wrath of God; it kills, curses, accuses, judges, condemns whatsoever is not in Christ.

25. He is not justified who does many works; but he who without any work has much faith in Christ.*

26. The law says, "Do this," and it is never done. Grace says, "Believe in Him," and all things are straightway performed.

28. God's love finds nothing in man, but creates in him what He loves. Man's love is created by what he loves. 29. He who would be wise in Aristotle, without danger, must before all things become foolish in Christ.

31. It was easy for Aristotle to imagine the world eternal, since in his mind the soul of man was mortal.

One of Luther's opponents, a young and zealous doctor named George Niger, doubtless while assailing the naked antinomianism of some of these paradoxes, broke out into the exclamation: "If the peasants could hear these assertions, they would certainly overwhelm us with stones and put an end to us." Luther, who relates this remark, mentions that it was received by the audience with general laughter. Yet it deserved more serious attention. It contained perhaps a more direct appeal to the common sense of that learned assembly than the arguments of more practised logicians. No doctrine which is not calculated to advance the morality of man, can, by any interpretation, be the doctrine of Christ. The unlettered naturally and justly suspect those propositions which attach to faith an importance so exclusive, as to omit all mention of the practical holiness proceeding from faith. And among the above paradoxes there are several,

* "Non ille justus est qui multum operatur; sed qui sine tum credit in Christum."

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