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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

His Professorship at Wittenberg


and depressed, the Emperor left Augsburg, and went to Innsbruck, but the latter city refused to entertain him until some money which he had borrowed of it should be refunded. His strength had been failing for years before, and he always travelled with a coffin among his baggage. He now felt his end approaching, took up his abode in the little town of Wels, and devoted his remaining days to religious exercises. There he died, on the 11th of January, 1519, in the sixtieth year of his age.




Martin Luther. --Signs of the Coming Reformation. --Luther's Youth and Education. --His Study of the Bible. --His Professorship at Wittenberg. --Visit to Rome. --Tetzel's Sale of Indulgences. --Luther's Theses. --His Meeting with Cardinal Cajetanus. --Escape from Augsburg. --Meeting with the Pope's Nuncio. --Excitement in Germany. --Luther burns the Pope's Bull. --Charles V. elected German Emperor. --Luther before the Diet at Worms. --His Abduction and Concealment. --He Returns to Wittenberg. --Progress of the Reformation. --The Anabaptists. --The Peasants' War. --Luther's Manner of Translating the Bible. --Leagues For and Against the Reformation. --Its Features. --The Wars of Charles V. --Diet at Speyer. --The Protestants. --The Swiss

Reformer, Zwingli. --His Meeting with Luther. --Charles V. returns to Germany. --The Augsburg Confession. --Measures against the Protestants. --The League of Schmalkalden. --The Religious Peace of Nuremberg. --Its Consequences. --John of Leyden. --Another Diet. --Charles V. Invades France. --The Council of Trent. --Luther's last Years. --His Death and Burial.

[Sidenote: 1519. MARTIN LUTHER.]

When the Emperor Maximilian died, a greater man than himself or any of his predecessors on the Imperial throne had already begun a far greater work than was ever accomplished by any political ruler. Out of the ranks of the poor, oppressed German people arose the chosen Leader who became powerful above all princes, who resisted the first monarch of the world, and defeated the Church of Rome after an undisturbed reign of a thousand years. We must therefore leave the succession of the house of Hapsburg until we have traced the life of Martin Luther up to the time of Maximilian's death.

The Reformation, which was now so near at hand, already existed in the feelings and hopes of a large class of the people. The persecutions of the Albigenses in France, the Waldenses in Savoy and the Wickliffites in England, the burning of Huss and Jerome, and the long ravages of the Hussite war had made all Europe familiar with the leading doctrine of each of these sects--that the Bible was the highest authority, the only source of Christian truth. Earnest, thinking men in all countries were thus led to examine the Bible for themselves, and the great dissemination of the study of the ancient languages, during the fifteenth century, helped very much to increase the knowledge of the sacred volume. Then came the art of printing, as a most providential aid, making the truth accessible to all who were able to read it.

[Sidenote: 1483.]

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