Melanchthon Assumes Luther’s Mantle & Protests the Council of Trent

Melanchthon, Philip. (1497-1560)

Ursache Warumb die gemainde und Kirchen Christi ungegrünten Concilien nit sollen stadt geben, sonder bey der Bibel, das ist bey dem rainen Wort Gottes, festhalten und bleyben, auss Latein Ph. Mel. verdeutschet durch Justum Jonam Doct.

Regenspurg: Hans Khol, 1553


Quarto: 20.5 x 15 cm. [88] pp. A-L4


Modern paste-paper boards. A very nice copy with just a few instances of light soiling.

This is the German-language edition, translated by Justus Jonas the Elder, of Melanchthon’s “Causae quare et amplexae sint, et retinendam ducant doctrinam, quam profitentur, ecclesiae, quae Confessionem Augustae exhibitam imperatori sequuntur & quare iniquis iudicibus, collectis in synodo Tridentina, ut vocant, non sit adsentiendum”(1546), a work in which he defends the Augsburg Confession and condemns the newly convened Council of Trent.

On February 18, 1546, only a few weeks after the Council had commenced, Luther died. Bugenhagen preached the funeral sermon in the vernacular at Wittenberg and Melanchthon gave a memorial address in Latin. At the diet of Regensburg, Charles V declared war on the ‘heretics’. It was under these circumstances that Melanchthon became the most prominent and compelling voice of the Protestant movement.

“The chief points of Melanchthon’s argument are: 1. One should obey God rather than man; 2. The pope has no authority to convene a council; 3. The Bible, and the Bible only, can be used in determining what is Christian faith; 4. The warrant for the truth of Protestant teaching is to be found in the fact that it is held by thousands; 5. Inasmuch as laymen are excluded from the Council of Trent, it cannot be said to be a general council; 6. The place of assembling is itself a circumstance calculated to excite distrust; 7. Nothing good can be expected from the bishops assembled there, for they know as little of the teachings of Christ as the asses upon which they ride.

VD 16 M 2656 (four copies only); Hartfelder p. 609, no. 517; Knaake 637; Strobel 273