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the decision of the council should be obtained on these points, they were willing to obey in the rest.” Beausobre also brings strong reasons to shew, that these propositions were not suggested without the knowledge of Luther. Cardinal Pallavicini, (lib. 111. c. 5.) mentions, on the authority of a letter of the Cardinal Legate Campegio, that “ the parties were on the foot of coming to an agreement, when some injudicious publications, which he mentions, rekindled the discord.” Greatly indeed is it to be lamented, that, where such a general disposition of conciliation appeared, and such near approaches to it were actually made, any thing should have prevented its completion.
When Melancthon had framed the Confession, he delivered it to the protestant princes, who attended the diet. It was composed by him, in the German language, and he himself translated it into the Latin. The German was read at the diet, and both the original and translation were delivered to the Emperor.
The singular importance of this document of Protestant Faith, seems to require, in this place, a particular mention of its contents. It consists of twenty-one articles.- In the first, the subscribers of it acknowledge the Unity of God, and the Trinity of Persons: In the second, original sin : In the third, the two natures, and unity of person in Jesus Christ, and all the other articles contained in the symbol of the apostles, respecting the Son of God. They declare in the fourth, that men are not justified, before God, by their works and merits, but by the faith wbich they place in Jesus Christ, when they believe that God forgives their sins out of love for his Son. In the fifth, that the preaching of the gospel, and the sacraments, are the ordinary means, used by God, to infuse the Holy Ghost, who produces faith, whenever, he wills, in those, that hear his word. In the sixth, that faith produces the good works, to which men are obliged by the commandments of God. In the seventh, that there exists a perpetual church, which is the assembly of saints ; and that the word of God is taught in it with purity, and the sacraments administered in a legitimate manner ; that the unity of this church consists in uniformity of doctrine and sacraments; but, that an uniformity of ceremonies is not requisite. In the eighth, they
profess, that the word of God, and the sacraments, have still their efficacy, although administered by wicked clergymen. In the ninth, that baptism is requisite for salvation, and that little children ought to be baptised. In the tenth, that, in the sacrament of the last supper, both the body and blood of the Lord are truly present and distributed to those, who partake of it(The various readings of this article will be afterwards mentioned). In the eleventh, that confession must be preserved in the church, but without insisting on an exact enumeration of sins. In the twelfth, that penance consists of contrition and faith, or the persuasion, that, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven us, on our repentance; and that there is no true repentance, without good works, which are its inseparable fruits. In the thirteenth, that the sacraments are not only signs of the profession of the gospel, but proofs of the love of God to men, which serve to excite and confirm their faith. In the fourteenth, that a vocation is requisite for pastors to teach in the church. In the fifteenth, that those ceremonies ought to be observed, which contribute to keep order and peace in the church ; but that the opinion of their being necessary to salvation, or that grace is acquired, or satisfaction done for our sins, by them, must be entirely exploded. In the sixteenth, that the authority of magistrates, their commands and laws, with the legitimate wars, in which they may be forced to engage, are not contrary to the gospel. In the seventeenth, that there will be a judgment, where all men will appear before the tribunal of Jesus Christ; and that the wicked will suffer eternal torments. In the eighteenth, that the powers of free will may produce an exterior good conduct, and regulate the morals of men towards society ; but that without the grace of the Holy Ghost, neither faith, regeneration, or true justice can be acquired. In the nineteenth, that God is not the cause of sin, but that it arises only from the corrupt will of man. In the twentieth, that good works are necessary and indispensable; but that they cannot purchase the remission of sins, which is only obtained in virtue of the merits of Christ, and in consideration of faith, which, when it is sincere, must produce good works. In the twenty-first, that the virtues of the saints are to be placed before the people, in order to excite imitation ; but that the scripture no where commands their invocation, nor mentions any where any other mediator than Jesus Christ. “ This,” say the subscribers of the Confession, “ is the summary of the doctrine taught amongst us; and it appears, from the exposition which we have just made, that it contains nothing contrary to scripture ; and that it agrees with that of the Catholic Church, and even with the Roman Church, as far as is known to us, by their writers. This being so, those, who wish that we should be condemned as heretics, are very unjust. If there be any dispute between us, it is not upon articles of faith, but only upon abuses, that have been introduced into the church, and which we reject. This, therefore, is not a sufficient reason to authorise the bishops not to tolerate us, since we are agreed in the tenets of faith, which we have set forth : there never bas been an exact uniformity of exterior practices, since the beginning of the church; and we preserve the greater part of the established usages. It is therefore a calumny to say, that we have abolished them all. But, as all the world complained of the abuses, that had crept into the church, we have corrected those only, which we could not tolerate, with a good conscience; and we entreat your Majesty to hear, what the abuses are, which we have retrenched, and the reasons we had for doing it. We also entreat, that our inveterate enemies, whose hatred and calumnies are the principal cause of the evil, may not be believed.”
They then proceed to state the abuses in the church of Rome, of which they complain. The first is the denial of the cup in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper--the second, the celibacy of the Clergy—the third, the form of the Mass. On this head their language is very remarkable: “ Our churches," they say, “ are unjustly accused of having abolished the Mass, since
they celebrate it with great veneration : they even preserve · almost all the accustomed ceremonies, having only added a few
German hymns to the latter, in order that the people may profit by them.” But they object to the multiplicity of Masses, and to the payment of any money to a priest for saying them.--The fourth abuse of which they complain, is the practice of Auri
cular Confession : but, they observe, that they have only taken from it the penitent's obligation to make to the priest a particular enumeration of his sins ; and that they had retained the confession itself, and the obligation of receiving absolution from the priest. The fifth abuse, is the injunction of abstinence fron particular meats. Monastic vows they represent as the sixth abuse. The seventh and last abuse of which they complain, is that of Ecclesiastical power. They say that “a view of the attempts of the Popes to excommunicate princes, and dispose of their states, led them to examine and fix the distinction between the Secular and Ecclesiastical power, to enable themselves to give to Cæsar what belongs to Cæsar, and to the Popes and Bishops what belongs to them:" -That “ Ecclesiastical power, or the power of the Keys, which Jesus Christ gave to his church, consisted only of the power of preaching the Gospel, of administering the Sacraments, the forgiveness of sins, and refusing absolution to a false penitent :- Therefore,” say they, “ neither Pope nor Bishops have any power to dispose of kingdoms, to abrogate the laws of magistrates, or to prescribe to them rules for their government;" and that, “if there did exist Bishops, who had the power of the sword, they derived this power from their quality of temporal sovereigns, and not from their episcopal character, or from divine right, but as a power conceded to them by Kings or Emperors.”
It is not a little remarkable, that considerable differences, or various readings, are to be found in the printed texts of this important document; and that it is far from certain, which copy should be considered the authentic edition. The German copies, printed in 1530, in quarto and octavo, and the Latin edition printed in quarto in 1531, are in request among bibliographical amateurs; but there is a verbal, and, in some instances, a material discrepancy among them. The Wittenburgh edition, of 1540, is particularly esteemed; and has been adopted by the publishers of the Sylloge Confessionum diversarum, printed in 1804, at the Clarendon press. One of the most important of these various readings occurs in the tenth article. In some of the editions which preceded that of 1540, it is expressed, " that the body and blood of Christ are truly present, and distributed to those, who partake of our Lord's supper; and the coutrary doctrine is reprobated.” The edition of 1540 expresses, that, “ with the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ are truly given to those who partake of our Lord's supper.” This difference is noticed in the edition of the Confessions at the Clarendon press.
“ In the Confession of Augsburgh," says Dr. Maclaine, the learned translator of Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, “ there are three sorts of articles ; one sort, orthodox, and adopted by the Roman Catholics and Protestants ; another, that consists of certain propositions, which the papal party considered as ambiguous and obscure ; and a third, in which the doctrine of Luther was entirely opposite to that of Rome. This gave some reason to hope, that by the means of certain qualifications and modifications, conducted mutually by a spirit of candour and charity, matters might be accommodated at last. For this purpose, select persons were appointed to carry on the salutary work; at first, seven from each party, consisting of princes, lawyers, and divines; which number was afterwards reduced to three. Luther's obstinate, stubborn, and violent temper, rendering him unfit for healing divisions, he was not employed in these conferences; but he was constantly consulted by the Protestant party.”
The Confession was read, 'at a full meeting of the Diet, by the Chancellor of the Elector of Saxony. It was subscribed by that Elector, and three other princes of the German empire, and then delivered to the Emperor.
The Apology of the Confession of Augsburgh.
John Faber, afterwards Archbishop of Vienna, and two other Roman Catholic divines, composed an answer to the Confession : Melancthon replied to their answers by his defence of the Con