Read the following primary sources from Erasmus and Luther to answer the following questions:

1) Although Erasmus tried to avoid the Protestant Reformation and spoke down upon Lutheranism, and Martin Luther was the first to articulate the flaws of the organized role of the church, which of these two men had the more far-reaching impact on religion?

2) If it is true that "Erasmus laid the egg that Luther hatched," is it true that one of these two was the true instigator of the Protestant Reformation, or is it possibly that both are responsible for the Reformation and without the other, the Reformation would not have occurred?

IN PRAISE OF FOLLY (1509)

Desiderius Erasmus (ca. 1466-1536) was the leading intellectual light of the early sixteenth century. An orphan, Erasmus was educated in a monastery and became a monk. His intellectual gifts were so great that he was allowed to travel throughout the continent searching for ancient manuscripts and perfecting his skills as a linguist, philologist, and writer. His principal scholarly achievements, an edition of the Greek New Testament and of the Writings of Saint Jerome, were both published in 1516. But Erasmus was better known for his popular writings, especially his Adages and the satirical In Praise of Folly.

In Praise of Folly was written for Sir Thomas More, with whom Erasmus had made friends on his first trip to England. It is a spoof in which Folly demands praise for all of the ways of the world. It is under Folly's influence that people behave as they do and that institutions are organized with an upside-down logic. Erasmus was particularly scathing in his description of the state of religion and of the Catholic church. Historians are fond of saying that Erasmus laid the egg that Luther hatched.

The next to be placed among the regiment of fools are such as make a trade of telling or inquiring after incredible stories of miracles and prodigies: never doubting that a lie will choke them, they will muster up a thousand several strange relations of spirits, ghosts, apparitions, raising of the devil, and such like bugbears of superstition, which the farther they are from being probably true, the more greedily they are swallowed, and the more devoutly believed. And these absurdities do not only bring an empty pleasure, and cheap divertisement, but they are a good trade, and procure a comfortable income to such priests and friars as by this craft get their gain. To these again are nearly related such others as attribute strange virtues to the shrines and images of saints and martyrs, and so would make their credulous proselytes believe, that if they pay their devotion to St. Christopher in the morning, they shall be guarded and secured the day following from all dangers and misfortunes: if soldiers, when they first take arms, shall come and mumble over such a set prayer before the picture of St. Barbara, they shall return safe from all engagements: or if any pray to Erasmus on such particular holidays, with the ceremony of wax candles, and other fopperies, he shall in a short time be rewarded with a plentiful increase of wealth and riches.

The next to these are another sort of brain­sick fools, who style themselves monks and of religious orders, though they assume both titles very unjustly: for as to the last, they have very lit­tle religion in them; and as to the former, the ety­mology of the word monk implies a solitariness, or being alone; whereas they are so thick abroad that we cannot pass any street or alley without meeting them. Now I cannot imagine what one degree of men would be more hopelessly wretched, if I did not stand their friend, and buoy them up in that lake of misery, which by the engagements of a holy vow they have voluntarily immerged themselves in. But when this sort of men are so unwelcome to others, as that the very sight of them is thought ominous, I yet make them highly in love with themselves, and fond admirers of their own happiness. The first step whereunto they esteem a profound ignorance, thinking carnal knowledge a great enemy to their spiritual welfare, and seem confident of becoming greater proficients in divine mysteries the less they are poisoned with any human learn­ing. They imagine that they bear a sweet consort with the heavenly choir, when they tone out their daily tally of psalms, which they rehearse only by rote, without permitting their understanding or affections to go along with their voice.

Among these some make a good profitable trade of beggary, going about from house to house, not like the apostles, to break, but to beg, their bread; nay, thrust into all public-houses, come aboard the passage-boats, get into the travelling waggons, and omit no opportunity of time or place for the craving people's charity; doing a great deal of injury to common highway beggars by interloping in their traffic of alms. And when they are thus voluntarily poor, destitute, not pro­vided with two coats, nor with any money in their purse, they have the impudence to pretend that they imitate the first disciples, whom their master expressly sent out in such an equipage.

It is pretty to observe how they regulate all their actions as it were by weight and measure to so exact a proportion, as if the whole loss of their religion depended upon the omission of the least punctilio. Thus they must be very criti­cal in the precise number of knots to the tying on of their sandals; what distinct colors their respective habits, and what stuff made of; how broad and long their girdles; how big, and in what fashion, their hoods; whether their bald crowns be to a hair's-breadth of the right cut; how many hours they must sleep, at what minute rise to prayers, and so on. And these sev­eral customs are altered according to the humors of different persons and places. While they are sworn to the superstitious observance of these trifles, they do not only despise all oth­ers, but are very inclinable to fall out among themselves; for though they make profession of an apostolic charity, yet they will pick a quarrel, and be implacably passionate for such poor provocations, as the girting on a coat the wrong way, for the wearing of clothes a little too dark­ish colored or any such nicety not worth the speaking of.

Some are so obstinately superstitious that they will wear their upper garment of some coarse dog's hair stuff, and that next their skin as soft as silk: but others on the contrary will have linen frocks outermost, and their shirts of wool, or hair. Some again will not touch a piece of money, though they make no scruple of the sin of drunkenness, and the lust of the flesh. All their several orders are mindful of nothing more than of their being distinguished from each other by their different customs and habits. They seem indeed not so careful of becoming like Christ, and of being known to be his disci­ples, as the being unlike to one another, and distinguishable for followers of their several founders.

Most of them place their greatest stress for salvation on a strict conformity to their foppish ceremonies, and a belief of their legendary tra­ditions; wherein they fancy to have acquitted themselves with so much of supererogation, that one heaven can never be a condign reward for their meritorious life; little thinking that the Judge of all the earth at the last day shall put them off, with a who hath required these things at your hands; and call them to account only for the stewardship of his legacy, which was the pre­cept of love and charity. It will be pretty to hear their pleas before the great tribunal: one will brag how he mortified his carnal appetite by feeding only upon fish: another will urge that he spent most of his time on earth in the divine exercise of singing psalms: a third will tell how many days he fasted, and what severe penance he imposed on himself for the bringing his body into subjection: another shall produce in his own behalf as many ceremonies as would load a fleet of merchantmen: a fifth shall plead that in threescore years he never so much as touched a piece of money, except he fingered it through a thick pair of gloves: a sixth, to testify his former humility, shall bring along with him his sacred hood, so old and nasty, that any seaman had rather stand bare headed on the deck, than put it on to defend his ears in the sharpest storms: the next that comes to answer for himself shall plead, that for fifty years together, he had lived like a sponge upon the same place, and was con­tent never to change his homely habitation: another shall whisper softly, and tell the judge he has lost his voice by a continual singing of holy hymns and anthems: the next shall confess how he fell into a lethargy by a strict, reserved, and sedentary life: and the last shall intimate that he has forgot to speak, by having always kept silence, in obedience to the injunction of taking heed lest he should have offended with his tongue.

Now as to the popes of Rome, who pretend themselves Christ's vicars, if they would but imi­tate his exemplary life, in the being employed in an unintermitted course of preaching; in the being attended with poverty, nakedness, hunger, and a contempt of this world; if they did but consider the import of the word pope, which sig­nifies a father; or if they did but practice their surname of most holy, what order or degrees of men would be in a worse condition? There would be then no such vigorous making of par­ties, and buying of votes, in the conclave upon a vacancy of that see: and those who by bribery, or other indirect courses, should get themselves elected, would never secure their sitting firm in the chair by pistol, poison, force, and violence.

How much of their pleasure would be abat­ed if they were but endowed with one dram of wisdom? Wisdom, did I say? Nay, with one grain of that salt which our Savior bid them not lose the savor of. All their riches, all their honor, their jurisdictions, their Peter's patrimony, their offices, their dispensations, their licenses, their indulgences, their long train and attendants (see in how short a compass I have abbreviated all their marketing of religion); in a word, all their perquisites would be forfeited and lost; and in their room would succeed watchings, fast­ings, tears, prayers, sermons, hard studies, repenting sighs, and a thousand such like severe penalties: nay, what's yet more deplorable, it would then follow, that all their clerks, amanu­enses, notaries, advocates, proctors, secretaries, the offices of grooms, ostlers, serving-men, pimps (and somewhat else, which for modesty's sake I shall not mention); in short, all these troops of attendants, which depend on his holi­ness, would all lose their several employments. This indeed would be hard, but what yet remains would be more dreadful: the very Head of the Church, the spiritual prince, would then be brought from all his splendor to the poor equipage of a scrip and staff.

But all this is upon the supposition only that they understood what circumstances they are placed in; whereas now, by a wholesome neglect of thinking, they live as well as heart can wish: whatever of toil and drudgery belongs to their office that they assign over to St. Peter, or St. Paul, who have time enough to mind it; but if there be any thing of pleasure and grandeur, that they assume to themselves, as being hereun to called: so that by my influence no sort of peo­ple live more to their own ease and content. They think to satisfy that Master they pretend to serve, our Lord and Savior, with their great state and magnificence, with the ceremonies of installments, with the titles of reverence and holi­ness, and with exercising their episcopal func­tion only in blessing and cursing. The working of miracles is old and out-dated; to teach the people is too laborious; to interpret scripture is to invade the prerogative of the schoolmen; to pray is too idle; to shed tears is cowardly and unmanly; to fast is too mean and sordid; to be easy and familiar is beneath the grandeur of him, who, without being sued to and intreated, will scarce give princes the honor of kissing his toe; finally, to die for religion is too self-denying; and to be crucified as ,their Lord of Life, is base and ignominious.

Their only weapons ought to be those of the Spirit; and of these indeed they are mighty liber­al, as of their interdicts, their suspensions, their denunciations, their aggravations, their greater and lesser excommunications, and their roaring bulls, that fright whomever they are thundered against; and these most holy fathers never issue them out more frequently than against those, who, at the instigation of the devil, and not hav­ing the fear of God before their eyes, do felo­niously and maliciously attempt to lessen and impair St. Peter's patrimony: and though that apostle tells our Savior in the gospel, in the name of all the other disciples, we have left all, and followed you, yet they challenge as his inher­itance, fields, towns, treasures, and large domin­ions; for the defending whereof, inflamed with a holy zeal, they fight with fire and sword, to the great loss and effusion of Christian blood, think­ing they are apostolical maintainers of Christ's spouse, the church, when they have murdered all such as they call her enemies; though indeed the church has no enemies more bloody and tyrannical than such impious popes, who give dispensations for the not preaching of Christ; evacuate the main effect and design of our redemption by their pecuniary bribes and sales; adulterate the gospel by their forced interpreta­tions, and undermining traditions; and lastly, by their lusts and wickedness grieve the Holy Spirit, and make their Savior’s wounds to bleed anew.

Source:

 

Kishlansky, Mark A., ed.  Sources of the West. New York: Longman,      2003.

Ninety-Five Theses on the Power of Indulgences (1517)

The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power of Indulgences, commonly known as The Ninety-Five Theses, was written by Martin Luther and is widely regarded as the primary catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. Luther used these theses to display his displeasure with the Church's sale of indulgences, and this ultimately gave birth to Protestantism. Luther's popularity encouraged others to share their doubt with the Church and protest its medieval ways; it especially challenged the teachings of the Church on the nature of penance, the authority of the pope and the usefulness of indulgences. They sparked a theological debate that would result in the Reformation and the birth of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Anabaptist traditions within Christianity.

The background to Luther's 95 Theses centers on particular disputes with the Church dealing with the offering of indulgences — the granting of forgiveness — was being sold and thus the penance for sin was a commercial transaction instead of a genuine change of heart. In short, the practice of indulgences became somewhat commoditized (along with venerating holy relics) and then commercialized. So, instead of granting an indulgence as a remission of the penalty for breaking church law, making a confession, and then restoring whatever had been damaged - property or human relationships or other serious sins - an indulgence could be purchased. This was a gross violation of the original intention of confession, penance, and the role of indulgences, and contributed to what Luther felt was an offense to justification, a right relationship with God, or salvation, among Christians who were being falsely told that they could find absolution, that is, forgiveness of their sins, through the purchase of indulgences, rather than through the free gift of God's mercy offered in and through Jesus Christ.

The Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in the Holy Roman Empire, where the Ninety-five Theses famously appeared, held one of Europe's largest collections of religious artifacts, or holy relics. These had been piously collected by Frederick III. At that time pious veneration, or viewing, relics was purported to allow the viewer to receive relief from temporal punishment for sins in purgatory. By 1509 Frederick had over 5,000 relics, proportedly "including vials of the milk of the Virgin Mary, straw from the manger [of Jesus], and the body of one of the innocents massacred by King Herod."[1]

The relics were kept in reliquaries and exhibited once a year for the faithful to venerate. "In 1509, each devout visitor who donated toward the preservation of the Castle Church received an indulgence of one hundred days per relic." This would allow the person relief of 100 days in purgatory, and thus hasten their entry into highest heaven. By 1520 Frederick had increased his collection to over 19,000 relics, allowing pilgrims viewing them to receive an indulgence that would reduce their time in purgatory by 5,209 years.[1]

As part of a fund-raising campaign commissioned by Pope Leo X to finance the renovation of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Johann Tetzel a Dominican priest began the selling of indulgences in the German lands. Albert of Mainz (the Archbishop of Mainz) in Germany had borrowed heavily to pay for his high church rank and was deeply in debt. He agreed to allow the sale of the indulgences in his territory in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. Luther was apparently not aware of this. Even though Luther's prince, Frederick III, and the prince of the neighboring territory, George, Duke of Saxony, forbade the sale in their lands, Luther's parishioners traveled to purchase them. When these people came to confession, they presented their plenary indulgences which they had paid good silver money for, claiming they no longer had to repent of their sins, since the document promised to forgive all their sins. Luther was outraged that they had paid money for what was theirs by right a free gift from God. He felt compelled to expose the fraud that was being sold to the pious people. This exposure was to take place in the form of a public scholarly debate at the University of Wittenberg. The 95 Theses outlined the items to be discussed and issued the challenge to any and all comers.

 1.  When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, "Repent" (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

 

2.  This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

 

3.  Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

 

4.  The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

 

5.  The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.

 

6.  The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment.  If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.

 

7.  God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.

 

8.  The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

 

9.  Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

 

10.  Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.

 

11.  Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt 13:25).

 

12.  In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

 

13.  The dying are freed by death from all penalties, are already dead as far as the canon laws are concerned, and have a right to be released from them.

 

14.  Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear.

 

15.  This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, 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 the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.

 

17.  It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.

 

18.  Furthermore, it does not seem proved, either by reason or by Scripture, that souls in purgatory are outside the state of merit, that is, unable to grow in love.

 

19.  Nor does it seem proved that souls in purgatory, at least not all of them, are certain and assured of their own salvation, even if we ourselves may be entirely certain of it.

 

20.  Therefore the pope, when he uses the words "plenary remission of all penalties," does not actually mean "all penalties," but only those imposed by himself.

 

21.  Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.

 

22.  As a matter of fact, the pope remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to canon law, they should have paid in this life.

 

23.  If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all, certainly it would be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to very few.

 

24.  For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.

 

25.  That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish.

 

26.  The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them.

 

27.  They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.

 

28.  It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone.

 

29.  Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed, since we have exceptions in St. Severinus and St. Paschal, as related in a legend.

 

30.  No one is sure of the integrity of his own contrition, much less of having received plenary remission.

 

31.  The man who actually buys indulgences is as rare as he who is really penitent; indeed, he is exceedingly rare.

 

32.  Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.

 

33.  Men must especially be on 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 the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.

 

35.  They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristian doctrine.

 

36.  Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.

 

37.  Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.

 

38.  Nevertheless, papal remission and blessing are by no means to be disregarded, for they are, as I have said (Thesis 6), the proclamation of the divine remission.

 

39.  It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the bounty of indulgences and the need of true contrition.

 

40.  A Christian who is truly contrite seeks and loves to pay penalties for his sins; the bounty of indulgences, however, relaxes penalties and causes men to hate them -- at least it furnishes occasion for hating them.

 

41.  Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.

 

42.  Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend that the buying of indulgences should in any way be compared with works of mercy.

 

43.  Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.

 

44.  Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better.  Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.

 

45.  Christians are to be taught that he who sees a needy man and passes him by, yet gives his money for indulgences, does not buy papal indulgences but God's wrath.

 

46.  Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.

 

47.  Christians are to be taught that they buying of indulgences is a matter of free choice, not commanded.

 

48.  Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting indulgences, needs and thus desires their devout prayer more than their money.

 

49.  Christians are to be taught that papal indulgences are useful only if they do not put their trust in them, but very harmful if they lose their fear of God because of them.

 

50.  Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.

 

51.  Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.

 

52.  It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence letters, even though the indulgence commissary, or even the pope, were to offer his soul as security.

 

53.  They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others.

 

54.  Injury is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or larger amount of time is devoted to indulgences than to the Word.

 

55.  It is certainly the pope's sentiment that if indulgences, which are a very insignificant thing, are celebrated with one bell, one procession, and one ceremony, then the gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56.  The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ.

 

57.  That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them.

 

58.  Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, for, even without the pope, the latter always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outer man.

 

59.  St. Lawrence said that the poor of the church were the treasures of the church, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

 

60.  Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.

 

61.  For it is clear that the pope's power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.

 

62.  The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.

 

63.  But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Mt. 20:16).

 

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 one formerly fished for men of wealth.

 

66.  The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.

 

67.  The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.

 

68.  They are nevertheless in truth the most insignificant graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.

 

69.  Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of papal indulgences with all reverence.

 

70.  But they are much more bound to strain their eyes and ears lest these men preach their own dreams instead of what the pope has commissioned.

 

71.  Let him who speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.

 

72.  But let him who guards against the lust and license of the indulgence preachers be blessed.

 

73.  Just as the pope justly thunders against those who by any means whatever contrive harm to the sale of indulgences.

 

74.  Much more does he intend to thunder against those who use indulgences as a pretext to contrive harm to holy love and truth.

 

75.  To consider papal indulgences so great that they could absolve a man even if he had done the impossible and had violated the mother of God is madness.

 

76.  We say on the contrary that papal indulgences cannot remove the very least of venial sins as far as guilt is concerned.

 

77.  To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.

 

78.  We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written, 1 Co 12[:28].

 

79.  To say that the cross emblazoned with the papal coat of arms, and set up by the indulgence preachers is equal in worth to the cross of Christ is blasphemy.

 

80.  The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this.

 

81.  This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult even for learned men to rescue the reverence which is due the pope from slander or from the shrewd questions of the laity.

 

82.  Such as: "Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and 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 reason would be most just; the latter is most trivial.

 

83.  Again, "Why are funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continued and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded for them, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?"

 

84.  Again, "What is this new piety of God and the pope that for a consideration of money they permit 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 the need of that pious and beloved soul, free it for pure love's sake?"

 

85.  Again, "Why are the penitential canons, long since abrogated and dead in actual fact and through disuse, 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 today greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?"

 

87.  Again, "What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?"

 

88.  Again, "What greater blessing could come to the church than if the pope were to bestow these remissions and blessings on every believer a hundred times a day, as he now does but once?"

 

89.  "Since the pope seeks the salvation of souls rather than money by his indulgences, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons previously granted  when they have equal efficacy?"

 

90.  To repress these very sharp arguments 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, indulgences were preached according to the spirit and intention of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved. Indeed, 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! (Jer 6:14)

 

93.  Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross!

 

94.  Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.

 

95.  And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).

 

Source: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/luther95.txt