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This Canon condemns most clearly both the Anabaptist and Lutheran heresies.
41. The chief of the Anabaptists was Nicholas Stork, or Storchius, sometimes also called Pelargus. He was at first a disciple of Luther, but soon the head of a new heresy, which he preached in 1522, saying it was revealed to him from heaven. Being banished from Wittemberg, he went to Thuringia, where, together with his first error, he preached many others, such as that all men enjoy universal freedom from restraint, that all property is common, and should be equally divided, and that all bishops, magistrates, and princes who opposed his true Church should be put to death (4). Here he was joined by Thomas Munzer, a priest, a follower of Luther, also, who pretended to lead a most mortified life, and boasted of having frequent ecstacies and extraordinary communications from the Deity. He abused the Pope for teaching too severe a doctrine, and Luther for promulgating too lax a one. He everywhere censured Luther's morals and conduct, accused him of debauchery and lasciviousness, and said it was impossible to believe God would make use of so wicked a man to reform his Church. Through Luther's influence, he and all his followers were banished from Saxony (5). He then went to Thuringia, and preached the same errors as Storchius, especially in Munster, teaching the country people that they should not obey either prelates or princes. In a short time he rallied round him the great body of the Anabaptists, and led forth three hundred thousand ignorant peasants (6), causing them to forsake their spades for the sword, and promising them the assistance of God in their battles. These poor deluded creatures at first did a great deal of harın, but when regular troops were brought against them, they were soon, notwithstanding their immense numbers, completely routed, not being trained to the use of arms. Those who escaped the slaughter marched towards Lorrain, with the intention of devastating that province; but the Count Claude of Guise, brother to the Duke of Lorrain, slaughtered twenty thousand of them in three victories which he gained (7). Sleidan (8) says that these poor peasants, when they were attacked by the troops, appeared quite demented, and neither defended themselves nor fled, but began to sing a popular hymn, imploring the assistance of the Holy Ghost, whose protection, according to Munzer's promises, they expected.
44. In the meantime, while Munzer, with his Anabaptist followers, were ravaging Thuringia, they were encountered by an army commanded by Duke George of Saxony, who promised them peace if they laid down their arms; but Munzer, thinking himself lost if the conditions were accepted, encouraged them to refuse all accommodation, and to kill the officer who bore a flag of truce to them. This treachery infuriated the soldiers, who immediately attacked them; they made a stout resistance at first, encouraged by Munzer, who told them he would catch the balls of the enemy in his sleeve, and such was the effect this promise had on them, that many
(4) Nat. Alex. t. 18, art. 11, sec. 12 ; Gotti, loc. cit. n. 2.
(6) Varillas, p. 270; Hermant, Hist. t. 2, c. 239. Varill. p. 267. (8) Ap. Gotti, ibid. n. 7, ex Sleidan, l. 5.
(5) Varillas, t. 1, 1. 6, (7) Hermant, loc. cit. ;
of them stood firm before the cannon of the enemy. This did not, however, last long; the greater part fled, and the rest were taken prisoners. Munzer fled with the rest, and, without being recognized, hid himself in Franchausen, pretending to be sick; he was there discovered, taken and condemned, along with Pfeiffer, an apostate Premonstratensian Canon, to have his head cut off in Mulhausen. This war lasted five months, and it is said cost the lives of a hundred and thirty-five thousand peasants (9). Pfeiffer died an obstinate heretic. Munzer's death is related in different ways—some say he died with the greatest boldness, and challenged the Judges and Princes, telling them to read the Bible, the word of God; and these were his last words. But the more general opinion is, and Noel Alexander says it can be relied on as fact, that previous to his death he retracted his errors, confessed to a priest, received the Viaticum, and after offering up some devout prayers, bared his neck to the executioner's sword (10).
45. Munzer's death, and the slaughter of so many of the peasantry, did not put an end to this sect. In the year 1534, nearly nine years after his death, a number of people in Westphalia rebelled against their Princes, and seized the city of Munster, when they elected, as their chief, John of Leyden, the son of a Dutch tailor. His first act was to banish the bishop and all the Catholics of the city, and then pretending to have a revelation from heaven, he caused his followers to crown him King, saying he was elected to that dignity by God himself, and he called himself Rex Justitiæ hujus Mundi; he preached polygamy, and put it in practice by marrying sixteen wives, at the same time; he rejected the Eucharist, but, sitting at a table, distributed bits of bread to his followers, saying:
shall announce the death of the Lord;" and at the same time the Queen, that is, one of his wives, dispensed the chalice, saying: " Drink, and you shall announce the death of the Lord.” He next selected twenty disciples, and sent them as Apostles of God, to preach his doctrine, but all these unfortunates were taken and condemned to death, along with himself, in the year 1535 (11). The mercy of the Lord be praised for ever, since he extended it to John of Leyden; he shewed himself a sincere penitent, and bore, with the most admirable patience, the cruel death and torments inflicted on him; he was three times tortured
(9) Nat. Alex. t. 29, cit. sec. 12, Gotti, cit. cap. 110, sec. 1, n. 7. (10) Nat. Alex. loc. cit.; Gotti, n. 8; Varill. p. 288 ; Van Ranst, sec. 16, p. 313; Hermant, c. 239. (11) N. Alex. cit. a. 12, n. 2 ; Varill. p. 427 ; V. Ranst, p. 315; Her. c. 241.
with pincers by two executioners for two hours, and he bore it all without a murmur, saying he deserved it for his sins, and imploring the Divine Mercy; his companions died in their obstinacy (12), and Hermant says, that his sect has spread its roots into many Christian kingdoms (13).
46. The errors of the Anabaptists were: First.—That children should not be baptized, but only adults capable of reason. Second.“ That no Christian could be a civil magistrate. Third. It is in no case lawful for Christians to swear. Fourth.– War is unlawful to Christians.
47. The Anabaptists soon split into several sects--some say fourteen, some, even seventy. Some were called Munzerites, after Thomas Munzer; some who preferred voluntary poverty, Huttites, from John Hut; others, Augustins, from Augustin Boehem, who taught that heaven would not be opened till after the day of judgment; others, Buholdians, from John (Buhold) of Leyden, whose history we have just given—these preached polygamy, and wished to destroy all the wicked; some Melchiorists, from Melchior Hoffman, who taught that Christ had but one nature, that he was not born of Mary, and various other errors; some were called Mennonites, from Mennon-these held heretical opinions regarding the Trinity; some Davidians, the followers of one George, who called himself the Third David, the true Messiah, the beloved Son of God, born of the Spirit, not of the flesh, the pardoner of sins; he died in 1556, and promised to rise again in three years. This vain prophecy had some truth in it, for three years afterwards, the Senate of Basle caused him to be disinterred, and his remains burned along with his writings. The Clancularists, when asked if they were Anabaptists, denied it; they had no churches, but preached in private houses and gardens. The Demonists, following the errors of Origen, said the devils would be saved in the end of the world. The Adamites appeared naked in public, having, as they asserted, recovered the pristine innocence of Adam. The Servetians, followers of Michael Servetus, joined to the errors of the Anabaptists blasphemies against the Trinity and Jesus Christ. The Condormientes slept together without distinction of sex, and called this indecency the new Christian Charity. The Ejulants, or Weepers, said there was no devotion so pleasing to God as weeping and wailing. Noel Alexander and Van Ranst enumerate many other classes of these fanatics (14)
436. (13) Her. loc. cit.; V. Ranst, p. 314. 1. 19, art. 11, n. 4 ; Van Ranst, p. 315, & seq.
(14) Nat. Alex. ARTICLE II.
SEC. I. CARLOSTAD.
18. Carlostad, Father of the Sacramentarians. 49. He is reduced to live by his Labour
in the Field; he gets married, and composed a Mass on that Subject. 53. He dies suddenly. 48. The father of the Sacramentarians was, as Van Ranst informs us, Andrew Carlostad; he was born in the village from which he took his name, in Franconia, and was Archdeacon of the church of Wittemberg. He was, it is said, the most learned man in Saxony, and was, on that account, a great favourite with the Elector Frederick; he it was who admitted Luther to the Doctorship, and afterwards became his follower in heresy. His pride, however, would not allow him to remain a disciple of Luther, and thus he became chief of the Sacramentarians, teaching, in opposition to Luther, that Christ was not really present in the Eucharist, and, therefore, that the word this (this is my body) did not refer to the bread, but to Christ himself, who was about to sacrifice his body for us, as if he were to say: “ This is my body which I am about to deliver up for you.” Another error he taught in opposition to Luther, was the doctrine of the Iconoclasts, that all crucifixes and images of the saints should be destroyed, and he carried his infidelity to such a pitch in Wittemberg that he abolished the Mass, trampled on the consecrated Host, and broke the altars and images (1). When this came to Luther's ears, who was then concealed in his Patmos of Watzberg, he could restrain himself no longer, and even against the will of the Elector, went to Wittemberg, and caused the altars and images to be restored; and not being able to convince Carlostad of his errors, he deprived him of his benefices and dignities by authority of the Elector, who had him seized, and banished from his territories along with the woman he married. Carlostad went to Orlemond in Thuringia, and there wrote that wicked treatise, De Cona Domini (2), which contains in full his heretical opinions. It happened one day, as Berti tells us (3), that Luther came to this town, and Carlostad, in revenge for the treatment he received from him, caused him to be pelted with stones, and to fly from the place. It may be as well here to give Bossuet's account of the war between Luther and Carlostad: In the year 1524, Luther preached in Jena, in presence of Carlostad, who went to visit him after the sermon, and blamed him for the
(1) Nat. Alex. t. 19, s. 3; Gotti, Ver. Rel. c. 109, s. 1; Van Ranst, s. 16, p. 217; Hermant, t. 1, c. 231; Varillas, t. 1, 1. 3, p. 148. (2) Hermant, c. 234 ; Gotti, c. 1, m. 2; Varillas, t. 1, l. 3, p. 211. (3) Berti, Brey. Hist. s. 3.
In the year
opinion he held regarding the Real Presence. Luther, in a tone of mockery, told him he would give him a gold florin if he would write against him, and took out a florin and handed it to Carlostad, who pocketed it, and they then drank together to cement the bargain; thus the war commenced. Carlostad's parting benediction to Luther was: “ May I see you broken on the wheel !” “ And may you break your neck before you quit the town !" rejoined Luther. Behold, says Bossuet, the acts of the new apostles of the Gospel (4).
48. Notwithstanding all that had passed, Carlostad's friends interfered, and finally induced Luther to permit him to return to Wittemberg, but he agreed to this only on condition that he would not oppose his doctrine for the future. Carlostad, however, ashamed to appear in Wittemberg in the poor state he was reduced to, chose rather to live in another town, where he was reduced to such poverty, that he was obliged to become a porter, and afterwards to turn to field labour along with his wife for subsistence (8). We may here remark, that Carlostad was the first of all the priests of the new Gospel who married. 1525, he married a young lady of good family, and he composed a sacrilegious service of Mass, on the occasion of his abominable nuptials. Octavius Lavert and Raynaldus have preserved some parts of it* (6).
50. The just chastisement of God, however, always pursues the impious, and thus we see him and his wife, who, being a lady, was ashamed to beg, obliged to earn a scanty subsistence, which they could not always obtain, by working as common field labourers (7). Some time afterwards he went to Switzerland, hoping to get a kind reception from the heretics of that country, whose doctrine regarding the Sacrament of the Altar coincided with his own. But Zuinglius or Zuingle, wishing to have no competitor, gave him a very cool reception; he then went to Basle, where he was appointed preacher, and where a sudden death overtook him in the midst of his sins (8). Varillas says, that he was seized with apoplexy, coming down from the pulpit, after declaiming against the Real Presence, and dropped dead (9). It was also told at the time, that whilst he was preaching a man of fearful mien appeared to him, and
(4) Bos. Stor. del Variaz. I. 2, n. 12. (5) Gotti, c. 109, n. 3, ex Cochleo, ad an. 15, 25; V. Ranst, p. 217; Var. 242. (6) Octavius Lavert. p. 117.
(7) Rinal. an. 1523, n. 74. (8) Varillas, l. 8, p. 359. (9) Lancis. t. 4, Ist. s. 16, c. 3 ; Var. loc. cit.
* Deus qui post tam longam et impiam Sacerdotum tuorum cæcitatem Beatum Andream Carlostadium ea gratia donare dignatus es, ut primus, nulla habita Papistici Juris ratione, uxorem ducere ausus fuerit, da quæsumus ut omnes Sacerdotes recepta sana mente, ejus vestigia sequentes ejectis concubinis aut eisdem ductis ad legitimum consortium thori convertantur.
Oremus—Nos ergo concubinis nostris gravati, te Deus poscimus, ut illius, qui Patres nostros sectatus antiquos tibi placet, nos imitatione gaudeamus in æternum.