Edited by William. Byron Forbush This is a book that will never die — one of the great English classics. . . . Reprinted here in its most complete form, it brings to life the days when “a noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid,” “climbed the steep ascent of heaven, ‘mid peril, toil, and pain.” “After the Bible itself, no book so profoundly influenced early Protestant sentiment as the Book of Martyrs. Even in our time, it is still a living force. It is more than a record of persecution. It is an arsenal of controversy, a storehouse of romance, as well as a source of edification.”
Fox’s Book of Martyrs is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
An Account of the Life and Persecutions of Martin Luther Part 4
In the meantime, the zeal of his adversaries grew every day more and more active against him; and he was at length accused of Leo X as a heretic. As soon as he returned therefore from Heidelberg, he wrote a letter to that pope, in the most submissive terms; and sent him, at the same time, an explication of his propositions about indulgences. This letter is dated on Trinity Sunday, 1518, and was accompanied by a protestation, wherein he declared, that he did not pretend to advance or defend anything contrary to the Holy Scriptures, or to the doctrine of the fathers, received and observed by the Church of Rome, or to the canons and decretals of the popes: nevertheless, he thought he had the liberty either to approve or disapprove the opinions of St. Thomas, Bonaventure, and other schoolmen and canonists, which are not grounded upon any text.
The emperor Maximilian was equally solicitous, with the pope about putting a stop to the propagation of Luther’s opinions in Saxony; troublesome both to the Church and the empire. Maximilian, therefore, applied to Leo, in a letter dated August 5, 1518, and begged him to forbid, by his authority, these useless rash, and dangerous disputes; assuring him also that he would strictly execute in the empire whatever his holiness should enjoin.
In the meantime, Luther, as soon as he understood what was transacting about him at Rome, used all imaginable means to prevent his being carried thither and obtain a hearing of his cause in Germany. The elector was also against Luther’s going to Rome, and desired Cardinal Cajetan, that he might be heard before him, as the pope’s legate in Germany. Upon these addresses, the pope consented that the cause should be tried before Cardinal Cajetan, to whom he had given the power to decide it.
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