The Revolt of Martin Luther

By Robert Herndon Fife | Go to book overview

34
REFUSAL TO COMPROMISE

WHILE the debate in the Diet went on through the afternoon of Friday and the following day, Martin sat quietly in his lodgings awaiting a decision. Many, of all ranks, came to see him: some, friends and devoted followers, others drawn by curiosity. Among the latter was a brilliant figure among the German princes, Philip, the young Landgrave of Hesse, who had just attained his majority and appeared at his first Diet attended by a splendid retinue. This prince, now eighteen years old, was later to show himself a weird mixture of religious enthusiasm, arbitrary violence, and ill-disciplined passions. He talked with Martin, and as the latter recalled many years after, left him with a somewhat ambiguous declaration: "If you are right, Doctor, may God help you."1 That the friendship of high and low showed itself also in concrete efforts for the comfort and safety of the monk, seems likely; but concerning such acts we learn only of the presentation of a jug of Einbeck beer, and that comes from a somewhat doubtful source.2

The tense excitement in Worms had not abated. It was now increased on the night of April 19-20 by the posting of broadsides for and against Luther.3 It was even said that a hostile note had been insinuated into the emperor's chamber, stating: "Woe to the land whose ruler is a boy!"4 One broadside, which was posted at the town hall, claimed to have the support of four hundred of the lesser nobility and eight thousand men-at-arms. It glowed with rage against the princes, especially the archbishop of Mainz, and in the name of divine justice threatened all the clergy who supported these rulers.5 The impression made by this poster was intensified by the signature,

____________________
1
Historie, wie es Doct. Martin Luther . . . ergangen sei, EA, LXIV, 373; TR, II, 2783C and III, 3357b.
2
Nikolaus Selneccer, Vitam Divi Lutheri, p. 108. Cf. DRA, II, 559, n. 1.
3
Acta et res gestae, DRA, II, 559; Etliche sunderliche Handlungen, DRA, II, 601, ll. 9 ff.
4
Report of the Frankfort delegates, April 24, DRA, II, 872, ll. 35 f. Cochlaeus, Commentaria de actis et scriptis Martini Lutheri, p. 36, gives a somewhat different account.
5
This placard was thought worth noting by several chroniclers and correspondents. See DRA, II, 559, n. 2; also the Spanish report, DRA, II, 637. Kalkoff thinks the author was

-670-

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The Revolt of Martin Luther
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1 - Early Days at Home and School 3
  • 2 - The Schoolboy Abroad 20
  • 3 - Early Years at the University 32
  • 4 - The Scholastic Learning 47
  • 5 - Entrance into the Cloister 66
  • 6 - The Novitiate Year 79
  • 7 - Brother Martin of the Eremites 91
  • 8 - Student of Theology 104
  • 9 - The Young Lecturer 128
  • 10 - The Journey to Rome 161
  • 11 - Professor and Preacher at Wittenberg 179
  • 12 - Interpreter of Augustine and Paul 203
  • 13 - The Final Break with Scholasticism 224
  • 14 - The Attack on Indulgences 245
  • 15 - In Battle with the Dominicans 272
  • 16 - The Hearing at Augsburg 288
  • 17 - An Attempt at Compromise 305
  • 18 - The Leipzig Disputation the Prelude 327
  • 19 - The Leipzig Disputation the Combat 349
  • 20 - The Leipzig Disputation the Aftermath 368
  • 21 - A Battle of Polemics 395
  • 22 - Humanistic Friends and Allies 415
  • 23 - Growth as Teacher and Preacher 436
  • 24 - The Rising Tide of Revolt 463
  • 25 - The Attack on the Sacraments 479
  • 26 - The Break with Rome 491
  • 27 - Appeal to the Secular Classes 507
  • 28 - The Final Break with Church Tradition 524
  • 29 - The Bull and the Counterattack 539
  • 30 - Book-Burning on Rhine and Elbe 562
  • 31 - Prelude to the Diet at Worms 587
  • 32 - The Diet in Session 614
  • 33 - Martin before the Diet 649
  • 34 - Refusal to Compromise 670
  • Conclusion 693
  • List of Abbreviations 694
  • Selected Bibliography 695
  • Index 715
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