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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [1]

In general, an act of reforming or correcting an error or abuse in religion, discipline, or the like. By way of eminence, the word is used for that great alteration and reformation in the corrupted system of Christianity, begun by Luther in the year 1517. Before the period of the reformation, the pope had in the most audacious manner declared himself the sovereign of the whole world. All the parts of it which were inhabited by those who were not Christians, he accounted to be inhabited by nobody; and if Christians took it into their heads to possess any of those countries, he gave them full liberty to make war upon the inhabitants without any provocation, and to treat them with no more humanity than they would have treated wild beasts. The countries, if conquered, were to be parcelled out according to the pope's pleasure; and dreadful was the situation of that prince who refused to obey the will of the holy pontiff. In consequence of this extraordinary authority which the pope had assumed, he at last granted to the king of Portugal all the countries to the eastward of Cape Non in Africa, and to the king of Spain all the countries to the westward of it.

In this was completed in his person the character of Antichrist sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God. He had long before assumed the supremacy belonging to the Deity himself in spiritual matters; and now he assumed the same supremacy in worldly matters also, giving the extreme regions of the earth to whom he pleased. Every thing was quiet, every heretic exterminated, and the whole Christian world supinely acquiesced to the enormous absurdities which were inculcated upon them; when, in 1517, the empire of superstition began to decline, and has continued to do so ever since. The person who made the first attack on the extravagant superstitions then prevailing was Martin Luther, the occasion of which is fully related under the article LUTHERANS. The reformation began in the city of Wittemberg, in Saxony, but was not long confined, either to that city or province. In 1520, the Franciscan friars, who had the care of promulgating indulgences in Switzerland, were opposed by Zuinglius, a man not inferior in understanding and knowledge to Luther himself. He proceeded with the greatest vigour, even at the very beginning, to overturn the whole fabric of popery; but his opinions were declared erroneous by the universities of Cologne and Louvain.

Notwithstanding this, the magistrates of Zurich approved of his proceedings; and that whole canton, together with those of Bern, Basil, and Chaffausen, embraced his opinions. In Germany, Luther continued to make great advances, without being in the least intimidated by the ecclesiastical censures which were thundered against him from all quarters, he being continually protected by the German princes, either from religious or political motives, so that his adversaries could not accomplish his destruction, as they had done that of others. Melancthon, Carlostadius, and other men of eminence, also greatly forwarded the work of Luther; and in all probability the popish hierarchy would have soon come to an end, in the northern parts of Europe at least, had not the emperor Charles V. given a severe check to the progress of reformation in Germany. During the confinement of Luther in a castle near Warburg, the reformation advanced rapidly; almost every city in Saxony embracing the Lutheran opinions. At this time an alteration in the established forms of worship was first ventured upon at Wittemberg, by abolishing the celebration of private masses, and by giving the cup as well as the bread to the laity in the Lord's supper. In a short time, however, the new opinions were condemned by the university of Paris, and a refutation of them was attempted by Henry VIII. of England. But Luther was not to be thus intimitated. He published his animadversions on both with as much acrimony as if he had been refuting the meanest adversary; and a controversy managed by such illustrious antagonists drew a general attention, and the reformers daily gained new converts both in France and England. But while the efforts of Luther were thus every where crowned with success, the divisions began to prevail which have since so much agitated the reformed churches.

The first dispute was between Luther and Zuinglius concerning the manner in which the body and blood of Christ were present in the eucharist. Both parties maintained their tenets with the utmost obstinacy; and, by their divisions, first gave their adversaries an argument against them, which to this day the Catholics urge with great force; namely, that the Protestants are so divided, that it is impossible to know who are right or wrong; and that there cannot be a stronger proof than these divisions that the whole doctrine is false. To these intestine divisions were added the horrors of a civil war, occasioned by oppression on the one hand, and enthusiasm on the other.

See Anabaptists These proceedings, however, were checked. Luther and Melancthon were ordered by the elector of Saxony to draw up a body of laws relating to the form of ecclesiastical government, the method of public worship, &c. which was to be proclaimed by heralds throughout his dominions. He, with Melancthon, had translated part of the New Testament in 1522; on the reading of which the people were astonished to find how different the laws of Christ were to those which they had imposed by the pope, and to which they had been subject. The princes and the people saw that Luther's opinions were founded on truth.

They openly renounced the papal supremacy, and the happy morn of the reformation was welcomed by those who had long sat in superstitious darkness. This open resolution so exasperated the patrons of popery, that they intended to make war on the Lutherans, who prepared for defence. In 1526, a diet was assembled at Spire, when the emperor's ambassadors were desired to use their utmost endeavours to suppress all disputes about religion, and to insist upon the rigorous execution of the sentence which had been pronounced against Luther at Worms. But this opinion was opposed, and the diet proved favourable to the reformation. But this tranquillity, which they in consequence enjoyed, did not last long. In 1529, a new diet was formed, and the power which had been granted to princes of managing ecclesiastical affairs till the meeting of a general council, was now revoked, and every change declared unlawful that should be introduced into the doctrine, discipline, or worship of the established religion, before the determination of the approaching council was known. This decree was considered as iniquitous and intolerable by several members of the diet; and when they found that all their arguments and remonstrances were in vain, they entered a solemn protest against the decree on the 19th of April, and appealed to the emperor and a future council. Hence arose the denomination of Protestants, which from that time has been given to those who separate from the church of Rome. Charles V. was in Italy, to whom the dissenting princes sent ambassadors to lay their grievances before him; but they met with no encouraging reception from him. The pope and the emperor were in close union at this time, and they had interviews upon the business. The pope thought the emperor to be too clement, and alleged that it was his duty to execute vengeance upon the heretical faction.

To this, however, the emperor paid no regard, looking upon it as unjust to condemn, unheard, a set of men who had always approved themselves good citizens. The emperor, therefore, set out for Germany, having already appointed a diet of the empire to be held at Augsburg, where he arrived, and found there a full assembly of the members of the diet. Here the gentle and pacific Melancthon had been ordered to draw up a confession of their faith, which he did, and expressed his sentiments and doctrine with the greatest elegance and perspicuity; and thus came forth to view the famous confession of Augsburg. This was attempted to be refuted by the divines of the church of Rome, and a controversy took place, which the emperor endeavoured to reconcile, but without success; all hopes of bringing about a coalition seemed utterly desperate. The votaries of the church of Rome, therefore, had recourse to the powerful arguments of imperial edicts and the force of the secular arm; and, on the 19th of November, a decree was issued by the emperor's orders every way injurious to the reformers. Upon which they assembled at Smalcald, where they concluded a league of mutual defense against all aggressors, by which they formed the Protestant states into one body, and resolved to apply to the kings of France and England to implore them to patronize their new confederacy. The king of France, being the avowed rival of the emperor, determined secretly to cherish those sparks of political discord; and the king of England, highly incensed against Charles, in complaisance to whom the pope had long retired, and now openly opposed, his long solicited divorce, was equally disposed to strengthen a league which might be rendered formidable to the emperor. Being, however, so taken up with the scheme of divorce, and of abolishing the papal jurisdiction in England, he had but little leisure to attend to them.

Meanwhile Charles was convinced that it was not a time to extirpate heresy by violence; and at last terms of pacification were agreed upon at Nuremberg, and ratified solemnly in the diet at Ratisbon: and affairs so ordered by Divine Providence, that the Protestant obtained terms which amounted almost to a toleration of their religion. Soon after the conclusion of the peace at Nuremburg, died John, elector of Saxony, who was succeeded by his son John Frederic, a prince of invincible fortitude and magnanimity, but whose reign was little better than one continued train of disappointments and calamities. The religious truce, however, gave new vigour to the reformation. Those who had hitherto been only secret enemies to the Roman pontiff, now publicly threw off his yoke; and various cities and provinces of Germany enlisted themselves under the religious standards of Luther. On the other hand, as the emperor had now no other hope of terminating the religious disputes but by the meeting of a general council, he repeated his requests to the pope for that purpose. The pontiff (Clement VII.) whom the history of past councils filled with the greatest uneasiness, endeavoured to retard what he could not with decency refuse. At last, in 1533, he made a proposal by his legate, to assemble a council at Mantua, Placentia, or Bologna; but the Protestants refused their consent to the nomination of an Italian council, and insisted that a controversy which had its rise in the heart of Germany should be determined within the limits of the empire. The pope, by his usual artifices, eluded the performance of his own promise; and in 1534, was cut off by death, in the midst of his stratagem. His successor Paul III. seemed to show less reluctance to the assembling a general council, and, in the year 1535, expressed his inclination to convoke one at Mantua; and, in the year following, actually sent circular letters for that purpose through all the states and kingdoms under his jurisdiction. This council was summoned by a bull issued out on the second of June 1536, to meet at Mantua the following year: but several obstacles prevented its meeting; one of the most material of which was, that Frederic duke of Mantua had no inclination to receive at once so many guests, some of them very turbulent, into the place of his residence.

On the other hand, the Protestants were firmly persuaded, that, as the council was assembled in Italy, and by the authority of the pope alone, the latter must have had an undue influence in that assembly; of consequence that all things must have been carried by the votaries of Rome. For this reason they assembled at Smalcald in the year 1537, where they solemnly protested against this partial and corrupt council; and, at the same time, had a new summary of their doctrine drawn up by Luther, in order to present it to the assembled bishops, if it should be required of them. This summary, which had the title of The Articles of Smalcald, is commonly joined with the creeds and confessions of the Lutheran church. After the meeting of the general council in Mantua was thus prevented, many schemes of accommodation were proposed both by the emperor and the Protestants; but, by the artifices of the church of Rome, all of them came to nothing. In 1541, the emperor appointed a meeting at Worms on the subject of religion, between persons of piety and learning, chosen from the contending parties. This conference, however, was, for certain reasons, removed to the diet that was to be held at Ratisbon the same year, and in which the principal subject of deliberation was a memorial presented by a person unknown, containing a project of peace. But the conference produced no other effect than a mutual agreement of the contending parties to refer their matters to a general council, or, if the meeting of such a council should be prevented, to the next German diet. The resolution was rendered ineffectual by a variety of incidents, which widened the breach, and put off to a farther day the deliberations which were designed to heal it.

The pope ordered his legate to declare to the diet of Spire, assembled in 1542, that he would, according to the promise he had already made, assemble a general council, and that Trent should be the place of its meeting, if the diet had no objection to that city. Ferdinand, and the princes who adhered to the cause of the pope, gave their consent to this proposal; but it was vehemently objected to by the Protestants, both because the council was summoned by the authority of the pope only, and also because the place was within the jurisdiction of the pope; whereas they desired a free council, which should not be biased by the diotates nor awed by the proximity of the pontiff. But this protestation produced no effect. Paul IIi. persisted in his purpose, and issued out his circular letters for the convocation of the council, with the approbation of the emperor. In justice to this pontiff, however, it must be observed, that he showed himself not to be averse to every reformation. He appointed four cardinals, and three other persons eminent for their learning, to draw up a plan for the reformation of the church of Rome in particular. the reformation proposed in this plan was, indeed, extremely superficial and partial; yet it contained some particulars which could scarcely have been expected from those who composed it.

All this time the emperor had been labouring to persuade the Protestants to consent to the meeting of the council at Trent; but, when he found them fixed in their opposition to this measure, he began to listen to the sanguinary measures of the pope, and resolved to terminate the disputes by force of arms. The elector of Saxony and landgrave of Hesse, who were the chief supporters of the Protestant cause, upon this, took proper measures to prevent their being surprised and overwhelmed by a superior force; but, before the horrors of war commenced, the great reformer Luther died in peace at Ayselben, the place of his nativity, in 1546. The emperor and the pope had mutually resolved on the destruction of all who should dare to oppose the council of Trent. The meeting of it was to serve as a signal for taking up arms; and accordingly its deliberations were scarcely begun, in 1546, when the Protestants perceived undoubted signs of the approaching storm, and a formidable union betwixt the emperor and the pope, which threatened to crush and overwhelm them at once. This year, indeed, there had been a new conference at Ratisbon upon the old subject of accommodating differences in religion; but, from the manner in which the debates were carried on, it plainly appeared that these differences could only be decided in the field of battle. The council of Trent, in the mean time, promulgated their decrees; while the reformed princes, in the diet of Ratisbon, protested against their authority, and were on that account prescribed by the emperor, who raised an army to reduce them to obedience. The elector of Saxony and the landgrave of Hesse led their forces into Bavaria against the emperor, and cannonaded his camp in Ingoldstadt.

It was supposed that this would bring on an engagement, which would probably have been advantageous to the cause of the reformed; but this was prevented chiefly by the perfidy of Maurice, duke of Saxony, who invaded the dominions of his uncle. Divisions were also fomented among the confederate princes by the dissimulation of the emperor; and France failed in paying the subsidy which had been promised by its monarch; all which so discouraged the heads of the Protestant party, that their army soon dispersed, and the elector of homewards. But he was pursued by the emperor, who made several forced marches with a view to destroy his enemy before he should have time to recover his vigour. The two armies met near Muhlberg, on the Elbe, on the 24th of April, 1547; and, after a bloody action, the elector was entirely defeated, and himself taken prisoner. Maurice, who had so basely betrayed him, was now declared elector of Saxony; and, by his entreaties, Philip, langrave of Hesse, the other chief of the Protestants, was persuaded to throw himself on the mercy of the emperor, and to implore his pardon. To this he consented, relying on the promise of Charles for obtaining forgiveness, and being restored to liberty; but, notwithstanding these expectations, he was unjustly detained prisoner, by a scandalous violation of the most solemn convention. The affairs of the Protestants now seemed to be desperate. In the diet of Augsburg, which was soon after called, the emperor required the Protestants to leave the decision of these religious disputes to the wisdom of the council which was to meet at Trent.

The greatest part of the members consented to this proposal, being convinced by the powerful argument of an imperial army, which was at hand to dispel the darkness from the eyes of such as might otherwise have been blind to the force of Charles's reasoning. However, this general submission did not produce the effect which was expected from it. A plague which broke out, or was said to do so, in the city, caused the greatest part of the bishops to retire to Bologna, by which means the council was in effect dissolved; nor could all the entreaties and remonstrances of the emperor prevail upon the pope to re-assemble it without delay. During this interval, therefore, the emperor judged it necessary to fall upon some method of accommodating the religious differences, and maintaining peace until the council so long expected should be finally obtained. With this view he ordered Julius Pelugius, bishop of Naumberg, Michael Sidonius, a creature of the pope, and John Agricola, a native of Ayselben, to draw up a formulary which might serve as a rule of faith and worship till the council should be assembled; but as this was only a temporary expedient, and had not the force of a permanent or perpetual institution, it thence obtained the name of the Interim.

This project of Charles was formed partly with a design to vent his resentment against the pope, and partly to answer other political purposes. It contained all the essential doctrines of the church of Rome, though considerably softened by the artful terms which were employed, and which were quite different from those employed before and after this period by the council of Trent. There was even an affected ambiguity in many of the expressions, which made them susceptible of different senses, and applicable to the sentiments of both communions. The consequence of all this was, that the emperial creed was reprobated by both parties. (

See INTERIM.) In the year 1542, the pope (Paul III.) died; and was succeeded by Julius III. who, at the repeated solicitations of the emperor, consented to the re-assembling of a council of Trent. A diet was again held at Augsburg, under the cannon of the imperial army, and Charles laid the matter before the princes of the empire. Most of those present gave their consent to it, and, among the rest, Maurice elector of Saxony; who consented on the following conditions:

1. That the points of doctrine which had already been decided there should be re-examined.

2. That this examination should be made in presence of the Protestant divines.

3. That the Saxon Protestants should have a liberty of voting as well as of deliberating in the council.

4. That the pope should not pretend to preside in the assembly, either in person or by his legates. This declaration of Maurice was read in the diet, and his deputies insisted upon its being entered into the registers, which the archbishop of Mentz obstinately refused. The diet was concluded in 1551; and, at its breaking up, the emperor desired the assembled princes and states to prepare all things for the approaching council, and promised to use his utmost endeavours to procure moderation and harmony, impartiality and charity, in the transaction of that assembly. On the breaking up of the diet, the Protestants took such steps as they thought most proper for their own safety.

The Saxons employed Melancthon, and the Wirtembergers Brengius, to draw up confessions of faith to be laid before the new council. The Saxon divines, however, proceeded no farther than Nuremberg, having received secret orders from Maurice to stop there; for the elector perceiving that Charles had formed designs against the liberties of the German princes, resolved to take the most effectual measures for crushing his ambition at once. He therefore entered with the utmost secrecy and expedition into an alliance with the king of France and several of the German princes, for the security of the rights and liberties of the empire; after which, assembling a powerful army in 1552, he marched against the emperor, who lay with a handful of troops at Inspruck, and expected no such thing. By this sudden and unforeseen accident, Charles was so much dispirited, that he was willing to make peace almost on any terms. The consequence of this was, that he concluded a treaty at Passau, which by the Protestants is considered as the basis of their religious liberty. By the first three articles of this treaty it was agreed that Maurice and the confederates should lay down their arms, and lend their troops to Ferdinand, to assist him against the Turks; and that the landgrave of Hesse should be set at liberty.

By the fourth it was agreed that the rule of faith called the Interim should be considered as null and void; that the contending parties should enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their religion until a diet should be assembled to determine amicably the present disputes (which diet was to meet in the space of six months;) and that this religious liberty should continue always, in case it should be found impossible to come to a uniformity in doctrine and worship. It was also determined, that all those who had suffered banishment or any other calamity, on account of their having been concerned in the league or war of Smalcald, should be reinstated in their privileges, possessions, and employments; that the imperial chamber at Spire should be open to the Protestants as well as to the Catholics; and that there should always be a certain number of Lutherans in that high court. To this peace Albert, marquis of Brandenburg, refused to subscribe; and continued the war against the Roman Catholics, committed such ravages in the empire, that a confederacy was at last formed against him. At the head of this confederacy was Maurice, elector of Saxony, who died of a wound he received in a battle fought on the occasion in 1553. The assembly of the diet promised by Charles was prevented by various accidents; however, it met at Augsburg, in 1555, where it was opened by Ferdinand in the name of the emperor, and terminated those deplorable calamities which had so long desolated the empire. After various debates the following acts were passed on the twenty-fifth of September:

That the Protestants who followed the confession of Augsburg should be for the future considered as entirely free from the jurisdiction of the Roman pontiff and from the authority and superintendence of the bishops; that they were left at perfect liberty to enact laws for themselves relating to their religious sentiments, discipline, and worship; that all the inhabitants of the German empire should be allowed to judge for themselves in religious matters, and to join themselves to that church whose doctrine and worship they thought the most pure and consonant to the spirit of true Christianity; and that all those who should injure or prosecute any person under religious pretences, and on account of their opinions, should be declared and proceeded against as public enemies of the empire, invaders of its liberty, and disturbers of its peace. Thus was the reformation established in many parts of the German empire, where it continues to this day; nor have the efforts of the popish powers at any time been able to suppress it or even to prevent its gaining ground. It was not, however, in Germany alone that a reformation of religion took place. Almost all the kingdoms of Europe began to open their eyes to the truth about the same time.

The reformed religion was propagated in Sweden, soon after Luther's rupture with the church of Rome, by one of his disciples named Olaus Patri. The zealous efforts of this missionary were seconded by Gustavus Vasa, whom the Swedes had raised to the throne in the place of Christiern, king of Denmark, whose horrid barbarity lost him the crown. This prince, however, was as prudent as he was zealous; and, as the minds of the Swedes were in a fluctuating state, he wisely avoided all kinds of vehemence and precipitation in spreading the new doctrine. Accordingly the first object of his attention was the instruction of his people in the sacred doctrines of the holy Scriptures; for which purpose he invited into his dominions several learned Germans, and spread abroad through the kingdom the Swedish translation of the Bible that had been made by Olaus Petri. Some time after this, in 1526, he appointed a conference at Upsal, between the reformer and Peter Gallius, a zealous defender of the ancient superstition, in which each of the champions was to bring forth his arguments, that it might be seen on which side the truth lay. In this dispute Olaus obtained a signal victory; which contributed much to confirm Gustavus in his persuasion of the truth of Luther's doctrine, and to promote its progress in Sweden.

The following year another event gave the finishing stroke to its propagation and success. This was the assembly of the states at Westernas, where Gustavus recommended the doctrine of the reformers with such zeal, that after warm debates, fomented by the clergy in general, it was unanimously resolved that the reformation introduced by Luther should have place in Sweden. This resolution was principally owing to the firmness and magnanimity of Gustavus, who declared publicly, that he would lay down the sceptre, and retire from the kingdom, rather than rule a people enslaved by the orders and authority of the pope, and more controlled by the tyranny of their bishops than by the laws of their monarchs. From this time the papal empire in Sweden was entirely overthrown, and Gustavus declared head of the church. In Denmark, the reformation was introduced as early as the year 1521, in consequence of the ardent desire discovered by Christiern II. of having his subjects instructed in the doctrines of Luther. This monarch, notwithstanding his cruelty, for which his name has been rendered odious, was nevertheless desirous of delivering his dominions from the tyranny of the church of Rome. For this purpose, in the year 1520, he sent for Martin Reinard, one of the disciples of Carlostadt, out of Saxony, and appointed him professor of divinity at Hasnia; and after his death which happened in 1521, he invited Carlostadt himself to fill that important place. Carlostadt accepted of this office, indeed, but in a short time returned to Germany; upon which Christiern used his utmost endeavours to engage Luther to visit his dominions, but in vain. However, the progress of Christiern in reforming the religion of his subjects, or rather of advancing his own power, above that of the church, was checked, in the year 1523, by a conspiracy, by which he was deposed and banished; his uncle Frederic, duke of Holstein and Sleswic, being appointed his successor.

Frederic conducted the reformation with much greater prudence than his predeccessor. He permitted the Protestant doctors to preach publicly the sentiments of Luther, but did not venture to change the established government and discipline of the church. However, he contributed greatly to the progress of the reformation by his successful attempts in favour of religious liberty in an assembly of the states held at Odensee in 1527. Here he procured the publication of a famous edict, by which every subject of Denmark was declared free either to adhere to the tenets of the church of Rome, or to the doctrine of Luther. The papal tyranny was totally destroyed by his successor Christiern III. He began by suppressing the despotic authority of the bishops, and restoring to their lawful owners a great part of the wealth and possessions which the church had acquired by various stratagems. This was followed by a plan of religious doctrine, worship, and discipline, laid down by Bugenhagius, whom the king had sent for from Wittemberg for that purpose; and in 1539, an assembly of the states at Odensee gave a solemn sanction to all these transactions. In France, also, the reformation began to make some progress very early. Margaret, queen of Navarre, sister to Francis I. the perpetual rival of Charles V. was a great friend to the new doctrine; and it appears that, as early as the year 1523, there were in several of the provinces of France great numbers of people who had conceived the greatest aversion both to the doctrine and tyranny of the church of Rome; among whom were many of the first rank and dignity, and even some of the episcopal order.

But as their number increased daily, and troubles and commotions were excited in several places on account of the religious differences, the authority of the king intervened, and many persons eminent for their virtue and piety were put to death in the most barbarous manner. Indeed, Francis, who had either no religion at all, or, at best, no fixed and consistent system of religious principles, conducted himself towards the Protestants in such a manner as best answered his private views. Sometimes he resolved to invite Melancthon into France, probably with a view to please his sister, the queen of Navarre, whom he loved tenderly, and who had strongly imbibed the Protestant principles. At other times he exercised the most infernal cruelty towards the reformed; and once made the following mad declaration, That, if he thought the blood of his arm was tainted by the Lutheran heresy, he would have it cut off: and that he would not even spare his own children, if they entertained sentiments contrary to those of the Catholic church. About this time the famous Calvin began to draw the attention of the public, but more especially of the queen of Navarre. His zeal exposed him to danger; and the friends of the reformation, whom Francis was daily committing to the flames, placed him more than once in the most perilous situation, from which he was delivered by the interposition of the queen of Navarre. He therefore retired out of France to Basil, in Switzerland, where he published his Christian Institutions, and became afterwards so famous.

Those among the French who first renounced the jurisdiction of the Romish church are commonly called Lutherans by the writers of those early times; hence it has been supposed that they had all imbibed the peculiar sentiments of Luther. But this appears by no means to have been the case; for the vicinity of the cities of Geneva, Lausanne, &c. which had adopted the doctrines of Calvin, produced a remarkable effect upon the French Protestant churches; insomuch that, about the middle of this century, they all entered into communion with the church of Geneva. The French Protestants were called Huguenots, (see Huguenots ) by their adversaries, by way of contempt. Their fate was very severe, being persecuted with unparalleled fury; and though many princes of the blood, and of the first nobility, had embraced their sentiments, yet in no part of the world did the reformers suffer so much. At last, all commotions were quelled by the fortitude and magnanimity of Henry IV. who, in the year 1598, granted all his subjects full liberty of conscience by the famous edict of Nantes, and seemed to have thoroughly established the reformation throughout his dominions. During the minority of Louis XIV. however, this edict was revoked by cardinal Mazarine, since which time the Protestants have often been cruelly persecuted: nor was the profession of the reformed religion in France at any time so safe as in most other countries of Europe.

In the other parts of Europe the opposition to the church of Rome was but faint and ambiguous before the diet of Augsburg. Before that period, however, it appears, from undoubted testimony, that the doctrine of Luther had made a considerable, though probably secret progress through Spain, Hungary, Bohemia, Britain, Poland, and the Netherlands; and had in all these countries many friends, of whom several repaired to Wittemberg, in order to enlarge their knowledge by means of Luther's conversation. Some of these countries threw off the Romish yoke entirely, and in others a prodigious number of families embraced the principles of the reformed religion. It is certain, indeed, and the Roman Catholics themselves acknowledge it without hesitation, that the papal doctrines and authority would have fallen into ruin in all parts of the world at once, had not the force of the secular arm been employed to support the tottering edifice. In the Netherlands, particularly, the most grievious persecutions took place, so that by the emperor Charles V. upwards of 100, 000 were destroyed, while still greater cruelties were exercised upon the people by his son Philip II. The revolt of the United Provinces however, and motives of real policy, at last put a stop to these furious proceedings; and though in many provinces of the Netherlands, the establishment of the Popish religion was still continued, the Protestants have been long free from the danger of persecution on account of their principles.

The reformation made a considerable progress in Spain and Italy soon after the rupture between Luther and the Roman pontiff. In all the provinces of Italy, but more especially in the territories of Venice, Tuscany, and Naples, the superstition of Rome lost ground, and great numbers of people of all ranks expressed an aversion to the papal yoke. This occasioned violent and dangerous commotions in the kingdom of Naples in the year 1546; which, however, were at last quelled by the united efforts of Charles V. and his viceroy Don Pedro di Toledo. In several places the pope put a stop to the progress of the reformation by letting loose the inquisitors, who spread dreadful marks of their barbarity through the greatest part of Italy. Those formidable ministers of superstition put so many to death, and perpetrated such horrid acts of cruelty, and oppression, that most of the reformed consulted their safety by a voluntary exile, while others returned to the religion of Rome, at least in external appearance. But the inquisition, which frightened into the profession of popery several Protestants in other parts of Italy, could never make its way into the kingdom of Naples; nor could either the authority or entreaties of the pope engage the Neapolitans to admit even visiting inquisitors. In Spain, several people embraced the Protestant religion, not only from the controversies of Luther, but even from those divines whom Charles V. had brought with him into Germany in order to refute the doctrines of Luther; for these doctors imbibed the pretended heresy, instead of refuting it, and propagated it more or less on their return home.

But the inquisition, which could obtain no footing in Naples, reigned triumphant in Spain; and by the most dreadful methods frightened the people back into popery, and suppressed the desire of exchanging their superstition for a more rational plan of religion. It was, indeed, presumed that Charles himself died a Protestant; and, it seems to be certain, that, when the approach of death had dissipated those schemes of ambition and grandeur which had so long blinded him, his sentiments became much more rational and agreeable to Christianity than they had ever been. All the ecclesiastics who had attended him, as soon as he expired, were sent to the inquisition, and committed to the flames, or put to death by some other method equally terrible. Such was the fate of Augustine Casal, the emperor's preacher; of Constantine Pontius, his confessor; of Egidius, whom he had named to the bishopric of Tortosa; of Bartholomew de Caranza, a Dominican, who had been confessor to king Philip and queen Mary; with twenty others of less note. In England, the principles of the reformation began to be adopted as soon as an account of Luther's doctrines could be conveyed thither. In that kingdom there were still great remains of the sect called Lollards, whose doctrine resembled that of Luther; and among whom, of consequence, the sentiments of our reformer gained great credit. Henry VIII. king of England at that time, was a violent partisan of the church of Rome, and had a particular veneration for the writings of Thomas Aquinal.

Being informed that Luther spoke of his favourite author with contempt, he conceived a violent prejudice against the reformer, and even wrote against him, as we have already observed. Luther did not hesitate at writing against his majesty, overcame him in argument, and treated him with very little ceremony. The first step towards public reformation, however, was not taken till the year 1529. Great complaints had been made in England, and of a very ancient date, of the usurpations of the clergy; and, by the prevalence of the Lutheran opinions, these complaints were now become more general than before. The House of Commons, finding the occasion favourable, passed several bills, restraining the impositions of the clergy; but what threatened the ecclesiastical order with the greatest danger, were, the severe reproaches thrown out almost without opposition in the House against the dissolute lives, ambition, and avarice of the priests, and their continual encroachments on the privileges of the laity. The bills for regulating the clergy met with opposition in the House of Lords; and bishop Fisher imputed them to want of faith in the Commons, and to a formed design, proceeding from heretical and Lutheran principles, of robbing the church of her patrimony, and overturning the national religion.

The Commons, however, complained to the king, by their speaker, sir Thomas Audley, of these reflections thrown out against them; and the bishop was obliged to retract his words. Though Henry had not the least idea of rejecting any, even of the most absurd Romish superstitions, yet, as the oppressions of the clergy suited very ill with the violence of his own temper, he was pleased with every opportunity of lessening their power. In the parliament of 1531 he showed his design of humbling the clergy in the most effectual manner. An obsolete statute was revived, from which it was pretended that it was criminal to submit to the legatine power which had been exercised by cardinal Wolsey. By this stroke the whole body of the clergy was declared guilty at once. They were too well acquainted with Henry's disposition, however, to reply, that their ruin would have been the certain consequence of their not submitting to Wolsey's commission, which had been given by royal authority. Instead of making any defense of this kind, they chose to throw themselves upon the mercy of their sovereign; which, however, it cost them 118, 840l. to procure. A confession was likewise extorted from them, that the king was protector and supreme head of the church of England; though some of them had the dexterity to get a clause inserted which invalidated the whole submission, viz. in so far as is permitted by the law of Christ. The king, having thus begun to reduce the power of the clergy, kept no bounds with them afterwards.

He did not, indeed, attempt any reformation in religious matters; nay, he presecuted most violently such as did attempt this in the least. Indeed, the most essential article of his creed seems to have been his own supremacy; for whoever denied this was sure to suffer the most severe penalties, whether Protestant or Papist. He died in 1547, and was succeeded by his only son Edward VI. This amiable prince, whose early youth was crowned with that wisdom, sagacity, and virtue, that would have done honour to advanced years, gave new spirit and vigour to the Protestant cause, and was its brightest ornament, as well as its most effectual support. He encouraged learned and pious men of foreign countries to settle in England, and addressed a particular invitation to Martin Bucer and Paul Fagius, whose moderation added a lustre to their other virtues, that by the ministry and labours of these eminent men, in concert with those of the friends of the reformation in England, he might purge his dominions from the sordid fictions of popery, and establish the pure doctrines of Christianity in their place. For this purpose he issued out the wisest orders for the restoration of true religion; but his reign was too short to accomplish fully such a glorious purpose. In the year 1553 he was taken from his loving and afflicted subjects, whose sorrow was inexpressible, and suited to their loss. His sister Mary, (the daughter of Catharine of Arragon, from whom Henry had been separated by the famous divorce, ) a furious bigot to the church of Rome, and a princess whose natural character, like the spirit of her religion, was despotic and cruel, succeeded him on the British throne, and imposed anew the arbitrary laws and the tyrannical yoke of Rome upon the people of England. Nor were the methods which she employed in the cause of superstition better than the cause itself, or tempered by any sentiments of equity or compassion.

Barbarous tortures, and death in the most shocking forms, awaited those who opposed her will, or made the least stand against the restoration of popery; and, among many other victime, the learned and pious Cranmer, archibishop of Canterbury, who had been one of the most illustrious instruments of the reformation in England, fell a sacrifice to her fury. This odious scene of persecution was happily concluded in the year 1558 by the death of the queen, who left no issue; and, as soon as her successor the lady Elizabeth ascended the throne, all things assumed a new and pleasing aspect. This illustrious princes, whose sentiments, counsels, and projects, breathed a spirit superior to the natural softness and delicacy of her sex, exerted this vigorous and manly spirit in the defense of oppressed conscience and expiring liberty, broke anew the despotic yoke of papal authority and superstition; and, delivered her people from the bondage of Rome, established that form of religious doctrine and ecclesiastical government which still subsists in England. This religious establishment differed in some respects from the plan that had been formed by those whom Edward Vi. had employed for promoting the cause of the reformation, and approaches nearer to the rites and discipline of former times; though it is widely different, and in the most important points, entirely opposite to th

e principles of the Roman hierarchy. The cause of the reformation underwent in Ireland the same vicissitudes and revolutions that had attended it in England.

When Henry VIII. after the abolition of the papal authority, was declared supreme head upon earth of the church of England, George Brown, a native of England, and a monk of the Augustine order, whom that monarch had created, in the year 1535, archbishop of Dublin, began to act with the utmost vigour in consequence of this change in the hierarchy. He purged the churches of his diocese from superstition in all its various forms, pulled down images, destroyed relics, abolished absurd and idolatrous rites; and, by the influence as well as authority he had in Ireland, caused the king's supremacy to be acknowledged in that nation. Henry showed, soon after, that this supremacy was not a vain title; for his banished the monks out of that kingdom, confiscated their revenues, and destroyed their convents. In the reign of Edward VI. still further progress was made in the removal of popish superstitions by the zealous labours of bishop Brown, and the auspicious encouragement he granted to all who exerted themselves in the cause of the reformation. But the death of this excellent prince and the accession of queen Mary, had like to have changed the face of affairs in Ireland as much as in England; but her designs were disappointed by a very curious adventure, of which the following account has been copied from the papers of Richard earl of Cork:

"Queen Mary having dealt severely with the Protestants in England, about the latter end of her reign, signed a commission for to take the same course with them in Ireland; and, to execute the same with greater force, she nominates Dr. Cole one of the commissioners. This doctor coming with the commission to Chester on his journey, the mayor of that city, hearing that her majesty was sending a messenger into Ireland, and he being a churchman, waited on the doctor, who in discourse with the mayor taketh out of a cloke-bag a leather box, saying unto him, Here is a commission that shall lash the heretics of Ireland, calling the Protestants by that title. The good woman of the house being well affected to the Protestant religion, and also having a brother, named John Edmunds, of the same, then a citizen in Dublin, was much troubled at the doctor's words: but, watching her convenient time while the mayor took his leave, and the doctor complimented him down the stairs, she opens the box, takes the commissionout, and places in lieu thereof a sheet of paper with a pack of cards wrapt up therein, the knave of clubs being faced uppermost.

The doctor coming up to his chamber, suspecting nothing of what had been done, put up the box as formerly. The next day, going to the water- side, wind and weather serving him, he sails towards Ireland, and landed on the 7th of October, 1558, at Dublin. Then coming to the castle, the lord Fitz Walter, being lord-deputy, sent for him to come before him and the privy council; who coming in, after he had made a speech relating upon what account he came over, he presents the box unto the lord-deputy; who causing it to be opened, that the secretary might read the commission, there was nothing save a pack of cards with the knave of clubs uppermost; which not only startled the lord-deputy and council, but the doctor, who assured them he had a commission, but knew not how it was gone. Then the lord-deputy made answer, Let us have another commission, and we will shuffle the cards in the mean while. The doctor being troubled in his mind, went away, and returned into England, and coming to the court, obtained another commission; but, staying for a wind on the waterside, news came to him that the queen was dead: and thus God preserved the Protestants of Ireland."

Queen Elizabeth was so delighted with this story, which was related to her by lord Fitz-Walter on his return to England, that she sent for Elizabeth Edmunds, whose husband's named was Mattershad, and gave her a pension of 40l. during her life. In Scotland the seeds of reformation were very early sown by several noblemen who had resided in Germany during the religious disputes there; but for many years it was suppressed by the power of the pope, seconded by inhuman laws and barbarous executions. The most eminent opposer of the papal jurisdiction was John Knox, a disciple of Calvin, a man of great zeal and invincible fortitude. On all occasions he raised the drooping spirits of the reformers, and encouraged them to go on with their work, notwithstanding the opposition and treachery of the queen-regent; till at last, in 1561, by the assistance of an English army sent by Elizabeth, popery was, in a manner, totally extirpated throughout the kingdom. From this period the form of doctrine, worship, and discipline, established by Calvin at Geneva, has had the ascendancy in Scotland.

On the review of this article, what reason have we to admire Infinite Wisdom, in making human events apparently fortuitous, subservient to the spread of the Gospel! What reason to adore that Divine Power which was here evidently manifested in opposition to all the powers of the world! What reason to praise that Goodness, which thus caused light and truth to break forth for the happiness and salvation of millions of the human race! For farther information on this interesting subject we refer our readers to the works of Burnet and Brandt; to Beausobre's Historic de la Reformation dans l' Empire, et les Etate de la Confession d' Augusbourg depuis 1517-1530, in 4 vols. 8vo. Berlin, 1785; Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History; and particularly the Appendix to vol. 4: p. 136, on the spirit of the reformers, by Dr. Maclaine.

See also Sleidan De. Statu Religionis et Reipublicae Carolo V.; Father Paul's Hist. of the Council of Trent; Robertson's Hist. of Charles V.; Knox's and Dr. Gilbert Steward's Hist. of the Reformation in Scotland; Enc. Brit.; An Essay on the Spirit and Influence of the Reformation by Luther, by B. C. Villiers, which work obtained the prize on this question (proposed by the National Institute of France in the public sitting of the 15th Germinal, in the year 10, ) "What has been the influence of the reformation by Luther on the political situation, of the different states of Europe, and on the progress of knowledge? H. Moore's Hints to a Young Princess, vol. 2: ch. 35.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [2]

usually spoken of the great Reformation in the church, begun by Luther in 1517. The sad departure from the standard of holiness which the Romish hierarchy should have placed before them, combined with the indecency and arrogance with which they trampled upon the rights of sovereigns, and upon the property and the comfort of all classes of men, had, for a considerable period, produced a general conviction, that a reformation of the church in its head and members, to use the expression which was then prevalent, was absolutely requisite: and some steps to accomplish this had been actually taken. The celebrated council of Constance, while, in its efforts to heal the schism which had so long grieved and scandalized the Catholic world, it set aside the rival pontiffs who claimed to be the successors of St. Peter, laid down the important maxim, that a general council was superior to a pope, and that its decisions can restrain his power; and this doctrine, which might otherwise have appeared to arise out of the extraordinary circumstances under which it was declared, was fully confirmed by the council of Basil, which met several years after, and which decided the point upon grounds that might at all times be urged. The popes, indeed, remonstrated against this, but still they were compelled to lower their tone; and they were often reminded, even within the precincts of their own court, that the period was fast approaching when the fallacy of many of their pretensions would be ascertained and exposed. It had become common, before the election of a new pontiff, to frame certain articles of reformation, which the successful candidate was required to swear that he would carry into effect; and although the oath was uniformly disregarded or violated, the views which led to the imposition of it indicated the existence of a spirit which could not be eradicated, and which might, from events that could not be foreseen, and could not be controlled, acquire a vigour which no exertion of power could resist. Such, under the beneficent arrangement of Providence, was soon actually the case. In the progress of the opposition made to some of the worst abuses of Rome, they who conducted that opposition were guided to the word of life; they studied it with avidity and with delight; and they found themselves furnished by it with sufficient armour for the mighty contest in which they were to engage. They discovered in the New Testament what Christianity really was; their representations of it were received with wonder, and read with avidity; the secession from the church of Rome became much more rapid and much more extensive than it had previously been, and all possibility of reconciliation with that church was done away. Of this the popes were fully aware; and as the only way of counteracting that which was to them so formidable, they attempted, by various devices, to fetter the press, to prevent the circulation of the Bible, and thus again to plunge the world into that intellectual darkness from which it had been happily delivered. The scheme was impracticable. The "Indices Expurgatorii," in which they pointed out the works that they condemned, and which they declared it to be heresy and pollution to peruse, increased the desire to become acquainted with them; and although some who indulged that curiosity suffered the punishment denounced by the inquisition against the enemies of papal superstition, there was an immense proportion which even spiritual tyranny could not reach; so that the light which had been kindled daily brightened till it shone with unclouded lustre through many of the most powerful and the most refined nations of Europe.

It is worthy of careful observation, that the resistance which ultimately proved so successful, was first occasioned by practices that had been devised for establishing the monstrous despotism of the popes; that when it commenced, it was directed against what was conceived to be an abuse of power, without the slightest suspicion being entertained that the power itself was unchristian; that the reformers gradually advanced; every additional inquiry to which they were conducted enlarging their views, and bringing them acquainted with fresh proofs of that daring usurpation to which men had long submitted, till at length the foundation upon which the whole system, venerated through ages, rested, was disclosed to them, and perceived to be a foundation of sand. The consequence was, that the supremacy of the pope was by multitudes abjured; that he was branded as antichrist; that communion with the popish church was avoided as sinful, and that the form of ecclesiastical polity, the essential principle of which was the infallibility of the bishop of Rome, was for ever renounced. The wonderful manner in which this signal revolution, so fraught with blessings to mankind, was accomplished, the various events which mark its history, and the characters and exertions of the men by whose agency it was effected, cannot be too often surveyed, or too deeply fixed in the memory. The whole, even with reference to the illumination of the human mind and the improvement of the social state of the world, is in a high degree interesting; and that interest is unspeakably increased by our discerning the most striking evidence of the gracious interposition of Providence dissipating the cloud which obscured divine truth, and restoring to mankind that sacred treasure which is sufficient to make all who seriously examine it wise unto salvation. It does not, however, come within the province of this work to give a minute history of the origin and progress of the Reformation, to trace the steps of Zuinglius and of Luther, and to detail the circumstances which advanced or retarded them in the glorious career upon which they had entered. Much discussion has taken place with respect to the motives by which Luther was actuated. This point, in reference to what he accomplished, is really of little moment; but there cannot be a doubt that although he might, throughout his arduous struggle, be guided occasionally by inferior considerations, he was eventually, at least, chiefly animated by the noble and disinterested wish to emancipate his fellow creatures from what he was convinced was the direct and most infatuated spiritual oppression; that he looked to Heaven for support, and that such support he largely received.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]


This word-fraught with so much significance in the history of Christendom-occurs only once in the English Bible. The passage is  Hebrews 9:10, in which the writer, speaking of the ordinances of the First Covenant, says that they are ‘carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation’ (Revised Version). The time of reformation referred to is the period of the New Covenant, described in  Hebrews 8:8 ff. by a quotation from  Jeremiah 31:31-34. The inauguration of it by the offering of Christ is set forth in  Hebrews 9:11 ff., where His perfect sacrifice of Himself is contrasted with the annual sacrifices of the older dispensation.

It is from an Old Testament point of view that this title is bestowed on the Christian era. Other aspects of that era, from the same point of view, are indicated by the words ‘regeneration’ (παλινγενεσία,  Matthew 19:28) and ‘restoration’ (ἀποκατάστασις,  Acts 3:21). The aspect of ‘reformation’ is complementary to these, and involves a necessary element. It was when Christ, the ‘High Priest of the good things to come,’ appeared that all defects inherent in the ancient system were remedied. The numerous ineffectual sacrifices were replaced by the one perfect Sacrifice; the veil was taken away. Religion became less a matter of mechanical routine, and more a matter of rational spiritual service.

The corresponding Greek word διόρθωσις is equally unique in biblical usage. Except in  Hebrews 9:10 it does not occur in the Greek Bible. It is fairly common in later Greek in the general sense of ‘amendment’ or ‘correction.’ Aristotle so uses it with reference to laws and constitutions (Pol. III. i. 5, VII. i. 9). Polybius employs it of the rectification of things that have mischanced or gone amiss (V. lxxxviii. 2, VI. xxxviii. 4). The corresponding verb διορθοῦν is used in the Septuagintof amending one’s ways (cf.  Jeremiah 7:3;  Jeremiah 7:5,  Wisdom of Solomon 9:18).

Literature.-J. F. Schleusner, Novum Lex. Gr.-Lat. in Nov. Test., Leipzig, 1819, s.v., and the Commentaries on Hebrews, in loc., esp. B. F. Westcott (London, 1889, p. 254); A. B. Bruce (Edinburgh, 1899, p. 324 f.).

Dawson Walker.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [4]

1: Διόρθωσις (Strong'S #1357 — Noun Feminine — diorthosis — dee-or'-tho-sis )

properly, "a making straight" (dia, "through," orthos, "straight;" cp. diorthoma in  Acts 24:2; see Correction , No. 1), denotes a "reformation" or reforming,  Hebrews 9:10; the word has the meaning either (a) of a right arrangement, right ordering, or, more usually, (b) of restoration, amendment, bringing right again; what is here indicated is a time when the imperfect, the inadequate, would be superseded by a better order of things, and hence the meaning (a) seems to be the right one; it is thus to be distinguished from that of  Acts 24:2 , mentioned above. The word is used in the papyri in the other sense of the rectification of things, whether by payments or manner of life.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

The word is διόρθωσις, from 'to amend, make right.' Hence the 'time of reformation,' or 'setting things right.' The thought is taken up from the prophets and will be fulfilled in the kingdom, and implies the setting in order of things on earth according to the mind of God. Christianity is in view and anticipation of this.  Hebrews 9:10 . The Greek verb occurs in the LXX in  Isaiah 16:5;  Isaiah 62:7;  Jeremiah 7:3,5 .

Webster's Dictionary [6]

(1): ( n.) Specifically (Eccl. Hist.), the important religious movement commenced by Luther early in the sixteenth century, which resulted in the formation of the various Protestant churches.

(2): ( n.) The act of reforming, or the state of being reformed; change from worse to better; correction or amendment of life, manners, or of anything vicious or corrupt; as, the reformation of manners; reformation of the age; reformation of abuses.

King James Dictionary [7]


1. The act of reforming correction or amendment of life, manners, or of any thing vicious or corrupt as the reformation of manners reformation of the age reformation of abuses.

Satire lashes vice into reformation.

2. By way of eminence, the change of religion from the corruptions of popery to its primitive purity, begun by Luther, A.D. 1517.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

diorthosis   Hebrews 9:10Covenant

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

THE, is the name commonly given to the religious and ecclesiastical movement of the 16th century which resulted in the overthrow of the then allpowerful authority of the Roman popes in a large portion of the Christian world, and in the construction of a number of new religious organizations. The name itself is highly significant, and points to the importance of the new departure in the history of Christianity which then began. It has come into quite general use even among Roman Catholic writers, although the theologians of that Church have attempted to substitute for it other terms, like the "so-called Reformation," and the "separation of the Church." We have already had occasion in numerous articles of this Cyclopedia to refer to detached portions of the Reformation. The Church history of no important country of Europe could be complete without a mention of its reformatory movements, wdnhether they were successful or unsuccessful, and the biographies of the great fathers of the Reformation consist chiefly of an account of their labors in behalf of the reconstruction of the Church upon a new basis. The present article treats of the great turning-point in the history of Christianity as a whole.

I. Forerunners Of The Reformation . Like most of the great events in the history of mankind, the Reformation has had its preparatory history, in which attempts of a similar nature were made for the same purpose, meeting with no or but partial success, but yet smoothing the way for the marvellous changes which were achieved by the victorious reformation of the 16th century.

1. All the Reformed churches which have sprung from the movements of the 16th century are agreed in regarding the undue power which the bishops of Rome at an early time began to arrogate to themselves, and the centralized constitution which consequently was forced upon the Christian Church, as one of the most fatal deviations from the doctrines of the Bible and the practice and the life of the apostolic age. In a wider sense of the word, all the efforts, therefore, which have been made to repress and abolish the arrogant and encroaching power of the Roman popes, and to bring back the Church to its purity in the time of her founder and his first disciples, might be called preparatory and forerunning movements of the great Reformation. These movements have been manifold and widely different in their origin, progress, and ramifications, and each of them has to be individually judged by its own character and history. Indeed, throughout the Middle Ages, even when the power of the papacy was most despotic and absolute, a reformatory tendency was pervading the Church, often confining itself to secrecy and occult labors, but frequently bursting the bonds of the Church, proclaiming its reformatory principles in public, and defying the ire of an enraged hierarchy. Some of these outbursts ran smoothly on in the channels of a purely evangelical belief; others became impregnated with fanatical, sometimes even anti-Christian, elements, and threatened with a common overthrow both the State and the Church of the times. Among the more prominent reformatory movements in the earlier part of the Middle Ages were those of the Albigenses, the Cathari, and the Waldenses, to all of which (and many others) this Cyclopedia devotes special articles.

In the latter part of the Middle Ages, the deviation of the ruling Church from Scripture and primitive Christianity became more and more glaring, and the corruption among all classes of the clergy, from the highest to the lowest. more and more general. The call for a "reformation in the head and members" spread rapidly, and even great nations began to look upon the reformation of the Church as a national cause. It has been justly remarked that the meaning given to the term "reformation in the head and members" was by no means uniform, and that "every one understood it to mean primarily that which he most desired the removal of what seemed to him most oppressive and unchristian." All malcontents, however, appeared to agree in regarding the administration of the Christian Church by the papal court as utterly depraved, and as subversive of true Christianity. The efforts made for putting an end to papal misrule and achieving a reformation of the Church were chiefly of two kinds. The one class found the seat of the degeneration not so much in a departure from the doctrine of the Bible as in the usurpation by the popes of greater power than belonged to them by divine and Church right. These men stroligly believed in the continuity of the visible Church; they rejected the right of separation and secession, and looked upon the oecumenical councils of the Church as the only medium through which the needed reformation of the Church should be effected. This school had for a long time a centre in the most famous literary institution of the Church the University of Paris. Its chief representatives were Peter d'Ailly, the chancellor, his pupil Gerson, and Nicolas de Climanges, rector of that university. The hearty support of many of the foremnost princes of the age, including several emperors, was secured, and at the three great councils of Pisa, Constance. and Basle the majority of the assembled bishops and theologians expressed their: concurrence in these views, and earnestly endeavored to effect a radical reformation on this basis. Thejoyous hopes which had been raised in the Church by these reformatory efforts were, however, sorely disappointed when the pope succeeded in dissolving the Council of Basle.

Much more thorough than this class of reformers were a second, who not only turned against papal usurpations in the government of the Church, but also by a study of the Scriptures were led to look upon the entire doctrinal system of the Church, as it had gradually developed under the misguidance of the popes, as an apostasy from the Christianity of the Bible, and who therefore believed that, more than a reformation in its head and members, the Church needed a reformation in its spirit and doctrines. The foremost representatives of this: school were Wycliffe in England, and Huss in Bohemia. To Wycliffe the papacy appeared as anti-Christianity, and the papal power, in his opinion, was not derived from God, but from the emperor. He rejected altogether the existing hierarchical constitution of the Church, and advocated the substitution for it of the presbyterial constitution as he believed it to have existed in the apostolical age. To the traditions of the Church he absolutely denied an authoritative character, and declared the whole Scripture to be the only source and rule of religious knowledge. Huss derived his views of Church reform largely from Wycliffe, and in 1410 was excommunicated from the Church as a Wycliffite. One of the central doctrines of the reformation of' the 16th century rose, however, in his system to greater prominence, and he also resembled his great followers more than Wycliffe by arousing the masses of the people in behalf of reform. Neither Wycliffe nor Huss succeeded in carrying through a reformation. When the English governmelnt, which had protected Wycliffe during his lifetime from personal injury, began a bloody persecution against his followers, most of whom were found in the higher classes and among the men of learning, the reformatory movement in England came to a sudden standstill. The reformatory ideas of Huss appeared for a time to gain complete control of an entire country, and thus to establish a stronghold of evangelical Christianity: in the centre of Europe. But internal dissensions and the superior power of the German emperor annihilated in 1434 the prospects of the Hussite movement, which dwindled down into a small sect called the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren. Numerically too weak to exercise a missionary influence upon the remainder of Christian Europe, this religious denomination will yet always be counted among the ripest and most delicious fruits of the reformatory tendencies of the Middle Ages.

Nothing shows better the vast difference between the two classes of reformers who have been characterized in the above lines than the fact that Gerson, the most gifted representative of the first named, was the leading spirit at the Council of Constance which sentenced Huss to be burned at the stake. Besides these two broad currents of reformatory movements which are visible in the Church history of the latter part of the Middle Ages, there were a large number of theological writers who bravely contended for bringing the corrupt Church of their times back to the purity of Bible Christianity, and who more or less discussed all the great reformatory questions which agitated the world in the 16th century. Among the most celebrated of these reformers were John (Pupper) of Goch, rector of a convent of nuns at Mechlin, John Wessel (Gansfort), called by his friends Lux Imundi, and John (Ruenrath) of Wesel. Though many of these writers made undisguised assaults upon the received doctrines of the Church, their views, if not directly addressed to the people, were frequently tolerated as learnied opinions of the school.

One of the most gifted reformatory preachers of the Middle Ages appeared towards the close of the 15th century in Italy. With a rare eloquence and boldness he attacked the immoral life prevailing in both Church and State, and demanded a radical reform of both. Though few reformatory preachers have ever succeeded better than Savonarola in swaying the emotions of large masses of the people, he did not lay the foundation of any reformatory organization; and when he was burned at the gibbet, there was no one to continue the work of his life.

2. At the close of the 15th century, the Church had succeeded in repressing all the reformatory movements of the Middle Ages, at least so far as to prevent, mostly by the sword of the secular arm, the consolidation of any of these movements into a powerful ecclesiastical organization, like that of the Eastern Church. But her triumph, after all, was more apparent than real. Her authority had been thoroughly undermined, and remained shaken in every country of Europe. The threats of the Church might extort reluctant recantations from a number of intimidated reformers; but her very successes of this kind had the effect of spreading the latent discontent with a religious organization which so palpably cared more for power than for the purity of Christian doctrine and Christian life. Other powerful agencies aided in shaking the belief of the educated classes in the Church. The most influential among them was the school of the Humainists,.who used the revival of classical studies for promoting a general literary culture, which not only fully emancipated itself from the gilardianship of the Church, but frequently assumed an indifferent and antagonistic position even with regard to Christianity. Especially in Italy, humanism became an enthusiastic worshipper of pagan antiquity, and it became quite common that high dignitaries of the Church were in the circles of their friends and acquaintances known as avowed atheists. Even pope Leo X was credited with the remark and, whether true or not true, it was regarded as credible by his contemporaries "It is generally known how much we and ours have profited by the fable of Christ." While in Italy many of the leading humanists became opponents of Christian belief, though they had no objection to retaining their positions, which often were of the highest rank, in the Church, the chief patrons of the classical studies in the Teutonic countries were mostly men of earnest Christian convictions, who cultivated them with a view to strengthening the cause of Christianity, and of reforming the Church. It was especially the community of the Brothers of the Common Life who founded a number of excellent schools, in which the highest attainments in the revived classical studies, and an education in the principles of earnest, purified Christianity, were aimed at. Though the community as a whole never entered into an oppositional attitude with regard to the Church, but rather, like its greatest member, Thomas a Kempis, limited itself to teaching, preaching, and practicing that which in the system of the ruling Church appeared to be unobjectionable to earnest and pious Christians, its teachers and pupils generally favored the idea of a Church reformation, and in the 16th century many of them became enthusiastical co-workers in the reformatory labors of Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin.

The labors of such men could not fail to kindle in Germany still more the desire for a reformation, and to strengthen the expectation that in resuming the work of reformation on a grand scale the German nation would take the lead. As early as 1457, chancellor Mayer of Mentz wrote to AEneas Svlvius, subsequently pope Pius II: "The German nation, once the queen of the world, but now a tributary handmaid of the Roman Church, begins to arouse herself as out of a dream, and is resolved to throw off the yoke." This spirit of preparing for the overthrow of the papal yoke and the purification of Christianity at the proper time was fondly nurtured by hundreds of learned and pious men in the latter part of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century; and when at length the right leader appeared at the fulness of time, he found hundreds of thousands ready to fall at once into line as combatants in the grand army of reform.

II. Luther'S Reformation In Germany . While the forerunners of the Reformation diffused in the Church the yearning for a radical purification of Christianity, and while the humanists were educating a race much better fitted for being the standard-bearers of a thorough reform than were the reformers of preceding centuries, a number of other great events co- operated for bringing the mediaeval history of mankind to a close, and for ushering in a new sera. Maritime discoveries of unparalleled magnitude widened the horizon of the European nations and led to a rapid growth of commerce, to an increase of manufactures, and a greater and more general diffusion of wealth. The invention of the art of printing diffused knowledge among the masses of the people to an extent which former generations would have regard ed as impossible. Feudalism and medieval chivalry collapsed before the rise of the wealthier and more intelligent burgherdom of the cities and towns, on the one hand, and the consolidation of powerful states under centralized governments, on the other. The new forces which obtained a controlling influence upon modern society were not always, and not by necessity, hostile to the rulling Church; but it is at once apparent that when in alliance with reformatory Church movements they were a considerable aid in raising up more formidable oppositions to the popes and their Church than those which had been put down in the Middle Ages. Soon after the beginning of the':6th century, Germany, then the soil most favorable to religious reform, produced the man who succeeded in carrying through the reforms which the preceding centuries had so often in vain attempted, who dealt to the papacy a heavier blow than it had received since the separation of the Eastern Church, and whose name, forever associated with "The Reformation," stands at the portal of modern history as one of its greatest pillars. No one disputes the eminent position which Martin Luther occupies in history, nor the extraordinary qualities which elevated him to it. The Manual of Church History, by Dr. Alzog, which has been translated into nearly all the languages of Europe, and is very extensively used in the theological schools of the Roman Catholic Church, says of Luther: "If we look upon his agitated, eventful life, we must count him among the most remarkable men of all centuries, althrough he has not grasped his mission as a reformer of the Church. We must also recognise his courage, though it frequently degenerated into defiance his untiring activity, his popular, irresistible eloquence, sparkling wit, and disinterestedness. He did not lack a profound religious sentiment, which yearned for satisfaction, and which constitutes the fundamental character and the most brilliant feature of his system." A Protestant Church historian (Kurtz) justly calls Luther a religious genius, who was called to his great work by the rarest union of the necessary qualifications and gifts of the intellect, sentiment, character, and will; who was trained and educated by a providential guidance of his life; who, in his own life, had passed through the entire essential course of reformation, had tested in himself its divine power, and then could not but make the holiest and dearest experience of his life serviceable to all the world.

1. The origin of the German Reformation was quite humble and indefinite. Pope Leo X, of whom even Roman Catholic writers must say that "he does not appear to have experienced the blessing and power of the Christian faith," and that "religion was not to him the highest affair of life," had arranged for a very extensive sale of indulgences. It was not deemed worth while to assign for such an outrage upon the religious sentiment of pious Christians a more specious pretext than that the proceeds of the sale were intended for a war against the Turks and the erection of St. Peter's church. The real destination of the money, it was quite commonly believed, was to defray the exorbitant expenditures of the pope's court and to serve as a marriage dowry of his sister. Archbishop Albert of Mentz, of whose Christian belief as little was known as of that of the pope, authorized the sale in Germany on condition that fifty per cent. of the gross income should flow into his own pocket. A Dominican friar (Tetzel) carried on the trade with an effrontery which outraged the sentiments of thousands of earnest Christians. Among those who were urged by their conscience to rise against this profanation of Christianity was Luther, then a young monk in an Augustinian convent. When a young student, he had been driven by his anxiety for the salvation of his soul into the retirement of a convent. After long doubts and mental troubles, he had derived from a profound study of the Scriptures, and of the writings of Augustine and Tauler, the consolatory belief that man is to be saved, not by his own works, but by faith in the mercy of God in Christ.

When he became a doctor of the Sacred Scriptures, he was deeply impressed with the duty imposed upon him by the oath he had to take on the occasion of teaching and making known to the world the truths of Christianity. Both as an earnest Christian, who sincerely believed in the Christianity of the Scriptures, and as a conscientious teacher of theology, Luther felt himself impelled to enter an energetic protest against the doings of Tetzel. In accordance with the principles of the Church of Rome, he wrote to several neighboring bishops to stop the sale of indulgences, and only when this appeal remained unheeded he determined to act himself. On the eve of All-Saints' Day, Oct. 31, 1517, he affixed to the castle church of Wittenberg the celebrated ninety-five propositions, which are generally looked upon as the beginning of Luther's reformation. Both Protestant and Roman Catholic writers are agreed that these theses involved by no means on Luther's part a conscious renunciation of the Roman Catholic faith. Luther himself showed this clearly by his subsequent appeal to the pope; but Dr. Hase justly remarks that Luther certainly must have been aware that he had thrown out a challenge to the most powerful prelates and monks. On the other hand, the opposition to Rome was so widespread that Luther's words worked upon public opinion as the kindling spark in a powdermagazine. Even the pope, who had at first looked upon the matter as another monkish quarrel, became startled at the electric shock which it produced throughout the Christian world. Serious measures for arresting the progress of the movement were resolved upon. At first the pope cited Luther to Rome, but at the request of the University of Wittenberg and the elector of Saxony the concession was made that the papal legate, Thomas de Vio, of Gaeta (better known in history under the name Cajetanus), should examine Luther in a paternal manner.

The characteristic feature in Luther's line of defence was the rejection of the arguments taken from the fathers and the scholastics, and the demand to be refuted by arguments taken from the Bible. It was also remarkable that soon after appealing from the cardinal's treatment to the pope when better informed, he was urged on, by a fresh papal bull in behalf of indulgences, to change his appeal and to direct it to an oecumenical council. Soon after, the Roman court found it expedient to change its policy with Luther, and to endeavor to bring him back by means of compromise and kindliness. The papal chamberlain, Karl von Miltiz, a native of Saxony, was so far successful that Luther promised to write letters in which he would admonish all persons to be obedient and respectful to the Roman Church, and to write to the pope to assure him that he had never thought of infringing upon the privileges of the Roman Church. The promised letter was actually indited; its language is full of expressions of humility, and exalts the Roman Church above everything but Christ himself. He also promised to discontinue the controversy if his opponents would do the same. But soon he was drawn into the Disputation of Leipsic (June 27 to July 15, 1519), which the vain-glorious Dr. Eck (even Roman Catholic writers thus characterize him) had originally arranged with Carlstadt. History awards to Dr. Eck the glory of having been the more clever disputant, but Luther's cause was nevertheless greatly benefited by it. The arguments of his opponents drove Luther onward to a more explicit rejection of Romish innovations. He was led to assert that the pope was not by divine right the universal bishop of the Church, to admit a doubt of the infallibility of councils, and to be convinced that not all Hussite doctrines were heretical.

At the same time the reformatory movement was greatly strengthened by the universal sympathy that began to be expressed with Luther, by the alliance with the liberal humanists and knights of Germany, and especially by the open accession to his cause of one of the greatest scholars of the age, Dr. Melancthon. The conflict between Rome and Luther now became one for life and death. Dr. Eck returned from a journey to Rome with a bull which declared Luther a heretic and ordered the burning of his writings. Luther, on the other hand, systematized his views in three works, all of which appeared in 1520: To his Imperial Majesty and the Christian Nobility of the German Nation; On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church; and Sermon on the Freedom of a Christian Man. Finally he broke away the last bridge of retreat by publicly burning (Dec. 10, 1520) the papal bull with the papal canon law. The pope succeeded in prevailing upon the German emperor and the German Diet of Worms (1521) to proceed against Luther; and when the latter firmly refused to recant, and avowed that he could yield nothing but to the Holy Scriptures and reasonable argument, he was placed under the ban of the empire; but so great was the discontent in Germany with Rome that the same assembly that condemned Luther for opposing the faith of their ancestors presented 101 articles of complaint against the Roman see. The ban of the empire involved serious dangers for Luther, for it gave permission to any one to assault his person and seize upon his property; but he was saved from these dangers by his secluded life at the Castle of Wartburg, to which disguised horsemen, according to a previous understanding with the elector, but against his own desire, had conducted him. Far from the turmoil of political agitation, he found time not only to issue several powerful polemical essays (against auricular confession, against monastic vows, against masses for the dead, and against the new idol of the archbishop of Mentz), which refuted the rumor that he was dead, but to conceive and partially execute the plan of translating the Bible into the native tongue. During the absence of Luther from Wittenberg, the Reformation under the leadership of men who were more impetuous and practical, but less circumspect and theplogical, assumed a more aggressive turn against Rome.

Several priests renounced celibacy and were married; Carlstadt administered the Lord's supper in both kinds, and in the German language. To these changes Luther made no objection; but when Carlstadt began to commit open acts of violence in disturbing the public worship of the Roman Church when enthusiastic prophets appeared from Zwickau, who boasted of immediate divine revelations, rejected infant baptism, and denounced Church, State, and science he emerged once more from his seclusion, silenced by powerful sermons his adversaries at Wittenberg, and once more placed himself at the helm of the movement. In intimate union with. Melancthon, he now labored for completing the theological system of the Church which began to rear itself on the basis of his reformatory movement. Luther himself gave his chief attention to continuing the translation of the Bible in German, which was completed in 1534, and constitutes in every respect one of the master-productions of the reformatory age; while Melancthon, in his celebrated work on theological science (Loci Communes Rerum Theologicarum), gave to the theological leaders of the new Church a hand-book of doctrine which, as a literary production, ranked with the best works that the Church of Rome had produced up to that time.

In Rome, Leo X had meanwhile (1521) been succeeded by Adrian VI, the son of a mechanic of Utrecht, who, while strongly attached to the continuity of the external Church and opposed to the separation already produced by Luther, was at the same time sincerely and honestly devoted to the cause of a religious reform. The energy displayed by him and the success obtained were, however, by no means commensurate with the honesty of his convictions. During his short administration (1521-23) he was neither able to,arrest the anti-Church reformation of Luther nor to smooth the way for the introduction of any reforms within the Church. The latter were hated in Rome no less than the former, and when Adrian died he was succeeded by a humanist, Clement VII, who, like Leo X, was anxious to preserve the splendor and the power of the papal court, and showed not the least interest in the purity of religion.

In Germany, during this interval, the protracted absence of the emperor had prevented the adoption of any stringent measures for the suppression of the Reformation, and allowed the latter to strike deeper roots in the nation. The majority of the princes, it is true, were not yet willing to part with the religion of their fathers, and to identify themselves with the movement which they thought represented their beloved ancestors as heretics. They mistrusted Rome, however; persisted in demanding reforms; contented themselves with resolving at several successive diets that the Edict of Worms should be carried out as much as possible, and thus enabled the princes and free cities which were friendly to the Reformation to consolidate it within the boundaries of their states. When the papal legate Campeggio succeeded at the Diet of Ratisbon, in 1524, in bringing about an alliance between Ferdinand of Austria, the dukes of Bavaria, and most of the bishops of Southern Germany for the preservation of the old faith and for carrying out the Edict of Worms, landgrave Philip of Hesse and elector John of Saxony, at a meeting held at Gotha, took the initiatory step for a counter-alliance of the friends of the Reformation. Luther and Melancthon were at first opposed to the conclusion of any offensive and defensive alliance, on the ground that God's cause should not be defended by carnal weapons. When, however, the danger appeared to increase, a defensive alliance between the landgrave and the elector was concluded in 1526 at Torgau, and was soon joined by a number of other princes.

As the emperor became involved in a new foreign war in which the pope was on the side of his enemies, the Diet of Spire unanimously agreed upon the decree that until the meeting of a free general council every state should act with regard to the Edict of Worms as it might venture to answer to God and his imperial majesty. This decree gave to the states which were friendly to the Reformation time to reorganize the churches of their territories on the basis of the Reformation. The lead was taken by the elector John the Constant of Saxony. Melancthon drew up the articles of visitation, in accordance with which, in 1529, a general Church visitation of ecclesiastical and lay cotmcillors took place. Among the results of this visitation were the compilation of two catechisms by Luther for more efficient instruction of the children in the elements of religion, the appointment of superintendents to exercise spiritual supervision, and the introduction of an ecclesiastical constitution, which became the common model for the churches in the other German states. Luther, in the meantime (1525), had followed the example of many of his clerical friends and married. As the continuing centre of the entire movement, Luther exerted a powerful influence in many directions as professor and author by an extensive correspondence far beyond the borders of Germany, and by supplying the churches with a great number of excellent Church hymns in the native tongue. By these Church hymns, as well as by his translation of the Bible, Luther at the same time occupied so prominent a position in the history of German literature that Germany as a nation appeared to be under the greatest indebtedness to him, and its further progress to be closely linked to the success of the Reformation. A number of theological controversies into which Luther was drawn, and of which those with king Henry VIII of England, with Erasmus, with Carlstadt, and Zwingli were the most important, belong more to the personal history of Luther than to that of the Reformation.

2. A new crisis for the German Reformation began in 1529 with the Diet of Spire. The emperor having victoriously finished his wars, was now free from foreign entanglements, and showed himself determined to maintain the religious unity of the empire. A very numerous attendance of bishops and prelates secured a Catholic majority, which, in accordance with the imperial demand, decreed that the Edict of Worms should be carried through in the states which had hitherto acknowledged its authority, but that no innovations should be required in the remaining provinces; that none should be obstructed in celebrating the mass; and that the privileges of every spiritual estate should be respected. Against this recess, which if carried out would have made a further progress of the Reformation impossible, Electoral Saxony, Hesse, Luneburg, Anhalt, the margrave of Brandenburg, and fourteen imperial cities entered a protestation, from which they were henceforth called Protestants. They appealed from it to the emperor-to a free council and a German national assembly. Philip of Hesse urged the evangelical princes to assume a defiant attitude for the defence of the Reformation, and, in order to strengthen their alliance, advised a union with the imperial cities that favored the Reformation of Zwingli. In accordance with his wishes, a theological colloquy was arranged at Marburg (Oct. 1 to 3, 1529), in which Zwingli, Luther, OEcolampadius. and Melancthon took part.

They failed to effect an agreement in the doctrine of the Lord's supper, but parted with the mutual promise to end the public controversy. Soon after the evangelical princes assembled at the Convention of Schwabach, Luther had drawn up, on the basis of the articles of Marburg, the so-called seventeen Schwabach articles, which the Zwinglian cities were requested to sign as conditional of their admission to the alliance. The request was, however, declined, and the convention remained without result. At the next Diet of Augsburg (1530) the emperor intended to put an end to the religious strife. The elector of Saxony therefore requested his theologians to draw up a brief summary of the evangelical faith, and they accordingly presented to him a revision of the Schwabach articles at Torgau (the Torgau articles). The elector was accompanied to Augsburg by Spalatin, Melancthon, and Jonas. Luther, who was still under the ban of the empire, remained behind at Coburg. The emperor's arrival was delayed, and Melancthon used the time up to the opening of the diet (June 20) for composing, on the basis of the Torgan articles, the famous Confession of Augsburg (q.v.), the first of the symbolical books of the Lutheran Church, which, after being approved by Luther, was signed by the states. It had been drawn up both in Latin and in German; and although the emperor desired the Latin text to be read, it was at the request of the elector publicly read to the diet in German (June 25). Some of the princes admitted that they had derived from this document a clearer conception of the Reformation than they had possessed heretofore of its character and design; but the emperor commissioned the Catholic theologians Faber, Eck, Cochlaeus, and Wimpina to prepare a "confutation" of the Confession, which was read on Aug. 3. The emperor declared that he was determined to stand by the doctrines laid down in the confutation; that he expected the same from the princes; that he was the patron of the Church, and not willing to tolerate a schism in Germany. He refused to receive the "Apology of the Augsburg Confession," which had been composed by Melancthon in reply to the "confutation." The recess of the empire of Sept. 22 announced that the confession of the Protestants had been refuted, but that time for consideration would be given to them until April 15 of the next year; until then all should refrain from diffusing their heresy by writing or preaching; and within six months a general council would be called for the ultimate settlement of the matter.

The Edict of Worms was to be carried out, and the imperial court was to proceed against the disobedient. As, soon after the close of the diet, a legal process was actually begun against the Protestant states for having confiscated the property of the Church, the Protestant powers met at Smalkald, and concluded (1531) a defensive alliance for six years, at the head of which the elector of Saxony and the landgrave of Hesse were placed. Fortunately for the new alliance, the emperor was soon again involved in a war with the Turks, who threatened an invasion of Austria and Germany, and his desire to obtain the aid of the Protestant churches once more disposed him favorably towards toleration. New negotiations resulted in the conclusion of the religious peace of Nuremberg (July 23, 1532), which enjoined upon both parties mutual friendship and Christian love until the approaching council. Pope Clement VII so far yielded to the demands of the emperor that he promised in 1533 to convoke a council within the space of a year at Mantua, Bologna, or Piacenza; but he demanded, at the same time, from the Protestants a previous unconditional submission to the decrees of the council. This promise the Protestants naturally refused to give, though they were ready to attend the council and plead their cause. The power of the Protestants in the meanwhile was greatly strengthened by the accession of the dukes of Pomerania and Wurtemberg, and by a union with the cities which favored the Zwinglian Reformation; and which, after a religious colloquy, held at Cassel in 1535, between Melancthon and Bucer, agreed in May, 1536, upon the Wittenberg Concord, by which the cities unequivocally accepted the Augsburg Confession.

When in July, 1536, the pope actually convoked the council at Mantua, the Protestant states met again for consultation at Smalkald. They accepted and signed the "Articles of Smalkald" which had been composed by Luther, and which presented the doctrines of the Reformation in much stronger terms than the Confession of Augsburg, and they remained unanimous in the resolve not to attend an Italian council, at which the pope would appear both as a party and as a judge. The council did not meet, but in 1538 a "holy league" for the suppression of Protestantism was formed at Nuremberg by the archbishops of Mentz and Salzburg, the dukes of Bavaria, George of Saxony, and Henry of Brunswick. But the next year George died, and was succeeded by his Protestant brother Henry, who found it easy to carry through the Reformation; and a few years later (1542), Henry of Brunswick was driven from his dominions, into which his conquerors likewise introduced the Reformation. The elector of Brandenburg, Joachim I, a decided enemy of Luther, was likewise (1535) succeeded by a Protestant son. Thus gradually the Reformation gained over to its side nearly all the secular princes of Germany, with the exception of the dukes of Bavaria and the house of Hapsburg, which found it necessary to adhere to the old faith on account of its connection with Spain, Belgium, and Italy. Several new attempts were made to effect a reconciliation of the contending parties.

The Colloquy of Worms (1540) remained without any result. At the Diet of Ratisbon (1541), where Rome was represented by the pious legate Contarini, who himself favored the fundamental doctrines of Protestantism as they were then maintained, an agreement was effected between the theologians concerning the doctrine of justification and other points, but it was found impossible to harmonize views on transubstantiation. The Protestants, but not the Catholics, had to pledge themselves to abide by the agreed articles (the Ratisbon Interim) until the meeting of the council. The pope was finally prevailed upon by the emperor to open (Dec. 13, 1545) the long-promised council at Trent, a city of the German empire. The emperor still adhered to the plan to force the pope into a Catholic reformation of the Church, and the Protestants into submission to the Church. Another colloquy at Ratisbon was arranged in 1546 to draw up a basis of union to be submitted to the council, but it remained without result. At the same time, the emperor was determined to break the political power of Protestantism by annihilating the Smalkald alliance, and in this he was quite successful. The elector and the landgrave were declared guilty of high-treason, and in the ensuing Smalkaldic war, in which duke Maurice, though himself a Protestant, fought from political motives on the side of the emperor, both princes were defeated and made prisoners. The other members of the league, with the exception of a few cities, submitted.

The emperor was anxious not to give to his expedition the name of a religious war. but the pope accorded a plenary indulgence to all who would aid in the extermination of the heretics. Shortly before the beginning of the war (Feb. 18, 1546), Luther had died at Eisleben, where he had been invited to act as umpire between the counts of Mansfeld. In order to prevent the participation of the Protestants in the council, the pope caused the immediate condemnation of some important Protestant doctrines in the first session of that body; and to escape the reformatory pressure of the emperor, he transferred the council (March, 1547), on the pretext that in Trent it was threatened by the pestilence, to Bologna, where it soon dissolved. The emperor was greatly dissatisfied, and determined to go on with his own reformatory policy for preserving the religious unity of Christendom. At his request, the conciliatory and nobble-minded bishop of Naumburg, Julius von Pflugk, and the court preacher of the elector of Brandenburg, John Agricola, drew up the Augsburg Interim (1548), which was adopted by the diet, and was to serve as the standard according to which all matters relating to religion should be arranged until the decision of the council. At first the Interim was intended to be valid for both Protestants and Catholics, but it really remained in force only among the former, to whom it conceded the marriage of the clergy, the use of the cup in the sacrament, and some indefinite constructions of particular doctrines of the Catholic Church. The Protestants submitted to the Interim with great reluctance; and even the emperor's ally; Maurice of Saxony, did not risk its uuconditional introduction, and at his advice the Leipsic Interim (1548) was drawn up by Melancthon, in which the greater part of the Catholic ritual was declared to be indifferent (adiaphoron), and therefore fit to be retained.

It also declared that the power of the pope and of the bishops might be acknowledged so long as they used it for the edification, and not for the destruction, of the Church. But even this more Protestant Interim gave no satisfaction, and the fermentation continuied until the new pope, Julius III, reconvoked the Council of Trent for May 1,1551. The emperor demanded that Protestants should attend the council, but Maurice made the attendance dependent upon the condition that Protestants should receive the right of voting, that the former resolutions against the Protestants should be annulled, and that the pope himself should be subject to a general council. Melancthon elaborated as the basis of the doctrinal negotiations the Confessio Saxonica, or Repetitio Confessionis Augustance. Protestant deputies from Wiirtemberg, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Strasburg appeared at Trent, and Melancthon, accompanied by several theologians of Wittenberg, set out to join them. The situation of the Reformation was radically changed when Maurice concluded a secret alliance against the emperor with a uIumber of Protestant princes and the Catholic king of France, to whom, for his assistance, the three German bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun were treacherously surrendered by the allies.

Maurice, in a short and decisive war (1552), completely defeated the emperor, who was sick at Innsbruck, and compelled him to agree to the Treaty of Passau (July 30, 1552), which set the landgrave of Hesse at liberty (the elector of Saxony had been liberated previously), opened the imperial council to the adherents of the Reformation, promised a diet for the settlement of the religious differences, and provided a permanent peace for at least all those who sympathized with the Augsburg Confession. The continuance of the war between Germany and France delayed the convocation of the.Diet of Augsburg until Feb., 1555. Both parties in Germany had arrived at the conviction that the hope of terminating the religious controversy by means of religious colloquies or by a general council must be abandoned for the present, arid that peace and order in the empire could only be maintained by mutual forbearance. After long negotiations, the "Religious Peace of Augsburg" was concluded. It guaranteed the free exercise of religion to the Catholics and the adherents of the Confession of Augsburg. According to the "territorial system,"which now came into use, the prince of every German state had a right to reform the Church within his dominion. The subjects of both Protestant and Catholic governments who were unwilling to conform to the ruling religion retained only the right to leave their country without obstruction. The Protestants remained in possession of the ecclesiastical benefices which they held in 1555. But with regard to the future, it was provided that all spiritual states of the empire which should subsequently go over to the Augsburg Confession should by that act forfeit their offices and possessions. The Catholics remembered with fear the losses which they had sustained by the secession of the grand master of the German order, Albert of Brandenburg, and with which they were threatened by the sympathy with the Reformation of the archbishop Hermann of Cologne; and they therefore believed that on the adoption of the articles securing to them the possession of bishoprics and other ecclesiastical states, even if their actual incumbents should become Protestants, the very existence of their Church would depend. The article called "Ecclesiastical Reservation" (Reservatun Ecclesiasticum) was proclaimed by the Roman king Ferdinand as an actual ordinance of the diet, though the Protestants loudly protested against it, and their protest had to be recorded in the peace.

III. Zwingli'S And Calvin'S Reformation In Switzerland . Next to Germany, Switzerland became the principal source of the Reformation. But it sent forth two currents which have never fully united, though many connecting canals have been built between them, and both are now usually acknowledged as belonging to one comprehensive system; which is commonly designated as the Reformed Church. One of the movements originated in German, the other in French, Switzerland. At the head of the one was Ulric Zwingli, at the head of the other John Calvin. The thirteen cantons which constituted Switzerland at the beginning of the 16th century were still in nominal connection with the German empire; and the same causes, therefore, which have been referred to in our account of Germany favored the growth of the Reformation in Switzerland. Dissatisfaction with and contempt of Rome were, moreover, promoted in Switzerland by the large number of mercenaries who were employed in the military service of the popes, and who, after returning home, not only diffused a knowledge of the utter corruption prevailing in Rome, but by their own unworthy lives helped to bring Rome into disrepute.

1. Ulric Zwingli, who gave the first impulse to the Reformation in German Switzerland, (See Zwingli), had received his education at the universities of Vienna and Basle, and in the latter place had joined himself to a circle of enthusiastic admirers of ancient learning and of enlightelned religious views who gathered around Erasmus. It was more classical education and scientific study of the Holy Scriptures than, as in the case of Luther, religious experience which made Zwingli an earnest advocate of religious reform, although, like his teacher Erasmus, he continued to hope for a reformation within the Church by the ecclesiastical authorities themselves. Such views were entertained quite generally in Switzerland; and thus, though Zwingli in 1518 raised his voice against the effrontery of a trader in indulgences, the Franciscan monk Bernardin Samson, he was appointed papal chaplain by the papal legate. His preaching against the corruptions prevailing in the Church became more earnest after he had been appointed, in 1519, "Lent priest" in Zurich. The influences proceeding from Luther did not remain without effect upon him, and he began to be looked upon in Zurich as a Lutheran at heart. When he designated the rule of fasting as an ordinance of man, the Council of Zurich, in 1522, took his part against the bishop of Constance.

Zwingli's first reforming work, Von Erkiesen und Freyheit der Spysen, which was published at this time, gave a new imptuse to the movement. In the same year Zwingli, in the name of the reformatory party among the clergy, addressed the Diet of Lutcerne and the bishop of Constance in behalf of a free preaching of the Gospel; he also demanded the abolition of priestly celibacy. In accordance with Zwingli's wish, the Council of Zurich arranged on Jan. 29, 1523, a religious conference, at which Zwingli presented the reformatory doctrines he had preached in sixty-seven articles, and defended them so successfilly that the Council of Zurich charged all the preachers to preach the pure Gospel in the same manner. Soon after, Zwingli received an efficient co-laborer in his reformatory efforts by the appointment of Leo Judae as Lent priest at Zurich. Several events signalized at this time the steady advance of the cause. The council allowed nuns to leave their convents, several of the clergy married without hindrance, a German baptismal service was introduced, and the cathedral chapter, at its own request, received new andt suitable ordinances. In other cantons, especially in Lucerne, Fribourg, and Zug, a violent opposition was manifested against the Reformation, but in Zurich its success was fully secured. The council convoked a new conference for October 26, upon images and the mass, to which all Swiss bishops and cantons were invited, but only Schaffhausen and St. Gall sent delegates. No champion for images and mass was found at the conference, and the Council of Zurich concluded to promote the reformation of the canton by diffusing the proper instruction in the country districts, for which purpose Zwinigli, the abbot Von Cappel, and Conrad Schmidt, commnander of the knights of St. John at Kussnacht, were appointed. With the assent of the council, Zwingli published his Christian Introduction, which was to explain to the people more fully the meaning of the religious Reformation. Soon new reformatory measures were adopted by the council. The shrined pictures in the churches were shut up, and every priest was left free to celebrate mass or not as he chose (Dec., 1523). On Whit- Sunday, 1524, the work of removing the images from the churches was begun, and it was completed in thirteen days.

The abolition of many other usages followed in rapid succession; and the transformation in religious service was completed by the celelration on April 13, 14, and 16, 1525, of the Lord's supper again in its original simplicity in the great minster. The publication of Zwingli's De Vera et Falsa Religione and the first part of the Zurich translation of the Bible likewise gave a favorable impulse. Beyond Zurich, the Reformation was carried through in nearly the whole canton of Appenzell, and in the town of Muhlhausen; a broad foundation was laid in Berne by the preaching of the prudent Berchtold Haller; in Basle, Wolfgang Fabricius Capito and Caspar Hedio were the first preachers, and in 1524 the authorities conceded to John CEcolampadius those conditions in regard to reform under which he accepted an appointment as minister. The Reformation also gained a firm ground in Schaffhausen and St. Gall. The majority of the cantons were, however, still opposed to the Reformation, and the Diet of Lucerne (Jan., 1525) endeavored to satisfy the longing for a reformation without rending the Church. Its decrees, however, did not go into effect; and the Catholic cantons, in accordance with the advice of Dr. Eck, arranged a new religious disputation at Baden (May 19, 1526), where (Ecolampadins acted as the spokesman of the Reformed theologians.

Though both parties claimed the victory, the Reformation continued to make progress. In the summer of 1526, the Grisons granted religious freedom; in April, 1527, the Reformed party obtained a majority in the Council of Berne. which, after a new disputation at Berne (Jan. 6, 1528), officially introduced the Reformation. Decisive measures for securing the preponderance of the Reformation were taken in 1528 by St. Gall, and in 1529 by Basle and Glarus. As the most zealous of the Catholic cantons, especially Schwvz, Uri, Unterwvalden, Lucerne, Valais, and Fribourg, resorted to forcible measures for the suppression of the Reformation, Zurich and Constance, on Dec. 25,1527, formed a defensive alliance under the name of Burgher Rights. It was joined in 1528 by Berne and St. Gall; in 1529 by Biel, Mtuhlhausen, Basle, and Schaffhausen; in 1530 by Strasburg, which had been repelled by the German Protestants. The landgrave of Hesse also was received into it in 1530, at least by Zurich and Basle. In the meanwhile five Catholic cantons Lucerne, Zug, Schwvz, Uri, and Unterwalden had concluded (April, 1529) a league with king Ferdinand for the maintenance of the old faith. A war declared by Zurich in 1529 against the five cantons was of short duration, and the peace was favorable to the former. In 1531 the war was renewed, and the forces of Zurich were totally defeated at Cappel, Zwingli himself finding his death. The peace which Zurich and Berne were forced to conclude was, on the whole, humiliating; it recognised, however, and secured both confessions of faith. Soon after the battle of Cappel, OEcolampadius died (Nov. 23, 1531) of grief for the losses of the Reformed Church. Henry Bullinger in Zurich, and Oswald Myconius in Basle, now became the leading spirits among the Reformed, whose strength was greatly impaired by internal dissensions and by the progress of the Anabaptists. The Catholic cantons succeeded in arresting the further spread of the Reformation in German Switzerland, and in repressing it by force in some free districts and in parts of the cantons Soleure and Glarus; but in the remainder of the Reformed cantons, especially in Zurich and Berne, the population steadfastly continued to adhere to the cause of religious reform.

2. In French Switzerland, the reformatory movement began in 1526 in the French parts of the cantons Berne and Biel, where the Gospel was preached by William Farel, a native of France. In 1530 he established the Reformation in Neufchatel. In Geneva a beginning was made as early as 1528; in 1534, after a religious conference held at the suggestion of the Bernese, in which Farel defended the Reformation, public worship was allowed to the Reformed; rapid progress was then made through the zeal of Farel. Froment, and Viret; and in 1535, after another disputation, the papacy was abolished by the council anid the Reformation adopted. In 1536 John Calvin, (See Calvin) arrived in Geneva, and was induced by Farel to remain in the city and to aid him in his struggle against a party of freethinkers who called themselves Spirituels. In October of the same year he took part with Farel and Viret in a religious disputation held at Lausanne, which resulted in the adhesion of the Pavs-de-Vaud to the cause of the Reformation. In 1538 both Calvinn and Farel were banished by the council, which had taken offence at the strict Church discipline introduced by the Reformers. Soon, however, the friends of the Reformation regained the ascendency, and Calvin was recalled in 1541, while Farel remained in Neufchatel. For several years Calvin had to sustain a desperate struggle against his opponents, but in 1555 they were finally subdued in an insurrection set on foot by Ami Perrin. From that time the reformatory ideas of Calvin were carried through in both Church and State with iron consistenc,. and Geneva became a centre whence reformatory influences spread to the remotest parts of Europe. By an extensive correspondence and numerous religious writings, he exerted a strong personal influence far bevond the boundaries of Switzerland. The theological academy of Geneva, founded in 1588, supplied the churches of many foreign countries, especially France, with preachers trained in the spirit of Calvin. When Calvin died, in 1564, the continuation of his work devolved upon the learned Theodore Beza. Calvin disagreed in many points with Zwingli, whose views gradually lost ground as those of Calvin advanced. The Second Helvetic Confession, the most important among the symbolical books of the Reformed Church, which was compiled by Bullinger in Zurich, published in 1566, and recognised in all Reformed countries, completed the superiority of Calvin's principles over those of Zwingli.

3. Although the majority of the German Protestant churches remained in connection with the Lutheran Reformation, a German Reformed Church which wore a moderately Calvinistic aspect sprang up in several parts of Germany. In 1560 the elector Frederick III of the Palatinate embraced the Reformed creed, and organized the Church of his dominions according to Reformed principles. By his authority, Ursinus and Olevianus composed the Heidelberg Catechism, which soon came to be regarded not only as the standard symbolical book of the German Reformed Church, but was highly esteemed throughout the Reformed world. Maurice. the learned landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, after several fruitless attempts to reconcile the Lutheran and Reformed churches, joined the latter in 1564, and compelled the Lutheran Church of his dominion to enter into communion with Calvinism. In Anhalt, Calvinism was introduced chiefly from attachment to Melancthon, and Nassau introduced the Heidelberg Catechism in consequence of its relation to the house of Orange. The most important accession to the Reformed Church of Germany was that of John Sigismund, elector of Brandenburg, who onl Christmas day, 1613, received the Lord's supper in the court church of Berlin according to the Calvinistic ritual. Although he tried, as all princes of these times did, to induce the people to follow his example, the overwhelming majority of the country continued to remain Lutheran. Among the free imperial cities, it was especially Bremen which adopted the Reformed creed.

IV. The English Reformnation . In England the writings of Luther were warmly welcomed by many, especially by those who secretly adhered to the doctrines of Wycliffe. King Henry VIII, who was a great admirer of St. Thomas a Becket, wrote against Luther (1521) the work Adsertio VII Sacramentorum, for which he received from the pope the title Defensor Fidei. He also wrote the emperor of Germany a letter in which he called for the extirpation of the heretics. But Lutheranism found zealous adherents even at the English universities, and an English translation of the Bible (1526) by Frith and Tyndale, members of the university of Cambridge, had a decisive effect. Soon the king fell out with the pope, because the latter refused to annul Henry's marriage with Catharine of Aragon, the niece of the emperor Charles V. The king, who represented that his marriage with Catharine, his brother's widow, was open to objections, laid the matter, by advice of Thomas Cranmer, before the Christian universities; and when replies were received declaring the marriage with a brother's wife as null and void, the king separated from Catharine, married Anne Boleyn, and fell under the papal ban. The English Parliament sundered the connection between England and Rome, and recognised the king as the head of the Church. Henry was desirous of destroying the influence of the pope over the Church of England, to which, in other respects, he wished to preserve the continuity of its Catholic character.

The cloisters were subjected to a visitation in 1535, and totally abolished in 1536; and the Bible was diffused in the mother tongue (1538) as the only source of doctrine; but the statute of 1539, imposed distinct limits upon the Reformation, and, in particular, confirmed transubstantiation, priestly celibacy, masses for the dead, and auricular confession. A considerable number of those who refused to comply with the religious changes introduced into England were executed. A powerful party, headed by Thomas Cranmer, after 1533 archbishop of Canterbury, and Thomas Cromwell, after 1534 royal vicargeneral for ecclesiastic affairs, exerted a silent influence in behalf of a nearer approach towards the Reformed churches of continental Europe. They met with little success during the reign of Henry, but obtained a majority in the regency which ruled England during the minority of Edward VI. Peter Martyr, Occhino, Bucer, and Fagius were called to England to aid Cranmer in carrying through the Reformation. The basis was laid in the Book of Homilies (1547), the new English liturgy (the Book of Common Prayer, 1548), and the Forty-two Articles (1552); but the labors of Cranmer were interrupted by the death of Edward VI (1553). His successor, queen Mary, the daughter of Henry and Catharine of Aragon, was a devoted partisan of the Church of Rome, during whose reign Cranmer and from three hundred to four hundred other persons were executed on account of their religion. A papal nuncio appeared in England, and an obsequious parliament sanctioned the reunion with Rome; but the affections of the people were not regained, and the early death of Mary (1558) put an end to the official restoration of the Papal Church. Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, whose birth, in consequence of the papal decision, was regarded by the Roman Catholics as illegitimate, resumed the work of her father, and completed the English Reformation, as distinct both from the Church of Rome and the Reformations of Germany and Switzerland.

The Book of Common Prayer which had been adopted under Edward was so changed as to be less offensive to Catholics, and by the Act of Uniformity, June, 1559, it was made binding on all the churches of the kingdom. Most of the Catholics conformed; of 9400 clergy, their benefices were only lost by fourteen bishops, fifteen heads of ecclesiastical corporations, fifty canons, and about eighty priests. Matthew Parker, the former teacher of the queen, was appointed archbishop of Canterbury. The validity of his ordination, which was not sanctioned by the pope, nor made according to the Roman rite, was at once disputed in numerous Catholic writings, but has also found some Catholic defenders, as Le Courayer. The Confession of Faith which had been drawn up under Edward in forty-two articles was reduced to thirty-nine articles, and in this form it was adopted by a convocation of the clergy at London in 1562, and by Parliament made, in 1571, the rule of faith for all the clergy. According to the Thirty-nine Articles, the Scriptures contain everything necessary to salvation; justification is through faith alone, but works acceptable to God are the necessary fruit of this faith; in the Lord's supper there is a communion of the body of Christ, which is spiritually received by faith; and predestination is apprehended only as it is a source of consolation. Supreme power over the Church is vested in the English crown, but it is limited by the statutes. Bishops continued to be the highest ecclesiastical officers and the first barons of the realm. Subscription to the articles was made binding only on the clergy; to the laity freedom of conscience was allowed.

The adoption of the Thirty-nine Articles completed, in the main, the constitution of the Episcopal Church of England. Some parts of the Church government and the liturgy, especially the retaining of sacerdotal vestments, gave great offence to a number of zealous friends of a radical religious reformation who had suffered persecution during the reign of Mary, and, while exiles, had become strongly attached to the principles of strict Calvinism. They demanded a greater purity of the Church (hence their name Puritans), a simple, spiritual form of worship, a strict Church discipline, and a Presbyterian form of government. The Act of Uniformity (1559) threatened all Nonconformists with fines and imprisonment, and their ministers with deposition and banishment. When the provisions of the act began to be enforced, a number of the Non-conformist clergy formed separate congregations in connection with presbyteries (since 1572), and a considerable portion of the clergy and laity of the Established Church sympathized with them. The rupture between the parties was widened in 1592 by an act of Parliament that all who obstinately refused to attend public worship, or led others to do so, should be imprisoned and submit, or after three months be banished; and again in 1595, when the Presbyterians applied the Mosaic Sabbath laws to the Christian Sunday, and when Calvin's doctrines respecting predestination excited animated disputes.

A much more uncompromising opposition than that by the Puritans was made to the Established Church by Robert Brown, who embraced (from 1580) Calvinism in its strictest form, denounced the English Church as a false Church, and d

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [10]

The great event in the history of Europe in the 16th century, characterised as a revolt of light against darkness, on the acceptance or the rejection of which has since depended the destiny for good or evil of the several States composing it, the challenge to each of them being the crucial one, whether they deserved and were fated to continue or perish, and the crucial character of which is visible to-day in the actual conditions of the nations as they said "nay" to it or "yea," the challenge to each at bottom being, is there any truth in you or is there none? Austria, according to Carlyle, henceforth "preferring steady darkness to uncertain new light"; Spain, "people stumbling in steep places in the darkness of midnight"; Italy, "shrugging its shoulders and preferring going into Dilettantism and the Fine Arts"; and France, "with accounts run up on compound interest," had to answer the "writ of summons" with an all too indiscriminate "Protestantism" of its own.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

ref - or - mā´shun  : The word is found only in   Hebrews 9:10 , being the translation of διόρθωσις , diórthōsis , in its only occurrence. This Greek word means etymologically "making straight," and was used of restoring to the normally straight condition that which is crooked or bent. In this passage it means the rectification of conditions, setting things to rights, and is a description of the Messianic time.