Martin Luther - On the Freedom of a Christian

That boastful thraso4 foaming and gnashing his teeth

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Unformatted text preview: 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 Behold, Leo my father, with what purpose and on what principle it is that I have stormed against that seat of pestilence. I am so far from having felt any rage against your person, that I even hoped to gain favor with you, and to aid in your welfare, by striking actively and vigorously at that your prison, nay, your hell. For whatever the efforts of all intellects can contrive against the confusion of that impious Court will be advantageous to you and to your welfare, and to many others with you. Those who do harm to her are doing your office; those who in every way abhor her are glorifying Christ; in short, those are Christians who are not Romans. 95 96 97 98 99 But, to say yet more, even this never entered my heart, to inveigh against the Court of Rome, or to dispute at all about her. For, seeing all remedies for her health to be desperate, I [99] looked on her with contempt, and, giving her a bill of divorcement, said to her, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still;" giving myself up to the peaceful and quiet study of sacred literature, that by this I might be of use to the brethren living about me. 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 While I was making some advance in these studies, Satan opened his eyes and goaded on his servant John Eccius3, that notorious adversary of Christ, by the unchecked lust for fame, to drag me unexpectedly into the arena, trying to catch me in one little word concerning the primacy of the Church of Rome, which had fallen from me in passing. That boastful Thraso4, foaming and gnashing his teeth, proclaimed that he would dare all things for the glory of God, and for the honor of the holy apostolic seat; and, being pulled up respecting your power, which he was about to misuse, he looked forward with all certainty to victory; seeking to promote, not so much the primacy of Peter, as his own pre ­ eminence among the theologians of this age; for he thought it would contribute in no slight degree to this, if he were to lead Luther in triumph. The result having proved unfortunate for the sophist, an incredible rage torments him; for he feels that whatever discredit to Rome has arisen through me, has been caused by the fault of himself alone. 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 Suffer me, I pray you, most excellent Leo, both to plead my own cause, and to accuse your true enemies. I believe it is known to you in what way Cardinal Cajetan5, your imprudent and unfortunate, nay, unfaithful legate, acted towards me. When, on account of my reverence for your name, I had placed myself and all that was mine in his hands, he did not so act as to establish peace, which he could easily have established by one little word, since I at that time promised to be silent and to make an end of in case, if he would command my adversaries to do the same. But that man of pride, not content with this agreement, began to justify my adversaries, to give them free license, and to order me to recant; a thing which was certainly not in his commission. Thus indeed, when the case was in the best position, it came through his vexatious tyranny into a much worse one. Therefore, whatever has followed upon this is the fault, not of Luther, but entirely of Cajetan, since he did not suffer me to be silent and remain quiet, which at that [100] time I was entreating for with all my might. What more was it my duty to do? 122 123 Next came Charles Miltitz6, also a nuncio from your Blessedness. He, though he went up and down with much and varied exertion, and omitted nothing which could tend to restore the position of the cause, 3 Johann Maier von Eck (1486 ­1543) A metaphorical reference to Eck  ­ 5 Thomas Cardinal Cajetan, born Tomaso de Vio (1469 ­1534) 6 Karl von Miltitz (1490 ­1529) 4 3 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 thrown into confusion by the rashness and pride of Cajetan, had difficulty, even with the help of that very illustrious prince the Elector Frederick7, in at last bringing about more than one familiar conference with me. In these I again yielded to your great...
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This document was uploaded on 02/07/2014.

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