In June 1536, Pope Paul III announced that an ecumenical council would be held in Mantua in May
1537, to deal with the concerns of the Protestants. In late 1536, at the request of the prince of
Saxony, Luther wrote the Smalcald Articles to indicate which points Lutherans would stand
firm and why and on which points a compromise might be possible. The articles were never used for
their intended purpose but were valued for their statement of evangelical doctrine.
Luther's preface to the Smalcald Articles
Since Pope Paul III convoked a Council last year, to assemble at Mantua about Whitsuntide, and afterwards
transferred it from Mantua, so that it is not yet known where he will or can fix it, and we on our part
either had to expect that we would be summoned also to the Council or [to fear that we would] be condemned
unsummoned, I was directed to compile and collect the articles of our doctrine [in order that it might be
plain] in case of deliberation as to what and how far we would be both willing and able to yield to the
Papists, and in what points we intended to persevere and abide to the end.
I have accordingly compiled these articles and presented them to our side. They have also been accepted
and unanimously confessed by our side, and it has been resolved that, in case the Pope with his adherents
should ever be so bold as seriously and in good faith, without lying and cheating, to hold a truly free
[legitimate] Christian Council (as, indeed, he would be in duty bound to do), they be publicly delivered
in order to set forth the Confession of our Faith.
But though the Romish court is so dreadfully afraid of a free Christian Council, and shuns the light
so shamefully, that it has [entirely] removed, even from those who are on its side, the hope that it
will ever permit a free Council, much less that it will itself hold one, whereat, as is just, they [many
Papists] are greatly offended and have no little trouble on that account [are disgusted with this
negligence of the Pope], since they notice thereby that the Pope would rather see all Christendom perish
and all souls damned than suffer either himself or his adherents to be reformed even a little, and his
[their] tyranny to be limited, nevertheless I have determined meanwhile to publish these articles in
plain print, so that, should I die before there would be a Council (as I fully expect and hope, because
the knaves who flee the light and shun the day take such wretched pains to delay and hinder the Council),
those who live and remain after me may have my testimony and confession to produce, in addition to the
Confession which I have issued previously, whereby up to this time I have abided, and, by God's grace,
For what shall I say? How shall I complain? I am still living, writing, preaching, and lecturing daily;
[and] yet there are found such spiteful men, not only among the adversaries, but also false brethren that
profess to be on our side, as dare to cite my writings and doctrine directly against myself, and let me
look on and listen, although they know well that I teach otherwise, and as wish to adorn their venom with
my labor, and under my name to [deceive and] mislead the poor people. [Good God!] Alas! what first will
happen when I am dead?
Indeed, I ought to reply to everything while I am still living. But, again, how can I alone stop all
the mouths of the devil? especially of those (as they all are poisoned) who will not hear or notice what
we write, but solely exercise themselves with all diligence how they may most shamefully pervert and
corrupt our word in every letter. These I let the devil answer, or at last Gods wrath, as they deserve.
I often think of the good Gerson who doubts whether anything good should be [written and] published.
If it is not done, many souls are neglected who could be delivered: but if it is done, the devil is
there with malignant, villainous tongues without number which envenom and pervert everything, so that
nevertheless the fruit [the usefulness of the writings] is prevented. Yet what they gain thereby is
manifest. For while they have lied so shamefully against us and by means of lies wished to retain the
people, God has constantly advanced His work, and been making their following ever smaller and ours
greater, and by their lies has caused and still causes them to be brought to shame.
I must tell a story. There was a doctor sent here to Wittenberg from France, who said publicly
before us that his king was sure and more than sure, that among us there is no church, no magistrate,
no married life, but all live promiscuously as cattle, and each one does as he pleases. Imagine now,
how will those who by their writings have instilled such gross lies into the king and other countries
as the pure truth, look at us on that day before the judgment-seat of Christ? Christ, the Lord and
Judge of us all, knows well that they lie and have [always] lied, His sentence they in turn, must hear;
that I know certainly. God convert to repentance those who can be converted! Regarding the rest it
will be said, Woe, and, alas! eternally.
But to return to the subject. I verily desire to see a truly Christian Council [assembled some time],
in order that many matters and persons might be helped. Not that we need It, for our churches are now,
through God's grace, so enlightened and equipped with the pure Word and right use of the Sacraments,
with knowledge of the various callings and of right works, that we on our part ask for no Council, and
on such points have nothing better to hope or expect from a Council. But we see in the bishoprics
everywhere so many parishes vacant and desolate that one's heart would break, and yet neither the
bishops nor canons care how the poor people live or die, for whom nevertheless Christ has died, and
who are not permitted to hear Him speak with them as the true Shepherd with His sheep. This causes me
to shudder and fear that at some time He may send a council of angels upon Germany utterly destroying
us, like Sodom and Gomorrah, because we so wantonly mock Him with the Council.
Besides such necessary ecclesiastical affairs, there would be also in the political estate innumerable
matters of great importance to improve. There is the disagreement between the princes and the states;
usury and avarice have burst in like a flood, and have become lawful [are defended with a show of right];
wantonness, lewdness, extravagance in dress, gluttony, gambling, idle display, with all kinds of bad
habits and wickedness, insubordination of subjects, of domestics and laborers of every trade, also the
exactions [and most exorbitant selling prices] of the peasants (and who can enumerate all?) have so
increased that they cannot be rectified by ten Councils and twenty Diets. If such chief matters of
the spiritual and worldly estates as are contrary to God would be considered in the Council, they
would have all hands so full that the child's play and absurdity of long gowns [official insignia],
large tonsures, broad cinctures [or sashes], bishops' or cardinals' hats or maces, and like jugglery
would in the mean time be forgotten. If we first had performed God's command and order in the spiritual
and secular estate we would find time enough to reform food, clothing, tonsures, and surplices. But if
we want to swallow such camels, and, instead, strain at gnats, let the beams stand and judge the motes,
we also might indeed be satisfied with the Council.
Therefore I have presented few articles; for we have without this so many commands of God to observe
in the Church, the state and the family that we can never fulfil them. What, then, is the use, or what
does it profit that many decrees and statutes thereon are made in the Council, especially when these
chief matters commanded of God are neither regarded nor observed? Just as though He were bound to honor
our jugglery as a reward of our treading His solemn commandments under foot. But our sins weigh upon
us and cause God not to be gracious to us; for we do not repent, and, besides, wish to defend every
O Lord Jesus Christ, do Thou Thyself convoke a Council, and deliver Thy servants by Thy glorious
advent! The Pope and his adherents are done for; they will have none of Thee. Do Thou, then, help us,
who are poor and needy, who sigh to Thee, and beseech Thee earnestly, according to the grace which Thou
hast given us, through Thy Holy Ghost who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Father, blessed forever.
THE FIRST PART
Treats of the Sublime Articles Concerning the Divine Majesty, as:
I. That Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three distinct persons in one divine essence and nature,
are one God, who has created heaven and earth.
II. That the Father is begotten of no one; the Son of the Father; the Holy Ghost proceeds
from Father and Son.
III. That not the Father nor the Holy Ghost but the Son became man.
IV. That the Son became man in this manner, that He was conceived, without the cooperation
of man, by the Holy Ghost, and was born of the pure, holy [and always] Virgin Mary. Afterwards He
suffered, died, was buried, descended to hell, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, sits at the
right hand of God, will come to judge the quick and the dead, etc., as the Creed of the Apostles,
as well as that of St. Athanasius, and the Catechism in common use for children, teach.
Concerning these articles there is no contention or dispute, since we on both sides confess them.
Therefore it is not necessary now to treat further of them.
THE SECOND PART
Treats of the Articles which Refer to the Office and Work
of Jesus Christ,
or Our Redemption.
The first and chief article is this,
That Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins, and was raised again for our justification,
And He alone is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, John 1, 29; and God has
laid upon Him the iniquities of us all, Is. 53:6.
Likewise: All have sinned and are justified without merit [freely, and without their own works
or merits] by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood, Rom. 3:23f.
Now, since it is necessary to believe this, and it cannot be otherwise acquired or apprehended
by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us as St. Paul
says, Rom. 3:28, For we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law.
Likewise 3:26, That He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Christ.
Of this article nothing can be yielded or surrendered [nor can anything be granted or permitted
contrary to the same], even though heaven and earth, and whatever will not abide, should sink to
ruin. For there is none other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved, says
Peter, Acts 4:12. And with His stripes we are healed, Is. 53:5. And upon this article all things
depend which we teach and practice in opposition to the Pope, the devil, and the [whole] world.
Therefore, we must be sure concerning this doctrine, and not doubt; for otherwise all is lost, and
the Pope and devil and all things gain the victory and suit over us.
Article II: Of the Mass.
That the Mass in the Papacy must be the greatest and most horrible abomination, as it directly
and powerfully conflicts with this chief article, and yet above and before all other popish idolatries
it has been the chief and most specious. For it has been held that this sacrifice or work of the
Mass, even though it be rendered by a wicked [and abandoned] scoundrel, frees men from sins, both
in this life and also in purgatory, while only the Lamb of God shall and must do this, as has been
said above. Of this article nothing is to be surrendered or conceded, because the first article does
not allow it.
If, perchance, there were reasonable Papists we might speak moderately and in a friendly way,
thus: first, why they so rigidly uphold the Mass. For it is but a pure invention of men, and has
not been commanded by God; and every invention of man we may [safely] discard, as Christ declares,
Matt. 15:9, In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Secondly. It is an unnecessary thing, which can be omitted without sin and danger.
Thirdly. The Sacrament can be received in a better and more blessed way [more acceptable to God],
(yea, the only blessed way), according to the institution of Christ. Why, then, do they drive the
world to woe and [extreme] misery on account of a fictitious, unnecessary matter, which can be well
obtained in another and more blessed way?
Let [care be taken that] it be publicly preached to the people that the Mass as men's twaddle
[commentitious affair or human figment] can be omitted without sin, and that no one will be condemned
who does not observe it, but that he can be saved in a better way without the Mass. I wager [Thus
it will come to pass] that the Mass will then collapse of itself, not only among the insane [rude]
common people, but also among all pious, Christian, reasonable, God-fearing hearts; and that the
more, when they would hear that the Mass is a [very] dangerous thing, fabricated and invented without
the will and Word of God.
Fourthly. Since such innumerable and unspeakable abuses have arisen in the whole world from the
buying and selling of masses, the Mass should by right be relinquished, if for no other purpose
than to prevent abuses, even though in itself it had something advantageous and good. How much more
ought we to relinquish it, so as to prevent [escape] forever these horrible abuses, since it is
altogether unnecessary, useless, and dangerous, and we can obtain everything by a more necessary,
profitable, and certain way without the Mass.
Fifthly. But since the Mass is nothing else and can be nothing else (as the Canon and all books
declare), than a work of men (even of wicked scoundrels), by which one attempts to reconcile
himself and others to God, and to obtain and merit the remission of sins and grace (for thus the
Mass is observed when it is observed at the very best; otherwise what purpose would it serve?), for
this very reason it must and should [certainly] be condemned and rejected. For this directly conflicts
with the chief article, which says that it is not a wicked or a godly hireling of the Mass with his
own work, but the Lamb of God and the Son of God, that taketh away our sins.
But if any one should advance the pretext that as an act of devotion he wishes to
administer the Sacrament, or Communion, to himself, he is not in earnest [he would commit a great
mistake, and would not be speaking seriously and sincerely]. For if he wishes to commune in sincerity,
the surest and best way for him is in the Sacrament administered according to Christ's institution.
But that one administer communion to himself is a human notion, uncertain, unnecessary, yea, even
prohibited. And he does not know what he is doing, because without the Word of God he obeys a false
human opinion and invention. So, too, it is not right (even though the matter were otherwise
correct) for one to use the common Sacrament of [belonging to] the Church according to his own private
devotion, and without God s Word and apart from the communion of the Church to trifle therewith.
This article concerning the Mass will be the whole business of the Council. [The Council
will perspire most over, and be occupied with this article concerning the Mass.] For if it were
[although it would be] possible for them to concede to us all the other articles, yet they could not
concede this. As Campegius said at Augsburg that he would be torn to pieces before he would relinquish
the Mass, so, by the help of God, I, too, would suffer myself to be reduced to ashes before I would
allow a hireling of the Mass, be he good or bad, to be made equal to Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior,
or to be exalted above Him. Thus we are and remain eternally separated and opposed to one another.
They feel well enough that when the Mass falls, the Papacy lies in ruins. Before they will permit
this to occur, they will put us all to death if they can.
In addition to all this, this dragon's tail, [I mean] the Mass, has begotten a numerous
vermin-brood of manifold idolatries.
First, purgatory. Here they carried their trade into purgatory by masses for souls,
and vigils, and weekly, monthly, and yearly celebrations of obsequies, and finally by the Common
Week and All Souls Day, by soul-baths so that the Mass is used almost alone for the dead, although
Christ has instituted the Sacrament alone for the living. Therefore purgatory, and every solemnity,
rite, and commerce connected with it, is to be regarded as nothing but a specter of the devil. For
it conflicts with the chief article [which teaches] that only Christ, and not the works of men, are
to help [set free] souls. Not to mention the fact that nothing has been [divinely] commanded or
enjoined upon us concerning the dead. Therefore all this may be safely omitted, even if it were no
error and idolatry.
The Papists quote here Augustine and some of the Fathers who are said to have written
concerning purgatory, and they think that we do not understand for what purpose and to what end they
spoke as they did. St. Augustine does not write that there is a purgatory nor has he a testimony
of Scripture to constrain him thereto, but he leaves it in doubt whether there is one, and says that
his mother asked to be remembered at the altar or Sacrament. Now, all this is indeed nothing but
the devotion of men, and that, too, of individuals, and does not establish an article of faith, which
is the prerogative of God alone.
Our Papists, however, cite such statements [opinions] of men in order that men should
believe in their horrible, blasphemous, and cursed traffic in masses for souls in purgatory [or in
sacrifices for the dead and oblations], etc. But they will never prove these things from Augustine.
Now, when they have abolished the traffic in masses for purgatory, of which Augustine never dreamt,
we will then discuss with them whether the expressions of Augustine without Scripture [being without
the warrant of the Word] are to be admitted, and whether the dead should be remembered at the Eucharist.
For it will not do to frame articles of faith from the works or words of the holy Fathers;
otherwise their kind of fare, of garments, of house, etc., would have to become an article of faith,
as was done with relics. [We have, however, another rule, namely] The rule is: The Word of God shall
establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel.
Secondly. From this it has followed that evil spirits have perpetrated much knavery
[exercised their malice] by appearing as the souls of the departed, and with unspeakable [horrible]
lies and tricks demanded masses, vigils, pilgrimages, and other alms. All of which we had
to receive as articles of faith, and to live accordingly; and the Pope confirmed these things, as also
the Mass and all other abominations. Here, too, there is no [cannot and must not be any] yielding or
Thirdly. [Hence arose] the pilgrimages. Here, too, masses, the remission of sins and
the grace of God were sought, for the Mass controlled everything. Now it is indeed certain that such
pilgrimages, without the Word of God, have not been commanded us, neither are they necessary, since
we can have these things [the soul can be cared for] in a better way, and can omit these pilgrimages
without any sin and danger. Why therefore do they leave at home [desert] their own parish [their called
ministers, their parishes], the Word of God, wives, children, etc., who are ordained and [attention to
whom is necessary and has been] commanded, and run after these unnecessary, uncertain, pernicious
will-o'-the-wisps of the devil [and errors]? Unless the devil was riding [made insane] the
Pope, causing him to praise and establish these practices, whereby the people again and again revolted
from Christ to their own works, and became idolaters, which is worst of all; moreover, it is neither
necessary nor commanded, but is senseless and doubtful, and besides harmful. Hence here, too, there
can be no yielding or surrendering [to yield or concede anything here is not lawful], etc.
And let this be preached, that such pilgrimages are not necessary, but dangerous; and then see what
will become of them. [For thus they will perish of their own accord.]
Fourthly. Fraternities [or societies], in which cloisters, chapters, vicars have assigned
and communicated (by a legal contract and sale) all masses and good works, etc., both for the living
and the dead. This is not only altogether a human bauble, without the Word of God, entirely unnecessary
and not commanded, but also contrary to the chief article, Of Redemption. Therefore it is in no way
to be tolerated.
Fifthly. The relics, in which there are found so many falsehoods and tomfooleries concerning
the bones of dogs and horses, that even the devil has laughed at such rascalities, ought long ago to have
been condemned, even though there were some good in them; and so much the more because they are without
the Word of God; being neither commanded nor counseled, they are an entirely unnecessary and useless
thing. But the worst is that [they have imagined that] these relics had to work indulgence
and the forgiveness of sins [and have revered them] as a good work and service of God, like the Mass,
Sixthly. Here belong the precious indulgences granted (but only for money) both to the
living and the dead, by which the miserable [sacrilegious and accursed] Judas, or Pope, has sold
the merit of Christ, together with the superfluous merits of all saints and of the entire Church,
etc. All these things [and every single one of them] are not to be borne, and are not only without
the Word of God, without necessity, not commanded, but are against the chief article. For the merit
of Christ is [apprehended and] obtained not by our works or pence, but from grace through faith,
without money and merit; and is offered [and presented] not through the power of the Pope, but through
the preaching of God's Word.
Of the Invocation of Saints.
The invocation of saints is also one of the abuses of Antichrist conflicting with the
chief article, and destroys the knowledge of Christ. Neither is it commanded nor counseled, nor has
it any example [or testimony] in Scripture, and even though it were a precious thing, as it is not
[while, on the contrary, it is a most harmful thing], in Christ we have everything a thousandfold
better [and surer, so that we are not in need of calling upon the saints].
And although the angels in heaven pray for us (as Christ Himself also does), as also
do the saints on earth, and perhaps also in heaven, yet it does not follow thence that we should
invoke and adore the angels and saints, and fast, hold festivals, celebrate Mass in their honor,
make offerings, and establish churches, altars, divine worship, and in still other ways serve them,
and regard them as helpers in need [as patrons and intercessors], and divide among them all kinds
of help, and ascribe to each one a particular form of assistance, as the Papists teach and do. For
this is idolatry, and such honor belongs alone to God. For as a Christian and saint upon
earth you can pray for me, not only in one, but in many necessities. But for this reason I am not
obliged to adore and invoke you, and celebrate festivals, fast, make oblations, hold masses for your
honor [and worship], and put my faith in you for my salvation. I can in other ways indeed honor,
love, and thank you in Christ. If now such idolatrous honor were withdrawn from angels
and departed saints, the remaining honor would be without harm and would quickly be forgotten. For
when advantage and assistance, both bodily and spiritual, are no more to be expected, the saints will
not be troubled [the worship of the saints will soon vanish], neither in their graves nor in heaven.
For without a reward or out of pure love no one will much remember, or esteem, or honor them [bestow
on them divine honor].
In short, the Mass itself and anything that proceeds from it, and anything that is
attached to it, we cannot tolerate, but must condemn, in order that we may retain the holy Sacrament
pure and certain, according to the institution of Christ, employed and received through faith.
Article III: Of Chapters and Cloisters.
That chapters and cloisters [colleges of canons and communistic dwellings], which were
formerly founded with the good intention [of our forefathers] to educate learned men and chaste [and
modest] women, ought again to be turned to such use, in order that pastors, preachers, and other
ministers of the churches may be had, and likewise other necessary persons [fitted] for [the political
administration of] the secular government [or for the commonwealth] in cities and countries, and
well-educated, maidens for mothers and housekeepers, etc.
If they will not serve this purpose, it is better that they be abandoned or razed, rather
than [continued and], with their blasphemous services invented by men, regarded as something better
than the ordinary Christian life and the offices and callings ordained by God. For all this also is
contrary to the first chief article concerning the redemption made through Jesus Christ. Add to this
that (like all other human inventions) these have neither been commanded; they are needless and
useless, and, besides, afford occasion for dangerous and vain labor [dangerous annoyances and fruitless
worship], such services as the prophets call Aven, i.e., pain and labor.
Article IV: Of the Papacy.
That the Pope is not, according to divine law or according to the Word of God the head
of all Christendom (for this [name] belongs to One only, whose name is Jesus Christ), but is only
the bishop and pastor of the Church at Rome, and of those who voluntarily or through a human creature
(that is, a political magistrate) have attached themselves to him, to be Christians, not under him
as a lord, but with him as brethren [colleagues] and comrades, as the ancient councils and the age
of St. Cyprian show.
But to-day none of the bishops dare to address the Pope as brother as was done at that
time [in the age of Cyprian]; but they must call him most gracious lord, even though they be kings
or emperors. This [Such arrogance] we will not, cannot, must not take upon our conscience [with a
good conscience approve]. Let him, however, who will do it, do so without us [at his own risk].
Hence it follows that all things which the Pope, from a power so false, mischievous,
blasphemous, and arrogant, has done and undertaken, have been and still are purely diabolical affairs
and transactions (with the exception of such things as pertain to the secular government, where
God often permits much good to be effected for a people, even through a tyrant and [faithless]
scoundrel) for the ruin of the entire holy [catholic or] Christian Church (so far as it is in his
power) and for the destruction of the first and chief article concerning the redemption made through
For all his bulls and books are extant, in which he roars like a lion (as the angel
in Rev. 12 depicts him, [crying out] that no Christian can be saved unless he obeys him and is subject
to him in all things that he wishes, that he says, and that he does. All of which amounts to nothing
less than saying: Although you believe in Christ, and have in Him [alone] everything that is necessary
to salvation, yet it is nothing and all in vain unless you regard [have and worship] me as your
god, and be subject and obedient to me. And yet it is manifest that the holy Church has been without
the Pope for at least more than five hundred years, and that even to the present day the churches
of the Greeks and of many other languages neither have been nor are yet under the Pope.
Besides, as often remarked, it is a human figment which is not commanded, and is unnecessary and
useless; for the holy Christian [or catholic] Church can exist very well without such a head, and
it would certainly have remained better [purer, and its career would have been more prosperous]
if such a head had not been raised up by the devil. And the Papacy is also of no use in
the Church, because it exercises no Christian office; and therefore it is necessary for the Church
to continue and to exist without the Pope.
And supposing that the Pope would yield this point, so as not to be supreme by divine
right or from Gods command, but that we must have [there must be elected] a [certain] head, to whom
all the rest adhere [as their support] in order that the [concord and] unity of Christians may be
preserved against sects and heretics, and that such a head were chosen by men, and that it were placed
within the choice and power of men to change or remove this head, just as the Council of Constance
adopted nearly this course with reference to the Popes, deposing three and electing a fourth; supposing,
I say, that the Pope and See at Rome would yield and accept this (which, nevertheless, is impossible;
for thus he would have to suffer his entire realm and estate to be overthrown and destroyed, with
all his rights and books, a thing which, to speak in few words, he cannot do), nevertheless, even
in this way Christianity would not be helped, but many more sects would arise than before.
For since men would have to be subject to this head, not from God's command, but from
their personal good pleasure, it would easily and in a short time be despised, and at last retain
no member; neither would it have to be forever confined to Rome or any other place, but it might be
wherever and in whatever church God would grant a man fit for the [taking upon him such a great]
office. Oh, the complicated and confused state of affairs [perplexity] that would result!
Therefore the Church can never be better governed and preserved than if we all live
under one head, Christ, and all the bishops equal in office (although they be unequal in gifts),
be diligently joined in unity of doctrine, faith, Sacraments, prayer, and works of love, etc., as
St. Jerome writes that the priests at Alexandria together and in common governed the churches, as
did also the apostles, and afterwards all bishops throughout all Christendom, until the Pope raised
his head above all.
This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Antichrist, who has exalted
himself above, and opposed himself against Christ because he will not permit Christians to be saved
without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God.
This is, properly speaking to exalt himself above all that is called God as Paul says,
2 Thess. 2:4. Even the Turks or the Tartars, great enemies of Christians as they are, do not do
this, but they allow whoever wishes to believe in Christ, and take bodily tribute and obedience
The Pope, however, prohibits this faith, saying that to be saved a person must obey
him. This we are unwilling to do, even though on this account we must die in God s name.
This all proceeds from the fact that the Pope has wished to be called the supreme head of the Christian
Church by divine right. Accordingly he had to make himself equal and superior to Christ, and had
to cause himself to be proclaimed the head and then the lord of the Church, and finally of the whole
world, and simply God on earth, until he has dared to issue commands even to the angels in heaven.
And when we distinguish the Pope's teaching from, or measure and hold it against, Holy
Scripture, it is found [it appears plainly] that the Pope's teaching, where it is best, has been
taken from the imperial and heathen law and treats of political matters and decisions or rights,
as the Decretals show; furthermore, it teaches of ceremonies concerning churches, garments, food,
persons and [similar] puerile, theatrical and comical things without measure, but in all these things
nothing at all of Christ, faith, and the commandments of God. Lastly, it is nothing else than the
devil himself, because above and against God he urges [and disseminates] his [papal] falsehoods
concerning masses, purgatory, the monastic life, one's own works and [fictitious] divine worship
(for this is the very Papacy [upon each of which the Papacy is altogether founded and is standing]),
and condemns, murders and tortures all Christians who do not exalt and honor these abominations [of
the Pope] above all things. Therefore, just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord
and God, we can endure his apostle, the Pope, or Antichrist, in his rule as head or lord. For to
lie and to kill, and to destroy body and soul eternally, that is wherein his papal government really
consists, as I have very clearly shown in many books.
In these four articles they will have enough to condemn in the Council. For they
cannot and will not concede us even the least point in one of these articles. Of this we should be
certain, and animate ourselves with [be forewarned and made firm in] the hope that Christ, our Lord,
has attacked His adversary, and he will press the attack home [pursue and destroy him] both by His
Spirit and coming. Amen.
For in the Council we will stand not before the Emperor or the political magistrate,
as at Augsburg (where the Emperor published a most gracious edict, and caused matters to be heard
kindly [and dispassionately]), but [we will appear] before the Pope and devil himself, who intends
to listen to nothing, but merely [when the case has been publicly announced] to condemn, to murder
and to force us to idolatry. Therefore we ought not here to kiss his feet, or to say: Thou art my
gracious lord, but as the angel in Zechariah 3:2 said to Satan: The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan.
Continued: THE THIRD PART OF THE ARTICLES