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

Friends had got there before him Spalatin


Friends

had got there before him--Spalatin, ever faithful; Oelhafen, who had not been able to reach his place in the Diet because of the throng. Luther, with beaming face, stretched out both his hands, exclaiming, "I am through, I am through!"(283) In a few minutes Spalatin was called away. He soon returned. The old Elector had summoned him only to say, "How well, father, Dr. Luther spoke this day before the Emperor and the Estates; but he is too bold for me." The sturdy old German prince wrote to his brother John, "From what I have heard this day, I will never believe that Luther is a heretic"; and a few days later, "At this Diet, not only Annas and Caiaphas, but also Pilate and Herod, have conspired against Luther." Frederick of Saxony was no Lutheran, like his brother John and his nephew John Frederick; and he was the better able to express what most German princes were thinking about Luther and his appearance before the Diet. Even Duke George was stirred to a momentary admiration; and Duke Eric of Brunswick, who had taken the papal side, could not sit down to supper without sending Luther a can of Einbecker beer from his own table.(284) As for the commonalty, there was a wild uproar in the streets of Worms that night--men cursing the Spaniards and Italians, and praising Luther, who had compelled the Emperor and the prelates to hear what he had to say, and who had voiced the complaints of the Fatherland against the Roman Curia at the risk of his life. The voice of the people found
utterance in a placard, which next morning was seen posted up on the street corners of the town, "Woe to the land whose king is a child." It was the beginning of the disillusion of Germany. The people had believed that they were securing a German Emperor when, in a fit of enthusiasm, they had called upon the Electors to choose the grandson of Maximilian. They were beginning to find that they had selected a Spaniard.

? 7. The Conferences.

Next day (April 19th) the Emperor proposed that Luther should be placed under the ban of the Empire. The Estates were not satisfied, and insisted that something should be done to effect a compromise. Luther had not been treated as they had proposed in their memorandum of the 19th February. He had been peremptorily ordered to retract. The Emperor had permitted Aleander to regulate the order of procedure on the day previous (April 18th), and the result had not been satisfactory. Even the Elector of Brandenburg and his brother, the hesitating Archbishop of Mainz, did not wish matters to remain as they were. They knew the feelings of the German people, if they were ignorant of the Emperor's diplomatic dealings with the Pope. The Emperor gave way, but told them that he would let them hear his own view of the matter. He produced a sheet of paper, and read a short statement prepared by himself in the French tongue--the language with which Charles was most familiar. It was the memorable declaration of his own religious position, which has been referred to already.(285) Aleander reports that several of the princes became pale as death when they heard it.(286) In later discussions the Emperor asserted with warmth that he would never change one iota of his declaration.


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