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earlier age, have conducted him to the honours of a martyr, but it was not likely to recommend him in any age to the favour of a corrupt hierarchy.
The mere love of personal distinction is easily imputed as a motive to any man who has acquired distinction. It is, besides, the commonest of all motives. Yet is there no particular reason to ascribe it to Luther. The records of his early life produce the opposite conviction. We observe him troubled, in the retirement of his convent, by inward struggles, of a character purely religious, and especially characterised by their earnestness. We remark besides that the very questions on which these "temptations" turned, Penitence and Justification, became afterwards the foundation of his hostility to indulgences. For years they had engrossed his deepest feelings, and they would have supplied a motive for opposition to the practice, even if the frauds and blasphemies of Tetzel had not been superadded to inflame them.
That the Augustinian monks, and Luther as their organ, resented the preference given to the Dominicans in the barter of these indulgences, has been asserted or insinuated by writers not altogether unfavourable to the Reformation. But, in the first place, it may well be questioned whether this was a very enviable privilege; whether the Order gained any glory by it; and even whether the portion of the mere profit which remained with the preachers was a sufficient compensation for the labour and the odium. And any impartial reader, who has taken the pains to examine the mind of Luther, will at once perceive that his at least was not the hand which would have lent itself to so paltry an object. In the next place, there is not any expression in any of his writings, nor in those of any of his contemporaries, which gives the slightest countenance to the charge; nor indeed was there anything in the particular circumstances to call
forth any such jealousy. Lastly, there is the direct authority of Pallavicino to the contrary. "It is not true" (says that very anti-Lutheran historian*)" that it had been usual to impose that office on the Augustinians. Julius imposed it on the Franciscans; and in like manner Leo united a guardian of the Franciscans in the commission with the Archbishop of Mayence, dated on the last day of March 1515. A little earlier the Teutonic knights had employed the Dominicans for the promulgation of similar indulgences, which were granted them on the ground of the Turkish war."
We may thus dismiss as unfounded, and for many reasons improbable, the second imputation. The thirdthat Luther was the mere agent of the jealousy of his prince-is equally unsupported by any historical evidence, and will be confuted by the course of events as I shall presently describe them. But, after all, of what serious importance is it whether these and such-like imputations be true or false? The temple which was built had not been the less holy, though the hands which founded it had been really degraded by servility or selfishness. It is not thus that lofty questions can be degraded, or mighty truths confounded. The abominations of Rome had not been the less intolerable, even had Luther secretly sighed for a throne among her hierarchy; nor would the blasphemies of Tetzel have lost any part of their impiety, though monks or princes had grudged him the richness of the spoil. When the Almighty brings about those great revolutions, which alter the principles of human government and the foundations of human happiness, the personal qualities of the puny mortals whom He deigns to employ as His temporary agents are as nothing when compared to the magnificence of His
design. They perform their appointed offices, and pass away upon their destined journey; while the monument which they have helped to raise endures through distant ages, partaking in the constancy of His nature, not in the impotence of our mortality.
And if in these our minute and perishable histories we dwell, as we must dwell, upon the characters of those agents; if we attach importance to their smallest acts or most distant intentions; if we search with curious diligence their writings, their speeches, and weigh the very expressions of their private conversation; and if we magnify and give great consequence to all these matters, it is that we are men, and address ourselves to men; we scrutinise the instruments before our eyes, we overlook the invisible hand that made them; we strive with all our might to comprehend the involutions of the machinery, without always regarding the Power which gives to it its motion and its object. And though some are indeed so sagacious as to perceive that it is the operation of general principles, rather than of individual qualities, which brings these great and permanent changes to pass; that the chiefs and champions who get the credit of them are only those who float most boldly on the tide, those who strive to direct the everlasting current-which, whether they directed it or not, would still flow onwards in the same or a somewhat similar channel, from generation to generation-yet even these are apt sometimes to forget that those very principles, which appear thus to control things here below, are no more than a partial revelation of the great inscrutable code which God has prescribed to Himself for the government of His uni
LUTHER AT AUGSBURG.
Character of Leo X., literary, polished, and profligate-he despised the first proceedings of Luther-letter of Cardinal Raphael to the Elector of Saxony-reply of the latter-Luther preaches on excommunication -his citation to Rome-two letters of the university of Wittemberg to Miltitz and to the Pope-the Elector obtains the removal of his trial from Rome to Augsburg-The commission to the Legate gives him full power of excommunication and interdict against all Luther's supporters— character of the Legate Gajetan-his connexion with Julius II.— subjects of discussion at the Diet of Augsburg-the Emperor Maximilian-his opinion of Popes, and his general character-Frederick's political character-Erasmus on Frederick-his policy in respect to Luther-Luther arrives at Augsburg-the Diet is over-an unfavourable circumstance—his conversation with Serra Longa-he obtains a safe conduct from the Emperor-his reception at Augsburg-Luther's first appearance before the Legate the three demands of the Legatetwo errors charged against Luther-A sharp debate-remarks—the opposite principles of the two parties-Staupitz releases Luther from his monastic vow of obedience-his second appearance before the Legate he reads a protest, and obtains permission to make a written reply-In his third conference he reads the defence—a dispute on the Extravagant of Clement follows, and Luther is dismissed-Staupitz and Link successively mediate in vain-then Luther writes a humble letter to the Legate-and then, receiving no answer, he takes his private departure from Augsburg—his letter to Gajetan announcing this intention-his appeal from the Pope ill-informed to the Pope when he shall be better informed.
THE personal praises which Luther had more than once offered to the reigning pontiff, at the expense not only of the worst of his predecessors, but also of the city where he resided and of the system which he administered, were not altogether undeserved. They wear in
deed in our eyes the semblance of flattery; yet they may not really have been written in that spirit. A zealous member and minister of the church, a professor young and ardent, of great genius and some classical attainments, of much ingenuousness and unsullied moral purity, removed by a distant residence from any minute acquaintance with the mysteries of the Vatican, may indeed have been dazzled by the reputation of a learned Pope; and either believed the report, or imagined the existence, of those virtues which, as he might think, were naturally associated with literary accomplishments.
Leo X. possessed a liberal and in some respects an enlarged mind. He had a sort of passion for the writings of the ancients, and was tolerably conversant with some, especially the lighter, among them. He was at least a fervent patron of learning; he used his authority to extend its influence, by express exhortations to the ruling powers, both in Germany and Denmark; and he vouchsafed his especial favour to Erasmus, Bembo, Sadoletus and others, the most distinguished in the rest of Europe. He might not foresee, or he might not fear, the necessary action of any general diffusion of light, to the detriment of the papal authority; he might consider this as a distant contingency; or he might imagine that learning under every shape would ever be found defending the church and its abuses. At any rate, his ardour in this cause gave to it an impulse for which humanity has good reason to thank him. Even the age in which he lived was not so blind as to refuse him its admiration for that merit, which in him shone forth the more brightly as contrasted with the ferocious habits of his military predecessor.
His court was magnificent, refined, and luxurious; his talents, naturally great, were sharpened by early experience of men and business; and his civil policy certainly