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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 1 of 2)

252 The Emperor had intrusted the procedure to Aleander


The sitting, which, so far as Luther was concerned, had occupied about an hour, was then declared to be ended, and he was conducted back to his room by the herald. There he sat down and wrote to his friend Cuspinian in Vienna "from the midst of the tumult":

"This hour I have been before the Emperor and his brother, and have been asked whether I would recant my books. I have said that the books were really mine, and have asked for some delay about recantation. They have given me no longer space and time than till to-morrow for deliberation. Christ helping me, I do not mean to recant one jot or tittle."(244)

? 6. Luther's Second Appearance before the Diet.

The next day, Thursday, April 18th, did not afford much time for deliberation. Luther was besieged by visitors. Familiar friends came to see him in the morning; German nobles thronged his hostel at midday; Bucer rode over from the Ebernberg in the afternoon with congratulations on the way that the first audience had been got through, and bringing letters from Ulrich von Hutten. His friends were almost astonished at his cheerfulness. "He greeted me and others," said Dr. Peutinger, who was an early caller, "quite cheerfully--'Dear Doctor,' he said, 'how is your wife and child?' I have never found or seen him other than the right good fellow he is."(245) George Vogler

and others had "much pious conversation" with him, and wrote, praising his thorough heroism.(246) The German nobles greeted Luther with a bluff heartiness--"Herr Doctor, How are you? People say you are to be burnt; that will never do; that would ruin everything."(247)

The marshal and the herald came for Luther a little after four o'clock, and led him by the same private devious ways to the Bishop's Palace. The crowds on the streets were even larger than on the day before. It was said that more than five thousand people, Germans and foreigners, were crushed together in the street before the Palace. The throng was so dense that some of the delegates, like Oelhafen from Nuernberg, could not get through it.(248) It was six o'clock before the Emperor, accompanied by the Electors and princes, entered the hall. Luther and the herald had been kept waiting in the court of the Palace for more than an hour and a half, bruised by the dense moving crowd. In the hall the throng was so great that the princes had some difficulty in getting to their seats, and found themselves uncomfortably crowded when they reached them.(249) Two notable men were absent. The papal nuncios refused to be present when a heretic was permitted to speak. Such proceedings were the merest tomfoolery (_ribaldaria_), Aleander said. When Luther reached the door, he had still to wait; the princes were occupied in reaching their places, and it was not etiquette for him to appear until they were seated.(250) The day was darkening, and the gloomy hall flamed with torches.(251) Observers remarked Luther's wonderful cheerful countenance as he made his way to his place.(252)

The Emperor had intrusted the procedure to Aleander, to his confessor Glapion, and to John Eck, who had conducted the audience on the previous day.(253) The Official was again to have the conduct of matters in his hands. As soon as Luther was in his place, Eck "rushed into words" (_prorupit in verba_)(254) He began by recapitulating what had taken place at the first audience; and in saying that Luther had asked time for consideration, he insinuated that every Christian ought to be ready at all times to give a reason for the faith that is in him, much more a learned theologian like Luther. He declared that it was now time for Luther to answer plainly whether he adhered to the contents of the books he had acknowledged to be his, or whether he was prepared to recant them. He spoke first in Latin and then in German, and it was noticed that his speech in Latin was very bitter.(255)


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