Short Papers on Church History — Chapter 46

The Opening of the Council of Trent

For several years before the death of Luther, appearances were unfavourable to the peace and religious liberty of the Protestants. This led them, not so much to prayer and confidence in God as their shield and protector, but to strengthen the league of Smalcald, and prepare for war. They were now a thoroughly political body. This was the outward character of Protestantism at that early period. The man who loved peace was in his grave, and his counsels were forgotten by his followers. He could not conceive a greater calamity befalling the cause of truth than that the sword should be drawn in its defence. Better far be martyrs, he thought, than warriors.

The jealous Emperor narrowly watched the increasing power of the league, and pronounced it "an empire within an empire." But his fatal expedition to Algiers, his renewed war with Francis, and the successes of the Turks in Hungary, led him to temporize, to conceal his feelings and intentions. He held several diets of the empire for the avowed purpose of settling their religious differences, and restoring peace and harmony, but with no good results. The Protestants were deceived and thrown off their guard by fair pretences and apparent concessions. In the Diet of Spires, in 1542, the pontiff, Paul III., by his legate, renewed his promise of a council. He signified that it should be held at Trent, a city in the Tyrol, subject to the king of the Romans, and situated on the confines between Germany and Italy. Ferdinand and the whole Catholic party expressed their immediate satisfaction, and accepted the proposal. Not so the Protestants. They rejected both the place and the council proposed by the pontiff, demanding a general, or Ecumenical, Council. They protested that they would pay no regard to a council held beyond the precincts of the empire, called by the pope's authority, and over which he assumed the right of presiding. Regardless, however, of their protestations, and fortified by the general consent of his own party, he published a bull for the convocation of the council at Trent before the 1st of November, and named three cardinals to preside as his legates.

At the appointed time, the pope's legates, the imperial ambassadors, and a few prelates appeared. But as a fierce war was then raging between the Emperor and Francis, few ecclesiastics could travel with safety. It was manifest from these circumstances, that nothing satisfactory could be undertaken; and to avoid the ridicule and contempt of his enemies, the pope adjourned for an indefinite time the reopening of the council. Unhappily for the dignity and authority of the papal See at this very time, the Emperor and his brother Ferdinand, king of the Romans, found it necessary, not only to connive at the conduct of the Protestants, but to court their favour by repeated acts of indulgence. Ferdinand, who depended on their assistance for the defence of Hungary against the infidels, not only permitted their protestation to be inserted in the records of the diet, but renewed in their favour all the Emperor's concessions at Ratisbon, adding to them whatever they demanded for their further security. Thus had the Reformers rest, and the evangelical principles time to deepen and spread, though not from the good will, but from the disturbed state of their adversaries' affairs.

As late as 1544, at the diet held in the same place, the politic Charles, perceiving that the time was not yet come to offend the jealous spirit of the Protestants, or to provoke the powers of the Smalcald Confederacy, contrived to soothe the Germans by new concessions, and a more ample extension of their religious privileges. Being still engaged in foreign wars, and his hands not free, he employed all his powers of dissimulation to court and flatter the Elector and the Landgrave, the heads of the Protestant party, and through them to deceive the members of the confederacy.

Meanwhile his papal majesty was becoming day by day more jealous of these negotiations and concessions. He was longing as ardently as his three predecessors had done, for the rooting out, by force of arms, of this wide-spreading giant heresy. It had been the constant object of the Vatican, from the beginning of the Reformation, to create a hostile breach between the Emperor and the Protestants, and a consequent appeal to arms. But, so far as we can judge, the consummation of these wicked designs was prevented for nearly thirty years, in the providence of God, and chiefly in answer to the prayers of one man. But he was now off the scene, and his brethren were trusting to their military organization and numerical strength. Besides, the determined position which they had taken with reference to the proposed council, gave the pope and the Emperor every opportunity to ensnare them; and so it turned out, as we shall soon see.

The avowed object of this famous council was, of course the pacification of the church, the healing of her diseases, the restoring of her unity, and the blessing of her children; but its real object was the condemnation of the doctrines of the Reformers, Luther, Zwingle, and Calvin, and the immediate persecution of all who should oppose its decrees. This was the secret arrangement between the pontiff and the Emperor, for they were well aware that the Protestants would never subject themselves to the council, or yield obedience to its canons.

The Treaty Between the Pope and the Emperor

In December, 1545, after so many years of intrigue, dissimulation, and dispute, the long-promised council assembled at Trent, and continued its sittings till 1563.*

{*For details, see Landon's Manual of Councils, Father Paul's History of the Council of Trent. Scott's Church History, vol. 2, pp. 256-324. Dr. Robertson's History of Charles V., vol. 6.}

But the council which was to fix the destiny of Christendom was only a part of a great plot for the suppression of Lutheranism. The Emperor had ended his war with Francis by the peace of Crespy, he had patched up a treaty with Solyman, and secretly gained over some of the Catholic princes in Germany. He pushed on, but with great precaution, his preparations for war. The pope, however much he had disapproved of the Emperor's late policy, or dreaded his power, most readily agreed that all other matters should give place to that one which each accounted the most important. A treaty was concluded, the main object of which was,

1. "That the pope and the Emperor, for the glory of God, and the public good, but especially the welfare of Germany, have entered into league together upon certain articles and conditions; and, in the first place, that the Emperor shall provide an army, and all things necessary for war, and be in readiness by the month of June next ensuing, and by force of arms compel those who refuse the council, and maintain those errors to embrace the ancient religion, and submit to the holy See."

2. "The pope, on his part, in addition to one hundred thousand ducats which he had already given, stipulated to deposit as much more in the Bank of Vienna toward defraying the expense of the war; to maintain, at his own charge, during the space of six months, twelve thousand foot, five hundred horse, and to grant the Emperor for this year one-half of the church revenues all over Spain; to empower him to alienate as much of the Abbey-lands in that country as would amount to five hundred thousand ducats; and that both spiritual censures and military force should be employed against any prince who might seek to hinder the execution of this treaty."

3. "That the council, on its part, was to proceed at once to draw up a confession of faith, wherein should be contained all the articles which the church required its members to believe; that this ought to be the first and principal business of the council: and that anathemas were to be denounced in the name, and by the authority of the Holy Ghost, against all who should disclaim the truth of the Confession."*

{*See F. Paul, Teckendorf, Sleidan, Abbe Millot, quoted by Dr. Robertson, and Wylie's History of Protestantism, vol. 2, p. 113.}

Thus was the snare most artfully laid. It was the deep device of Satan for the destruction of the Protestants, but vigorously carried out by him who assumes the title of "most holy father," and the character of "infallibility." The enemy saw that the Reformers had shifted from moral to political ground. They were no longer merely "protesters" for the truth of God against the errors of popery, but an armed confederacy, prepared to meet the papal and imperial armies on their own ground. This was their fatal mistake. God could not appear for them on the world's ground; and their own folly and weakness were soon manifested. Thus it happened.

The council commenced its deliberations-though only a few Spanish and Italian bishops had arrived-with examining the first and chief point in controversy between the church of Rome and the Reformers, concerning the rule which should be held as supreme and decisive in matters of faith; and, by its infallible authority, determined, "That the books to which the designation of Apocryphal hath been given, are of equal authority with those which were received by the Jews and Primitive Christians into the sacred canon; that the traditions handed down from the apostolic age, and preserved in the church, are entitled to as much regard as the doctrines and precepts which the inspired authors have committed to writing; that the Latin translation of the scriptures, made or revised by Jerome, and known by the name of the Vulgate translation, should be read in churches, and appealed to in the schools as authentic and canonical."

This was an open attack on the first principles of Protestantism, a pre-judging of every question at issue, and rendering hopeless all discussion between the two parties. Luther and his followers, from the beginning, had affirmed that the word of God was the only rule in judgment; that they owned no authority in matters of faith but the one infallible standard of holy scripture. This was the foundation and corner-stone of Protestantism, but the first decision of the council was intended to undermine the foundation, to adjudge and condemn the whole system.

The Smalcald War

The Protestants, perceiving that the real object of the council was not to examine their demands, but to condemn their faith as heresy, and to draw them into collision with the Emperor, that he might decide the question with the sword, firmly rejected its decrees. At the same time they published a long manifesto, containing a renewal of their protest against the meeting of the council, together with the reasons which induced them to decline its jurisdiction. But Charles was not yet prepared for hostilities, therefore he pursued his policy of dissimulation. He had no wish to increase the zeal of the council, or to quicken the operations of the league. His first object was to deceive the Protestants, that he might gain time for ripening his schemes. For this purpose he contrived to have an interview with the Landgrave of Hesse, the most active of all the confederates, and the most suspicious of the Emperor's designs. To him he made great professions of his concern for the happiness of Germany, and of his aversion to all violent measures; he denied in express terms, having formed any treaty, or having begun any military preparations which pointed to war.

Such was the consummate duplicity of Charles, that he seems to have dispelled all Philip's doubts and apprehensions, and sent him away fully satisfied of his pacific intentions. On his return to the confederates, who were assembled at Worms, he gave them such a flattering representation of the Emperor's favourable disposition towards them, that they became dilatory and undecided in their operations, thinking that the danger was distant or only imaginary. Listening thus to the wiles of Satan the Protestant leaders were smitten with blindness and folly, even as the men of Zurich were in 1531. They were off the ground of faith and trusting to their own wisdom and strength, which led to their disgrace and humiliation. From this time every step they take is in the wrong and downward direction.

The conduct of the Emperor was everywhere directly opposite to his professions of peace, and seen by all excepting those who ought to have suspected him. Henry VIII. of England secretly informed the princes that Charles, having long resolved to exterminate their doctrines was diligently employing the present interval of tranquillity in preparing for the execution of his designs. The merchants of Augsburg, among whom were some who favoured the Protestant cause, learning from their correspondents in Italy, that the ruin of the Reformers was intended, warned them of the approaching danger. In confirmation of these reports, they heard from the Low Countries that Charles, though with every precaution which could keep the measure concealed, had issued orders for raising troops both there and in other parts of his dominions. And seeing he was not at war either with Francis or Solyman, or any other power, for what could he intend such preparations, if not for the extinction of the Smalcald league, and the heresies which had so long abounded in Germany?

The Pope Reveals the Dark Secret

The secret was now in many hands; the officers and the allies of Charles kept no such mysterious reserve, but spoke out plainly of his intentions. The pope, overflowing with joy not doubting the issue of the enterprise, began to sing the war-song, as in the days of Innocent III., exhorting the faithful to take up arms in the holy cause and gain indulgences. "Proud," says Dr. Robertson, "of having been the author of such a formidable league against the Lutheran heresy, and happy in thinking that the glory of extirpating it was reserved for his pontificate, he published the articles of his treaty with the Emperor, in order to demonstrate the pious intention of their confederacy, as well as to display his own zeal, which prompted him to make such extraordinary efforts for maintaining the faith in its purity. Not satisfied with this, he soon after issued a bull, containing most liberal promises of indulgence to all who should engage in this holy enterprise, together with warm exhortations to such as could not bear a part in it themselves, to increase the fervour of their prayers, and the severity of their mortifications, that they might draw down the blessing of heaven upon those who had undertaken it."*

{*For details of this interesting period see the History of Charles V., in vol. 4 of Dr. Robertson's Collected Writings.}

The pope being deeply grieved with Charles for endeavouring to make that pass for a political contest which he ought to have gloried in as a war that had no other object than the defence of the ancient faith, exposed the treachery of his policy and declared the overthrow of Lutheranism as at hand. The Emperor, though somewhat embarrassed by this disclosure, and not a little offended at the pope's indiscretion or malice, continued boldly to pursue his own plan, and to reassert that his intentions were only that which he had originally stated. Thus were the two heads of Christendom- the fountain of truth and the fountain of honour, so-called- proclaiming to the world that neither truth nor honour were to be found in either. And thus they stand before all posterity, down to the latest generation, a mere compound of craft, falsehood, hypocrisy, and cruelty.

But the artifices of Charles did not impose on all the Protestant confederates. Some of them clearly perceived that he had taken arms for the suppression of the Reformation, and the extinction of the German liberties. They determined, therefore, to prepare for their own defence, and resolved neither to renounce their religious liberties, nor to abandon those civil rights which had been transmitted to them by their ancestors. A deputation from the confederates waited on the Emperor, and wished to know whether these military preparations were carried on by his command, and for what end, and against what enemy? To a question put in such a form and at a time when facts were too notorious to be denied, he avowed the intentions which he could no longer conceal, but with such fascinating duplicity as to deceive the deputies. True, he admitted, that it was Germany he had in view in his preparations, but his only object was to maintain the rights and prerogatives of the imperial dignity. His purpose was, not to molest any on account of religion, but to punish certain factious members, and preserve the ancient constitution of the empire from being impaired or dissolved by their licentious conduct. Though the Emperor did not name the persons whom he had destined as the objects of his vengeance, it was well-known that he had in view John Frederick, Elector of Saxony, and Philip, Landgrave of Hesse.

Transparent as this deception was, and manifest as it might have appeared to all who considered the Emperor's character, it nevertheless lulled to sleep the timid and the wavering. They were furnished with an excuse for inactivity, "seeing," as they said, "the war does not concern religion, but is a quarrel merely between the Emperor and some members of the league." And such was the dexterity with which he used this division of feeling among the confederates, that he gained time and other solid advantages.

The Army of the Confederates

The more energetic of the confederates, soon after this, met at Ulm to give the necessary directions for their future proceedings. It was resolved that they should repel force by force and make vigorous preparations for war. They also determined, that having neglected too long to strengthen themselves by foreign alliances, they would now apply to the Venetians, the Swiss, and the kings of France and England So far alas! had the leaders of the Reformation, within the short period of thirty years from its commencement, departed from the principles which triumphed at Worms and Augsburg, to say nothing of the plain teaching of the word of God, as to apply for help to such men as Henry and Francis; but we shall see with what results.

Their negotiations with foreign courts were all unsuccessful; but the chiefs had no difficulty in bringing a sufficient force into the field. The feudal institutions, which subsisted in full force at that time in Germany, enabled the nobles to call out their numerous vassals, and to put them in motion on the shortest notice. "In a few weeks," says the historian of Charles, "they were enabled to assemble an army composed of seventy thousand foot and fifteen thousand horse, provided with a train of a hundred and twenty cannon, eight hundred ammunition wagons, eight thousand beasts of burden, and six thousand pioneers. This army, one of the most numerous, and undoubtedly the best appointed of any which had been levied in Europe during that century, did not require the united effort of the whole Protestant body to raise it. The Elector of Saxony, the Landgrave of Hesse, the Duke of Wurtemberg, the princes of Anhalt, and the imperial cities of Augsburg, Ulm, and Strasburg, were the only powers which contributed towards this great armament. The Electors of Cologne, of Brandenburg, the Count Palatine, and several others, overawed by the Emperor's threats, or deceived by his professions, remained neutral.

"The number of their troops, as well as the amazing rapidity wherewith they had assembled them, astonished the Emperor, and filled him with the most disquieting apprehensions. He was indeed in no condition to resist such a mighty force. Shut up in Ratisbon with an army scarcely ten thousand strong, he must have been overwhelmed by the approach of such a formidable army, which he could not fight, nor could he even hope to retreat from it in safety."

Fortunately for Charles the confederates did not avail themselves of the advantage which lay so plainly before them. Time was wasted in writing a letter to the Emperor and a manifesto to all the inhabitants of Germany. But weak and perilous though the situation of Charles was, he assumed the air of the haughty inflexible Emperor. His only reply to the letter of the Protestants was to publish the ban of the empire against the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse, their leaders, and against all who should dare to assist them. By this sentence, they were declared rebels and outlaws, and deprived of every privilege which they enjoyed as members of the Germanic body; their goods were confiscated; their subjects absolved from their oath of allegiance; and it became not only lawful but meritorious to invade their territories. This tremendous sentence, according to the German jurisprudence, required the authority of a diet of the empire, but Charles overlooked that formality and assumed the power in his own person.

The confederates, now perceiving that all hopes of accommodation were at an end, solemnly declared war against Charles, to whom they no longer gave any other title than pretended Emperor, and renounced all allegiance to him. But, now that the moment for war had come, the league was disunited and unprepared. The supreme command of the army was committed in terms of the league to the Elector and the Landgrave, with equal power. This proved disastrous from the very commencement. The natural tempers and dispositions of the two princes were widely different. The Elector was slow, deliberate, irresolute; the Landgrave was prompt, enterprising, and wished to bring the contest to a speedy issue. But if Philip was the better soldier, John was the greater prince; and could a Landgrave command an Elector? All the inconveniences arising from a divided authority were immediately felt. Much time was wasted and dissensions multiplied. Meanwhile the Emperor had moved his camp to the territories of the Duke of Bavaria, a neutral prince, leaving a small garrison in Ratisbon. A few more days were spent in deliberating whether they should follow Charles or attack Ratisbon. By this time the imperial army amounted to thirty-six thousand men; and, through cowardly defections, the Protestant army was reduced to forty-seven thousand.

The First Operations of the Protestants

As no foresight had been shown by the confederates to prevent the Spanish, Italian, and other troops, from Joining the imperial army, the Emperor was enabled to send such a reinforcement to the garrison at Ratisbon, that the Protestants, relinquishing all hope of reducing the town, marched towards Ingoldstadt on the Danube, near to which Charles was now encamped. "They complained loudly," says Dr. Robertson, "against the Emperor's notorious violation of the laws and constitution of the empire, in having called in foreigners to lay waste Germany, and to oppress its liberties. It came to be universally believed among them, that the pope, not satisfied with attacking them openly by force of arms, had dispersed his emissaries all over Germany, to set on fire their towns and magazines, and to poison the wells and fountains of water. These rumours were confirmed, in some measure, by the behaviour of the papal troops, who thinking nothing too rigorous towards heretics anathematised by the church, were guilty of great excesses in the Lutheran states, and aggravated the miseries of war by mingling with it all the cruelty of bigoted zeal."

With passions so aroused, by the report of cruelties so great, we might have expected to see a corresponding energy to bring such calamities to a close. It was now in their power, and the campaign might have been ended at the outset, had their leaders been united and firm. On their arrival at Ingoldstadt, they found the Emperor in a camp not remarkable for strength, with a small army, and surrounded only by a slight entrenchment. But the great object pursued by Charles from the first was to decline a battle, to weary out the patience of the confederates, and induce them to separate, when his victory over each prince in succession would be sure.

Before Ingoldstadt lay a plain of such extent, as afforded ample space for drawing out their whole forces, and bringing them to act at once. No army was ever more favourably situated; the soldiers were full of ardour and eager to seize the opportunity of attacking the Emperor; but alas! through the weakness or division of their leaders the advantage was lost, and so far as their credit is concerned it was lost for ever. "The Landgrave urged that, if the sole command was vested in him, he would terminate the war on that occasion, and decide by one general action the fate of the two parties. But the Elector urged, on the other hand, the discipline of the enemies' forces, the presence of the Emperor, the experience of his officers, and thought it would be unsafe to venture upon an action." While the Protestant leaders were thus debating whether they ought to surprise the Emperor or not, the imperial reinforcements arrived and the opportunity was gone.

But notwithstanding their vacillation, it was at length agreed to advance towards the enemy's camp in battle array, with the view of drawing the imperialists out of the works. But the Emperor was too wise to be caught in this snare. He was fighting on his own ground, and with his own weapons and as such, he was more than a match for all the Protestants in Germany, who were on false ground and fighting with camel, not-with spiritual, weapons. They commenced and continued firing for several hours on the imperialists, but Charles adhered to his own system with inflexible constancy. He drew up his soldiers behind the trenches; restrained them from any excursions or skirmishes which might bring on a general engagement; rode along the lines; addressed the troops of the different nations in their own language; encouraged them not only by his words, but by the cheerfulness of his voice and countenance; exposed himself in places of greatest danger, and amidst the warmest fire of the enemy's artillery. Night fell, and the confederates, seeing no prospect of alluring them to fight on equal terms, retired to their own camp.

The leisure was employed with great diligence by the imperialists in strengthening their works; but the confederates, seeing they had lost their opportunity, turned their attention-with as little success-towards preventing the arrival of a powerful reinforcement from the Low Countries. Upon the arrival of the Flemings the Emperor began to act more on the offensive, though still with the greatest sagacity avoiding a battle. He had often foretold, with confidence, that discord and the want of money would compel the confederates to disperse that unwieldy body; and for this he watched and waited with long patience. They had been on the field from midsummer to the end of autumn, and little had been done, and nothing gained on either side, when an unexpected event decided the contest, and occasioned a fatal reverse in the affairs of the Protestants, and prepared the way for the tragedy that followed.

The Treachery of Maurice

Maurice was the son of Henry, and succeeded his father in the government of that part of Saxony which belonged to the Albertine line. "This young prince, then only in his twentieth year, had, even at that early period, begun to discover the great talents which qualified him for acting such a distinguished part in the affairs of Germany. As soon as he entered upon the administration, he struck out into such a new and singular path, as showed that he aimed from the beginning at something great and uncommon."* He professed to be a zealous Protestant, but objected to join the league of Smalcald under the pretence that its principles were not sufficiently scriptural. He avowed his determination to maintain the purity of religion, but not to entangle himself in the political interests, or combinations to which it had given rise. Such was the consummate duplicity and the Satanic policy of this young man. At this very time, with great political sagacity, he was weighing both sides, and foreseeing that the Emperor was most likely to prevail in the end, he affected to place in him the most unbounded confidence, and to court his favour by every possible means, and also the favour of his brother, Ferdinand.

{*Dr. Robertson, vol. 6, p. 22.}

At the Diet of Ratisbon, in the month of May 1546, Maurice concluded a treaty with the Emperor, in which he engaged to assist him as a faithful subject, and Charles, in return stipulated to bestow on him all the spoils of the Elector, his dignities as well as his territories. But so little did the Elector suspect treachery in his young relative and neighbour, who had received many kindnesses from him, that, on leaving to join the confederates, he committed his dominions to the protection of that prince; and he, with an artful appearance of friendship, undertook the charge. The whole plan being now completed, the Emperor sent Maurice a copy of the imperial ban denounced against the Elector and the Landgrave, requiring him, upon the allegiance and duty which he owed to the head of the empire, instantly to seize and retain in his hands the forfeited estates of the Elector.

This artifice, which made the invasion appear to be one of necessity rather than of choice, was but a thin veil to conceal the treachery of both. After some formalities were observed, to give a specious appearance to his reluctance, Maurice marched into his kinsman's territories, and, with the assistance of Ferdinand, attacked and defeated the Elector's troops, and took all things under his own administration.

The Dissolution of the League

When the news of these rapid conquests reached the good Elector, he was filled with indignation and astonishment, and resolved at once to return home with his troops, for the defence of Saxony. He was most unwilling to withdraw, as he preferred the success of the common cause to the security of his own dominions; but the sufferings and complaints of his subjects increased so much, that he became most impatient to rescue them from the oppression of Maurice and from the cruelties of the Hungarian soldiers, accustomed to the merciless modes of warfare practised against the Turks. This was the fatal blow to the league of Smalcald. This diversion, which had been contrived with so much subtlety, was successful, even to the desire of the heart of Charles.

The departure of the Elector caused a separation of the confederates; and, once divided, they became an easy prey to the Emperor. A confederacy, lately so powerful as to shake the imperial throne, and threaten to drive Charles out of Germany, fell to pieces, and was dissolved in a few weeks. How empty everything is if God is not in it; and how weak everything is if He is not its strength! Charles saw his opportunity, put his army in motion, and did not allow the confederates leisure to recover from their consternation, or to form any new schemes of union. He assumed the tone of a conqueror, as if they had been already at his mercy. The union being dissolved, the princes stood exposed singly to the whole weight of his vengeance. With the exception of the Elector and the Landgrave, almost all the Protestant princes and states submitted, and implored the pardon of the Catholic Charles in the most humiliating manner. And as he was in difficulties from the want of money, he imposed heavy fines upon them, which he levied with most rapacious exactness.*

{*Dr. Robertson's History, book 8.}

With the exception of the Landgrave and the Elector, hardly any member of the league now remained in arms. And these two the Emperor had long marked out as the victims of his signal vengeance, so that he was at no pains to propose to them any terms of reconciliation. Various circumstances, for a short time, suspended the blow; but Charles, being relieved from his apprehensions of a fresh war with France, by the death of his great rival, Francis I., resolved to march against the Elector, who had nearly recovered all his dominions from the traitor Maurice.

In the spring of 1547 there was some hard fighting between the Emperor and the Elector at Muhlberg, on the Elbe, and at Mulhausen, but the latter was defeated, wounded, and taken prisoner, which virtually terminated the war. This decisive victory cost the imperialists only fifty men; but twelve hundred of the Saxons were slain, and a great number were taken prisoners. Maurice, as the reward of his treachery, was immediately put in possession of the electoral dominions. The city of Gotha, and the small territory attached to it, were settled on the Elector's family; but he himself was to remain a perpetual prisoner.

The Landgrave alone now remained in arms, and was not inclined to surrender. But Maurice, his son-in-law, prevailed on him to submit, assuring him that he and the Elector of Brandenburg, had the Emperor's guarantee for his personal liberty. But in all this Philip was cruelly deceived. And there is every reason to believe that these two nobles, while acting as mediators, were themselves deceived by the perfidious Charles. His object was to gain possession of the person of Philip, that he might have him absolutely at his disposal. But notwithstanding the assurances and entreaties of Maurice and Brandenburg, the Landgrave suspected the intentions of the Emperor, and refused to appear at his court. His reluctance, however, was at length overcome by these two princes signing a bond, in which they pledged their own lives and liberties for his. His doubts being thus removed, he repaired to the imperial camp at Halle, in Saxony.

Charles, who had assumed the haughty and imperious tone of a conqueror, was seated on a magnificent throne, with all the ensigns of his dignity, and surrounded by a numerous train of the princes of the empire. The Landgrave was introduced with great solemnity, and, advancing towards the throne, fell upon his knees. The eyes of all present were fixed on the unfortunate Landgrave-the most popular of the Protestant chiefs in Germany. "Few could behold a prince," says Robertson, "so powerful as well as high-spirited, suing for mercy in the posture of a supplicant, without being touched with commiseration, and perceiving serious reflections arise in their minds upon the instability and emptiness of human grandeur." But there was one heart that remained unmoved by that affecting scene: the unfeeling Spaniard, with Germany prostrate at his feet, viewed the whole transaction with cold indifference.

He insisted on unconditional submission. "Philip was required to surrender his person and territories to the Emperor; to implore for pardon on his knees; to pay one hundred and fifty thousand crowns towards defraying the expenses of the war; to demolish the fortifications of all the towns in his dominions, except one; to oblige the garrison which he placed in it, to take an oath of fidelity to the Emperor," etc., etc. The Landgrave, being entirely at the Emperor's mercy, ratified these conditions; and flattering himself that he had thereby fully expiated his guilt, rose from his knees, and advanced towards the Emperor, with the intention of kissing his hand, but Charles turned away abruptly, without deigning to give the fallen prince any sign of compassion or reconciliation.

Philip was allowed to retire, apparently at liberty, along with his friends Maurice and Brandenburg, and was entertained by the Duke of Alva with great respect and courtesy; but after supper, when he rose to depart, the duke made known the orders he had to detain him. The unhappy prince was struck dumb; his heart sank within him; then he broke out into those violent expressions at the injustice and artifices of the Emperor, which the circumstances naturally provoked, but all in vain. Brandenburg and Maurice had recourse to the most bitter complaints, to arguments, and to entreaties, in order to extricate the distracted prince out of the ignominious situation into which he had been betrayed. They pleaded their own honour and bond in the matter; but the Duke of Alva was inflexible. Philip was his prisoner, and placed under the custody of a Spanish guard, and did not obtain his release till after a lapse of five years, and total reverse in the affairs of the Emperor set him at liberty, and introduced a new epoch in the history of the Reformation.

The Germans Treated as a Conquered People

The Emperor's triumph was now complete. He was master of Germany. In taking possession of Wittemberg he visited the tomb of Luther. While silently gazing on the peaceful resting-place of the monk who had stirred up all Europe to mutiny, and defied both the papal and the imperial power, the Spaniards entreated him to destroy the monument of the heretic, and to dig up his bones. But Charles nobly replied, "I have nothing more to do with Luther; he has gone to another judge, whose province we must not invade. I wage war with the living, not with the dead." But how different were his feelings when he turned from the memory of the man of faith to those that had raised the arm of rebellion against him! The two princes, Frederick and Philip, followed him in his train, and were thus led about in triumph from city to city, and from prison to prison, exhibiting them as a public spectacle to their former subjects, their families and friends. This was a bitter humiliation to Germany. Loud complaints arose from every quarter against this wanton abuse of power, and cruel treatment of its two most illustrious princes.

But the day of adversity brought out the real character of these two public men. Frederick, long a true Christian, accepted the affliction from the hand of the Lord, and bowed to it. He looked beyond second causes. He dropped the spirit of the warrior, and embraced that of the martyr. All historians agree in bestowing upon him the highest praise for his meekness, patience, and christian conduct. Even the Roman Catholic historian, Thuanus, says of him, "In the judgment of all men, he rose superior to his adverse fortune by the constancy of his mind."

But alas! the conduct of the Landgrave was just the opposite to that of the Elector. We have seen something of his profession of religion, and of his zeal for the union of Christians, as at the conference at Marburg; but in "the day of adversity his strength was small." Such was his impatience under his calamity that, in order to obtain his liberty, he voluntarily offered to surrender, not his dignities merely, but his religious principles. He never judged himself or his ways in the presence of God; therefore he could not see His overruling hand in his trial. In these two men we may see illustrated the mighty difference between a mere form of religion (even when accompanied by an active, stirring mind) and the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ which takes possession of the heart. The day of trial discovers the essential difference. The one broods over the shameful treachery by which he was deprived of his liberty, and the injustice with which he is still detained, until he is driven to the wildest excesses of passion. The other is not insensible to the unfeeling cruelty with which he is treated; but he confesses his own failure, owns a wise and overruling providence in it all, waits upon God, renews his strength, and daily waxes stronger and stronger until, through divine grace, he can rejoice in his captivity, having the sweet sense of the presence of God with him, and that it will all result in a brighter crown in heaven.

But we now return to the public transactions of the Emperor.

Many of the other princes were next made to feel the power of the oppressor, though in a different way. He ordered his troops to seize the artillery and military stores belonging to those who had been members of the Smalcald league, and, "having collected upwards of five hundred pieces of cannon, a great number in that age, he sent part of them into the low countries, part into Italy, and part into Spain, in order to spread by this means the fame of his success, and that they might serve as monuments of his having subdued a nation hitherto deemed invincible. He then levied, by his sole authority, large sums of money, as well upon those who had served him with fidelity during the war, as upon those who had been in arms against him. By these exactions he amassed above one million six hundred thousand crowns-a sum which appeared prodigious in the sixteenth century."*

{*Robertson, book 9, p. 178.}

The Germans, naturally jealous of their privileges, were greatly alarmed at such extraordinary stretches of power, but so great was their consternation, that all implicitly obeyed the commands of the haughty Spaniard; though at the same time, the discontent and resentment of the people had become universal, and they were ready to burst forth on the first opportunity with unmitigated violence. While Charles was thus giving laws to the Germans like a conquered people, Ferdinand was exercising the same despotism over the Bohemians, and stripped them of almost all their privileges.