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has ever succeeded in pleasing every one, and he, Erasmus; will not try to do the impossible. Still he wishes to be judged by what he really has said and written; whereas all kinds of things, letters, books, &c, are attributed to him, about which he knows nothing: "even Martin Luther's work, amongst the rest," whilst the truth is, he does not know Luther, and certainly has never read his book.1

At the end of the following year, 1520, Erasmus again writes to Cardinal Campeggio at great length. After telling him that he had hoped to have passed the winter in Rome to search in the libraries for Greek manuscripts, he informs him that in Louvain those who prefer the old barbarism are now rampant. Some think to please the people by opposition to learning, and amongst the aiders and abettors of the Lutheran movement they place Erasmus in the forefront. The Dominicans and Carmelites, he says, will regard him only as their enemy. Why, he does not know, for in reality he reverences true religion under "any coloured coat." If on occasion he has said something about the vices of the monks, he does not think it were more right for the religious, as a body, to turn against him, than it would be for priests as a body, when their vices were spoken against. He does not in the least wish to be thought opposed to the religious life, as such. The condemnation of Luther had been interpreted by many as a condemnation of learning, and had been turned against Reuchlin and Erasmus. As for himself, he has never, he declares, even seen Luther, who has certainly never been famous for good letters or for any knowledge of ancient tongues, and hence the revival of letters has no connection whatever with the Lutheran movement. The prefaces of some of Luther's books, because written in good Latin, are considered sufficient proof of his (Erasmus's) connection with the matter, and it is asserted

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openly that he was working cordially with the Reformer; whereas, as a fact, he had not suggested even so much as a full stop or comma for his writings. He had, he admitted, written to Luther, and this and another letter to the Cardinal of Mentz were pointed to as proof positive of his Lutheran leanings. For these he has been denounced to bishops as a heretic and delated to the Pope himself, while all the time, in truth, he has never read two pages of Luther's writings. Certainly, indeed, he recognised in Luther considerable power, but he was not by any means alone in doing so. Men of undoubted faith and uprightness had congratulated themselves on having fallen in with Luther's works. For himself, he adds, "I have always preferred to look for the good rather than to search for the evil, and I have long thought that the world needed many changes." Finally, before passing from the subject, he begs Cardinal Campeggio to look at the letter in question himself, and see whether it could justly be said to favour Luther in any way.1

To Pope Leo X. Erasmus also wrote, protesting against the cause of letters generally being made the same as that of Reuchlin and Luther. With the former movement he was identified heart and soul; with Luther and his revolt he had, he declared, no part nor sympathy. "I have not known Luther," he says, " nor have I ever read his books, except perhaps ten or a dozen pages in various places. It was really I who first scented the danger of the business issuing in tumults, which I have always detested." Moreover, he declares that he had induced the Basle printer, Johann Froben, to refuse to print Luther's works, and that by means of friends he had tried to induce Luther to think only of the peace of the Church. Two years previously, he says, Luther had written to him, and he had replied in a kindly spirit in order to get him, if possible, to follow his advice. Now, he hears, that this letter has been delated

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to the Pope in order to prejudice him in the Pontiffs eyes; but he is quite prepared to defend its form and expression. "If any one," he says, "can say he has ever heard me, even at the table, maintain the teaching of Luther, I will not refuse to be called a Lutheran." Finally, he expresses the hope that, if the opponents of letters have been trying to calumniate him, he may rely on the Pope's prudence and the knowledge of his own complete innocence. "I, who do not wish to oppose even my own bishop, am not," he writes, "so mad as to act in any way against the supreme Vicar of Christ." 1

As time went on, the position of Erasmus did not become more comfortable. Whilst the Lutherans were hoping that sooner or later something would happen to compromise the outspoken scholar and force him to transfer the weight of his learning to their side, the champions of Catholicity were ill satisfied that he did not boldly strike out in defence of the Church. To this latter course many of his English friends had strongly urged him, and both the king, Fisher, and others had set him an example by publishing works against Luther's position, which they invited him to follow. The Pope, too, had on more than one occasion personally appealed to him to throw off his reserve and come to the aid of orthodoxy. They could not

1 Ep. 529. Erasmus wrote strongly against anything that seemed to favour the idea of national churches. After declaring that national dislikes and enmities were unmeaning and unchristian, he continues: "As an Englishman you wish evil fortune to a Frenchman. Why not rather do your wishes come as a man to a fellow-man? Why not as a Christian to a Christian? Why do these frivolous things have greater weight than such natural ties, such bonds of Christ? Places separate bodies, not souls. In old days the Rhine divided a Frenchman from a German, but the Rhine cannot divide one Christian from another. The Pyrenees cut off Spain from France, bnt these mountains do not destroy the communion of the Church. The sea divides the English and French peoples, but it cannot cut off the society of religion. . . ." The world is the fatherland of all people; all men are sprung from a common stock. "The Church is but one family, common to all." (Opera., torn, iv., col. 638.)

understand how he was able to talk of peace and kindness amidst the din of strife, and plead for less harsh measures and less bitter words against Luther and hia adherents, when the battle was raging, and cities and peoples and even countries were being seduced by the German Reformer's plausible plea for freedom and liberty. Those who believed in Erasmus's orthodoxy, as did the Pope and his English friends, considered that no voice was more calculated to calm the storm and compel the German people to listen to reason than was his. Whilst the Reforming party, on the other hand, were doing their best to compromise him in the eyes of their opponents, Erasmus was most unwilling to be forced into action. "Why," he writes, "do people wish to associate me with Luther? What Luther thinks of me, where it is a question of matters of faith, I care very little. That he doesn't think much of me he shows in many letters to his friends. In his opinion I am 'blind,' 'miserable,' 'ignorant of Christ and Christianity,' 'thinking of nothing but letters.' This is just what I should expect," he says, " for Luther has always despised the ancients." As for himself, he (Erasmus) has always tried his best to inculcate true piety along with learning.1

To CEcolampadius, in February 1525, he wrote a letter of protest against the way some of Luther's followers were doing all they could to associate his name with their movement. He does not wish, he says, to give his own opinion on the questions at issue; but he can tell his correspondent what the King of England, Bishop Fisher, and Cardinal Wolsey think on these grave matters. He objects to CEcolampadius putting Magnus Erasmus noster—"our great Erasmus "—in a preface he wrote, without any justification. "This naturally makes people suppose," he adds, "that I am really on your side in these controversies," and he begs that he will strike out the expression.2

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This was no new position that Erasmus had taken up in view of the ever-increasing difficulties of the situation. Six years before (in 1519) he had written fully on the subject to the Cardinal Archbishop of Mentz. It was this letter which had been much misunderstood, and even denounced to the Pope as the work of a disloyal son of the Church. He, on the other hand, declared that he was not committed in any way to the cause of Reuchlin or Luther. "Luther is perfectly unknown to me, and his books I have not read, except here and there. If he had written well it would not have been to my credit; if then the opposite, no blame should attach to me. I regretted his public action, and when the first tract, I forget which, was talked about, I did all I could to prevent its being issued, especially as I feared that tumults would come out of all this. Luther had written me what appeared to my mind to be a very Christian letter, and, in replying, I, by the way, warned him not to write anything seditious, nor to abuse the Roman Pontiff, &c, but to preach the Gospel truly and humbly." He adds that he was kind in his reply purposely, as he did not wish to be Luther's judge. And, as he thought that there was much good in the man, he would willingly do all he could to keep him in the right way. People are too fond, he says, of crying out "heretic," &c, and "the cry generally comes from those who have not read the works they exclaim against."1

"I greatly fear," he writes shortly after, "for this miserable Luther; so angry are his opponents on all sides, and so irritated against him are princes, and, above all, Pope Leo. Would that he had taken my advice and abstained from these hateful and seditious publications. There would have been more fruit and less rancour."2

Testimonies might be multiplied almost indefinitely from Erasmus's writings to show that with Lutheranism as such he had no connection nor sympathy. Yet his best friends

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