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

James Jacobs Brueder made the pilgrimage regularly


die far from home and find a

grave on the pilgrimage route. Our guide-book omits all these things. It is written by a man who has made the pilgrimage on foot; who had observed minutely all the turns of the road, and could warn fellow-pilgrims of the difficulties of the way. He gives the itinerary from town to town; where to turn to the right and where to the left; what conspicuous buildings mark the proper path; where the traveller will find people who are generous to poor pilgrims, and where the inhabitants are uncharitable and food and drink must be paid for; where hostels abound, and those parts of the road on which there are few, and where the pilgrims must buy their provisions beforehand and carry them in their satchels; where sick pilgrims can find hospitals on the way, and what treatment they may expect there;(86) at what hostels they must change their money into French and Spanish coin. In brief, the booklet is a mediaeval "Baedeker," compiled with German accuracy for the benefit of German pilgrims to the renowned shrine of St. James of Compostella. This little book went through several editions between 1495 and 1521, and is of itself a proof of the popularity of this pilgrimage place. In the last decades of the fifteenth century there arose a body of men and women who might be called professional pilgrims, and who were continually on the road between Germany and Spain. A pilgrimage was one of the earliest so-called "satisfactions" which might be done vicariously, and the Brethren of St. James (_Jacobs-Brueder_)
made the pilgrimage regularly, either on behalf of themselves or of others.

Many of these pilgrims were men and women of indifferent character,(87) who had been sent on a pilgrimage as an ecclesiastical punishment for their sins. The _Chronicles of the Zimmer Family_(88) gives several cases of criminals, who had committed murder or theft or other serious crimes between 1490 and 1520, who were sent to Santiago as a punishment. Even in the last decades of the fifteenth century, when the greater part of the pilgrims were devout in their way, it was known only too well that pilgrimages were not helpful to a moral life. Stern preachers of righteousness like Geiler of Keysersberg and Berchtold of Regensburg denounced pilgrimages, and said that they created more sins than they yielded pardons.(89) Parish priests continually forbade their women penitents, especially if they were unmarried, from going on a pilgrimage. But these warnings and rebukes were in vain. The prevailing terror had possessed the people, and they journeyed from shrine to shrine seeking some relief for their stricken consciences.

A marked characteristic of this revival which found such striking outcome in these pilgrimages was the thought that Jesus was to be looked upon as the Judge who was to come to punish the wicked. His saving and intercessory work was thrust into the background. Men forgot that He was the Saviour and the Intercessor; and as the human heart craves for someone to intercede


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