While these events were passing, Francis Enzinas was working at Wittenberg under the eye of Melanchthon at his translation of the New Testament. The work was at last completed, and there remained only to print it and send it to Spain. For this purpose Enzinas was to go to Antwerp. He set off, therefore, from Wittenberg in the month of January 1543, just after his friend San Romano had been confined in the dungeons of Valladolid. He first proceeded, by very bad roads, and in the midst of winter, to Embden, where he wished to see John Alasco. ‘We conferred on several matters, which he has no doubt communicated to you,’ wrote Francis to Melanchthon. Thence he went to the convent of Adnard, in the neighborhood of Groningen; where Hardenberg then was. This man’s regard for the gospel had abated, and he had determined to pass the rest of his days in peace in his convent. Enzinas endeavored to induce him openly to profess the doctrine of the gospel. In this he succeeded. Hardenberg left the convent and went to Cologne. Francis went to Louvain, where he arrived in March 1543. f105 The moment was not favorable. The Inquisition and the secular power itself were both preparing their terrors. There was an under-current of agitation in the city; hatred or fear was everywhere rife. Enzinas had many friends in the city; but knowing that he came from Wittenberg, and pretending that he ‘smelt of sulfur,’ those with whom he was most intimate, far from lavishing on him marks of tender affection, as formerly, remained mute and trembled in his presence. He well understood the reason. The very day after his arrival, the Attorney-General, Peter du Fief, cast into prison, as we have seen elsewhere, all of the evangelical party who fell into his hands. An uncle whom Enzinas had at Antwerp, Don Diego Ortega, invited him to go and see him, and he was received in that town with open arms. At this period he was alternately at Antwerp, Brussels, and Louvain.
The persecution which had befallen a great number of his friends now absorbed all his thoughts; but when the storm had somewhat abated, his project of translating his Spanish translation of the New Testament again engaged his attention. Being modest, as distinguished men generally are, he felt some hesitation when he considered how great an enterprise it was, especially for a young man like himself. ‘I do not wish,’ he said, ‘to accomplish this work in obedience to my own impulse alone.’ He therefore consulted several men belonging to different nations and eminent for their learning and wisdom. All of them approved his project, and begged him to hasten the printing. ‘Since the birth of Jesus Christ,’ say some of the monks, even among the superstitious, ‘so great a benefit has never been offered to the Spanish people.’ ‘I could wish,’ said another, ‘to see that book printed, were it even with my own blood.’ f106a Enzinas took another step even more humble, and which might have compromised him.
It was necessary that theological books should receive the sanction of the faculty of theology. ‘Assuredly,’ said Enzinas, ‘this was never required, nor ought to be required, for the Holy Scriptures. But no matter. He sent his translation to the dean of Louvain by a monk of his acquaintance. The members of the faculty, after conferring together, replied, ‘We do not know Spanish; but we know that every heresy in the Netherlands proceeded from reading the sacred book in the vulgar tongue. It would, therefore, be advisable not to furnish the common people in Spain with an opportunity of refuting the decrees of the Church by the words of Jesus Christ, the prophets, and the apostles. But since the emperor has not forbidden it, we give neither permission nor prohibition.’ The reply was at least candid and ingenuous.
Enzinas did not pay much regard to the advice of the theologians of Louvain; but the work would have had a much larger circulation if it had been sent out under their sanction. Now both prudence and zeal incited him to do everything to ensure the success of his enterprise. Having met with this refusal, he contented himself with communicating his manuscript to Spanish scholars, who declared that they had collated the most important passages, and had found the translation very faithful. They urged him, therefore, to hasten the publication of so beneficial a work. f108 He now went once more to Antwerp, intending to have his book printed there; but he was soon to discover that his application to the theologians of the university of Louvain, by spreading in a certain circle a report of his enterprise, sufficed to throw great obstacles in his way.
There were, in fact, at this time in the Low Countries dignitaries of the Spanish Church whose eyes were open and who would not fail to use every effort to hinder the printing of the Holy Scriptures in Spanish.
Amongst others was the archbishop of Compostella, Don Gaspar d’Avalos, a man whom Spanish devotees considered, on account of the perfection of his ultramontane doctrine, as a divinity among mortals, f109 but whom men of sound judgment regarded as a fanatic. Filled with abhorrence for the holy doctrine of the gospel, he took every opportunity of contending against and uprooting it. He was the first to oppose the translation of Enzinas. ‘To publish the New Testament in Spanish,’ said he, ‘is a crime worthy of death.’ One day, when the archbishop and the translator were both at Antwerp, the former preached. The Spaniards, who were at this time numerous at Antwerp, were present, and many others came out of mere curiosity. Enzinas slipped into the church, and, wishing to hear well, succeeded in placing himself close to the illustrious preacher. The latter, according to the taste of the Romish priests, delivered a controversial sermon, and it must be confessed that he had reasons for doing so. He thundered against the books which set forth the doctrine of the gospel. He did not preach, said Enzinas, he vociferated, and strove by furious clamor to stir up his audience and excite the people to sedition. f110 He went even further. Without naming Enzinas, he hurled covert words at him, never suspecting that the man whom he was attacking was sitting close by him. f111 Francis, whether after or before this sermon we do not know, went to Stephen Meerdmann the printer, and the following conversation took place: — Enzinas : ‘Are you willing to print a Spanish translation of the New Testament?’ Meerdmann : ‘Quite willing; such a work is desired by many.’ Enzinas : ‘Is there any need of a license?’ Meerdmann : ‘The emperor has never forbidden the printing of the Holy Scriptures, and the New Testament has been printed at Antwerp in almost every European language. If your translation is faithful it may be printed without permission.’ Enzinas : ‘Then prepare your presses; I take the responsibility of the translation; do you take that of the publication. Of course I bear the cost myself.’
There was nothing underhand in all this. The enterprise of Enzinas was well known, and so approved, while other blamed it. Anyone who wished was admitted to the translator’s house. One day, when he had some members of his family with him, and before he had sent the copy to the printer, an Old Dominican monk, who scented some heretical design underneath it all, presented himself at his door. After the customary salutations, he took up the first page which lay on the table in manuscript and contained the title and an epistle to the emperor. The monk read: The New Testament, that is, the New Covenant of our Redeemer and only Savior Jesus Christ. Francis had said Covenant because he had noticed that the word Testament was not well understood; and he had inserted the word only before the word Savior to dissipate the error so common among the Spaniards, of admitting other Saviors besides the Son of God. ‘Covenant,’ said the monk, ‘your translation if faithful and good, but the word Covenant grates on my ears; it is a completely Lutheran phrase.’ ‘No, it is not a phrase of Luther’s,’ said Enzinas, ‘but of the prophets and apostles.’ ‘This is intolerable,’ resumed the monk; ‘a youth, born but yesterday or the day before, claims to teach the wisest and oldest men what they have taught all their life long! I swear by my sacred cowl f113 that your design is to administer to men’s souls the poisonous beverages of Luther, craftily mixing them with the most holy words of the New Testament.’ Then turning to the relatives of Enzinas, he began to rail like a mad man, endeavoring by tragical words to excite his own family against him. Indeed, the monk had scarcely finished, when Francis was surrounded by his relatives, beseeching him, for the love of them. to erase the unlucky word. He did so, in order not to offend them, but he left standing the phrase only Savior, to which the monk did not object. He then sent the sheets to the printer, who put it to press and worked off a large number.
Having received this first printed sheet, Enzinas, though excess of caution, communicated it to a Spaniard of his acquaintance, an elderly, wellinformed, and influential man. ‘Only Savior,’ cried he, on seeing the title. ‘If you will be advised by me, omit the word only, which will give rise to grave suspicions. Enzinas explained his reasons. The Spaniard acknowledged the truth of the doctrine, but denied the expediency of putting it so prominently forward. The word was omitted, and the sheet had to be reprinted. The whole edition was some time after ready to appear.
It was now the beginning of November 1543. The emperor had just made war against the Duke of Cleves, had conquered him, and had obtained by the treaty of Venloo a portion of the states of that prince. The duke’s mother, the Princess Mary, a clever woman, had died of grief and indignation; but the emperor was proud of his achievements, and thought only of following up his triumphs of every kind. It was to his Spanish troops in particular that Charles owed this victory. A great number of Spaniards of every rank accompanied him, and he had just appointed as his confessor a Dominican from the Peninsula, Pedro de Soto, who was afterwards the first theologian of Pius IV., in the third convocation of the Council of Trent. At this time Soto ranked, both in the Low Countries and in Germany, among the most zealous of the Romish priests. He sought to gain over ignorant minds, and knew how to insinuate himself into the good graces of the great. As he had the emperor’s conscience at his disposal he ‘instilled into him his venom, thus perverting the sentiments of a prince who was full of clemency,’ says Enzinas. But this supposed benignity on Charles’s part was an illusion.
Policy was his great guiding motive, and he was merciful or harsh, according as the interests of his ambition required. It is, however, true that Soto endeavored both by his sermons and otherwise to inflame men’s minds, and especially that of Charles, against those whom he called heretics. Whenever the Dominican preached before Charles the Fifth and his court, he was to be seen entering the church in a lowly manner, his head sunk between his shoulders, his cowl pulled over his forehead, his eyes fixed on the ground, and his hands clasped. One would have thought him a man dead to the world, who contemplated only heavenly things, and who would not harm a fly. He mounted the pulpit, threw back his cowl and gravely saluted the emperor, and the princes and lords who surrounded him. Then he began his sermon, speaking with a low voice and slow enunciation, but clearly and firmly, so that his words sank the more impressively into men’s hearts. He recalled with enthusiasm the religion of their ancestors and extolled the piety and zeal of Charles. Then, affecting to be more and more moved, he deplored with sighs and tears the ruin of religion and the attacks made upon the dignity of the priest, and conjured the emperor to tread in the way marked out for him by his predecessors. Having thus by feigned modesty insinuated himself into the hearts of his audience, he raised his head boldly, gave vent to the passion by which he was animated, and brought into play the powerful artifices suggested to him by the Evil One. He hurled the thunders of his eloquence at his adversaries; he aimed a thousand shafts at them, and subdued his audience. But if his violence took the assembly by surprise, he shocked many, who thought with amazement: ‘We might fancy we were listening to a man who had descended from the abode of the gods on Olympus to announce the secrets he had learned from Jupiter.’ ‘He was seized,’ said one of his hearers, ‘with a diabolical fury, and seemed like a priest of the mysteries, gesticulating and leaping in a chorus of the Furies.’ He laid siege to the mind of the emperor, and inflamed the princes with hatred of the divine doctrine. This he distorted and defamed; and he strove by all means to extinguish the salutary light of the gospel which God had rekindled in the midst of the darkness. Turning towards the emperor and the princes, he proclaimed in a prophetic voice, that God would not be favorable to them until they should have destroyed the apostates with fire and sword. He did not conclude his discourse till he thought he had constrained his hearers by this thundering eloquence to burn all the Lutherans.
Nevertheless it was quite manifest that the emperor did not always use such diligence as De Soto demanded of him in his seditious discourses.
Disquieted, therefore, and saddened because the monarch appeared ‘backward to persecution,’ he appealed to him in private, urging him to make confession; and it was in the retired chamber in which he received as a penitent the mater of the world that he sought, by striking great blows, to drive Charles on to persecution. ‘Most sacred Majesty,’ he said, ‘you are the monarch whom God has raised to the highest pitch of honor, in order that you may defend the Church and take vengeance on impiety, and I am the man whom God has appointed to govern your conscience. Power has been given me, as your majesty is aware, to remit and to retain sins. If your majesty does not purify the Church from pollution, I cannot absolve you, ego non possum te absolvere.’ He even menaced him with the anger of God and the pains of hell. Charles, who was easily intimidated — even, as we know, by the approach of a comet — ‘imagined himself already plunged into the abyss of hell.’ The monk, perceiving this, pressed his point, and did not pronounce absolution until he had extorted from the sovereign a promise to put the heretics to death. This narrative by a contemporary appears to us perfectly authentic. There is, however, on point on which we cannot follow it. We do not believe that De Soto was a hypocrite and employed fraud and treason, as this author seems to think.
Charles’s confessor was, we believe, a fanatic, but a sincere fanatic; he really believed himself to be prosecuting error.
No sooner had De Soto obtained the promise of Charles than he hastened to Granvella. It was said at court that these two personages had made a compact, by virtue of which the first minister never thwarted the confessor in matters of religion. It might be so; but we believe that Charles did not lightly submit his designs to the fanaticism of the priests, nor would he, we repeat, give them the rein unless it suited his policy.
On November 24, 1543, Charles the Fifth, after having signed the treaty of Venloo, entered Brussels, probably by the Louvain gate. Another personage entered the city at the same time, but by the Antwerp gate.
This was Francis Enzinas. He had, as we have said, dedicated his translation to the emperor. ‘Most sacred majesty,’ said he in this dedication, ‘owing to version of the Holy Scriptures, all men can now hear Jesus Christ and his apostles speak in their own languages of the mysteries of our redemption, on which the salvation and the consolation of our souls depend. New versions are now continually being published in every kingdom of Christendom, in Italy, in Flanders, and in Germany, which is flooded with them. Spain alone remains isolated in her corner at the extremity of Europe. My desire is to be useful, according to my abilities, to my country. I hope that your majesty will approve of my work and protect it with your royal authority.’ This dedication was dated from Antwerp, October 1, 1543.
Enzinas did not wish his book to be offered for sale until he had presented it to the emperor; and he had come to Brussels to confer with his friends as to where he would have to go and how he should proceed. As soon as he had arrived he directed his steps towards the palace, where, no doubt, one of his acquaintances resided. On approaching, he saw to his great surprise the emperor himself just arriving at court, surrounded by a numerous suite. At this sight Francis greatly rejoiced. ‘What a happy augury!’ though he; ‘this opportune meeting should certainly give me hope that my business will succeed.’ The question now was, how to get access to Charles. Francis de Enzinas, whose family occupied an honorable position, had several distinguished kinsmen and friends at court, to whom he could apply. He went, therefore, to their houses, but learned to his great disappointment that some of them had not yet arrived at Brussels; and having visited the others, he found that these great personages were infidels who scoffed at religion as something far beneath them. For them it was only an instrument of government, and they were not at all inclined to compromise themselves with the emperor by becoming patrons of Lutheranism. Enzinas withdrew, disappointed in his expectations. ‘Certainly,’ said he, ‘I will not ask them to use their influence in favor of a work which they detest. Moreover, as I am connected with them either by friendship or by blood, I am unwilling to annoy them, or do them harm.’ What, then, was to be done?
There was one bishop at court who was in high favor with the emperor.
This was Don Francisco de Mendoza, son of the first marquis of Mondejar, bishop of Jaen, a town not far from Granada and Cordova. He was a man in the prime of life, grave, candid, and open-hearted, pure in life, and a lover of piety. Enzinas went one Saturday to the palace in which the bishop lived. The latter received his young and noble fellowcountryman affectionately, and on learning that he came to speak with him about his translation of the New Testament he displayed the liveliest interest in the work. ‘I offer you my services in the matter,’ said he, ‘and I will use all my influence with the emperor, to induce him to receive your work favorably. Return to me tomorrow, and we will then see his majesty.’ The next day was Sunday. A great crowd was stirring in the palace, and magnificent preparations were being made for a high mass which was to be celebrated before the emperor. There was a considerable number of musicians, instruments, and singers. Enzinas shrunk back at the sight of these preparations. ‘I will return to the town to see some of my learned friends,’ he said, ‘and leave them to perform their play at their leisure.’
After mass he came again. The bishop sent for him and took him into a hall where a table was prepared for the emperor’s dinner. Charles arrived shortly after, followed by a great number of princes and lords. He entered with much dignity and sat down to table alone. The bishop and Enzinas stood opposite to him during the repast. The hall was quite filled with princes and nobles. Some of them waited at table, some poured out the wine, and others removed the dishes. All eyes were fixed upon one man alone. Charles the Fifth sat there like an idol surrounded by its worshippers. But he was quite equal to the part which he had to play.
Enzinas observed attentively the gravity of his appearance, the features of his countenance, the grace of his movements, and the heroic grandeur which seemed a part of his nature. The young Spaniard was so deeply plunged in meditation that he forgot the purpose which had brought him there. At last he bethought himself of it; but the great number of princes and lords around him and the interview which he was to have with the emperor seemed to him something so extraordinary that he was seized with fear. A sense of the greatness of his cause, however, restored to him some confidence. ‘Ah!’ thought he, ‘if all the princes in the world were assembled here I should look upon them as ordained of God to bring my project to a successful issue.’ Then again the though of addressing this august, mysterious being, who sat there alone and silent, waited upon by the greatest personages of the empire, excited within him the liveliest emotion. Amidst his agitation these word of Scripture came to his mind: I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed These words frequently and fervently repeated in his inmost soul f126 revived his sinking courage. ‘Nothing to me now,’ said he, ‘are all the powers of the world and the fury of men who would oppose the oracles of God.’
When dinner was finished and divers ceremonies completed, the emperor rose and remained standing for a while, leaning on a slender staff magnificently ornamented, and as if he were in expectation that some one might wish to speak with him. The first to present himself was a distinguished general who enjoyed high authority and whose exploits rendered him dear to Charles. He delivered to him some letters and having kissed his hand immediately retired. The bishop of Jaen was the next to come forward, holding by the hand Francis de Enzinas. The bishop, in a few grave words, recommended to the notice of Charles the work which was dedicated to him, and which was worthy, he said, of much honor. The emperor then turned to Enzinas, and the following conversation took place: — The Emperor : ‘What book do you present to me?’ Enzinas : ‘The New Testament, your imperial majesty, faithfully translated by me, and containing the gospel history and the letters of the apostles. I pray your majesty to recommend this work to the nation by your approval.’ ‘Are you, then, the author of this book?’ f127 ‘No, sire, the Holy Spirit is its author. He breathed inspiration into holy men of God, who gave to mankind in the Greek language these divine oracles of our salvation. I, for my part, am but the feeble instrument who has translated this book into our Spanish tongue.’ ‘Into Castilian?’ ‘Yes, your imperial majesty, into our Castilian tongue, and I pray you to become its patron.’ ‘What you request shall bed one, provided there be nothing in the work open to suspicion.’ ‘Nothing, sire, unless the voice of God speaking from heaven, and the redemption accomplished by his only Son, Jesus Christ, are to be objects of suspicion to Christians.’ ‘Your request will be granted if the book be such as you and the bishop say.’
The emperor took the volume and entered an adjoining apartment.
Enzinas was in amazement. The emperor to imagine that he was the author of the New Testament, and that the gospel could contain anything suspicious! He could hardly repress words which would have ill-suited the place where he was. ‘O thing unheard of!’ said he within himself, ‘and enough to make one shed tears of blood!’ Shortly afterwards, by the bishop’s advice, he returned to Antwerp.
The next day the emperor ordered the bishop of Jaen to hand over the volume to a certain Spanish monk, a very celebrated man, fully capable of judging of the translation, and to request him to give his opinion on the subject. The bishop accordingly delivered the book to this personage. Now this monk was De Soto, the confessor of Charles V. When the prelate saw the confessor again, the latter said: ‘This book pleases me; I highly approve of it; there are only a few remarks of little importance to make on the translation.... I should like to see the author and speak to him about it.’
Enzinas communicated the invitation which he received to go to Brussels to some of his friends and relations at Antwerp. ‘Your return to Brussels,’ said they, ‘would expose you to great danger. If you wish to fall into the hands of your enemies, go; but understand that in so doing you act with more boldness than prudence.’ ‘I will go,’ said he, ‘to render an account of my work, and this in spite of whatever may happen. I will omit nothing that is useful or necessary to the advancement of the glory of God.’ He accordingly set out.
Enzinas met with the most friendly reception from the bishop of Jaen, who encouraged him with the best of hopes. The prelate, being indisposed, ordered his steward to accompany his young friend next day to the confessor’s, at the Dominican convent. Enzinas went thither at eight o’clock in the morning, in order to be sure of finding him; but he was told that De Soto was at the house of M. de Granvella. This was Nicholas Perrenot de Granvella, chancellor to the emperor and father to the famous cardinal. Enzinas returned at ten o’clock, and received the same answer; at noon — still the same. ‘We shall wait for him,’ said Enzinas.
At one o’clock the confessor arrived, and the steward having introduced Enzinas, the monk threw back his cowl and bowed his whole body, as if worshipping a saint or saluting a prince. ‘Don Francis,’ said he, ‘I esteem myself very happy in having the pleasure of seeing you today; I love you as my own brother, and I have a high appreciation of the grace which has been given you. I am naturally disposed to be fond of men of intelligence and learning, but especially of those who apply themselves to religion, literature, and the advancement of the glory of God. There is so much sloth, so much corruption in our age, that if one of our nation is raised up to promote these excellent things, it is a great honor to Spain. I offer you, therefore, all that lies in my power. This is certainly the due of one by whose means the Spaniards are to recover the great treasure of heavenly doctrine. But,’ added he, ‘I cannot attend to this matter just now.
Come back to me at four o’clock.’ Enzinas left the monastery and went to one of his friends, a learned and Godfearing man, who implored him not to trust to the monk, for he was certain that he would have cause to repent of it. ‘I will do nothing rashly,’ said Francis, ‘but if God should see fit to send me a cross, it will be for my good.’ He returned to the convent of the Dominicans, and arrived there before the appointed time.
De Soto was giving a lesson on the Acts of the Apostles to about twenty Spanish courtiers who wished to pass for lovers of literature, or perhaps to become so. Enzinas sat down quietly beside them, happy to have this opportunity of becoming acquainted with the doctrines of the monk. He was just at that passage in the first chapter, where it is said that Judas, who had betrayed the Lord, fell headlong and burst asunder in the midst. ‘Therefore,’ concluded he, ‘all traitors ought to be hung and rent asunder in the midst;’ and he exhorted his audience to fidelity towards the emperor, lest they should fall into condemnation of Judas. Then coming to the election of an apostle by the assembly of the disciples: — ‘This method of election,’ said he, ‘was only intended for those times; since then the election has been transferred to the emperor, which is far preferable.’
Besides laying down these strange doctrines, the monk spoke incorrectly and offended the ears of his hearers by low language. f132 He did not know Latin, but with a view to make what he said more wonderful, or rather more obscure, he intermingled Latin words which were worse than barbarous, and incessantly committed grammatical errors.
Enzinas, with his cultivated mind and refined scholarship, suffered tortures both from the words and the matter. ‘It was not without sighs and tears,’ said he, ‘that I listened to him.’
The lesson was finished at four o’clock. Enzinas then went up to the monk, who began anew his flattering words; but having in hand, he said, some very important business, he begged him to return at six o’clock. ‘I will willingly wait at the convent,’ said Enzinas, and he began to walk up and down the cloisters.
The confessor lost no time. He had gone to the chancellor Granvella. ‘There is a young Spaniard here,’ said he, ‘who by his labors and his efforts will soon convert the whole of Spain to Lutheranism, if we do not prevent it. He has resided with Melancthon; he discussed religion, he blames the decrees of the Church, approves the sentiments of its adversaries, and is gradually alluring everyone to his opinion. To spread the evil still farther he has translated the New Testament into Spanish....If it is allowed to be read in Spain, what troubles it will cause! How many thousand souls will be perverted from the simplicity of the faith!’...
Granvella was appalled on hearing these words and instantly gave orders to arrest Enzinas.
At six o’clock the confessor returned to the monastery and conducted Enzinas to his apartment, cajoling him on the way with honeyed and delusive words. When he had opened the door, Francis started. ‘What monsters!’ he thought. ‘Eternal God! what a number of idols!’ There were four altars in the cell, and an image on each of them, St. Christopher, St. Roch, and others, enshrined in gold and surrounded by lighted tapers.
Here it was that De Soto addressed his prayer to his saints. ‘Don Francis,’ said the confessor, ‘excuse me if I make you wait still longer. I have not yet finished my devotions; permit me to conclude them while I am walking. To while away the time, here is a book, and the Bible besides.’ He went out. The book was entitled: ‘On the Cause and Origin of all Heresies; by Alfonso de Castro, Franciscan.’ The author was an ignorant monk of Burgos, whom Enzinas knew by report. However, he opened the book. The cause of heresies, it was asserted, was the reading of the Bible in the vulgar tongue; and the author exhorted the inquisitors to prevent the Spaniards from imbibing such poison. Enzinas, disturbed and agitated, could hardly refrain from tearing the pages. He threw the book from him. Then, on reflection, he began to wonder whether the confessor were not plotting some treason, and whether his comings and goings had any other aim than that of preparing to waylay him. In order to dissipate these gloomy ideas, he took the Latin Bible and read.
After some time De Soto came in again, and taking up the New Testament which the emperor had sent to him, he requested Enzinas to sit down beside him. Then lowering his eyebrows, and wrinkling his forehead, as though to render his appearance the more formidable, he kept silence for a while. At last he began: ‘Francis, we two have met here alone to confer upon the New Testament, in the presence of God, the angels, and the saints whom you behold on these altars. You regard the study of this book as profitable to piety, and I consider it injurious. Its prohibition has been the only means of preserving Spain from the contamination of sects.
Francis, you have accomplished a most audacious enterprise, and done an impious deed in daring to publish a version of the New Testament in defiance of the law of the emperor and your own duty to our holy religion.
It is an atrocious crime which merits more than mere death. Further, you have been in Germany at the house of Philip Melancthon; you extol his virtues and learning everywhere, and this alone is considered with us a proceeding worthy of capital punishment. How deplorable it is that you, still so young, and only beginning your studies, should have fallen so low! It is my duty to consider the good of the church universal rather than the safety of a single man. Your crimes are so serious that I know not how you can escape the penalty with which you are threatened.’ Enzinas was unspeakably grieved at this speech. So much superstition, impiety, and cruelty overwhelmed him. At the same time he knew that he could not escape the great dangers which were impending over him. In this Dominican house he breathed the heavy and deadly atmosphere of the Inquisition, and he seemed to behold around him its terrible features, its chains, and its instruments of torture.
Nevertheless he took courage and, bearing witness to the gospel, extolled the unspeakable value of Holy Scripture, and set forth the reasons which he felt to be conclusive for reading it. ‘The Old and New Testaments,’ he said, ‘were given to us from heaven, and there is nothing more salutory or more essential to mankind. Apart from this book we should know nothing of the only begotten Son of God, our Savior, who, after having redeemed us by the sacrifice of himself, raises us to heaven to live there with him for ever. This is a doctrine which was never taught by any philosopher, and is only to be drawn from these sources. Without it, all human thought is blind and barren, and no creature can obtain salvation.’ He said that if it were a crime to go to Germany and to confer with the scholars of that country, it was a crime which had been committed by the emperor, and by many princes and excellent men who had converses with Melancthon, Luther, and other doctors. He was still speaking when an unpleasant apparition silenced him. The door had opened, and a monk of hideous aspect entered the cell. His eyes were fierce, his mouth awry, his aspect threatening. Everything about him betokened a bad man, and one who was meditating some cruel purpose. It was the prior of the Dominicans. He turned towards Enzinas, and suppressing his malice, meekly withdrew his head from his cowl, saluted him, and stated that his valet was below and was come to call him to supper. This was the message agreed on between the two monks as the signal that all was ready. ‘I know the way,’ said Enzinas, who was bent on prolonging the interview; ‘I shall find my lodging without the aid of a servant; please tell him that he may return to the house.’ The prior went out. Enzinas then requested the confessor to tell him his opinion of the translation, as the emperor had asked for this, and it was indeed the object of conference. But the signal appointed had been given, and the confessor put an end to the interview. ‘It is too late now,’ said he, ‘come again tomorrow if it suits you.’ Enzinas, therefore, fearing to be importunate, took leave of the monk, and De Soto’s servant conducted him as far as the courtyard. But gloomy thoughts were crowding into his mind. As he passed through the convent he had seen a number of monks, in a state of eagerness and excitement, some going up, others going down. In their looks he saw strange agitation and fierceness.
They cast upon him sidelong glances expressive of terror; they spoke low to one another, and uttered words which Enzinas could not understand. It was evident that this immoderate agitation in the monastery and among the inmates was occasioned by some unusual occurrence. Francis conjectured what it might be; it began to arouse anxiety in his breast; and he wondered whether some great blow was about to fall on him.
When he reached the courtyard a man, who was a stranger to him, but who looked civil, came up and inquired whether his name was Francis de Enzinas. He answered that it was. ‘I want to speak with you,’ said the stranger. ‘I am at your service,’ replied the young Spaniard. They then passed on towards the gate of the monastery. The vast convent of the Dominicans with its outbuildings occupied a considerable part of the present site of the Mint, opposite the Theatre Royal, as well as some adjacent land. The gate by which Enzinas had to go out opened upon this place. As soon as it was unbarred he saw a large body of men armed with halberds, swords, and other weapons of war. They threw themselves upon him in a threatening manner. Meanwhile the man who was in his company laid hold of his arms and said, ‘You are my prisoner.’ ‘There was no need,’ said Enzinas, ‘to assemble such a troop of executioners against a poor man like me. They should be sent against brigands. My conscience is at peace, and I am ready to appear before any judge in the world, even before the emperor. I will go to prison, into exile, to the stake, and whithersoever you may please to conduct me.’ ‘I will not take you far,’ said the unknown. ‘Had it been possible to decline the mission which I am fulfilling, I assure you that I should have done so. But the chancellor Granvella has compelled me, asserting that he had received express orders from the emperor.’ The prisoner, with his guide and his guards, crossed a small street, and arrived at the prison of the Vrunte, vulgarly called the Amigo, where the noble young man was confined, for having translated into good Spanish the gospel of Jesus Christ. This took place on December 13, l543.
The first four hours, from six at night till ten, were very painful. Enzinas had a lively imagination, he saw before him great and numberless dangers, among which death seemed to be the least. All these were drawn up in battle array around him, and he seemed actually to see them. But they did not appall him. ‘How great soever maybe the perils which await me,’ he said, ‘by God’s grace I possess, for encountering them, a courage that is stronger and greater than they are.’ Nevertheless, the treachery of the ‘wicked monk’ tormented him so much that he found it. hard to endure. ‘If only,’ he thought, ‘he had made fair war on me, if from the first he shown himself my enemy....’ He remained sunk in sorrow and dejection.
They had placed him in the apartment where all the prisoners were; but as he expressed a wish to be alone, he was conducted to an upper chamber.
Weighed down with care, he was dejected and silent. The man who had brought him there looked at him and at length said, ‘Of all those who have been to this place, I never saw anyone so distressed as you. Bethink you, brother, that God our Father cares for his children, and often leads them by a way which they do not choose. Do not, therefore be cast down, but have good courage. Your manners, your physiognomy, all bear witness to your innocence. If you have committed any offense incident to youth, remember the mercy of God.’ Francis listened with astonishment to the words of this man and then related to him the cause of his imprisonment and the means by which it was effected. On hearing this, the man, whom he had taken for one of the gaoler’s servants, appeared to be deeply affected, and going up to Francis embraced him. ‘Ah!’ said he, ‘I recognize in you a true brother; for you are a prisoner for the same gospel for the love of which I have been enduring these bonds for eight months. You need not be surprised, brother; for it is a characteristic of the Word of God that it is never brought to light without being followed by thunders and lightnings. But I hear some one coming up; let us say no more for the present.’ This man was the pious and charitable Giles Tielmans, of whom we have formerly given all account, and who was afterwards burnt.
From this time he came to see Enzinas every morning and evening, and spoke to him so forcibly and so tenderly that Enzinas felt ready to suffer death to confirm the truth of the gospel.
On the fourth day of his imprisonment, the imperial commissioners, members of the Privy Council, came to conduct the inquiry. They entered, with great parade and a magnificence almost royal, into the place where the prisoners were assembled. All the latter rose and retired, leaving Francis alone with the commissioners.
The examination began in Latin. ‘Francis,’ said the commissioners, ‘you are to tell us the whole truth, and in that case, although your cause is most hateful, we shall treat you with gentleness, unless we are obliged to wrest from you by force what we want to know.’ They then exhibited the papers on the basis of which they proceeded to the examination. Enzinas recognized the hand writing of the confessor of Charles the Fifth. Two crimes especially formed the subject of the inquiry. ‘Have you been to Wittenberg?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Have you been acquainted with Melanchthon?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘What do you think of him?’ Francis saw that he was caught, and that his answer would put into the hands of his enemies ‘a knife for his own throat.’ Still he did not falter. Never did this noble young man disown his friends. ‘I think,’ said he, ‘that of all the men I ever knew he is the best.’ ‘How can you be so impudent,’ exclaimed his judges, ‘as to speak thus of Melanchthon, a man that is a heretic and excommunicated?’
The commissioners now passed on to the second point. ‘In your translation of Romans 3:28,’ they said, ‘we find these words printed in capitals: THEREFORE WE CONCLUDE THAT A MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH WITHOUT THE DEEDS OF THE LAW. For what reason,’ they continued, ‘have you had this Lutheran maxim set in capital letters? It is a very grave offense, and deserves burning.’ ‘This doctrine was not devised in Luther’s brain,’ replied Enzinas. ‘Its source is the mysterious throne of the Eternal Father, and it was revealed to the church by the ministry of St. Paul for the salvation of everyone who believeth.’
Meanwhile the tidings of the arrest of Enzinas had burst upon Antwerp like a bomb-shell, and spread grief among all his kinsfolk and his friends Irritated at one time by what they called the in prudence of the young man, at another filled with compassion for the calamity which had befallen him they went without delay to Brussels, his uncle Don Diego Ortega heading the party, and proceeded direct to the prison. ‘Thou seest now,’ they said to him, ‘the fruit of thy thoughtlessness. Thou wouldst not believe what we told thee. What business hadst thou to meddle with theology, or to study the sacred writings? Thou oughtest to leave that to the monks. What hast thou got by it? Thou hast exposed thyself to a violent death, and hast brought great disgrace and lasting infamy upon thy whole race.’ When he heard these reproaches Enzinas was overpowered with bitter grief. He endeavored by great meekness and modesty to assuage the anger of his kinsmen, and entreated them not to judge of the merits of an enterprise by its result. ‘I am already unhappy enough’ said he; ‘pray do not add to my pain.’ At these words his kinsmen were affected. ‘Yes, yes,’ they said, ‘we know thy innocence; we are come to rescue thee if it be possible, or at least to mitigate thy suffering.’ The remained, indeed, a whole week at Brussels; the went frequently to the confessor and to several great lords and earnestly entreated that Francis might be at liberty, and especially that the matter should not be referred to the Spanish Inquisition, since in that case his death would be inevitable.
But they returned to Antwerp, distressed at their failure, though not without hope.
Enzinas had gradually recovered from his excitement. Books had been brought to him, and he read them diligently. There was one work especially which made a deep impression on his mind. This was the ‘Supplication and exhortation of Calvin to the Emperor and to the States of the Empire to devote their utmost attention to the re-establishment of the church.’ This work was highly praised by Bucer, and Theodore Beza said of it that perhaps nothing more vigorous had been published in that age. ‘The perusal of this work while I was in prison,’ said Enzinas at a later time to Calvin, ‘inspired me with such courage that I felt more willing to face death than I had ever felt before.’ f146 But his chief delight was meditation upon the Holy Scriptures. ‘The promise of Christ,’ he said, ‘allay my sorrows, and I am wonderfully invigorated by the reading of the Psalms. Eternal God! what abundant consolation this book has afforded me! With what delight have I tasted the excellent savor of heavenly wisdom! That lyre of David so ravishes me with its divine harmony, that heavenly harp excites within me such love for the things of God, as I can find no words to express.’ He occupied himself in arranging some of the Psalms in the form of prayers, and went on with his take till he had translated them all. f148 Francis was not satisfied with meditation alone; he joined with it deeds of unremitting zeal and charity. The prison discipline was not severe. The gaoler, one John Thyssens, a man of about thirty-eight, had long carried on the trade of shoemaker, and had afterwards undertaken by contract the maintenance of the prisoners. He was very negligent in the discharge of his duties, and allowed a large measure of liberty to the prisoners and their friends. Inhabitants of Brabant, of Flanders, of Holland, of Antwerp, and gentlemen of the court came to visit Enzinas. In this way he saw nearly four hundred citizens of Brussels, among them some persons of quality.
Many of them were acquainted with the gospel; others were ardently longing for the word of God, and entreated Enzinas to make it known to them. He knew the danger to which he exposed himself by doing this, but he did not spare himself; and many gave glory to God because they had received from a poor prisoner the pearl of great price, the heavenly doctrine. ‘There are more than seven thousand people in Brussels who know the gospel,’ they told him; ‘the whole city is friendly to it; and were not the people in fear of their lives they would openly profess it.’ It was hardly possible to name a single town in Belgium or in Holland whose inhabitants had not a desire to converse with him. He was captive who proclaimed liberty to free men. ‘The word of God,’ some of them told him, ‘is making great way amongst us. It grows and spreads day by day in the midst of the fire of persecution and the terrors of death.’ Both men and women sent him money, but this he declined to accept.
Charles the Fifth, who, as we have seen, had arrived at Brussels on November 24, 1543, only remained there till January 2, 1544. On February 20 he opened the diet of Spire, demanded large aids both of infantry and cavalry, and in June set out at the head of his army for France. He took Saint-Dizier, advanced within two days’ march of Paris, causing great terror in that city, and concluded peace at Crepy. He then returned to his own dominions, and entered Brussels October 1, 1544. f149a This news awakened hopes for Enzinas on the part of his kinsmen at Antwerp, and the most influential among them immediately set out to solicit the release of the young man. They appealed to the confessor, who was ready enough to make promises, to the chancellor Granvella, to his son the bishop of Arras, afterwards archbishop of Mechlin and cardinal, and to Claude Boissot, dean of Poligny, master of requests. They all gave kind answers, but these were words and nothing else. The queen of France visited Brussels, and a report was spread that all prisoners would at her request be liberated. Some murderers, brigands, and other malefactors were, indeed, set free; the first of them was a parricide, but Enzinas and the other evangelicals were more strictly and severely kept than before. f150 At the same time, the emperor having gone to Ghent, the monks exhorted from him some laws written in blood, which were promulgated in all the towns, and which enabled them cruelly to assail the Lutherans at their own pleasure. ‘On a sudden there broke out in Flanders a bloody persecution, a slaughter of Christian people, such as had never been seen or heard of.’ From all the towns, not excepting even the smallest, a great number of people and of leading men, on being warned of the danger which was impending over them, took flight, leaving their wives, their children, their families, houses, and goods, which were forthwith seized by the agents of the emperor. But there was a large number who could not fly. All the towers were filled. The prisons in the towns had not room to hold the victims. They brought in two hundred prisoners at a time, both men and women. Some of them were thrust into sack, and thrown into the water; others were burned, beheaded, buried alive, or condemned to imprisonment for life. The like storm swept over Brabant, Hainault, and Artois. The unhappy witnesses of this butchery asserted that ‘for many ages so many and great cruelties had not been perpetrated, nor seen, nor heard of in all the world.’ Such was the joyful entry which Charles the Fifth made into his good country of Flanders and the good town of Ghent, in which he was born. Tiding of these things were brought day by day to the prison at Brussels, frequently with a large number of captives. When Enzinas and his friends heard of the slaughter they were amazed and terrified. Will there be any end to this? they asked. It might well be doubted whether such men would ever be satiated with the blood of their fellow-men!
Enzinas began to regret that, from confidence in his own innocence, and for fear of bringing the gaoler into disgrace, he had not availed himself of several opportunities which had offered of making his escape from prison.
A circumstance which soon occurred helped to bring him to a decision.
The queen of Hungary, governess of the Netherlands, who, from a strange mixture of contradictory qualities, was desirous, while obliged to execute the persecuting decrees of her brother against evangelical Christianity, to feed upon the word of God, had chosen for her chaplain one Peter Alexander, a true Christian man. This minister faithfully confessed his trust in the Savior, both in preaching and in conversation. ‘All things needful for salvation,’ he said, ‘are contained in the gospel. We must believe only that which is to be found in the Holy Scriptures. Faith alone justifies immediately before God, but works justify a man before his fellow-men. The true indulgences are obtained without gold or silver, by trust alone in the merits of Christ. The one real sin which condemns is not to believe in Christ. The true penance consists in abstinence from sin. All the merits of Christ are communicated to men by faith, so that they are able to glory in them as much as if they were their own. We must honor the saints only by imitating their virtues. We obtain a blessing of God more easily by asking for it ourselves than throughout the saints. No one loves God so much as he ought. All the efforts and all the labors of those who are not regenerated by the Holy Spirit are evil. The religion of the monks is hypocrisy. The fast of God is a perpetual fast, and not confined to this or that particular day. It is three hundred years since the pure and real gospel was preached; and now whoever preaches it is considered a heretic.’
It was a strange sight, this evangelical chaplain preaching in the chapel of the most persecuting court in Christendom. Alexander, too, after being frequently accused, was at length obliged to hold a theological disputation with the confessor De Soto, in the presence of the two Granvellas. In consequence of this disputation proceedings were instituted against him.
The confessor often came before the emperor and declared that the whole country would be ruined if this man were not severely punished. One day a friend of Enzinas came to see him in prison, and told him that the queen’s preacher had fled, because he found that if he stayed an hour longer he would be ruined. Alexander was tried and burnt in effigy, together with his Latin and French books. As for himself, he became first a professor at the university of Heidelberg, afterwards canon of Canterbury cathedral, and finally pastor of the French church in London.
This flight brought Enzinas to a decision. On February 1, 1545, after sitting a long time at table at the evening meal, he felt more depressed than usual without knowing why. The clock struck, it was half-past seven. He then rose, as he was wont to do, not liking protracted meals, and began to pace up and down in a gloomy and dejected state, so that some of the prisoners came up to him and said — ‘Come, put away this melancholy.’ ‘Make you merry, the rest of you, over your cups,’ he answered; ‘but as for me I want air; I will go out.’ No one paid any attention to what he said, nor did he himself mean anything in particular when he spoke. He continued walking about, and in great distress. He thus came to the first gate, the upper part of which, constructed of strong lattice-work, allowed him to see into the street. Having approached it for the purpose of looking out, he felt the gate stir. He took hold of it and it opened easily. The second was wide open, and the third was only closed during the night. We have mentioned the negligence of the gaoler. Francis was amazed at the strange circumstance. It seemed to him that God called him; he resolved to take advantage of this unlooked-for opportunity, and went out.
He reached the street and was there alone. The night was very dark, but was lighted up from time to time by the torches of passengers traversing the streets or the squares. Enzinas, keeping a little on one side, considered where he had better go. Every refuge appeared to him open to suspicion and full of danger. Suddenly he remembered one man of his acquaintance, of Christian character, in whom he placed implicit confidence. He betook himself to his place of abode and called him. ‘Come in and stay with me,’ said the man. Enzinas replied that it appeared to him the safest plan to go out of the town that very night. ‘Do you know,’ he added, ‘any part of the walls at which it would be possible to clear them?’ ‘Yes,’ said the other, ‘I will guide you and will accompany you wherever you wish to go.’ The friend took his cloak and they set out. They went on their way, quite alone in the darkness, towards the wall. At night these parts were deserted. They found the spot where they were seeking for, and scaled the wall. At that moment the clocks in the town struck the hour of eight. f153 Their flight had, therefore, occupied less than half an hour. These two men cleared the wall as easily as if they had prepared for it long before. Enzinas was out of the town. ‘I often found help of God,’ said he, ‘while I was in prison; but never had I experienced it as at this moment.’ He resolved to proceed that same night to Mechlin, and early the next morning to Antwerp.
A thousand thoughts thronged his mind as he went silently onwards in the darkness. The gloomy fancies of the prison-house were succeeded by joyful hopes. Much affected by his wonderful deliverance, he saw in it a mystery, a hidden will of God. ‘Assuredly,’ he said, ‘if I am set at liberty, it is to the end that I may be ready for ruder conflicts and greater dangers,’ and as he walked on he prepared himself for them by prayer. ‘O Father of our deliverer Jesus Christ, enlighten my mind, that I may know the hope of my calling, and that I may faithfully serve the church of Jesus Christ even to the latest day of my life.’
Thus, sometimes praying and sometimes conversing with the brother who accompanied him, Enzinas arrived before Mechlin; but as the gates of the town were not yet opened, he had to wait a long time. At five o’clock in the morning the officers of the town appeared, and everyone was free to go in or out. As Enzinas entered he saw in front of an inn a vehicle whose appearance was not calculated to inspire confidence. Enzinas, however, inquired of him whither he was going. The man replied, ‘To Antwerp; and if you please to get up, the carriage is quite ready.’ This man was an agent of the inquisitors, the secretary Louis de Zoete. He was one of the great enemies of the Reformation; he had instituted the proceedings against Enzinas, and had mustered the witnesses for the prosecution. He was now on his way to Antwerp, as bearer of a sentence of condemnation issuing from the imperial court, by virtue of which he was to order the burning of any evangelicals then in prison. The meeting was not a pleasant one.
Enzinas and De Zoete had probably only casually seen each other. The young Spaniard, therefore, not recognizing his enemy, might with pleasure avail himself of his offer. In this case it was more than probable that he would be recognized during the journey by the police spy, whose business was to track and seize suspected persons, as a hunting-dog tracks the game. Zoete might possibly find means of adding another to the list of whom he was going to burn alive. ‘Get into the carriage,’ said Enzinas to the Brussels friend who accompanied him. He got it. The door of the hotel at which Francis had knocked was not yet opened. While waiting the two friends, one in the carriage, the other in the street, were talking on various subjects; and the owner of the carriage hearing them took part likewise in the conversation. At length the door opened. ‘Go with this gentleman,’ said Francis to his friend; ‘for my part I must travel faster, and shall go on horseback.’ The people of the inn, who were acquainted with him welcomed him with great demonstrations of joy; and on learning his position gave him a good horse. Without losing a moment he mounted and set out. He soon overtook the carriage and saluted its occupants. ‘Make good speed,’ said his friend. ‘I will go so fast,’ he replied, ‘that if all the scoundrels in Brussels are determined to pursue me they shall not catch me.’ It seems impossible that De Zoete should not have heard this, and it must have given him something to think about. f154 In two hours Enzinas was at Antwerp. Unwilling to expose his kinsmen and friends to danger, he alighted at an inn, with which he was doubtless familiar, as he had already been at Antwerp several times, and in which he believed that he should be safe. In the evening his travelling companion arrived at Antwerp. As soon as he saw Enzinas he exclaimed: ‘You will be greatly astonished to hear in what company I have come, and who it is that you talked so much with at Mechlin!’ ‘Who was he, then?’ ‘The worst man in the whole country, Louis de Zoete.’ Enzinas thanked God that he had so spell-bound the eyes and the mind of the persecutor, that while he saw and spoke with him he had not recognized him. The next day two persons from Brussels, strangers to Enzinas, arrived at the inn.
Enzinas meeting them at table or elsewhere, said to them: ‘What news from Brussels?’ ‘A great miracle has just taken place there,’ they replied. ‘And pray what may it be?’ ‘There was a Spaniard who had lain in prison for fifteen months, and had never been able to obtain either his release or his trial. But the host which we worship has procured him a miraculous deliverance. The other evening, just at nightfall, the air suddenly shone around him with great brightness. The three gates of the prison opened miraculously before him, and he passed forth from the prison and from the town, still lighted by that splendor.’ ‘See, my dear master,’ said Enzinas afterwards to Melancthon, ‘the foolishness of the popular fancy, which in so short a time dressed up in falsehood a certain amount of truth. It is quite true that three gates were found open, else I should not have got out.
But as to the brightness, the light of which they speak, I saw no other than that of the lanterns of passengers in the street. I attribute my deliverance not to the wonderful sacrament which these idolaters worship, but solely to the great mercy of God, who deigned to hear the prayers of his church.’
Along with this popular rumor another was current in Brussels, but in higher circles. The emperor was at this time at Brussels, which town he did not leave till April 30, 1545. Don Francis de Enzinas was not an ordinary prisoner; not a working-man, a cutler, like Giles Tielmans. An eminent family, a good education, learned attainments, talents, the title of Spaniard, and of a Spaniard highly spoken of in high places, these were things greatly esteemed by many at court. Charles the Fifth himself was far from being unconscious of their importance. He had promised his protection to Enzinas if there were nothing bad in his book, and many persons assured him that there was, on the contrary, nothing but good in it. How, then, could he put to death a scholar for having translated into good Spanish the inspired book of the Christians? According to public rumor the judges had said: ‘We cannot honorably extricate ourselves from this cause; the best plan is to set the man free secretly.’ It was added that when the gaoler had announced the flight of Enzinas to the president, the latter had replied: ‘Let him go, and do not trouble about it; only do not let it be spoken of.’ If this version were the true one, it would explain the circumstance of Zoete’s not appearing to recognize Enzinas. But Enzinas himself did not credit it, and it is probable that it had no better foundation than the first story.
Francis remained a month at Antwerp. On his release from prison he had sent the news to his friends, and had received their congratulations. Among these friends were two of the most illustrious of the reformers, Calvin and Melanchthon, between whom, whatever may be thought of it, there were many points of resemblance. Calvin was the man, said Enzinas, whom he had always most warmly loved. f156 He had written a short, letter to him, somewhat unpolished in style. f157 Calvin replied to his friend immediately in a letter which breathed the most affectionate feeling, and which Francis thought very remarkable. It praised his labors and his Christian conduct. ‘Oh,’ said Enzinas, ‘in how kindly a manner he can speak of things which in themselves are not deserving of praise!’ This singular kindliness of Calvin, which then struck all his friends, has since been much called in question. Enzinas replied to him (August 3): ‘Our friendship,’ said he, ‘is now sealed; between us there is a sacred and perpetual alliance, which can only be broken by the death of one of us. What do I say? I have this sweet hope, that when bodily ties shall be broken, we shall enjoy this friendship in a future life more exquisite delight than we can in this mortal flesh. Not till then shall we live a life truly blessed, and one which shall endure for ever in the presence of God and in the society of the holy angels. Nevertheless, while we are still in this exile, and while we labor earnestly and unremittingly in our calling, each according to the ability which he has received from the Lord, let us cultivate our friendship by fulfilling all its obligations. My dear Calvin I have a most grateful sense of the affection which you profess for me, and I will spare no pains to make myself worthy of it. You will find in me a sincere friend.... With respect to the pamphlet which you have addressed to the States of the Empire, Luther has read it and praises it very heartily.
Melanchthon very highly approves it. Cruciger is wonderfully fond of you, and cannot sufficiently commend any production of yours. As to the censurer of others you need not trouble yourself about them.’ f159 Enzinas not only wrote to Melanchthon, but also went to him. He arrived at Wittenberg in March rather more than two years after leaving the town He related in detail to his master what had befallen him, and what he had seen during these two years; and Melanchthon, struck with his narrative, begged him to write and publish it. ‘An account of the cruelties practiced towards Christian people in the Netherlands,’ he said, ‘which you have seen with your own eyes, and which you have in part experienced, for your life was in danger, might if published be of great service for the future.’ Enzinas, at first hesitated. ‘At the very time,’ said he, ‘when I was driven about by the fury of the tempest, I endured patiently my personal sufferings, considering them by far inferior to the perils of my brethren. How then can I, in this hour when, thanks be to God, I am in port, set myself to recount my own history, in seeming forgetfulness of the wounds of the church?’ As Melancthon pressed the point, Francis declared that he would yield in obedience to his command. The friend of Luther, thus satisfied, wrote to Camerarius (April 16, 1545): ‘Our Spaniard, Francis, has returned, miraculously delivered, without any human aid, at least so far as he knows. I have begged him to write an account of these things, and I will send it to thee.’ The interest which Melancthon took in these facts perhaps justifies the place which we have assigned them in the history of the Reformation.
Other sorrows were to overtake the Spaniards who were scattered about far from their native land. James Enzinas, the eldest brother of Francis, had hardly got his Spanish catechism printed at Antwerp before he received his father’s orders to go to Rome. The ambitious father was desirous of honors and fortune for his eldest son. He was aware of James’s talents, but he was unaware of his attachment to the evangelical faith, and had no doubt that if he were at Rome he would make his way to the higher dignities of the church. It was glory of another kind which James was to find there. He was bitterly grieved; he would have greatly preferred to go to Wittenberg. But his conscience was so tender, his character so simple and straightforward, his obedience to his father so absolute, that he felt bound in duty to set out for the metropolis of the papacy. There he spent two or three years, taking no pleasure in it, sorrowing over all that he witnessed, and not by any means agitating himself with the hierarchy. His abilities, his attainments, his character were esteemed; but he was far from gaining anything thereby. On the contrary, melancholy, dissatisfaction, and even disgust, took possession of him at everything around him. He saw things not only contrary to Christian truth, but contrary to uprightness and to virtue. He felt that the was in a wrong position, and entreated his father to allow him to leave Italy, but in vain. The old man, considering the path which two of his sons were pursuing in Germany, probably believed that he should at least save the eldest by keeping him at Rome. The frank disposition of James did not allow him entirely to hide his convictions, especially from his fellow-countrymen. Francis also, who knew him well, was very much alarmed about him. He had no doubt that his brother, if he remained at Rome, would be ruined. He therefore implored him to cross the Alps. James did not indulge in any delusions.
He knew that, instead of the honors of which his father was dreaming, he could hope for nothing in the city of the pope but disgrace and death. He determined, therefore, to yield to the entreaties of his brother, and made ready to depart.
He might, doubtless, have quitted Rome by stratagem, and have secretly escaped. But he was too candid entirely to conceal his purpose. One of his countrymen was informed of it, and hastened to denounce him to the Inquisition as a heretic. James was then arrested and thrown into strict confinement. His arrest made a great noise. A Spaniard accused of Lutheranism! A man of learning and of an ancient family opposed to the Church! An enemy of the pope living close by the pope! What strange things! The Inquisition, therefore, determined to make of this trial an imposing affair. There was ‘a great assembly of the Romans’ to attend at his examination. James appeared in the presence not only of the inquisitors, but also of the cardinals, bishops, and all Spaniards of eminence then at Rome, and of several members of the Roman clergy. If the popes had been unable, notwithstanding their efforts, to keep Luther in their hands, they had now at least one of his disciples in their power.
James Enzinas, in the presence of this imposing assembly, perceived that God gave him suddenly, and at Rome itself, an opportunity of glorifying him and of doing, once for all, the work to which he had desired to consecrate his whole life. He took courage. He understood perfectly well that the ‘lion’s mouth’ was opening before him, the gulf of death. But neither the solemnity of the hour, nor the brilliancy of the court, nor the thought that he was about to be swept away by a fatal stroke, nor all that was dear to him on earth, could make him swerve from the straight path. ‘He maintained with great constancy,’ says the chronicler, ‘and with holy baldness the true doctrine of the gospel.’ He did more. Standing thus in the presence of the princes of the Roman church, and of all their pomp, he thought that fidelity required him to expose their errors. ‘He forthwith condemned,’ says the narrator, ‘the impieties and diabolical impositions of the great Roman antichrist.’ At these words a thrill ran through the assembly. The whole court was in commotion. The prelates, annoyed at what they heard, were agitated as if under the influence of some acute nervous irritation. They cried out in astonishment and anger. The Spaniards especially could not contain themselves. ‘All at once, not only the cardinals, but those of his own country who were present, began to cry aloud that he ought to be burnt.’ f161 After a little reflection, however, the court was of a different opinion. If the Spaniard should publicly condemn in Rome his so-called errors, the glory of the papacy, it was thought, would be all the greater. The speaker was surrounded and was told that if he would appear in the public square and retract his heresies, the Church would once more receive him as one of her children. His fellow-countrymen pressed around him and depicted the honors to which he might then attain. But on such a condition he would not redeem his life. He would rather glorify Christ and die. The wrath of his enemies burst forth afresh. ‘These fierce ministers of all impiety and cruelty,’ says the chronicler, ‘became more violent than before.’ James then ascended the pile, asserting with immovable courage that all his hope was in Christ. ‘Unawed by the pompous display which surrounded him, and by the ostentatious devotion of his countrymen, with his heart ever fixed on God, he passed on boldly and firmly into the midst of the flames, confessing the name and the truth of the Son of God to his latest breath.
Thus did this good servant of God end his life by a glorious martyrdom, in the midst of all impiety, and, wonderful to tell, in the very city of Rome.’ f162 At the news of his death his brothers and his friends were filled with sorrow. Francis at first felt only the blow which had fallen on his tenderest affections. At the very time when he was in daily expectation of embracing his brother he learnt that all that was left of him was a handful of ashes which were cast into the Tiber. This cruel death, taking place just when Charles the Fifth was endeavoring to crush Protestantism, and the black clouds which were gathering in all directions, filled him with the most melancholy thoughts. ‘God is surely preparing some great dispensation of which we know nothing,’ he said. All around he saw only disorder and confusion. In this hour of dejection he received a sympathetic and consoling letter from Calvin. The reformer directed his friend’s thoughts to the blessed life which is after death, and in which it is the privilege of the faithful to dwell with Christ. ‘I am not ignorant,’ replied Enzinas, ‘how true are the things which you write to me. But we are men, and the infirmities of the flesh beset us. We cannot, nay, we ought not, to cast off all sense of sorrow. But in the midst of this distress I rejoice that there was given to this brave Christian so much constancy in the profession of the truth, and I am persuaded that for some wise purpose my brother has been removed to that eternal assembly of the blessed, in which the loftiest spirits now greet him with this song of triumph: These are they who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ Francis in his grief did not forget his native land. ‘God grant,’ said he, ‘that the tidings of this divine fire, wherewith my brother’s soul glowed, may be diffused in every part of Spain, to the end that the noblest minds, stimulated by his example, may at length repent of the impiety in which at present they are living.’ This letter from Enzinas to Calvin was written from Basel, April 14, 1547.