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ments. For it is a gift of no mean importance, to know the things that are given us, as it is said in 1 Corinthians ii, 1 and what use we ought to make of them. Endowed with this spiritual judgment, we shall not mistakenly rely on that which does not belong here. These two things our theologians never taught us, nay, methinks they took particular pains to conceal them from us. If I have not taught them, I certainly did not conceal them, and have given occasion to others to think out something better. It has at least been my endeavor to set forth these two things. Nevertheless, not all can do all things.1 To the godless, on the other hand, and those who in obstinate tyranny force on us their own teachings instead of God's, I confidently and freely oppose these pages, utterly indifferent to their senseless fury. Yet I wish even them a sound mind, and do not despise their efforts, but only distinguish them from such as are sound and truly Christian.

I hear a rumor of new bulls and papal maledictions sent but against me, in which I am urged to recant or be declared a heretic2 If that is true, I desire this book to be a portion of the recantation I shall make; so that these tyrants may not complain of having had their pains for nothing. The remainder I will publish ere long, and it will, please Christ, be such as the Roman See has hitherto neither seen nor heard. I shall give ample proof of my obedience.1 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Why doth that impious Herod fear
When told that Christ the King is near?
He takes not earthly realms away,
Who gives the realms that ne'er decay.4

Vergil's Eclogues, VIII, 63.

* See Introduction, p. 168.

* The remainder of Luther's "recantation" was the De libertate. In the letter to the pope, which accompanied it, he gave ample proof of his obedience.

4 The eighth stanza of Coelius Sedulius' Hymnus acrostichis totam vitam Christi continens (beginning, A solis ortus cardine), of the fifth century. Stanzas 8, 0, 11 and 13 were used as an Epiphany hymn, which Luther translated on December 12,1541,—"Was filrchtst du, Feind Herodes, sehr." The above translation is taken from Hymns Ancient and Modern, No. 60.

A TREATISE ON CHRISTIAN LIBERTY

WITH

A LETTER TO POPE LEO X
1520

INTRODUCTION

News letter to the Pope, like an earlier letter dated March 3, 1519. was written at the suggestion of Carl von Miltitz. Sent to Germany to bring Luther to Rome, this German diplomat knew German conditions and to some extent sympathized with Luther's denunciation of Tetzel and the sellers of indulgences. He preferred, therefore, to try to settle the controversy and to leave Luther in Germany. Although the pope insisted that Luther must come to Rome and recant, Miltitz arranged for a hearing of the case before a German bishop. Evidently Miltitz was far too optimistic in his representations both to Luther and to the pope. The pope, in a writing dated March 29, 1519, spoke in friendly terms to Luther, and urged him to come to Rome immediately and to make his recantation there. Luther, in the letter dated March 3,1519, writes in most humble language to the pope, but declares it impossible for him to recant what he had written in the XCV Theses. The pope's letter did not reach Luther; Luther's letter was not forwarded to the pope.

Luther had promised to keep silent if his opponents would do the same, and had devoted himself to the study of the Scriptures. John Eck, however, had no such occupation to keep him from controversy, and Luther was not averse to a debate. At the Leipzig disputation, June 27-July 15, 1519, Luther learned more of the logical implications of his position. The plan of Miltitz had failed, but he would not be discouraged.

When Miltitz went to Germany, it was under the pretence of a mission "to deliver to his elector the papal golden rose, which the latter had coveted in vain for two years." 1 Now he decided to go in person to Augsburg, where it had been deposited with the Fuggers, and present it to Frederick. This also gave an opportunity for a second meeting with Luther at Liebwierde, October 9, 1519. Luther, although placing little confidence in Miltitz, consented to argue his case before the archbishop of Treves. The plan failed, partly because there was no citation for Luther to appear, partly because the Elector would not allow Luther to go without proper safe-conduct, and partly because Miltitz had not tried to prevent Luther's opponents from challenging him.

In spite of the evident lack of confidence on both sides, and in spite of Luther's constant progress in opposition to the Roman Church, Miltitz insisted that "the case is not as black as we priests make it," even when a

'Catholic Encyclopedia,z, 318.

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