« ForrigeFortsett »
v After the publication of the peace at Bologna, and the BOOK
* ceremony of his coronation as king of Lombardy and em- Y:
^ peror of the Romans, which the pope .performed with the i53o
» accustomed formalities., nothing detained Charles in Italy■,Sta'e of
°, . , • "fairs, civil
fr* and he began to , prepare tQr his, journey to Germany. and religiHis presence became-tvepj day .more necessary in that0',,'inOerJ .>~-Country, and was solicited vwith *qttel importunity by the Feb. a> Catholics and by the /avourtjrs'.of Uie new doctrines.and a* During that long interval of tranquillity which the abseuce of the emperor, , the contests between him and the pope, and his attention to the war with France, afforded ^ them, the latter gained much ground. Most of the princes *who had embraced Luther's opinions, had not only esta
H?blished in their territories that form of worship which he
fc= * H. CorneL. Agiippa de duplici coronatione Car. V. ap. Scard. ii, vOL. VI. . , A
BCi.OK approved, but had entirely suppressed the rites of thip -—-Romish church. Many of the free cities had imitated ia their conduct. Almost one half the Germanic body had revolted from the papal see; and its authority, even in those provinces which had not hitherto shaken off the yoke, was considerably weakened, partly by the example of revolt in the neighbouring states, partly by the secret progress of the reformed doctrine, even in those countries where it was not openly embraced. Whatever satisfaction the emperor, while he was at open enmity with the see of Rome, might have felt in those events which tended to mortify and embarrass the pope, he could not help perceiving now, that the religious divisions in Germany would, in the end, prove extremely hurtful to the imperial authority. The weakness of former emperors had suffered the great vassals of the empire to make such successful encroachments upon their power and prerogative, that, during the whole course of a war which had often required the exertion of his utmost strength, Charles hardly drew any effectual aid from Germany, and found, that magnificent titles, or obsolete pretensions, were almost the only advantages which he had gained by swaying the imperial sceptre. He became fully sensible, that if he did not recover, in, sprne degree^ the prerogatives which his predecessors ha&Iost^ arirf acVffaire thj^'ftuthority, as well as possess the name,, qf' b?aj. of Ihe empire, his high dignity would contribute tn'uce tp-obstruct than to promote his ambitious .schemes..» Nothing, he saw, was more essential towards aitmiDrng^tifija£ftfa,n»to suppress opinions which might form new bonds of confederacy among the princes of the empire, and unite them by ties stronger and more sacred than any political connection. Nothing seemed to lead more certainly to the accomplishment of his design, than to employ zeal for the established religion, of which he was the natural protector, as the instrument of extending his civil authority.
Accordingly, a prospect no sooner opened of coming toan accommodation with the pope, than, by the emperor's appointment, a diet of the empire was held at Spires, in Book order to take into consideration the state of religion. The — decree of the diet assembled there, in the year one thou- pro^"£ sand five hundred and twenty-six, which was almost ing»nf the equivalent to a toleration of Luther's opinions, had given spireij great offence to the rest of Christendom. The greatest March '5. delicacy of address, however, was requisite in proceeding *s'9' to any decision more'rigorous. The minds of men, kept in perpetual agitation by a controversy carried on, during twelve years, without intermission of debate, or abatement of zeal, were now inflamed to an high degree. They were accustomed to innovations, and saw the boldest of them successful. Having not only abolished old rites, but substituted new forms in their place, they were influenced as much by attachment to the system which they had embraced, as by aversion to that which they had abandoned. Luther himself, of a spirit not to be worn out by the length and obstinacy of the combat, or to become remiss upon success, continued the attack with as much vigour as he had begun it. His disciples, of whom many equalled him in zeal, and some surpassed him in learning, were no less capable than their master to conduct the controversy in the properest manner. Many of the laity, some even of the princes, trained up amidst these incessant disputations, and in the habit of listening to the arguments of the contending parties, who alternately appealed to them as judges, came to be profoundly skilled in all the questions which were agitated, and, upon occasion, could shew themselves not inexpert in any of the arts with which these theological encounters were managed. It was obvious, from all these circumstances, that any violent decision of the diet must have immediately precipitated matters into confusion, and have kindled in Germany the flames of a religious war. All, therefore, that the archduke, and the other commissioners appointed by the emperor, demanded of t!ie diet, was, to enjoin those states of the empire which had hitherto obeyed the decree issued against Luther at Worms, in the year one thousand five hundred and twenty-four, to
EOOK persevere in the observation of it,and to prohibit the other , states from attempting any farther innovation in religion,
particularly from abolishing the mass, before the meeting of a general council. After much dispute, a decree to that effect was approved of by a majority of voices b. Th fol- The elector of Saxony, the marquis of Brandenburg, Latherof tne landgrave of Hesse, the dukes of Lunenburg, the protc»: prince of Anhalt, together with the deputies of fourteen
imperial or free cities0, entered a solemn protest against this decree, as unjust and impious. On that account they April '9. were distinguished by the name of Protestants*, an appel• lation which hath sjnee become better known, and more
honourable, by its being applied indiscriminately to all the sects, of whatever denomination, which have revolted from the Roman see. Not satisfied with this declaration of their dissent from the decree of the diet, the protectants sent ambassadors into Italy, to lay their grievances before the emperor, from whom they met with the most discouraging reception. Charles was at that time in close union Delibera- with the pope, and solicitous to attach him inviolably to pop» and" to ms interest. During their long residence at Bologna, emperor, they held many consultations concerning the most effectual means of extirpating the heresies which had sprung up in Germany. Clement, whose cautious and timid mind the proposal of a general council filled with horror, even beyond what popes, the constant enemies of such assemblies, usually feel, employed every argument to dissuade the emperor from consenting to that measure. He represented general councils as factious, ungovernable, presumptuous, formidable to civil authority, and too slow in their operations to remedy disorders which required an immediate cure. Experience, he said, had now taught both the emperor and himself, that forbearance and lenity, instead of soothing the spirit of innovation, had rendered
» Sieid. Hist. 117.
» The fourtien cities were Strasburg, Nuremburg, Dm, Constance, Feutlingeu, Windsheim, ..einengen, Lindau, Kcmptcn, Hailbron, lsnn. V' eitsemburg, Nordlingen, and St Gal.
• SMd. Hist 119. F. Paul, Hist. 4i. SecWend. ii, 127.