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ON THE BAN

You know, to begin with, that it is a great robbery and outrage that you have snatched for yourselves the great ban, called Excommunicatio major, which properly belongs to the secular authorities. It has gone so far that popes have undertaken to depose emperors, kings, and princes, and make themselves temporal emperors. Let me tell you, dear sirs, that this is not right! Your ban should be called the small ban, which shuts the doors, not of earth, but of heaven, and separates from the Church and from the Sacrament, as Christ says in Matthew 18:17, "Hold him as a heathen, etc.," and St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:, "What have I to do with them that are without?" If other matters are to be amended, this too must be amended, for God is not pleased with any sacrifice or service that comes from robbery, as Isaiah says.

The use of the ban is another thing. It should be for the punishment of public offenses, such as robbery, adultery, fornication, murder, hate, usury, drunkenness, also heresy, blasphemy and the like, for our Lord Christ teaches in Matthew 18:17, that the ban shall be put upon those who will not hear the Church, or congregation. Thus the Church teaches in harmony with God's Word.

Now tell me, what is good and ancient about the ban that has remained among you? What new and mischievous abuses have not arisen around it? I shall not bring in the fact that you have banned, cursed, damned, and slain innocent and pious people as heretics. The ban is used for nothing else than to collect taxes and debts and cause great misery to poor people. For the arbitrary power that the knaves, officials, and commissaries have exercised in this matter is already known to you in part; and if you do nothing about it at this diet we shall hereafter put out a calendar of these virtues which will convince you that we have understood your abuse of the ban and will make it plain to the whole world.

But in the place where the ban should rightly have its power and use, it has been a mere indulgence and a very benediction, and has lost its cuttingedge.

The place I mean is among the bishops and canons, nay, among the popes and the cardinals themselves. On this point, I would like to hear a doctor of canon law who would show me how often, according to the canons and the spiritual law, the pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, endowed livings and monasteries have been put under the ban and cursed because of simony and other vices. Who holds them excommunicate? The declaration is in their hand and runs as follows, - "He is under the ban whom we will to be under the ban; whom we will not have under the ban, he is not under the ban." Go on, dear sirs; if your will is to be law, the Church can get rid of such bishops and popes!

I wish I knew what we are to take you for anyhow. You do not want to be Christians, for you will not endure Christ's word and ordinance; and you do not want to be papists, for you keep the canons and the spiritual law even less; though, to be sure, they are much harder to keep than the Gospel. But is it not a strange piece of news that papists will not be papists, and yet will give themselves out to be papists; will hold the goods of the Church and the rule over it, but only for their own sweet will, not for the good of the churches? These things do not fit together. Well, then, keep on being Epicurean and Turkish, for that is certainly what you are!

But just because the goods of the monasteries and the endowments are being seized, I must have a private and friendly talk with you.

It is a fact, - and it does not please me either, - that these goods are seized and scattered. The Unlutherans are doing most of it, and get more of the profits than those who are accused of being Lutherans, as can easily be proved. I am especially ill-pleased when knaves get hold of them, of whom I know that they have not earned it; for my conscience does not trouble me when those who work and render honest service get some of them. But there is one question that I would like to have answered, because there are plainly two kinds of endowment - thieves and monastery-robbers, those, namely, who are outside and those who are inside, and I would like to be told who are the worse of the two. Those on the outside are the wicked and unworthy of whom I spoke; those on the inside are the bishops, the canons, and the monks themselves, who sit in the houses. They misuse the property for all kinds of vice and unchastity, and shamelessly overstep the bounds of their order, and send great sums to Rome to knaves that are still greater. Thus they plunder the endowed places shamefully!

Think you not that if the emperors, kings, and princes, who have endowed these monasteries and bishoprics, had wanted to found brothels, or churches for the Romans to rob, they would have had sense enough to act differently and not hand over their money and property to harlots and knaves, or to Roman thieves and robbers? Because, then, such fellows sit in the endowed houses and monasteries, and their property is used by people whom the founders neither intended nor willed, and these fellows, therefore, hold it contrary to the will of the founders, consume it in vicious ways, and employ it shamefully, and are, on this account, under the ban and accursed as irregulares, - since all these things are true, tell me, who are the greatest endowment-robbers and church-thieves? You will see the pope sitting in the highest place among them, with cardinals, bishops, canons, abbots, and monks; for they do none of that for which their positions were founded, but exactly the opposite, as though they were crazy; nevertheless, they take the property and use it as they please. Ah, good friend, if you can see the splinter in another's eye and cry out about the theft of spiritual goods, you must be shown the beam in your own eye, which you do not want to see. If you can say the one, you must also hear the other, so that you may know that other people, too, have eyes, and feel and smell and hear.

You allege that what is yours should not be taken from you. Of course, what is yours should not be taken. Nevertheless, I would play your canon law with you. The canon law condemns, bans, curses, and deposes you, and says, "It is not yours." It is called Deponatur. For you do not keep the rule and law of the foundation, and you have deposed yourself thereby.

Thus according to your own law, you lost your property long ago, and have so far held it unlawfully like damned robbers. If one were to decline and conjugate the word deponatur through all its persons, where would pope, cardinals, bishops, and canons be? It would surely become an impersonal verb; no person would be left. But if you think it proper that people have patience with you for not keeping your own law, then you should also think it proper to have patience with those who take property from you, as unrepentant simonists and outlawed robbers, or forbid you to succeed to it, because you do not keep your own law; that is Deponatur.

May your request be granted, then, that what is yours be left to you, that is, your harlotry and knavery; but that what is not yours, that is, the taxes and the goods, be not left to you, but be taken from you, as from robbers and thieves!

I do not wish this to be a defense for anyone. Let everyone see to it for himself for what service or purpose he needs the property. But against the complainants I make a distinction in the use of spiritual goods. I say that if the goods of the foundations and monasteries are to be knavishly stolen and sent to Rome and shamefully consumed out there with harlots and knaves, and the intention of the founders is to be defeated, I would far rather that the emperors, kings, princes and lords kept them and put them to better use. For it is sure that the founders entrusted them to pious, chaste, Christian persons, not men who stood and bellowed, or who went a-falconing, but to men who studied and read and prayed, so that learned men could be chosen from among them to be bishops, pastors, preachers, schoolteachers, chancellors, secretaries, etc.; and this was the case long ago, at the beginning. Now, however, they neglect and despise these works and duties; nay, they mock at them and persecute them, and are under the ban many times over; therefore I should not weep if they were to lose the profit and the income. There is a saying, Beneficium propter officium, but not beneficium propter maleficium. Your own canon law teaches that, and punishes it most cruelly with the ban, and calls it simony.

Tell me, now, what pope, bishop, foundation or monastery has ever known sorrow or repentance because it has allowed the officia to go down, or has ever seriously considered how they might be restored again? Nevertheless they have used the beneficia and lived on them. Thus they are two-fold church-thieves and double monastery-robbers; for they have not only possessed the goods that were given for a different kind of people from themselves, but they have also stolen and robbed from the whole Church and prevented it from having pious, learned, Christian bishops, pastors, preachers and like necessary persons, whom the Church cannot do without, and whom it was their duty to give it, according to the intention of the founders. Dear friend, the founders did not intend the officia to be the weaving of a long cloak, an alb, and a tonsure, or the putting on of chasubles and consecrated clothes. Sticks and stones can wear these things! Their will was to train people for the comfort and welfare of the Church.

If, then, you would make such a great disturbance about the restoration of the endowments and the monasteries, the proper answer to you is: Dear sirs, first make good your double robbery of persons and of property. You have robbed the Church of the persons; you have stolen the property from the foundations. Give these back, so that the officia may go on again, and then you may rightly acquire the beneficia. Such persons are more important to the Church than all the property and all the glory of all the clergy. If not, it will be bad accounting for you to give account of the expenditures only, and merely estimate the income. You must be told to keep your books differently and look better to your work. You have received the property of the lords in order to support and train persons.

Where are these persons? Give an account of them! Nay, it is you who have let the boys' schools go down, so that the whole Church everywhere is, through you, corrupted to the very bottom, for no other purpose than that your Epicurean belly may be well off.

I have said this so that it may be seen what the condemners of motes gain by stirring up filth. Therefore remember God, and ask Him to help you accomplish some good at this diet. These matters are great and weighty, and unfortunately they are so deep rooted that human power and wit can do nothing with them. The ban is necessary, but Lord God! it must not strain out gnats and swallow camels, or nothing will come of it.

The subjects of penance, mass, baptism, faith, and works are, I fear, too high for you. Therefore I have small hope that you will reach pure decisions about them, for even your scholars have no understanding of them, and these things must be maintained and practiced only through Christ Himself and His Holy Spirit, without human aid. Then, too, except for the first of them, only one or two of the Councils have dealt with them.

Therefore I shall confine my further petitions, supplications, and exhortations to the subjects about which we do not need the special illumination of the Holy Spirit, but which all Christians can comprehend and be sure of, and which can almost be known by the reason. And first:


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Concord

Title_Page
Editors_Introduction
Preface_to_the_Christian_Book_of_Concord
The_Three_Ecumenical_Creeds
The_Apostles_Creed
The_Nicene_Creed
The_Athanasian_Creed
The_Augsburg_Confession
Title_Page
Preface_to_the_Emperor_Charles_V
Article_I_Of_God
Article_II_Of_Original_Sin
Article_III_Of_The_Son_of_God
Article_IV_Of_Justification
Article_V_Of_The_Ministry
Article_VI_Of_New_Obedience
Article_VII_Of_the_Church
Article_VIII_What_the_Church_Is
Article_IX_Of_Baptism
Article_X_Of_The_Lords_Supper
Article_XI_Of_Confession
Article_XII_Of_Repentance
Article_XIII_Of_The_Use_of_the_Sacraments
Article_XIV_Of_Ecclesiastical_Order
Article_XV_Of_Ecclesiastical_Usages
Article_XVI_Of_Civil_Affairs
Article_XVII_Of_Christs_Return_to_Judgment
Article_XVIII_Of_Free_Will
Article_XIX_Of_the_Cause_of_Sin
Article_XX_Of_Good_Works
Article_XXI_Of_the_Worship_of_the_Saints
ARTICLES_IN_WHICH_ARE_REVIEWED_THE_ABUSES_WHICH_HAVE_BEEN_CORRECTED
Article_XXII_Of_Both_Kinds_in_the_Sacrament
Article_XXIII_Of_the_Marriage_of_Priests
Article_XXIV_Of_the_Mass
Article_XXV_Of_Confession
Article_XXVI_Of_the_Distinction_of_Meats
Article_XXVII_Of_Monastic_Vows
Article_XXVIII_Of_Ecclesiastical_Power
Conclusion
The_Apology_of_the_Augsburg_Confession
Title_Page_and_Table_Of_Contents
Introduction
On_Article_I_Of_God
On_Article_II_Of_Original_Sin
On_Article_III_Of_Christ
On_Articles_IV_V_VI_XX_Of_Justification
On_Articles_IV_V_VI_XX_Of_Justification_Part_1
What_is_Justifying_Faith
That_Faith_in_Christ_Justifies
That_We_Obtain_Remission_of_Sins_by_Faith_Alone_in_Christ
On_Love_and_the_Fulfilling_of_the_Law
On_Love_and_the_Fulfilling_of_the_Law
Reply_to_the_Arguments_of_the_Adversaries
Section_1_of_4
Section_2_of_4
Section_3_of_4
Section_4_of_4
On_Articles_VII_and_VIII_Of_the_Church
On_Article_IX_Of_Baptism
On_Article_X_Of_the_Holy_Supper
On_Article_XI_Of_Confession
On_Article_XIIa_Of_Repentance
Section_1_of_2
Section_2_of_2
On_Article_XIIb_Of_Confession_and_Satisfaction
Section_1_of_2
Section_2_of_2
On_Article_XIII_Of_the_Number_and_Use_of_the_Sacraments
On_Article_XIV_Of_Ecclesiastical_Order
On_Article_XV_Of_Human_Traditions_in_the_Church
On_Article_XVI_Of_Political_Order
On_Article_XVII_Of_Christs_Return_to_Judgment
On_Article_XVIII_Of_Free_Will
On_Article_XIX_Of_the_Cause_of_Sin
On_Article_XX_Of_Good_Works
On_Article_XXI_Of_the_Invocation_of_Saints
On_Article_XXII_Of_Both_Kinds_In_the_Lords_Supper
On_Article_XXIII_Of_the_Marriage_of_Priests
On_Article_XXIV_Of_the_Mass
On_Article_XXIV_Of_the_Mass_of_the_Augustana_Part_1
What_a_Sacrifice_Is
What_the_Fathers_Thought_concerning_Sacrifice
Of_the_Use_of_the_Sacrament_and_of_Sacrifice
Of_the_Term_Mass
Of_the_Mass_for_the_Dead
On_Article_XXVII_Of_Monastic_Vows
Section_1_of_2
Section_2_of_2
On_Article_XXVIII_Of_Ecclesiastical_Power
End
The_Smalcald_Articles
Title_Page_and_Table_Of_Contents
Preface_of_Dr_Martin_Luther
The_First_Part
The_Second_Part
Article_I_The_Chief_Article
Article_II_Of_the_Mass
Of_the_Mass_Part_1
Of_the_Invocation_of_Saints
Article_III_Of_Chapters_and_Cloisters
Article_IV_Of_the_Papacy
The_Third_Part
Article_I_Of_Sin
Article_II_Of_the_Law
Article_III_Repentance
Introduction
Of_the_False_Repentance_of_the_Papists
Article_IV_Of_the_Gospel
Article_V_Of_Baptism
Article_VI_Of_the_Sacrament_of_the_Altar
Article_VII_Of_the_Keys
Article_VIII_Of_Confession
Article_IX_Excommunication
Article_X_Of_Ordination_and_the_Call
Article_XI_Of_the_Marriage_of_Priests
Article_XII_Of_the_Church
Article_XIII_How_One_is_Justified_before_God_and_of_Good_Works
Article_XIV_Of_Monastic_Vows
Article_XV_Of_Human_Traditions
Subscribers
A_Treatise_on_the_Power_and_Primacy_of_the_Pope
Title_Page
Part_1
Of_the_Power_and_Jurisdiction_of_Bishops
DOCTORS_AND_PREACHERS_Who_Subscribed_the_Augsburg_Confession_and_Apology_A_D_1537
Luthers_Small_Catechism
Title_Page
Preface
The_Ten_Commandments
The_Creed
The_Lords_Prayer
The_Sacrament_of_Holy_Baptism
Confession
The_Sacrament_of_the_Altar
Daily_Prayers
Table_of_Duties
Christian_Questions_with_Their_Answers
Luthers_Large_Catechism
Title_Page
Translators_Introduction
Short_Preface_of_Dr_Martin_Luther
The_Ten_Commandments
The_First_Commandment
The_Second_Commandment
The_Third_Commandment
The_Fourth_Commandment
The_Fifth_Commandment
The_Sixth_Commandment
The_Seventh_Commandment
The_Eighth_Commandment
The_Ninth_and_Tenth_Commandment
Conclusion_of_The_Ten_Commandments
The_Creed
Article_I
Article_II
Article_III
The_Lords_Prayer
Introduction
The_First_Petition
The_Second_Petition
The_Third_Petition
The_Fourth_Petition
The_Fifth_Petition
The_Sixth_Petition
The_Seventh_Petition
Baptism
The_Sacrament_of_the_Altar
The_Formula_of_Concord
Title_Page
Part_First_Epitome
Title_Page_and_Table_of_Contents
Comprehensive_Summary_Rule_and_Norm
I_Original_Sin
II_Free_Will
III_The_Righteousness_of_Faith_Before_God
IV_Good_Works
V_Law_and_Gospel
VI_The_Third_Use_of_the_Law
VII_The_Lords_Supper
VIII_The_Person_of_Christ
IX_The_Descent_of_Christ_Into_Hell
X_Church_Rites_Adiaphora
XI_Election
End_Of_Articles
XII_Other_Heresies_and_Sects
Introduction
Anabaptists
Schwenkfeldians
New_Arians
Anti_Trinitarians
Part_Second_Solid_Declaration
Title_Page_and_Table_of_Contents
Preface
Rule_and_Norm
Original_Sin
Free_Will
Part_1_of_2
Part_2_of_2
The_Righteousness_of_Faith
Part_1_of_2
Part_2_of_2
Good_Works
Law_and_Gospel
The_Third_Use_of_the_Law
The_Holy_Supper
Part_1_of_3_Introduction_and_Status_Controversiae
Part_2_of_3
Part_3_of_3
The_Person_of_Christ
Part_1_of_2
Part_2_of_2
Christs_Descent_into_Hell
Church_Rites_Adiaphora
Election
Part_1_of_2
Part_2_of_2
Other_Sects
Introduction
Anabaptists
Schwenckfeldians
New_Arians
Anti_Trinitarians
Conclusion
Appendix_A_Catalog_of_Testimonies
Introduction_to_Testimonies
Testimonies_I
Testimonies_II
Testimonies_III
Testimonies_IV
Testimonies_V
Testimonies_VI
Testimonies_VII
Testimonies_VIII
Testimonies_IX
Testimonies_X
Appendix_An_Exhortation_to_Confession
Title_Page
A_Brief_Admonition_To_Confession
Appendix_The_Saxon_Visitation_Articles
Title_Page
Article_I_Of_the_Holy_Supper
Article_II_Of_the_Person_of_Christ
Article_III_Of_Holy_Baptism
Article_IV_Of_Predestination_and_the_Eternal_Providence_of_God
False_and_Erroneous_Doctrine_of_the_Calvinists_Concerning_the_Holy_Supper
False_and_Erroneous_Doctrine_of_the_Calvinists_Concerning_the_Person_of_Christ
False_and_Erroneous_Doctrine_of_the_Calvinists_Concerning_Holy_Baptism
False_and_Erroneous_Doctrine_of_the_Calvinists_Concerning_Predestination_and_the_Providence_of_God
Context_Document_95_Theses_of_Martin_Luther
Title_Page
95_Theses
Refuted_Document_Johann_Ecks_404_Theses
Title_Page
Editors_Introduction
Translators_Introduction
Cover_Letter
Theses
Context_Document_To_All_the_Clergy_Assembled_in_Augsburg_at_the_Diet
Title_Page
Introduction
Concerning_Indulgences
Concerning_Confessionals
Concerning_Confession
Concerning_Penance
Concerning_The_Sale_of_Masses_or_Private_Masses
On_the_Ban
On_Two_Kinds_in_the_Sacrament
On_the_Unmarried_State
Other_Subjects
Conclusion
Refuted_Document_Confutatio_Pontifica
Title_Page
Introduction
Part_1
To_Article_I
To_Article_II_Disputation_I
To_Article_III
To_Article_IV_Disputation_II
To_Article_V_Disputation_II_Justification_And_III_Love_and_Fulfilling_of_the_Law
To_Article_VI_Disputation_II_Justification_And_III_Love_and_Fulfilling_of_the_Law
To_Article_VII_Disputation_IV
To_Article_VIII_Disputation_IV
To_Article_IX
To_Article_X
To_Article_XI
To_Article_XII_Disputation_V_Repentance_And_VI_Confession_And_Satisfaction
To_Article_XIII_Disputation_VII
To_Article_XIV
To_Article_XV_Disputation_VIII
To_Article_XVI
To_Article_XVII
To_Article_XVIII
To_Article_XIX
To_Article_XX_Disputation_II
To_Article_XXI_Disputation_IX
Part_2_Reply_to_the_Second_Part_of_the_Confession
I_Of_the_Lay_Communion_under_One_Form_To_Article_XXII_Disputation_X
II_Of_the_Marriage_of_Priests_To_Article_XXIII_Disputation_XI
III_Of_the_Mass_To_Article_XXIV_Disputation_XII
IV_Of_Confession_To_Article_XXV
V_Of_the_Distinction_of_Meats_To_Article_XXVI
VI_Of_Monastic_Vows_To_Article_XXVII_Disputation_XIII
VII_Of_Ecclesiastical_Power_Disputation_XIV
Conclusion
Refuted_Document_Consenus_Tigurinus
Title_Page
Introduction
Text
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