TO GRAF ALBRECHT OF MANSFELD Luther relates proceedings at Worms. May 3, 1521.

Most Gracious Lord. Herr Rudolph von Watzdorf (the Count’s steward) begged me to send a private account, of what happened to me at Worms.

To begin with, they did not expect me to appear, for although I had a safe conduct I was condemned before I was tried, and asked if I would disown my books. You know my answer. His Majesty, indignant, wrote with his own hand, ordering the States to proceed against me, as was seemly for a Christian Emperor and Defender of the Faith to act to a hardened heretic. I was admonished by some magnates of the realm to submit my books to the Emperor and Diet, and was then summoned before the Bishop of Treves, Elector Joachim, etc. The Elector of Baden gave me a most ingenious admonition, saying they did not intend disputing with me, but would just admonish me in a brotherly way, begging me to consider what confusion had arisen through me, and that I should honour the

powers that be, and yield in much — even although the authorities may at times have erred, and such like. I said I was willing to submit my books, not only to His Majesty, but to the least of his subjects, provided nothing should be decreed against the gospel, and also that I had never taught any one to despise the authorities, and was not attacking Pope or Council for their evil lives, but for false

doctrine. For where false doctrine is, there obedience has no sway. I pointed out the article condemned in Constance: “There is only one universal Church, which is the company of the elect.” This being an article of our faith, I would not have condemned it. We say, “We believe in one holy Christian Church.” We must avoid offense in works, but cannot in doctrine, for God’s Word is ever an offense to the great, the wise; and the saints, even as Christ Himself was made of God, a sign which was spoken against. Therefore my Lord of Treves, in despair, summoned Dr. Hieronymus Behns, Amsdorf, and myself. It was a miserable disputation, their sarcastic allusions missing their aim

entirely. I said the Christian must judge for himself, even as he must live and die for himself, and that the Pope was not umpire in spiritual things — God’s Word being the property of all believers, as St. Paul says, and so we parted. Once more Dr. Peutinger wished me to submit my books to His Majesty, for I ought to believe they would come to a Christian conclusion. When hard pressed, I asked the Chancellor if they would counsel me to trust the Emperor and others, as they had already condemned me and burned my books. Afterwards my Lord of Treves sent for me alone; for all through His Grace was more than gracious, and brought up the old topic, but I knew no other answer, and he dismissed me.

Then a count came with His Majesty’s Chancellor, as notary, and bade me leave Worms, with a safe- conduct of twenty-one days, and His Majesty would treat me as seemed good to him. I thanked His Majesty, and said, “It has happened as the Lord willed. His name be praised!” I was forbidden to preach or write on my journey, and promised all, except to let God’s Word be bound.

And thus we parted. I am now in Eisenach — but watch! They will accuse me of preaching at Hersfeld and Eisenach. For they take it literally. I commend myself to your Grace.

Your Excellency’s chaplain, MARTIN LUTHER .

Hastily written in Eisenach on the day of the Holy Cross, 1521

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