《九十五条论纲》简介

九十五条论纲》是马丁·路德于1517年10月31日张贴在德国维滕堡城堡教堂大门上的辩论提纲,现在普遍被认为是新教的宗教改革运动之始。

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背景

马丁·路德在大学中学习法律的同时,接受了当时进步的人文主义思想。此后又研究神学,1508年起,在维滕堡大学担任神学教授。曾经周游各地﹐到过罗马,耳闻目睹罗马教廷和教会的腐败黑暗,产生了改良教会的思想。罗马教会宣扬,人死后灵魂要想升入天堂,必须由教士履行宗教仪式。
1517年,教宗利奥十世以修缮梵蒂冈的圣彼得大教堂为借口,谕令出卖“赎罪券”,说是有罪的人,只要花钱买了“赎罪券”,死后灵魂就可以升入天堂。为了增加销售量,赎罪券教士宣传说:“钱币落入钱柜底响叮当,灵魂瞬间脱离炼狱升天堂。”(见论纲第27条),说什么 “多买赎罪券不仅可以预先豁免今后犯的罪行,而且可以替已死的人买赎罪券,好让死者的灵魂尽快脱离炼狱、升入天堂。”这样赎罪券无形中就成了犯罪通行证。当维滕堡附近的一些人来找路德行告解时,路德告诫他们需要悔改才能得赦免;当其中一部分人拿出赎罪券炫耀时,路德拒绝为他们做赦罪祷告。同时他接获作为教宗在神圣罗马帝国最高代表即驻美因茨的枢机主教阿尔布雷希特·冯·勃兰登堡用于教唆兜售赎罪券的秘密谕示(Instructio Summarium)。后者因为贿买勃兰登堡选帝侯兼驻马格德堡大主教(辖路德所在的维滕堡)的资格而债台高筑﹐而急需用搜刮信众得来金钱的一部分中饱私囊。此人的言论以及教唆销售赎罪券的这种卑劣的诈骗行为,引起了他的懮虑和愤怒。他认为,人只要虔诚信仰上帝,因信心而称义﹐死后灵魂就可得救,“既然已经认识上帝的意思,就不需要问别人”,也不需要由教士举行仪式。他主张“从头到脚”改良教会﹐取消教阶和教会的烦琐仪式,建立“廉俭教会”。他的这些主张在这《九十五条论纲》中得到初步体现。
民间一般认为﹐同年10月31日(现代新教国家的改革节)马丁·路德将这拉丁文写就的《关于赎罪券效能的辩论(disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum)》(共九十五条)(但是按照《资本战争》的记录,人们对该文是否是马丁路德所贴仍有争议,而且该战争檄文的确是由学者富罗雷撰写。事实上,这个奥古斯汀传教士的论纲是在1517年10月31日以邮信附件的形式寄给当时的马格德堡和美因茨大主教的。而路德当初对于发放免罪券只是希望换一种方式而已。)按神学辩论的惯例公布于维滕堡的大学教堂大门上(见下图,当时也常作为公告牌),要求对有关赎罪券功效问题公开讨论。史料证明论纲其实最先是作为信件的附件递交给阿尔布雷希特·冯·勃兰登堡﹐愤于对后者刚愎自用和置若罔闻﹐作为神学教授的路德为推动学术讨论将九十五条散发给予大学同僚(抄本之一今藏于布伦瑞克-吕内堡公爵,即汉诺威选帝侯位于Wolfenbüttel的城堡图书馆里)。虽然始终无人来和他辩论,而这篇短文却在他并不知情的情况下不胫而走,成了宗教改革运动的导火索。 教宗知道此事后,下令切责路德,又派代表到巴伐利亚的奥格斯堡。路德当着教宗的代表面前,否认其统治基督教的权力,又替约翰·胡斯辩护,痛斥那些下令把他烧死的人。
2历史意义

1519年,马丁·路德在莱比锡参加神学论战,否认教宗的权力,说是没有教宗,教会也能存在。他点燃的宗教改革之火,在德国有了燎原之势,犹如耶稣所说:“我来,并不是叫地上太平,乃是叫地上动刀兵。”(太10.34)托马斯·闵采尔领导的农民和城市贫民,也参加进来。他们的要求超出了马丁·路德宗教范围内的改革,而逐步发展为德意志农民战争。1521年,在教宗授意下,神圣罗马帝国皇帝卡尔五世要他在沃尔姆斯(Worms)召开的国会上认罪,并撤回这九十五条论纲,他却说:“除非用《圣经》的文字和明白的理性证明我是错的,否则我决不放弃自己的观点,我的良心是被上帝的道束缚的。”由于他的行为支持了当时德意志各邦民族主义对罗马的反抗,他此后也得到北部各邦诸侯和民众广泛的拥护和保护,在萨克森选帝侯的庇护下隐居于黑森-图林根交界的瓦特堡(Wartburg),从而首先把《圣经》从希腊文译成高地德语印行。其意义在于一般民众也有机会亲身学习,诵读和解释《圣经》,而无须借助教会和教士,这就从内部摧毁了以教宗为首的罗马教会作为精神权威存在的传统根基。这在破除罗马教会对文化垄断权的同时,也奠定了德国语文的基础和规范,是文化上的一大贡献。
罗马教会所谓“反改革”的诸多措施,也在很大程度上改变了罗马教会本身。在1550年代特伦多会议上,天主教会(la Chiesa Cattolica)正式成形后,会议才最终正式废止赎罪券。
3基本观点

实际在写就论纲的当时,马丁·路德刚经历完痛苦的信仰挣扎,马丁·路德公布这些陈述的本意如其引言中所述, 仅仅只是作为学术辩论的出发点,正即所谓“论纲”(disputatio pro declaratione),而非政治纲领﹐为的是改良罗马教会而非进行对抗式的改革。毫无疑问,其对罗马教会权威的公然挑衅的宣言性效果并不合其马丁·路德本人的意愿。他说:“我只点了一把火,但是所用的是真理的语言。” 由于他的主张符合当时对罗马教会普遍不满的市民阶级和新兴贵族的利益,路德派(信义宗)很快由德意志各邦传播到了欧洲各地。
这九十五条中,其大部分用语作为论纲直接引用了阿尔布雷希特·冯·勃兰登堡和赎罪券教士的宣讲。其中第42-52条表达路德主要的观点,最末尾的四条为其抗议的动机。表面看来它反对买卖赎罪券,批判靠善功得救的观念。从积极正面来看,它宣扬悔罪得救,真诚的悔改、撕裂心肠的悔改、悔改相信耶稣在十字架受死、流血,从而使人的罪得赦免、得拯救。(见论纲第1-4条)。这就是施洗约翰所传的福音:“天国近了,你们应当悔改。”(太3.2)也正是耶稣所传的福音:“天国近了,你们应当悔改。”(太4.17)。
Thesentür第三十二条诅咒“那些因购买赎罪券而确信自己得救的人,将同他们的教唆者一起受到永罚。”
第三十六条指出﹕“真诚悔过的基督徒,就是不购买赎罪券,也能够获得全面免除罪罚的权利 。 ”
第三十九条解释了赎罪券教士宣讲背后的虚假本质:“最博学的神学家也很难自圆其说,如果他同时向信众鼓吹赎罪券的特效,又宣扬真诚悔罪的必要性。”
第八十六条则终于将锋芒直指教宗:“教宗是当今的富中之富,他的钱比古时最大的富豪克拉苏还多,那他为什么要花费可怜的信徒们的钱,而不掏自己的腰包来建造圣彼得大教堂呢?”
第八十九条 而且“既然说教宗发售赎罪券是为了拯救灵魂,而不是为了金钱,那么,他又为何废止了从前允诺的具有同等效力的赦免和宽宥?”
4具体内容

九十五条论纲
作者: 马丁·路德
路德关于赎罪票效能的辩论序言
教皇利奥第十(Leo X)敛财,假建新圣彼得堂之名售卖赎罪票。在德意志中部他委买音慈的大主教亚尔伯特(Albrecht)为总裁,而亚氏又以特次勒(Tetzel)为委办,竭尽宣传劝买之能事,妄言购买此票,可以使生者罪得赦免,使死者减除炼狱痛苦。路德认为此举,有损人民属灵生活,乃义不容辞,于一五一七年诸圣日前夕,即十月卅一日,在威登堡诸圣堂门上张贴关于赎罪票效能的辩论一文。他此一举原是按照当日大学研究学术,追求真理,提出辩论的作风,所以是用拉丁文写成的。谁知此文一出,洛阳纸贵,远近传诵,赎罪票的销售大受打击,教皇为之震怒,而改教运动也一发而不可遏,真是登高一呼,万山响应。因此文由九十五条构成,故在历史上素有九十五条之称。
路德写九十五条,系根据于用亚尔伯特之名向诸委办所颁的训令,以及劝售赎罪票者所说的话语而构成的,所以内容很少连贯。一般说来,路德在三十至三十七条,又四十二至五十二条中,表达他最重要的积极观点,在九十二至九十五条中,说明他提出抗议的动机。
路德关于赎罪票效能的辩论(九十五条)
为爱护与阐扬真理起见,下列命题将在文学和神学硕士及常任讲师路德马丁神甫主持之下,在威登堡举行讨论。凡不能到会和我们口头辩论的,请以通讯方式参加。奉主耶稣基督的圣名。阿门。
( 1 )当我们的主耶稣基督说『你们应当悔改』的时候,他是说信徒一生应当悔改。
( 2 )这句话不是指着告解礼,即神甫所执行的认罪和补罪说的。
( 3 )这句话不是仅仅指内心的悔改而言,因为内心的悔改若不产生肉体外表各种的刻苦,便是虚空的。
( 4 )所以罪恶的惩罚是与自恨同长久,因为这才是真正内心的悔改,而一直继续到我们进入天国。
( 5 )教皇除凭自己的权柄或凭教条所科的惩罚以外,既无意也无权免除任何惩罚。
( 6 )教皇不能赦免任何罪债,而只能宣布并肯定罪债已经得了上帝的赦免。那留下归他审判的,他当然可以赦免。他若越过此雷池,罪债便仍然存在。
( 7 )上帝赦免人的罪债,未有不使那人在他的代表神甫面前凡事自卑的。
( 8 )惩罚教条仅是加于活人身上,对临死者不应有所惩罚。
( 9 )所以圣灵借着教皇用宽仁对待我们,使他在教会中总将死亡和必要定为例外。
(10)神甫将教条,所定补赎给临死者留到炼狱,乃是无知邪恶的。
(11)将教条所定的惩罚变为炼狱中的惩罚,很显然是仇敌在主教们睡觉的时候所撒的一种稗子。
(12)从前实施教条,所定的惩罚,并不是在宣赦之后,而是在宣赦之前,作为真正痛悔的考验。
(13)临死者因死亡就免除了一切惩罚,他们向教条的法规是已经死了,不再受它们的约束。
(14)临死者心灵的健康若不完全,那即是说,他的爱心若不完全,他便必大有恐惧,而且爱心越小,恐惧就越大。
(15)单是这恐惧(且不说其它一切)就足以成为炼狱的惩罚,因其与绝望的恐惧相距不远。
(16)地狱,炼狱,和天堂之间的区别,似乎是与绝望,将绝望,和确信之间的区别相同的。
(17)灵魂在炼狱里恐惧越减少,爱心便越增加,这似乎是确实的。
(18)我们由理智或圣经似乎都无法证明,这种灵魂不能建立功德,或增加他们的爱心。
(19)虽然我们对他们的福祉也许很有把握,但是似乎也无法证明他们自己都有这种把握。
(20)因此教皇所谓全部免除一切惩罚,意思并不是指免除一切惩罚,而只是指免除他自己所科处的惩罚。
(21)所以那些宣讲赎罪票者,说教皇的赎罪票能使人免除各种惩罚,而且得救,乃是犯了错误。
(22)因对他对炼狱里的灵魂,并不能免除那按照教条应当在今生受的惩罚。
(23)如果有甚么人以得免除一切惩罚,那么只有最完全的人,即最少数的人,才能得以免除一切惩罚。
(24)所以大多数的人,难免是被这不分皂白和夸张的、免除惩罚的应许所欺骗。
(25)对于炼狱,教皇在全教会有多少权柄,主教和神甫在他们的主教区和教区也有多少权柄。
(26)若是教皇不用钥匙权(他没有此权)而用代求,来免除炼狱中灵魂的罪,他便行得好。
(27)那些说钱币一叮当落入钱筒,灵魂就超脱炼狱的人,是在传人的捏造。
(28)很显然,当钱币投入钱柜中“叮当”作响的时候,增加的只是利心和贪欲心,至于代祷是否有效,完全只能以上帝的意志为转移。
(29)从圣瑟威立努(St. Severinus)和圣巴斯噶(St. Paschal)的传奇来看,炼狱里的灵魂是否都愿被赎出来,是没有人知道的。
(30)无人能确知自己的痛悔是诚实的;更无人能确知自己得了完全的赦免。
(31)诚实买赎罪票的人,是与诚实忏悔的人一样很希罕。
(32)那些因持有赎罪票而自信得了救的人,将和他们的师傅永远一同被定罪。
(33)那些说教皇的赎罪票,是上帝使人与自己和好的无价恩赐的人,是我们应当特别警防的。
(34)因为赎罪票的恩赐,只及于人在告解圣礼中所加的惩罚。
(35)那些说为求获得救赎或赎罪票并不需要痛悔的人,是在传与基督教不符的道理。
(36)每一个基督教徒,只要感觉到自己真诚悔罪,也同样可以得到赦罪或全部免罚。
(37)任何活着或死了的真基督徒,即令没有赎罪票,也都分享基督和教会的一切恩惠,这些恩惠是上帝所赐的。
(38)然而教皇的赦免是不可蔑视的,因为正如我所说的,它宣布上帝的赦免。
(39)最有学问的神学家也很难一面宣讲赎罪票的好处,又一面宣讲真心痛悔的必要。
(40)真实的痛悔寻找并爱慕补赎;滥发赎罪票,却使人疏忽并厌恶补赎,或至少使人有这种倾向。
(41)教皇的赎罪票宜小心加以宣讲,免得人们误解,以为它们比其它爱的行为更为可取。
(42)基督徒须知,教皇并无意将购买赎罪票一事与慈善的行为相比。
(43)基督徒须知,赒济穷人,或贷款给缺乏的人,比购买赎罪票好得多。
(44)因为爱的行为使爱心增长,也使一个人变好些,但赎罪票不能使人变好些,仅能使人避免惩罚。
(45)基督徒须知,人若看见弟兄困苦,不予援助,反用他的钱购买赎罪票,他所得的,并不是教皇的赦免,而是上帝的忿怒。
(46)基督徒须知,他们除非有很多的余款,就应该把钱留作家庭必需的开支,决不可浪费在购赎罪票上。
(47)基督徒须知,他们购买赎罪票,乃是出于自择,而不是出于命令。
(48)基督徒须知,教皇颁发赎罪票,渴望(因他更需要)他们为他的虔诚祈祷,甚于他们所带来的金钱。
(49)基督徒须知,他们若不信靠赎罪票,赎罪票便是有用的,但他们若因赎罪票而丧失了对上帝的敬畏心,赎罪票便是最有害的。
(50)基督徒须知,教皇若知道那些宣讲赎罪票者的榨取,他是宁愿让圣彼得堂化为灰烬,而不愿用他羊群的皮,肉,和骨去从事建筑的。
(51)基督徒须知,教皇宁愿(照他的责任)把他自己的钱赐给许多被骗购买赎罪票的穷人,即令把圣彼得堂拍卖,也在所不惜。
(52)靠赎罪票得救,乃是虚空的,即令教皇的代表,甚或教皇本身,用灵魂来作担保,也是如此。
(53)那些为求宣讲赎罪票而叫其它教堂不得宣讲上帝道之人,乃是基督和教皇的敌人。
(54)在同一次讲道中,若讲赎罪票比讲上帝的道花相等或更长的时间,便是亏负了上帝的道。
(55)教皇的意思必然是:如果为庆祝颁发赎罪票这件最小的事,要鸣一个钟,举行简单的游行和仪式,那么为宣讲福音这件最大的事,就应鸣一百个钟,举行一百个游行和仪式。
(56)教皇颁发赎罪票所凭借的教会宝藏,在基督的子民中间,既未充分加指定,也未被认识。
(57)显然至少它们不是世上的宝藏,因为这许多赎罪票贩子不会散发而只会积攒世上的宝藏。
(58)它们也不是基督和圣徒的功德,因为这种功德,虽没有教皇相助,也使人内心得恩典,并将肉体钉在十字架上,使它死灭。
(59)圣劳伦斯(St. Lawrence)说,教会的穷人便是教会的宝藏,但他如此说,乃是用当时的说法。
(60)我们很可以说,那由基督的功德所赐给教会的钥匙,便是那宝藏。
(61)因为显然要免除惩罚和那留给教皇审问的案件,只要有教皇的权柄便够。
(62)教会真宝藏乃是上帝荣耀和恩典的神圣福音。
(63)但这宝藏自然是最令人恨恶的,因为它使在前的成为在后的。
(64)反之,赎罪票的宝藏自然是最讨人喜欢的,因为它使在后的成为在前的。
(65)所以福音的宝藏是他们从前用以获得富人的网。
(66)赎罪票的宝藏是他们现在用以获得人的财富的网。
(67)赎罪票,照宣讲者所说的,是最大的恩典;其实所谓『最大』,不过是指它们为最大的牟利工具。
(68)实则它们若与上帝的恩典和人对十字架的虔敬相比,就微不足道了。
(69)主教和神甫必须礼恭必敬地接纳教皇赎罪票的代理人。
(70)但是他们更必须运用耳目,好叫代理人不至于宣讲自己的幻梦,而不宣讲教皇的使命。
(71)若有人否认教皇赎罪票的效力,他应该受咒诅。
(72)但那反对赎罪票贩子的胡乱宣讲的人,乃是有福的。
(73)教皇对那些用图谋破坏赎罪票交易的人加以威胁,乃是适当的。
(74)但他对那些藉赎罪票为口实图谋破坏神圣之爱和真理的人,更要加以威胁。
(75)把教皇的赎罪票看得这么有效,甚至认为它们能赦免一个(假定那不可能的事)玷辱了圣母的人,这简直是疯狂的看法。
(76)反之,我们认为教皇的赎罪票,对最小之罪的罪债也不能除去。
(77)若说,纵使圣彼得现在是教皇,他也不能赐人更大的恩惠,这便是诽谤了圣彼得和教皇。
(78)反之,我们说,现在的教皇或任何教皇都有更大的恩惠,即福音,德行,和医病的恩赐等等,如哥林多前书十二章所写的。
(79)说那,饰以教皇徽号的十字架,是与基督的十字架同样有效,这是亵渎。
(80)那容许这种说法在民间传播的主教,神甫,和神学家,是必得向上帝交帐的。
(81)这种对赎罪劵的荒谬宣传,使得那些纵有学问的人,对于大家对教皇的尊敬,也确实感到困难;对于俗人的怀疑和非难更难以回答。
(82)他们要问:教皇若为得钱以建立一个教堂的小理由而救赎无数的灵魂,他何不为神圣的爱和灵魂的痛苦的大理由而使炼狱空虚呢?
(83)既然为得赎者祈祷是错误的,那么为甚么还继续给死者举行安灵弥撒呢?教皇又为甚么不退还或准许收回为他们所设立的基金呢?
(84)他们为得钱的缘故,就让一个不虔敬并作他们的仇敌的人,把一个作上帝之友的虔敬灵魂从炼狱里买出来,却不为纯洁之爱的缘故,因鉴于那虔敬和可爱的灵魂本身的所受痛苦而将他赎出来,这是上帝和教皇所定甚么样的虔敬呢?
(85)惩罚教条既因久不用而失效,人为何还要用钱买赎罪票来免除这种教条所定的惩罚,彷佛这种教条还是十足有效呢?
(86)教皇的财富今日远超过最富有者的财富,他为建筑一个圣彼得堂,为何不用自己的钱,而要用贫穷信徒的钱呢?
(87)教皇对那些因完全痛悔而有权得全赦的人,有甚么可赦免的呢?
(88)如果教皇把现在每天只作一次的作一百次,即把这些赦免和特赦颁给每个信徒,那么教会所得的福岂有比这更大的呢?
(89)如果教皇现在颁发赎罪票,是为拯救灵魂,而不是为得钱,那么以前所颁发的赎罪票既是同样有效,他为甚么把它们搁置呢?
(90)对平信徒的这些论点和疑问仅用教皇权来压服,而不用理智来解答,乃是使教会和教皇受敌人耻笑,并使基督徒不愉快。
(91)所以赎罪票若是按照教皇的意旨和精神宣讲的,那么这一切疑问便都要迎刃而解,而且根本就不会发生。
(92)因此那些向基督徒说:『平安,平安』,实则没有平安的先知滚开去罢!
(93)那些向基督徒说:『十字架,十字架』,而自己不背十字架的先知,永别了!
(94)基督徒应当听劝,努力跟从他们的头基督,经历痛苦,死亡,和地狱。
(95)所以他们进入天堂,要靠经历许多艰难,而不靠人平安的保证。
5原文

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.
In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.
2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.
3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.
4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.
6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God’s remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.
7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.
8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.
10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.
11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.
12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.
13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.
14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.
15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.
16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.
17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.
18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.
19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.
20. Therefore by “full remission of all penalties” the pope means not actually “of all,” but only of those imposed by himself.
21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope’s indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;
22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.
23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.
24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.
25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.
26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.
27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].
28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.
29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.
30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.
31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.
32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.
33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;
34. For these “graces of pardon” concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.
35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.
36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.
37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.
38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.
39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.
40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].
41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.
42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.
43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;
44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.
45. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.
46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.
47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.
48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.
49. Christians are to be taught that the pope’s pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.
50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.
51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope’s wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.
52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.
53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.
54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.
55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.
56. The “treasures of the Church,” out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.
57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.
58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.
59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church’s poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.
60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ’s merit, are that treasure;
61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.
62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.
63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.
64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.
66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.
67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the “greatest graces” are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.
68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.
69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.
70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.
71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!
72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!
73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.
74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.
75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God — this is madness.
76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.
77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.
78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.
79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.
80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.
81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.
82. To wit: — “Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial.”
83. Again: — “Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”
84. Again: — “What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul’s own need, free it for pure love’s sake?”
85. Again: — “Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?”
86. Again: — “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?”
87. Again: — “What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?”
88. Again: — “What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?”
89. “Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?”
90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.
91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.
92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace!
93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!
94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;
95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

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